Here’s the top 5 Questions you should ask your WordPress website designer/developer before committing:
We talk to hundreds of chapter leaders every day and occasionally there is an expressed interest in pursuing a WordPress website. Most chapter leaders we speak with do not have a technical background so, we wanted to offer a little guidance in the form of a list of questions we recommend that you ask the designer or developer you may work with to implement this for your chapter:
1. Will our site have the functionality that we need to properly manage our chapter?
If takes much more than a website to manage your chapter. Most likely you will want to include event registration, membership management, email marketing, surveys, reporting and more to the functionality of your website. Ask your designer/developer about how all of these Association Management System (AMS) functions will be handled and about the extra cost. Are you going to get 4 or 5 different services to do these functions because inherently WordPress is strictly a content management system (CMS) with no other functionality?
2. Is this a full time/part-time job for you? Have you done other WordPress sites from scratch?
You will want to consider the designer/developers availability and work schedule during the project. As well as how long this project will take to complete.
Obviously, it is preferred to work with someone who has experience and references. You will also want to see if you can call the people the designer/developer has worked with to verify. Another thing to consider is whether or not they will do everything themselves or if they will outsource any of the work to freelancers. If a board member volunteers to do this or a relative of a board member you have to consider how demanding this project can be and the time they’d have available.
3. Do you offer training? How will board transitions be handled?
After the initial setup, you will want to learn how the manage the site itself as well as any other additional functionality. Then as board members transition out of their roles you will need to have supplementary training for the new board. If the designer/developer is a board member or if board member’s relative does take on the project what happens when they transition out of their role?
4. Will you maintain all of this after the initial setup? If not, who will be maintaining this site 6, 12, or 24 months down the road?
On-going maintenance of your WordPress site and the servers it lives on is critically important. Applying patches and larger updates to the servers, WordPress, and all the 3rd party plugins used on your site is an ongoing technical process. As is managing the domains, DNS and SSL certificates. You also have to factor in the potential costs, availability, and response times to ensure that this is handled properly. Then as new features become more and more in demand by members who will research and implement these enhancements.
5. How skilled are you at working with WordPress and the servers to secure it from hackers?
WordPress is one of the most hacked platforms out there simply because it’s free, open sourced and widely used. An easy target. Don’t take our word for it, see what Forbes has to say about it as well.
There is a lot to consider before pursing an open source website solution like WordPress. Some things are rather obvious while others are a little more complex. If you are interested in more information we’ve outlined 8 risks that should be considered before moving forward in our guide, CAUTION: Why WordPress May Not Be the Right Solution for Your Chapter.