DOTW: Clients and the wp-admin! How involved are they? (Participation = 3+ Hero Points)

This somewhat relates to a couple of DOTW’s we’ve done in the past. Namely Client Management and White Label. I understand this can vary a lot client to client, but I’m curious on average how involved your clients are with managing the websites you all develop for them.

My first assumption was that most clients wouldn’t want to bother with anything in the wp-admin unless it’s for posting content or maybe access to stuff like WooCommerce orders or other vital info for running their biz, which often can be sent in other more user-friendly formats. ie. email or Reports.

1. Approximately what percentage of your clients get(want) access to the wp-admin? And for what reasons?
2. For those that do, how many hours of training/onboarding do you usually need to provide? If any
3. Any tips for training clients to use the WP basics? (Bonus +3 Hero Points)
4. Have any fun(or disastrous) stories of clients wreaking havoc on their site from the wp-admin or other? :grin:


-At least one comment = 3 Hero Points(must participate within 7 days of thread post date)
-Question #3 = 3 more Hero Points (must participate within 7 days)
-DOTW = Discussion of the Week

  • Jaxom

    1.) Of all our clients (36, 15 of which we host) only 2 want real access to the admin, one is a self help website and the client knows the basics to publish new posts and leaves the rest to us. Only 1 Client (without a support package) wants full access, there a cosmetics company and want control of everything.

    2.) Roughly 2 to 3 hours over a few days and generally over Skype or Team Viewer. Depends on the level of experience they have to start with. But we also use a plugin to hide things like themes and plugins so they can't do to much damage. (will now be moving those to UB 2.0)

    3.) Including the WPMU videos in our support site under WordPress Help, best idea ever, saved me a ton of time and we can just send them to the page and they learn at there own pace. Thank You WPMU & James Farmer :smiley:

    4.) The cosmetics company, who insist on adding plugins at random without checking the last time it was updated or if it still works and then when the site breaks (or gets hacked, yes it did, took me 3 days to clean up the mess) putting in a support ticket blaming us because there website should work with any plugin.


  • gagabytes

    1. Estimate of 89.9% of my clients do not go to the WP Admin and when they need changes they message or send an email to me. And for ecommerce or active website clients, I offer them additional service such as web maintenance and product update is part of the service.

    2. The remaining percentage goes to WP Admin to update their own prices and blogs. Each web development comes with a manual which I created using MS Word converting to PDF, personalized with each functionality. It has actual screenshots specific to the website so they won't get confused. They email ot message me whenever they encounter problem.

    3. Training Clients? For local clients, I personally meet them plus a personalized user guide . And before I give the Wordpress Admin login or make their account as Admin, I made them sign a waiver. If they are not willing to sign the waiver, I just made their roles as editor or shop manager roles. 99.9% of my clients are scared of full reponsibility (WP Admin role) with their website.

    4. Lots! from the agency side that subcon to me!

  • Baldafrican

    1. We usually try to move our clients onto maintenance contracts. One way we do this is by providing 6 months free maintenance after we have setup their site. Thereafter they can decide if they want to continue or want to sign up for one of our plans. Generally they do.
    Of these that have signed up around 70% request access for content updates and only 3 clients have asked for administrator access. The rest all send us their updates for us to do for them.

    2. We usually provide an hours training when doing the handover.

    3. As Jaxom has stated, including the wpmudev videos does seem to help, when the clients are bothered to watch. Moving them from phone to email support seemed to improve their usage of the videos though. :slight_smile:

  • David

    I concur with the above, I provide training and a How To document but 85% of the time I offer (small) updates as part of my monthly/bi-monthly/quarterly maintenance contract.

    It's rare a client uses the admin TBH, particularly when I explain "youre god at what you do (run a garage/restaurant/theatre) I dont try do these things, why don't you carry on earning and doing what you do and pay me to do what i do :slight_smile:"

  • Greg

    1. Approximately what percentage of your clients get(want) access to the wp-admin? And for what reasons?

    Almost none of them. The only two clients I have who requested such access are very specific : one of them has a portfolio and updates it on a regular basis. Even though they have full wp-admin access, they only use if to publish fresh content. The other one just wants to control everything, altough they mostly use their wp-admin access in order to screw up the website.

    2. For those that do, how many hours of training/onboarding do you usually need to provide? If any

    I write a custom documentation, using screenshots and URLs and the most precise information as possible. It's enough for the clients who don't have much money, but others are willing to pay for a one-to-one training session too.

    3. Any tips for training clients to use the WP basics? (Bonus +3 Hero Points)

    I limit their access to the minimum they need. Often, they are worried that they'll get screwed and won't be able to "own" their own website. So, they have a full admin access "just in case" and a limited editor access "for day to day tasks".
    That, with the documentation I mentionned, is usually enough.

    4. Have any fun(or disastrous) stories of clients wreaking havoc on their site from the wp-admin or other?

    Not really. Usually, if you explain the risks, give them information on who to use the website in a proper way and limit their access, you're quite safe !

  • Lawrence

    100% of my clients "get" access to the wp-admin but very few actually utilize it! I have one non-profit I work with that has a person that maintains the website at a, "calendar/content updates" level but that's about it. Ultimately I don't mind it as it allows me to make a little extra loot doing updates.

    Some one mentioned YouTube videos and I +1 that comment. I was just looking into customizing my client's dashboard with videos (I have a Vimeo account) and a contact form as I would like for them to access the wp-admin for support for issues.

    I personally believe that one on one training with clients is OK but because they're not in there every day, what they learn becomes lost. I know from my own experience that I learn by doing and if I'm not doing everyday, I lose it. Some sort of FAQs for quick, "How do I add a post?" is good to have handy.

  • jetmac

    All of my clients on Thirdscribe (over 1,000) were in their admin areas on a regular basis, and they were constantly asking questions about how to do things - format a post, configure a plugin, make a new pup-up, etc, etc. Only a few of them (about 2%) were in their admin dashboards every day making content. 50% were in there at least once a month, usually writing a post or making some kind of change (adding an item to their store, etc). The rest went in when they wanted to, but expected to be able to change things without assistance - inevitably, I would get a service ticket and take care of it for them, but they were always a little frustrated when they couldn't figure it out themselves.

    After closing ThirdScribe, I only have a handful of clients, and they are regular users, though each with a different primary focus.

    I have one client who has a site for his Airbnb property, and he is regularly updating user comments and wanting to add pictures (which he has a very hard time doing on his own because WordPress Galleries are a pain). He uses the WPMU video tutorials regularly.

    A few clients are professional bloggers and they know the ropes pretty well.

    One is starting a significant platform with a membership portal, storefront, and blog - he is good at blogging, but using the plugins is a continuous mystery for him, and I am regularly helping him (doing it right now, actually, getting Stripe to work on both M2P and MarketPress). He is a prime example of a normal, non-technical user having immense trouble using plugins - they can be very, very hard for people to do if they aren't used to the highly technical methodology of most advanced plugins (dozens of options, tabs within tabs, etc). But, he's a quick learner, so that helps.

    I'd love to have a formal training pipeline or something I can build, but its hard to do that for such a range of clients. I usually encourage support requests where I fix what they need (setting adjustment, formatting, etc) and then show them how to use it moving forward.

    For training using the basics, I like the WPMU tutorial videos. I've tried different scenarios on training, set up, etc, but the real problem is so few clients actually bother. They really go for what I call the "black and decker test", where if a product can't just be picked up and intuitively figured out, then it's not a good product. It's the chief argument I had for Gutenberg - I felt that the interface they developed was absolutely the wrong one (and videos of users backed me up on this, though it changed nothing with the core development team - sigh), and felt they needed to make the Edit screens more like MS Word or Google Docs than Medium, because WP has tons of options and add-ons and a stripped down interface made people hunt too hard. The "ribbon" is universal - everyone knows how to use it, so why not make that the model for creating documents, etc?

    Most of WordPress usage has the same issue - the more things are buried under multiple tabs, the more confused users get. Streamlining the admin menu to better group functions and bring common things to the top level is very helpful for new users. Having big widget buttons that lead to frequent needs (frequent functions, FAQ, support, account, etc) was also useful. I feel that StudioPress Sites does this very well, as they leverage a highly customized admin area that makes things very "new user friendly."

    Disaster stories? Yeah, I've got a few. Maybe over a beer sometime... :wink:

  • Julian

    About 75% of my clients occasionally log into their sites. Posting blog and news articles and updating some text here and there is pretty much all they do. More complicated stuff they leave up to me, even tough I've made it pretty easy for them to edit their site content.

    I'm currently not doing this, but a knowledge base/help section on your own site with step by step articles for everything they should be able to do on their sites may be a good solution for many. That way there's one central place they can go for instructions to refer to whenever it suits them.

  • James Morris

    Prior to coming to stable harbor of WPMU DEV, my clients ranged anywhere from a local, family owned doughnut shop all the way up to major telecoms over the course of well over a decade. So, I've seen the full range of how hands-on or how hands-off a client can be.

    1a. Approximately what percentage of your clients get(want) access to the wp-admin?

    Overall... < 33%. Those that did were the larger clients or the online professionals. Among my SMB clients that had brick and mortar locations, that number is < 10%.

    1b. And for what reasons?

    For those that wanted access, they had small teams. CEOs, Copywriters, in-house SEOs and pseudo-coders who could do some lightweight design. These clients wanted to have full access, but usually had the wisdom to hire me for consulting prior to making major changes.

    Their main reason for wanting access was to have complete control over the content and marketing strategy. I usually loved those clients!

    But, and there's always a but... There were a few entrepreneurs that *thought* they knew what they were doing and then *thought* their mistakes = my 3am (unpaid) emergency. :joy:

    2. For those that do, how many hours of training/onboarding do you usually need to provide? If any

    Prior to becoming a WPMU DEV member, I use to produce my own private tutorial videos which walked my clients through the specifics of their site. There were some general tutorials I reused when possible, but most were highly specific to the client. For local clients, I would also provide in-house training to whatever staff they wished to have at the in-session. Many remote clients preferred using tools such as Google Hangouts and screen sharing. On average, for medium to large clients, I would have to provide 10hrs onboarding/training/follow-up, but this was bundled in my quote.

    3. Any tips for training clients to use the WP basics?

    Yes... Use WPMU DEV Video Tutorials to streamline the process a LOT! I wish I would have become a member before 2015! I would have saved myself a LOT of headaches. :joy:

    4. Have any fun(or disastrous) stories of clients wreaking havoc on their site from the wp-admin or other?

    Oh gosh... Where do I start... One of the worst was I spent about 200 dev hours building a highly customized T-shirt design site (based on WP and a premium plugin). I worked tirelessly on the design and with the plugin author to provide a very specific, one of a kind site for this client. I then provided a lot of hand holding (training) and was on call nearly 24/7. Within a couple weeks of pushing the site live, the client had completely destroyed it by tinkering with all the settings. Oh, and they deleted all the backups.

    Another nightmare was when I had spent 9 months developing a site of my own. It was actually a fairly popular site at the time. I was getting around 250,000 unique visitors a month (>1,000,000 page views) and ranked consistently in the top 5 in the top 3 search engines for "Webmaster Resources". I sold the site because I was in college and my (now ex) wife didn't think their was a future in owning websites. Within 3 months, the buyer completely destroyed the site then came back asking for a backup and/or a refund. Um... :facepalm: I miss that site!

    Fun times.... Sometimes I miss developing sites for clients, but I've found a very good home here at WPMU DEV and I really enjoy the opportunity to work with so many amazing people (members and staff alike) and all the opportunities to work with unique problems. :slight_smile:



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