Here are BeProSoftware.com, we sell lots of wordpress plugins. This gives us great insight into the issues customers have when using new wordpress solutions. Shortcodes are a popular method for distrubuting custom feature throughout the frontend of your website. However, with limited time in the day, the utilization of yet another set of custom wordpress shortcodes can be daunting. In this article we talk about a few of the methods we are using to cut down on the learning curve
THE SHORTCODE ISSUE
With the capability to customize the layout of your website, shortcodes are one of the major reasons for the popularity of wordpress. With statistics being thrown around the internet, its considered one of the biggest content management solution for new users online. Everyone can see whats possible with a blog and a few plugins.
This has given rise to a new type of user. With freelancing becoming more popular than ever and companies finding new ways find revenue online, wordpress is marketed as a potentially easy solution for them. Unfortunately, many are not ready for engaging in scripts of any type but lack the funding for a full time developer. This blogging this is marketed to be easy afterall.
Shortcodes from a developers standpoint are as easy as it gets. The format of shortcodes are standard e.g. [ some_text ] so that’s easy enough. Then there are options which tweak how the shortcode works e.g. [ some_text option1=”integer” ] which again seems simple. However, with the growth of wordpress, we are seeing more and more customers who are brand new to our software and brand new to wordpress. Shortcodes as simple as they may be, add to the learning curve of getting your website setup and we hear you.
WHAT’S THIS… SIMPLIFY SHORTCODES?
We make software which makes you look like a pro. We had to figure out methods of helping users to quickly learn what shortcodes were, why they were useful and beginning the process of utilizing them. Some software we sell is fairly simple, so the shortcodes don’t have options and the learning curve is simply using them. In other cases, we sell very abstract and configurable products which offer lots of options.
Our first method of simplifying shortcodes was to reduce the number of options and shortcodes. Definitely sounds counter productive huh? In one of our products, we created a single shortcode which called several other shortcodes. That’s right, instead of asking users to learn several shortcodes, we asked them to use one.
Some times, its just not possible to elliminate options or shortcodes. The point of them is to create custom frontends. Developers as users of our products too and they still require the capability to take the software to the highest level. So we figured out a way to have both novices and experts user all of the possibilities through our shortcode builder. Currently available in one of our products, you can expect to see it spread throughout our product line. This tool provides a graphical interface allowing users to quickly see A) the shortcode options B) What they do and C) the possible options. With this information users are able to make an educated decision of which shortcode and options is right for them. When finished, they can simply click “Use Shortcode” to add it to the page.
For those completely new, we wanted to make a super easy way for them to get started too. We are here to sell addons so there is definitely something self serving in having a customer setup quickly and looking like a PRO. So when installing out software, we have begin creating installation wizards. These tools start up as soon as you activate the plugin and steps the user through a yes/no set of questions to install the plugin. This installation process creates pages with the shortcodes already in them, reducing setup time to minutes if not seconds.
Typically, themes were designed as a way to reduce the use of shortcodes via the use of templates. While creating a page, simply select the template you would like and that was the end of it. At some point, someone asked for the ability to customize the layout a little and shortcodes was the easy answer. As with anything, this little good grew into something that is sometimes considered rediculous. Some “Premium Themes” now require you to swim through a plethora of shortcodes in order to implement the demo you saw before buying it.
Our themes are based on our free software. This does not allow our products to hide behind a demo. We had to find a way to deliver customization while reducing complexity. For a developer this is the easiest part of wordpress, for a novice it is often a struggle. When you consider the rest of wordpress has menus and visual options, the plugins definitely tend to be very primitive. That’s why you want to use our free BePro Software Suite of products.
Yeah that too! As users become comfortable with wordpress, they begin looking for the details. Developers come hungry for detail specs so they can push the software to its limits quickly. We have begun addressing this need in various ways
We created a dedicated documentation section for our website. There we began organizing custom posts dedicated towards introducing users to our software. It didn’t end there, we organized the information to make it easy to find. In addition to all of this, we began creating free videos covering the most complex aspects of our free software solutions. Always evolving, its a major avenue for users to learn about shortcodes and the features they generate
As mentioned earlier, we provide information in our shortcode builder to explain what each shortcode does. We didn’t stop there, when selecting the shortcodes, they have descriptive names, making it quick to notice an option of interest. Combined, this approach increases our comfort level in generating more options for you to select. At the same time, it makes it super easy for you to utilize these options via a graphical user interface.
Whether you are a wordpress guru or complete newbie, shortcodes are a necessity for building custom pages. We here are BeProSoftware.com, make the learning process simple, allowing everyone to look like a pro. With easy installation wizards and graphical tools to help you build the shortcodes, we have given a single interface for all users to quickly get started.