Does your Marketing department complain about website functionality? Lack of conversions and downtime? Somehow that’s the fault of the IT department. As a WordPress consultant for IT departments and marketing departments, I’ve witnessed the front line on both sides.
Does this sound familiar?
Ugh! We can’t get anything done!
The website is slow!
IT says no to everything!
Our website is out of date.
If we wait for IT to make a decision then nothing will get done!
It seems like no matter what you do, it’s not enough.
You want to keep things stable and secure. Meanwhile, marketing just hired a “Growth Hacker” who spends his entire day TRYING to break everything. For whatever reason, “experimenting” and “creativity” is more important than security and stability.
And, did I mention . . . IT is always the last to know? Why did nobody check with you first? Who’s idea was it to switch to WordPress anyway?
All the feuds between IT and marketers could be summed up in one phrase: no respect.
How an IT WordPress Consultant can help
I’m Emily Journey and I am an IT WordPress Consultant. I work with business owners, IT staff, marketing teams, and administrative staff to help them gain confidence and learn WordPress best practices.
Since 2012, I have trained mixed groups of professionals who work for the same company but have very different goals. The face of marketing and sales has changed dramatically. Remember when the website was the domain of technology and there was a very clear boundary? The creative types couldn’t even figure out how to check their email!
Things have changed. The website management boundary is unclear.
Marketing has become digital. Everything is “content” and the host of all this creative output is technology based. Marketing teams are struggling to keep up. Those who do keep up win the prizes of a stronger brand and more sales. That’s their bottom line. Experts in Marketing have lofty goals and the company website is a means to achieving those goals. These are different goals than those of IT. But, the truth is, their differing goals are equally valuable.
If you have an IT and Marketing department that work well together and have mutual respect, then read no further! You are among the lucky few. This unicorn does exist. I’ve seen it in the wild and it is sometimes found with smaller teams. (You know who you are.)
In the rest of this article, you’ll learn how to utilize a little training in WordPress as the secret weapon of your IT department. Once the IT staff is equipped with a strong understanding of WordPress, they will be better prepared to head off conflicts with Marketing.
WordPress best practices for IT
Whenever I am consulting IT staff in WordPress, I put the IT spin on best practices for WordPress. Participants are ensured a strong foundation in WordPress best practices specific to the IT goals of network security and stability.
1. Limiting access based upon role.
IT administrators can utilize the built-in permission levels of WordPress to limit access. Many problems could be solved with the right role guidelines. You understand the implications of giving a guest blogger an Administrator role, but the overzealous business owner or marketing intern may not.
- Create a list of every necessary user. The boss’ cousin who helped with social media that one time may not be necessary.
- Evaluate the MOST they need to do. Nothing more, nothing less. If they don’t need to edit code, they don’t need permissions that high.
This process, combined with a lesson on the roles themselves, will get your company on the same page. No more role-based nightmares.
2. Understand WordPress Security
As the IT Department, your priority is security. You need everything to stay safe and secure, including the WordPress website. You and your team need to be up-to-date on the latest WordPress security measures.
Matt Cromwell, Head of Support and Community Outreach at WordImpress.com, says this about WordPress security…
“Security isn’t easy, and it’s getting more challenging and necessary by the day. Paying for security is always a worthy investment. With that in mind, I find the following to be indispensable practices with regard to WordPress security.
Learn what hardening is and why it works. In many ways it just comes down to learning about file permissions. 777 is never good. Some things need and deserve 444.
You should also learn the difference between server-side security, app-level security, and domain- or DNS-level security. Basically, where does the line between your host’s responsibility, your security plugin’s responsibility, and your domain’s responsibility start and end? They are different things and often you can’t just point and click your way into making them all work nicely together.”
Some time with a WordPress consultant can teach your IT Department about each of these things — and more.
3. Optimize the website for speed
There are tons of ways to speed up your WordPress site with the right optimization.
- Pantheon outlined the following as the top optimization tips:
- Modernize PHP
- Reduce load with persistent object cache
- Improve speed and volume with reverse proxy page cache
- Tackle the ultimate bottleneck with SSD Databases & the InnoDB Engine
- Streamline search with dedicated search index
- Don’t know how to implement those things? Let’s make this part of the discussion.
Some of the biggest problem areas for WordPress speed are also the easiest to address
From keeping too many files in the database…
The first is to remove any unused WordPress plugins and themes you currently have in your dashboard. These are just taking up space and slowing things down.
— Zac Johnson
Or images that are too large…
Images that are too large definitely cause slow load times (We typically stick to around 600 to 700 pixels width).
— Dave Schneider, Ninja Outreach
Or using too many plugins…
— Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media
Or not investing in a good server…
Too many websites are limited by shared hosting plans. Yes, $5/mo or $100/year might sound great, but the reality is that most consumers have almost no idea what they’re buying when they purchase cheap hosting. Almost nothing is safe, and you’re going to have artificial limits placed on your website loading speeds (sometimes right away, and other times after a small threshold is reached). Therefore, be sure to purchase space on a dedicated server or VPS hosting (virtual private server).
— Andrew Lowen, Next Level Web
Nobody in-house has the time to address these issues? Consider working with a highly rated website management company to get your website in shape and take over the backend maintenance tasks.
Your next step
Let’s talk! Contact me to discuss your challenges with WordPress and how we can work towards solutions.