Playing WordPress Doctor

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Photography by William Iven (twitter.com/firmbeecom)`

It is impossible to remember exactly when I started using WordPress, but my conservative estimate is about 11 years ago. In that time, my knowledge has grown substantially. Despite me being a doctor, I never thought of myself as a WordPress Doctor. I am starting to think of it a little bit differently today. This evening I helped someone get their website back online after it was compromised. I’ve never considered advertising my WordPress skills, but I recently joined the Economy of Hours. This is essentially a market pace that works on the premise of exchanging time (expertise) for time, where everyone’s time is valued equally. After browsing the Economy of Hours website I saw a plea for (WordPress) help, and I responded. Let’s call her my “Economy of Hours client” (or EoH client).

Any well developed website should be fairly easy to understand from the back-end. Unfortunately, I learned a prime example of what not to do today. Not that I didn’t already know it, I was just shocked that anyone would set up a website this way. The entire purpose of using WordPress is to make content management easy. It simplifies the process of publishing new pages and blog posts, and for non-techies it is a plug-and-play solution. This then dictates that creating a separate WordPress installation for every single page on the website nested under the home page would be complete insanity. And it is, but that is exactly the situation I found with my EoH client.  She had about 6 pages with additional information, and each was its own subdomain with its own dedicated WP installation. It boggles my mind someone would not just install WordPress just once, and create separate pages. The snowball effect of doing this is a slower-than-necessary site, and what is even worse is that for each page you would want to update you need to log in separately.

Even if you would want subdomains, the easiest way to do so would be to redirect your subdomains to the appropriated pages. Funny enough, this client never asked her original designer for sub-domains, so why they are even there is a mystery to both of us. If, for whatever reason, the design on a sub-page needs to be very different from the rest it makes more sense to address that with a static HTML page and matching CSS. In any case, installing WP multiple times on one website, particularly one meant to do nothing more than serve as an online brochure, is not in line with best practises. The most shocking part is perhaps that this setup was created by a ‘professional’ web design company. Buyer beware: if each page on your site requires a separate login, there is something not quite right on the back-end.

As it also turns out, we all have more expertise to give than we perhaps give ourselves credit for. My objective for joining the Economy of Hours was to attend some interesting workshops. I am now also attracted to the concept because the idea behind it is to connect (East) London businesses and professionals. You cannot take Echos (the currency used to trade time) to the bank or the grocery store, but you can get some services and access to interesting workshops. That, and supporting local businesses, it worth a few hours of your free time?

 


Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a “serial expat”.

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  1. Carol

    4 May

    well done! Economy of hours sounds like an interesting concept.

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