Around 40 people came to the first WordPress Meetup group I held at my loft eight years ago. We were thrilled to be meeting in a big enough space for presentations, instead of meeting in a crowded coffee shop. We had 35 newcomers and it was time to get to know them.
Guessing wrong about beginners
That first meeting began with questions to find out what everyone wanted to learn, such as, “Who wants to learn to code a WordPress Theme?” Everyone raised their hands. We figured this group was fairly technical as we assigned Meetup topics for the following months.
At the next meeting, when we saw the wide-eyed panicked looked on the faces around the room as a local WordPress developer spoke in code, we knew we had guessed wrong. It dawned on me that their answers to my questions were overly optimistic. I really needed to ask what level they were at and what they already knew. As it turned out this group was mostly beginners. Enthusiastic and optimistic, but beginners nonetheless.
It was 2008, the economy sucked, and many of them were coming to the Meetups having been laid off from major companies all over town. We started to see a lot of creative people who needed websites because they were suddenly working for themselves. Some were even game enough to do it themselves. But another group stepped up to take advantage of this new market, graphic designers
The WordPress revolution expands the design market
At that time, WordPress was just starting to get traction as a free, open source content management system (CMS), and it was revolutionary. Non-technical people could use it as a publishing platform to get widely known and grow their businesses. And WordPress had simplified many difficult parts of creating websites, like coding menus, creating page templates, and adding and organizing content using themes and plugins. No longer did you have to know how to code to make a website.
As it happened, graphic designers who had been working in the print industry, had also taken a hit to their business due to the recession. Before WordPress most of their experience with websites was limited to creating logos and site designs and then turning them over to developers to code the sites, and keep a lion’s share of the website contract. Savvy graphic designers realized that WordPress offered a bridge to connect their skills to the growing market for web design and increasing their revenue streams.
WordPress is easy but changing WordPress theme templates is not easy for non-technical people. In most cases graphic designers’ skills far outpaced their abilities to reproduce their designs using WordPress. They were at the mercy of finding themes that sort of worked for the designs they had in mind. And because they did not have experience with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), it was difficult to change colors, fonts, margins, padding and so forth. They also faced a learning curve in mastering the technical aspects of setting up a site on, or migrating it to, a web hosting company.
But these graphic designers stuck it out, showing up at he WordPress Meetups each month, until after several years they developed the expertise to be comfortable taking on designing websites for their clients. These hardy pioneers prove it is possible to learn WordPress design and development through free WordPress Meetups. But, it is a long tedious and circuitous route. Believe me, my experience mentoring designers has shown me there is a better way to learn.
Read all the way to the end to get in on a WordPress Design Secrets Webinar I am hosting absolutely free for you.
A Better Way
You can still follow their path by attending free WordPress Meetups with random topics, or attending a WordCamp somewhere around the country. But either way, the path to learning to design WordPress sites isn’t presented in a logical and thorough progression, which makes it a difficult way to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I love WordPress Meetups but becoming a WordPress designer shouldn’t be so happenstance or take that long.
What if there was a single course with a curriculum that included everything you need to know to customize WordPress sites presented in a logical manner, starting with the basics?
What if you could develop expertise on one theme framework so that you could stop the trial and error of themes that turn up with a fatal flaw when you are nearly finished with your design?
What if you learned to create a page that tells a client’s brand story in words and images, to attract their right visitors and offer them ways to convert visitors into customers?
What if you could do this in months, rather than years… or never?
I know the answers: You would never again have to tell a client you have to refer them to a developer to get the site completed.
You would not get in the middle of a project and panic when you have no idea how to complete it.
You would go from being a proficient WordPress user to a decent website designer, which will allow you to start charging market rates designing and building websites for your clients.
Help Me Help You and Others
I am currently creating a brand new, super in-depth comprehensive curriculum like that. If your destination is web design proficiency, this product will help you get there on the fast track rather than on the slow boat.
No matter if you are a WordPress enthusiast or a graphic designer on the path to reinvention, web design is constantly changing and our curriculum will reflect this. We will teach you our tried and true methods for designing websites that consistently work for our customers to convert their visitors into clients.
These days it’s not enough to build a site with a great design. To help your clients grow their businesses and stay with you for the long haul, you have to take into account the latest research in user experience and learn the psychology behind building websites to design them to meet particular goals. You will benefit from all of our experience which we map out in step-by-step online modules containing videos, text, cheat sheets and workbooks all taken in at your own pace.
As I write this, we are well on our way with developing our content, but I want to have a dialog with you to hear your struggles in getting to competency and confidence in designing WordPress sites.
So how about this for an idea. . .
I am going to host a free webinar where I will share with you some design secrets that we use at New Tricks to easily create sites that convert for lots of happy clients. You will learn a lot and have an opportunity to ask questions and tell us what you want and need.
My goal is to help you develop a revenue stream designing WordPress sites for clients that will come to rely on you for all of the graphic and website needs.
Are you interested? Do you know anyone else who is? If so, please sign up for the Free webinar I’m hosting next Monday at 4:00 PM EST and catch all of the details.