On the surface of it, WordPress looks straightforward enough. Until things go wrong.

It has happened to everyone, at least once. You are experiencing a problem on your WordPress website. A new plugin that conflicts with your installation, a custom code that you incorrectly added to the functions.php file (if you run a theme). Whatever might go wrong, can do and sometimes does. In that moment, we find ourselves sweating bullets because we think we have broken our website. Newcomers to WordPress and development in general may even freak out a little bit. But when you have come to the end of your options, inevitably everyone looks around for help.

Unfortunately, WordPress does not have a phone number to call for help, nor a plugin to install and fix everything instantly. As with many activities, there is always a bad (poor) and a good (effective) way to do things. And seeking help with WordPress is no exception. If you find yourself stuck with your WordPress get in touch and lets see how we can help.

Otherwise, lets explore other options first.

Think about what actions you took

Most likely due to something you have directly done, things went wrong, and you are experiencing some problems. Before seeking help right away, you should try to understand what caused the problem and try to think back to what you did right before it happened. Most common problems can fall under one of these categories: WordPress fails to update a Plugin which conflicts with other plugins. Or themes (sometimes free ones) don't update properly or are way out of date and break with incorrect syntax or missing secitions of code. Trying to understand what your last action was prior to WordPress breaking can set you in the right direction to a) deactive/delete/reverse your last action or b) share your current situation more accurately with other WordPress users. Knowledge is power, and it is more important than ever when things go wrong.

Deactivate plugins and install default theme

If you recently installed or updated a plugin or theme and noticed some unexpected behavior, turn off all your plugins and activate the latest default WordPress theme (such as Twenty nineteen) to "reset" your website. If the issue goes away, you now know either your theme or one of your plugins is causing it.

One by one, start re-activating plugins until you find which one breaks your site. make a note of the version number and what functions it provides for your site. Deactivate it again then quickly browse your site and see what functionality is missing. Delete the plugin and either try re-installing it or find another plugin with similar functionality and go through the installation and integration process.

If your plugins are not the cause then move on to your theme. Are you running a child theme? If so, activate the parent theme. Does this fix it? If yes, create a new child theme and slowly copy the attributes from the old child theme to the new one. If no, activate a solid reliable theme from WordPress. At time of writing twenty nineteen is most current. If this works then you have a theme problem and should either contact the theme support or consider now a good time to install a new theme and revamp your site. If you are at this stage then give us a call first. We don't use themes in WordPress anymore but would be delighted to talk to you about how we can help you re-build your website into something modern, attractive and functional.

Ask for WordPress help on forums

When things don't go as we expect, and there is some business urgency to it then we need to fix our broken WordPress site as quickly as possible. Its often the case that a broken website will have immediate effect on your business income or affect the perception of your business as a reliable entity. WordPress forums are the very first place you should start looking for tips on how to deal with your current issue. By using the "site: wordpress.org / support" operator+ your keyword, you can quickly browse through them even through Google. Or just search on any error messages you see. We often find that any results with Stack Overflow often can be very promising. But sometimes highly technical.

There is an old saying that goes something like "There is no such thing as a stupid question"... Well, be careful asking stupid questions on Stack Overflow! You'll likely get a fast negative rating and some verbal abuse along with it. That said, if you can get by without asking a question, which is often the case, there is a very good chance you'll find what you need to progress or resolve your issue.

How to ask for help for WordPress plugins

The abundance of plugins is one of the greatest things about WordPress, but sometimes they are not compatible with the latest WordPress setup. So if you know something has happened because of a plugin, you should head over its official page in the repository of WordPress.org and look for the "FAQ" tab to see if your issue is listed. If there is nothing there and your need is not urgent, click on the "Support" tab and follow the prompts to raise an email/ticket with the plugin support team. If its a free plugin be prepared for little or no help. Although that's not always the case and we can recall plenty of instances where free plugin developers have been very helpful.

Talk with WordPress experts in your area

Look locally. WordPress is so popular you are bound to find people in your area that can help. Here in Hobart we have a WordPress Hobart User Group that can be found on Facebook and also via Meetup.com. These options can often be free. And they can also be a great way to meet other people in the WordPress community, share ideas, drink coffee and chat about all things web related. If you need an expert and are willing to pay then say this on the Facebook page and clearly state your problem. People will still try and help you for free, but you will also attract the attention of local professionals who make a living from this sort of thing.

Check active WordPress groups for help

You can also try one of these groups. First try searching to see if your question has already been answered. If not, give it a go and remember to clearly describe what your issue is along with what error messages (if any) are being reported.

Q&A WordPress websites

Linkedin WordPress groups

Facebook WordPress groups

When you don't have time to wait

If time is of the essence and you need someone quickly then try the facebook page for WordPress Hobart User Group and if you have no luck here, either give us a call or perform a keyword search in Google for WordPress support in Hobart. You will discover there is plenty of local talent to help you out.

Are you responsible for looking after the company website?

For a variety of reasons, you find yourself reading this blog post. You may have been recently employed by your company to fulfill a vacant role. Somewhere along the way the boss has pointed the finger at you and asked you to maintain or update the website. OMG! What? Where do I start? What do I do next? What if I break it?

Getting help with WordPress

If you live in the Hobart area of Tasmania you are in luck. Forte Web Design offer a service where they can come to you and review your website with you. We offer a number of services and list these out here.

Adhoc assistance getting started

Perhaps your new to the job and just need help sorting things out. Or maybe you need someone with experience to spend an hour with you and make sure you are doing things optimally. We bill at hourly rates and are very happy to visit you for anywhere from 1 hour upward and work through any issues and process clarifications you may need.

Onsite meet-up and site review

We will come and visit you at your site, ask you some questions about your business and what it is you want the website to do for you. Then, sitting along side you we will step through the front end of the site, that part that everyone sees, and offer you some critiques and improvements. Key things we are looking for are:

Then, based on what you've told us so far, we'll login using your credentials and review the back end of the website. We will review the following:

Don't have time to look after the site yourself?

Its often the way that when things get busy the first thing to suffer is your website. This can present a real problem because your website is often the customer facing part of your business. If it isn't kept up to date and looking its best this can reflect poorly on your business.

Another problem that often happens is where you have several team members updating the site. They don't follow a clear set of guidelines and as a consequence the site continuity breaks. Before you know it you have a different look and feel on the page that Joe worked on to what Jane did last week.

When you consider the cost of paying staff to do something they are not trained to do along with the unknown cost on your business reputation it can be much more economical to contract Forte Web Design to make changes and manage the site on your behalf.

There is zero cost involved in asking the question and in fact we offer a complimentary 1 hour service where we will come and visit you, review your site while discussing your needs for no cost. At the very least you will come away with a better idea of your website and what you need to do to keep it running well. If at the end of it you decide that your business could benefit from some assistance we'll work with you to fit within your budget and requirements.

We believe we offer very good value for money and can be your trusted partner assisting you with new ideas and methods as your business continues to grow.

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