Why we write user guides
In 1999, I bought a manual transmission car without ever driving one before. It was small, black, shiny, had a spoiler and I was sure I looked great in it. The salesperson showed me how to drive it in the dealership parking lot and somehow I made it home. The next day I drove it from Des Moines, IA to Chicago, IL.
It was exciting to buy something expensive, shiny and pretty. It was frustrating to learn how to drive the thing. See where I’m going here? Remember that LimeRed builds websites
You should be able to drive and maintain your site. Unless you’re a massive corporation with a massive budget who can afford hours upon hours of web maintenance, you should be able to add content and do general things yourself. Fire your web designer if they hold your content or your site hostage. And then call me. 312-238-9070
When we build a site, we’re either using Drupal or ExpressionEngine. One is free, one is not. They’re pretty much the same thing, with a few different out-of-the-box features. More on EE and Drupal later, my friends. The point is: they are both Content Management Systems (CMS) and they do what the sound like they do: they help you manage your content.
And with every site we build, we write a user guide that covers the genernal maintenance and content management tasks you’re going to want to do in the near and distant future. Tasks like:
- Changing and adding copy
- Updating images and videos
- Adding blog posts
- Adding and removing products
- Updating your store locations
- Adding news items or featured events
- Adding downloadable items, like PDFs
- Managing your newsletter subscriptions
- Managing your user comments and reviews
- Add and update your keywords and page descriptions for SEO
Now, this user guide isn’t going to make you a webmaster. When you have structural changes to make, large features to add, major functions to build, then you call us. But when you need to change a headline, or add a new staff member’s bio, you should be able to do that without knowing code, without even knowing how to design.
Why would you ever pay thousands of dollars on a business asset like a website without learning how to use it? Back to the car analogy: Would you spend tens of thousands of dollars on a car and have no idea how to drive it? You wouldn’t. (Unless you were me, at 21, with a penchant for sporty cars.) Would you pay someone every time you had to open the door, adjust a mirror, change the radio station, or check the wiper fluid? No. You’d do it yourself.