How Easy is WordPress to Use?

Recently a graphic designer approached me about problem she was having with WordPress.  The designer, I’ll call her Lily, had no HTML or coding skills.  She’d tried many different templates, but was unhappy with them all.  “I thought WordPress was user-friendly and super easy to use!”, she wailed, ” I just can’t figure out how to make it look the way I want!”

Looking at the templates she’d used and discarded, they all had some customization features built into them.  Generally these features allowed the user to change the colors of backgrounds and text and choose fonts and font-sizes.  Some of the templates also had options for adding and customizing widget areas.

What Lily wanted, however, was the ability to change everything about the site.  She wanted to increase the size of the header, add borders to certain widget boxes and force text boxes to be certain sizes.  In other words, she wanted to be able to change the style and layout of the entire template via some kind of click-and-point interface.  Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t work like that.

WordPress is a content management system – it does make it easy to manage your content; images, text and widget areas.  However WordPress depends on templates and style sheets for the “bones” upon which your images and text appear.  The “bone” or templates and stylesheets need to be set up by someone who understands HTML, CSS and WordPress.  Because of that background structure, you can add content and your site will remain consistent – all the headers will look the same, font with be standard, links will act the same way, etc.

The best solution in this case, considering that Lily was a graphic designer, was to have her design a layout in Photoshop and send it to me.  I would then create the layout in CSS and HTML and make it work with WordPress.  Unfortunately she wanted to be able to constantly tweak the site and make changes to the formatting and layout.  In this case, her best option would be to learn CSS, HTML and WordPress, which she was unwilling to do.  I explained that just like she wouldn’t attempt to fix the transmission on her car without the proper skills, she couldn’t fix the underlying structure of her templates without the proper skills.   Ultimately her client asked me to take over the project.  I was able to make the changes they needed for a minimal amount of time  and expense.

The take-away for this story is: work with a professional to get your site up and running and then you’ll find that WordPress is very easy to use!

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