“Are The WordPress Manual And Videos Up To Date With WordPress Version X.X?”
I would love to be able to say “yes…everything is always completely up-to-date!”
As I have explained in various posts on this site, however, there are inherent challenges with keeping WordPress training documentation up-to-date.
Here is a quick recap of these challenges…
Challenge #1 – WordPress Is Maintained By An Army Of Volunteer Developers
Hundreds of volunteer web developers continually work on making changes, improvements, and updates to the WordPress software with every new version release.
While this is absolutely fantastic for WordPress users, keeping up with all these changes is quite challenging, especially for anyone trying to create user training documentation.
But the WordPress core software is not the only thing that is continually being updated.
WordPress makes thousands of WordPress plugins and themes available. Some plugins are regularly updated, some become outdated and stop working, and some become obsolete and close down. This adds another layer of challenges if you try to include any of these plugins or themes in training tutorials.
So, the first challenge with keeping WordPress training documentation up-to-date is that WordPress is always changing. Try keeping up with software that’s continually being updated by an army of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of third-party web developers!
Challenge #2 – Even WordPress Itself Can’t Keep Up With Its Own Documentation
As I have discussed elsewhere, even the WordPress team struggles to keep up with user training documentation despite being backed by Automattic, a multibillion-dollar company.
In that post, I link to a podcast interview with Milana Cap, a member of the WordPress Documentation Team, where we find out that there are currently only about four sponsored volunteers and fewer than 10 volunteers in total that make up the WordPress documentation team.
As Milana states in the podcast, it is “impossible to keep up with Gutenberg developments” as they just “haven’t got enough people” working on the documentation team.
Not only does WordPress itself struggle to keep up with its own documentation, but the podcast interview also makes it clear that the team prioritizes the needs of web developers above the needs of non-technical end-users. According to Milana, the team lacks the time and resources, so their strategy for keeping official WordPress documentation updated is one of “reacting to complaints.” If someone reports an issue or complains loudly enough, that’s when they try to fix things.
As the podcast host sums up the problem, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
The fact that even WordPress itself can’t keep up with its own documentation not only highlights how challenging documenting WordPress training is, but also points to a deeper issue…
Challenge #3 – WordPress User Training Is Not A Priority For Web Developers
- Website owners expect their website developers to provide them with training. Someone gets a new website built, they expect their website developer to show them how to use it. Makes total sense, right? The thing is…most people have no idea about WordPress. Many businesses don’t care what technology is used “under the hood” of their websites and would rather have someone else do what needs to be done on their websites so they can get on with their businesses. So, most end-users don’t know what great WordPress training should include but they expect their web developers to provide them with it. However…
- WordPress web developers are not in the business of “training WordPress users”. Their business is developing, building, and maintaining websites, not developing and maintaining training content.
The reality for many (if not most) WordPress web developers, then, is that creating WordPress user training for their non-technical clients is simply not a high priority. In fact, it’s pretty low. And even lower on their priority list is keeping training documentation regularly updated.
Even though I’ve argued elsewhere that the entire future of the WordPress economy depends on teaching, training, and empowering non-technical users to use their WordPress sites effectively, many web developers simply don’t focus on the importance and long-term value of WordPress user training because it’s not profitable and doesn’t pay their bills in the short-term.
Which brings me to the next challenge of keeping WordPress training documentation up-to-date…
Challenge #4 – You Have To Be Passionately Insane About WordPress To Care About Training Non-Technical WordPress End-Users
I started creating WordPress user training documentation way back in 2011, after starting a business building websites for local businesses.
I know from first-hand experience that only an insane person and a glutton for punishment would attempt to develop a truly effective way to train WordPress end-users that actually empowers them to get better results using their website.
It doesn’t pay the bills, you raise skinny kids and starving pets, you spend your nights lying awake thinking more about WordPress than about the person sleeping next to you, then your wife leaves you, and you end up living alone, and getting a job that pays the bills in the WordPress industry, which then only confirms what you have always known…that trying to keep WordPress user training documentation up-to-date is the most soul-crashing thing in the Universe.
But…let’s ignore my personal woes for a moment and look at this as any other logical and rational person would.
I live in Australia, where the absolute minimum cost of living is around US$21,000 per year. And that only covers the cost of living in a one-bedroom unit, eating instant noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and spending your weekends counting your toes for entertainment.
So, for me to be able to work full-time keeping all of the WordPress training documentation in the manuals up-to-date, I would need 300+ customers (or 100+ rebrandable manual clients renewing their subscription every year just to survive in my little one-bedroom unit eating noodles.
If I had that many customers, I would gladly sleep next to my toilet bowl and feast on ramen noodles every day, but the WordPress training content I make available comprises hundreds of detailed step-by-step tutorials with thousands of screenshots, information-packed guides, substantial email courses, plus access to thousands of video lessons.
So, in addition to working full-time myself, I would also need a team of people working full-time too to be able to guarantee that the manual and videos are always up-to-date with the latest version of WordPress.
This requires a few thousand customers renewing their subscription every year, or receiving a substantial injection of money from a cashed-up WordPress company that truly believes in the value of training their end-users (Automattic, I’m looking at you :) )
Challenge #5 – You Could Try Creating Your Own WordPress User Training, But…
If you build WordPress websites for clients and want to train them to use their sites effectively, you don’t have to use WPTrainingManual.com, you can create your own training (and discover all the challenges for yourself), or use someone else’s solution…it’s completely up to you!
Given all that I’ve described…that WordPress itself, which is valued at billions of dollars is understaffed and struggles to keep up with its own documentation; that WordPress user training is not valued as highly as it should be by the WordPress community; and that I need to work at another job to keep my passion for training and empowering WordPress users going, the most honest answer I can give is the one stated on the About page:
“I guarantee that WPTrainingManual.com provides the most comprehensive, detailed, practical, and regularly updated WordPress step-by-step user and client training available, and I am confident that no other WordPress training for end-users can match WPTrainingManual.com for content quality, information, and value for money!”
I have spent over a decade working on the content, the challenges, and the processes required to provide WordPress website developers with a “hands-free” client training system that will empower non-technical WordPress end-users to use their sites effectively and free you up to focus on growing your WordPress business.
As I’ve mentioned, there are other WordPress training solutions you can try, but I personally don’t know of any that can even match what WPTrainingManual.com offers.
So…Are The WordPress Manual And Videos Up To Date With WordPress Version X.X?
I have recently made the tutorials downloadable as PDF files (also emailable and printable), so web developers and users can download individual lessons. Besides making the online tutorials available as downloadable PDF files, I have also made them freely accessible to ALL users, so you can check out the tutorial content for yourself.
The reason for making all the online tutorials accessible (a paid membership includes access to all the video tutorials, guides, and additional resources), is that I am currently developing a comprehensive (and free) online content management course that will also help WordPress users create, publish, and manage content on their sites. This will be live around September 2022.
By 2023, I plan to have built the entire training system I envisioned back in 2011. From that point onward, my focus will be on maintaining the content on all of my training sites up-to-date, so that ideally, when WordPress comes out with a new version, any major changes (functional, not cosmetic) will be reflected on the WordPress online tutorials and then updated sooner in the downloadable manuals.
Regarding the online WordPress tutorials, I continually and regularly update these every chance I get. If you are an actively subscribed member and you spot something in the online tutorials that is preventing you from effectively training your clients, please contact me and I will add it to my to-do list.
Regarding the downloadable WordPress user manuals, I currently update these every 6 months or so but I am working on a way to simplify this process, as it’s quite time-consuming and has many challenges of its own.
Finally, as stated in the FAQ section, I outsource the video tutorials, so I don’t control the updating process. Whenever my content providers supply me with new or updated videos, I will pass these onto you if you are a rebrandable manual client (and update these on the video training membership site).
Hopefully, the above has given you a better understanding of the many challenges involved in keeping WordPress user training documentation up-to-date.
- To view the quality and content of the tutorials, go here: WordPress Tutorials
- If you are a website developer, WordPress trainer, or provide WordPress-related services, check out the rebrandable WordPress Client Training Manual.
- Any other questions, please feel free to contact me.