It’s no longer enough for WordPress developers and agencies to build great websites for their clients. To stand out from the crowd we need to find ways to help our customers be successful. Since creating content is core to the WordPress experience, in this post we’ll give you 3 simple ways to use content tools to win your clients over.
1. Understand your client’s content creation habits and the tools they like to use
As a part of requirements gathering, it really helps to know which tools content contributors use. Not the web project manager mind you, the people actually doing the writing.
Let’s say that a small business office manager and her team of interns always use Word to write their company’s monthly newsletter. Every time she pastes content into WordPress, the document formatting is aggressively removed. This is normal, it’s what WordPress does.
Alternatively, they’ve gone to the cloud, and use Google Docs. In this case the exact opposite happens, where document formatting is brought into the visual editor as inline styles. Which breaks CSS.
In either case, the team might not mind re-creating content styles the first few times, until they starts to blame their lost productivity on WordPress, or worse, the website you created. And now the support requests start to roll in. Unfortunately, most of us can share “war stories” from projects where misaligned expectations resulted in an unhappy or lost client.
When gathering requirements it is a good idea to start with the end in mind. Learn how the people creating content will eventually get what they create into WordPress. Perhaps you can have the client change their workflow and write directly into the editor. If they’re using Word, help them understand that they’ll need to reapply some content elements. Alternatively, introduce automated tooling such as TinyMCE PowerPaste into their workflow before this even becomes a problem.
2. Clients now want more than a plain vanilla blog
Our customers are better informed about using content to engage their audience than ever before. They know that content is more dynamic, that images and video are more engaging than the written word alone. And if they don’t, now is a great time to educate them.
If you can believe it, people consume more than 10 hours of media a day! Expectations have changed. The new normal is to see not only images and video in content, but also animated gifs, audio embeds, social media posts, maps, slide decks, and content from reader specific sources (such as GitHub or Product Hunt for tech focused websites).
A great way to help clients be successful is to introduce them to the many free sources of content. Unsplash or Pexels for images. Giphy for gifs. On the paid front, iStock is a popular source for stock audio and animations (there are many others).
Let’s not forget that Jetpack’s shortcode embeds are a really awesome way to add all sorts of media directly into TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress. For most WordPress users, shortcodes are a much easier way to add rich media than cutting and pasting embed codes into the Text View.
If your clients use shortcode embeds already, take a look at TinyMCE Enhanced Media Embed. It’s a little like the Jetpack solution, but on steroids (so to speak). It automatically converts links to content from more than 1,500 rich media sources into viewable media right inside the WordPress editor.
3. Reach a larger audience by making content accessible to everyone
Content authors and website developers often overlook this third tip. Doing this one thing right can be a genuine competitive advantage for your clients.
If you’re not familiar with website accessibility and publishing content for inclusion, now is a great time to get up to speed. The team behind TinyMCE strongly believe that when we design for disability we all benefit. In last year’s State of the Word at WordCamp US, Matt Mullenweg even highlighted how important accessibility is to WordPress.
But why should it matter to your clients? Simply because there are hundreds of thousands of people using assistive technologies to engage with websites every single day. There are even more impacted by bad design, borked contrast ratios and even color choices. Ensuring web content is accessible is a simple way you can help your clients reach a bigger audience than their competitors.
Introduce your clients to the online accessibility guides and website compatibility checkers. It’s a good idea for you as a developer or agency to have a plan to educate your clients about these issues. In fact, if you’re building websites for government clients, accessibility compliance is the law.
If you are finding that your clients are struggling to remember all of these guidelines, while at the same time trying to write content in a time-pressured environment, give some consideration to TinyMCE Accessibility Checker. It helps content authors fix the most common a11y issues in a simple, familiar click-and-replace interface.
I hope these three, simple to execute tips will help you build great relationships with your customers and grow your business. Thanks and if you’re interested in seriously delivering a professional content authoring solution to your customers, check out the other plugins available for TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress.