Some of our Web Peeps are super heroes behind the scenes – seriously!
This week we take a moment to share with you the alter ego of Tessa Needham our very own WordPress gal, if you have a WordPress website this is one interview you don’t want to miss…
Q: How did you become the WordPress gal?!
Tess: I actually kind of fell into it! Years ago, I was on the committee for my football team, and took on their website as a project. After a lot of trial and error, I found my way with WordPress and realised that it was a powerful platform for pretty much any website.
Fast forward to now, and I’ve worked on loads of websites of all different types, all built on WordPress. Over the years, I’ve noticed that there’s a need for real, down-to-earth training so people can get the most out of their websites. So using my training in adult technology education, I’ve developed several resources to do exactly that.
Q: You recently set up “WP Super Geek”, how does it work?
The idea with WP SuperGeek is to have a friendly place for people to come and learn about WordPress. There are various levels depending on how involved you want to get: from a course that teaches you everything I know, to learning just how to manage content in your site, through to asking questions about specific problems, and outsourcing your tech support to us.
It’s a fun and friendly place to get help, where there are no stupid questions!
Q: Is it really possible for non developers to manage their own website?
Tess: Absolutely. You are only limited by your willingness to learn. For some people, they won’t be interested in the more technical aspects of web management, and that’s fine. Play to your strengths! But for people who aren’t afraid to get their hands a bit dirty, it’s absolutely possible to do it yourself.
Q: How steep is the learning curve?
Tess: I’m not going to lie, it can be pretty steep! But I’m hoping that since I went through it myself, I can help make the learning a little easier for others.
Q: What are the biggest website issues people face?
Mainly, people get frightened of seeing and using code. And that’s totally understandable, as it’s really daunting at first! But it’s the same as learning a language – once you know how it’s structured, and a few key phrases, you really can get by.
People are often afraid that they will do the wrong thing and mess up their website. But if you are equipped with a few tools to understand how WordPress works, as well as a keen ability to Google problems, you can learn to rescue a broken website.
Q: Many baby boomers are starting websites, is it harder for them to be successful than a “digital native”?
Tess: I don’t think age matters, it’s all down to mindset. I have met just as many young people as baby boomers that have trouble with technical concepts. And you know, it’s not for everyone! But if you are interested in managing your own website then it’s totally possible to talk geek!
Q: What killer tips do you have for newbies to WordPress?
Tess: Try to get a handle on the terminology from the outset. If you can develop a working glossary (the official one is here, but I also have a more plain-English one in all of my WordPress courses, you will be able to translate the geek speak as you go. Just like having an English to Geek dictionary!
Most of all, don’t be shy. I know it can be daunting, but the WordPress community is generally very welcoming, even to newbies! Open Source is all about inclusiveness.
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