At Tadpole, we use WordPress for every site we build, and that’s because it’s an amazingly flexible and extendable platform that can do almost anything. That being said, it can have a huge learning curve for those who aren’t used to using a Content Management System. So, how do you find help with WordPress when you get stuck?
That’s where the WordPress community comes in. There are two main (and free) ways to learn about WordPress. The first is the WordPress Codex, which is the official documentation, and the second is the WordPress Support Forum, where you can go to ask for help.
Here are five tips for actually getting answers to your questions:
- Search first! If you’re having a problem with WordPress, or just can’t figure out how to do something, chances are someone else has already asked the question. So why reinvent the wheel? Make sure you search with specific terms related to your problem. (Pro tip: use site:wordpress.org in a Google query to search for answers only from the WordPress Codex and Support Forums.)
- Post in the right place. Having an issue while installing WordPress? Make sure to post in the Installation forum. Also, don’t reply to an existing topic unless you’re having 100% the exact same issue. It’s always best to create a new post so as not to create confusion with similar, but different, issues.
- Choose a descriptive topic title. “My site doesn’t work,” isn’t likely to garner a lot of help from the community. Try something like “White screen when XYZ plugin is activated.” An accurate topic title will be more likely to attract the attention of someone who actually knows the answer to your question.
- Include as much information as possible. This generally means a good description of what the problem is and the steps to reproduce it. You should also include any error message that you receive, as well as as the WordPress version, installed plugins/themes, and any other server environment data that could be applicable.
- Include a URL. If at all possible, include a url for the page where the problem is occurring. This is invaluable to the person who is trying to help fix the problem (it also lets them confirm that the issue is indeed fixed).
Okay, there’s really a couple more things you should do when getting help in the WordPress forums:
- Be patient! The people that answer questions in the forum are all volunteers taking time out from their busy schedules to help you, so please don’t be impatient (or even worse, rude) if/when your question doesn’t get answered right away. It’s also considered impolite to “bump” your post (and actually hurt you, as many people who go to the forums to help search for posts with no replies when looking for posts to help with).
- Be responsive! Be ready to give more information if it’s requested, and don’t forget to let the person who helps you know that they helped fix the problem (and thank them for it). Not only does it make the helper feel good, it tells someone who finds your thread by searching (remember point number one?) that the solution presented actually works.
For more information on how to get help on the forums, check out the Support Forum Welcome page. If you need more timely or individualized help, don’t forget to check out Tadpole’s Help Desk service and Workshops.