WordPress Support

What To Do When You Need WordPress Support

So many people choose to use WordPress for their websites and blogs because, quite simply, it is the easiest interface to use as well as being the most customisable. Even big companies such as CNN use this platform!

But as wonderfully straightforward as it usually is, every now and then you just can’t seem to figure something out. Maybe it’s some coding that won’t work, perhaps one of your plugins has gone crazy. It’s enough to drive someone absolutely mad, especially considering all the hard work it takes to not only build a website but to also maintain it. It can be incredibly frustrating as a WordPress beginner as well to constantly run into problems, it almost makes you want to throw in the towel!

Luckily, there is so much WordPress support available on the world wide web, you just need to know where to find it, how to ask for it and when to pay for it. In this article, you’ll learn exactly that. Who knows, perhaps after a little while you will be the one giving the support instead of asking for it!

The first thing to do when you hit a snag is to contact your web hosting company. These are the people that you pay monthly to host your website. They should have a support number as well as an email address that you can use. Many companies also have a live chat function that is incredibly useful. They can help you solve a multitude of problems from odd server errors to database connection problems. If your issue is something that they can’t help you with, more often than not, they will be able to point you in the right direction. If they can’t, well you might need to consider changing web hosting companies.

Google is everyone’s best friend online and is the next place you should turn if your hosting company can’t help you. There’s a very high probability that someone else has encountered the exact same problem that you are struggling with and has done the hard work and found the solution for you. What a relief!

You may be directed to many different forums. Reading through all of the suggestions can be tedious but you will often find your solution hidden amongst the many comments and you may even learn something new as well. Just a word from the wise, make sure that you are taking advice from a credible source, the last thing that you want is to create another issue on top of the one you already have.

Another great place to look for advice is YouTube, especially if you are a beginner. Video tutorials are much easier to follow than written advice and there are hundreds upon thousands of WordPress videos out there so you will have many different solutions to try out on your site.

If you are having a problem with one of your plugins or theme, you may need to go back and read all of the documentation that came with it when you activated it. I’m sure you aren’t very happy to read that as most people tend to “wing it” and not read the online manual. Chances are though that you will find out something new about the theme or plugin that you didn’t know before over and above fixing your problem.

Another common mistake that people make is that they don’t update their plugins and themes to the latest version. Developers constantly fix bugs and issues that users have by improving their programs. The solution to your infuriating problem may be as simple as a click of a button and a few minutes of patience. How wonderful would that be?!

Every now and again, two different plugins decide that they don’t like each other and cause trouble with one another. There is a fairly simple way of determining if this is what is happening on your site and which plugin is affecting the one you are having a problem with. First of all, deactivate all of your plugins except for the one that is giving you trouble. Then revert to a default WordPress theme.

Now check, is the misbehaving plugin working like it should? If it is, then it is probably in conflict with one of the other plugins. Re-introduce each plugin, one at a time and check the functionality of your plugin after each activation. You will soon see which plugin is causing the trouble.

If you have tried all of this and you are still sitting with a problem, it’s time to ask for help.
It is very important that you know how to ask for help so that you can get the best advice in return and as quick as possible, no one wants to sit with a problem longer than they need to.

There’s no point in asking a vague question and all the comments that you receive don’t help you and that’s if you receive any comments at all.

So, how should you structure your question?

Give as much information as possible. Include everything you know about the problem, if you’ve discovered a conflict and all of the different solutions you have tried. Also, include what version of WordPress you are using.

If you have more than one problem, create a separate ticket for each one. Keep your posts on the forum to the point and concise, don’t overload it with useless information and more than one issue.

An absolute bonus would be to include screenshots as these are much easier for people to understand instead of you trying to explain what you are seeing on your screen.

Give your thread a clear and concise title: Construct it so that others can see at a glance what you need help with and don’t need to read your entire thread to find out.

Answer any questions. If someone is trying to help you and asks you a question about your problem, make sure to answer them with as much (necessary) detail as possible and as soon as possible. If you haven’t heard anything back for a while, go ahead and follow up. It may have just slipped someone’s mind and all they need is a reminder, be pro-active about the situation.

Don’t be rude. This goes without saying, if you want people to help you, you need to be nice. Don’t call names, write in all caps or be abusive. Remember, people on forums usually aren’t paid and are helping you out of the goodness in their hearts. Chances are that you are also using free plugins and themes so you really don’t have the right to be disrespectful to the developers and programmers.

Patience goes hand in hand with this. There are hundreds of questions being asked at any given time. Your question is not a top priority; you need to give people a little bit of time to respond to you. Don’t become impatient and hurl rude comments their way, you might not hear back at all after that!

Now that you know how to ask for support, where exactly can you find it?

The internet is full of free forums where you can ask away and will most often get really good advice from people in the know, or users that have been in the same predicament as you currently are.

Another good place to go is back to your plugin or themes support area. Don’t forget to read through the FAQ’s first though as there could be a really simple solution to your problem.

Here are some really good sites to visit to ask for help (over and above good ol’ Google and YouTube tutorials):

WordPress.org support forums: most people choose to use these forums as there are so many active people on the site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that you get a lot of answers in a small space of time. The only drawback is that because there are so many users, you may need to sift through a lot of comments and try many different suggestions before you find the one that works.

WordPress IRC chat: this is a good place to come if your problem needs to be fixed urgently and so you want more of an instant answer. You will need to download and install IRC chats like mIRK or XChat to take part. Take note that the IRC server is chat.freenode.net and the Channel is #WordPress.

Stack exchange: this is a really great resource if you have more technical or advanced questions and you aren’t finding the answers that you need on any forums. This question and answer site is specifically for developers and administrators, is free and doesn’t require registration.

WordPress Facebook groups: these work in a very similar way to forums, just on a different platform.

Another route to go entirely is to pay for a Managed WordPress Support Service. Basically what this is, is you delegating certain responsibilities to a company that employs WordPress experts so that you can concentrate on what’s important to you such as the content that goes onto your website. This expert will then maintain your website and fix any glitches that they may come across instead of you frantically searching high and low online for a solution. Of course, this will differ from company to company as well as the price range that you are looking at.

When considering Managed WordPress Support Services, pick a few that stand out to you and then scrutinise them all: do they have any added benefits such as SEO services, how available are they to you (do they only work office hours or are they around 24/7), read as many reviews on them as possible, what are their pro’s and what are their con’s.

Another important factor that you shouldn’t forget is your budget. How much are you willing to spend each month for this support as this will most definitely affect the company that you end up choosing.

Here at Newt Labs there are team members available to help you. You can choose between live chat, email, or phone, whatever suits you and your site best. We also take care of your WordPress updates, back up your site, monitor for security issues and much more. This really is a one stop shop for all of your WordPress queries and problems.

Companies like Newt Labs are willing to offer a month to month membership which is really handy. This way you can test them out and see if it really does help you, save you time and if they are worth the monthly expense.

WordPress is an absolutely wonderful platform to run your blog or business website from and after reading this article it is very evident that there is a lot of support out there for when you run into a problem whether you are just starting out or if you are very experienced. It is also really wonderful that there is a solution for every budget as well: you have the choice to pay for premium support and receive added extras such as firewall protection and uptime monitoring, or to simply rely on forums where you will still receive excellently. Overall there is a place for everyone to receive the support that they need to ensure that their website runs as smoothly as they would like it to.

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About Steven Watts

Steven WattsSteven is the founder of Newt Labs. He's a WordPress specialist with an interest in building the most effective websites possible. Since 2010, he's been helping businesses with their online goals.

100 Tips for Maintaining Your WordPress Site

Defend your site from hackers, improve speed, and learn tactics used by WordPress experts

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