Your WordPress website is not doing what you want it to do. You may or may not have a clue about what’s wrong, but what you do know is it’s over your head.
You need help. Preferably from an experienced WordPress expert you can trust. Ideally, without waiting too long. And, hopefully, without it breaking your budget.
Here’s the secret to finding help that fits: Don’t wait until your site breaks to go looking for it (don’t worry – this post is slap full of suggestions and resources).
WordPress is free (but it still costs time and money)
Did you know that WordPress – the software that powers more than a third of the entire internet – is developed and provided free of charge, and supported mostly by volunteers?
Even if you did know that volunteers are a huge part of the WordPress ecosystem, you might not realize until you have trouble with WordPress that its free “pricetag” factors in big time.
If you don’t know where to get support before you’re desperate, you’ll probably pay more and possibly get less.
That’s not cool.
Instead, read on. We’ll show you where to go for support that fits your budget and timeline. Then, the next time your WordPress site glitches (and it will), you’ll save of hours of frustration.
And, maybe even a few bucks.
How do you like your WordPress help? Good, fast or cheap?
Maybe you’ve seen this diagram before:
It was someone’s funny way of reminding us that pretty much every project you’d want to do has limitations. Including getting help for your WordPress website or blog.
Want it fast? You can have it, but you’ll have to decide whether you want fast help that’s cheap, or fast help that’s actually good.
Earlier we said WordPress was free, and supported mostly by volunteers. That sounds 100% awesome until you think a little further on it and realize…
- A $0 price tag = $0 to fund a support team to answer your questions. Dayummmm.
- Even the most dedicated volunteer team couldn’t keep up with a user base as large as WordPress’s (~20 million websites).
- When it comes to info you can rely on, volunteers are all over the map. When you’re tech challenged the advice all sounds the same and it can be hard to tell the good from the bad.
When you do get help, you may get it for free, you might get it quickly and it could even solve your problem. But don’t expect all three (here’s why).
Where to get GOOD help with WordPress
There are three main ways to get WordPress advice you can rely on:
- Learn how to use WordPress so you can help yourself (or avoid problems altogether).
- Sign on with a WordPress support service.
- Search the official documentation at WordPress.org.
Let’s dive into a few pros and cons of each.
Help yourself by learning WordPress
The more you learn about WordPress, the easier it is to do what you want to do without running into (or causing) problems.
What’s better than a problem solved? A problem that never happened in the first place.
Pros: Short, targeted videos so you can watch/learn what you need, when you need it. Made by experienced WordPress pros that aren’t trying to sell you something else. Plain English – no technical crap. Professionally produced. No ads. Super affordable (their All-Access Pass is just $39 for access to every video they make). Regularly updated – no videos with outdated WordPress or plugins.
Cons: Doesn’t cover your specific theme. Tutorials cover only a few of the most popular plugins.
Set up support in advance
There are a number of services out there that offer a monthly allotment of support tasks. They don’t usually cover more complicated issues, but you’d be surprised how often something perplexing to you is simple for an experienced WordPress pro.
Two services to check out are GoWP and Ultimate WP Help. We have not used their services (because we can do everything they do), but have spoken at length with their owners and feel good about suggesting them as resources.
Pros: Should cover many common WordPress issues. You’ll have someone ready to go when problems arise.
Cons: Some task services outsource/offshore so you’re not sure who’s actually working on your site. They may not be able to help you with serious issues. While you should get a quick response, support services aren’t usually 24/7/365 operations.
You’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about WordPress at WordPress.org. The people who make WordPress maintain the site; the info there is straight from the source.
Pros: Free. Reliable information. Well organized. All. the. info. Good place to get detailed technical information about WordPress.
Cons: WordPress.org is an enormous site with a ton of information. Despite its organization, the depth and breadth of content can be overwhelming when you just need to find one thing. It can seem over-the-top nerdy if you feel like you’re tech challenged or just a WordPress newb.
If you already have a problem and are having trouble pinpointing the root cause of your issue, WordPress.org is not the best place to start.
How to find help FAST for big WordPress problems
As you might expect, if you want speed you’re probably going to have to open your wallet. But if you’ve already paid that might work, too.
In our experience, live chat (when it’s offered) tends to be the quickest, most efficient way to get a problem resolved. Plus, you can usually get a transcript so you’ll have a record of the conversation.
- Hit up your already-vetted support service.
- Find a tech-support tasks service.
- Get help from vendors.
- Hacked? Go for the big guns.
Go with who you know
In the “GOOD Help” section, we mentioned WordPress technical support services and memberships. If you’ve been with the right one and they know your site, they may be able to help you fast and without charging you an arm and a leg.
We don’t have a tech support membership per se, but we help our Site Care customers with WordPress issues all the time.
We can charge them less than someone we don’t know because we already have secure logins for their sites, know the sites well, and know they’re well maintained (because we do it).
Our customers already know and trust us because we have a track record together. So even though this kind of support is something you have to set up in advance, when you need help it should be simpler and quicker than hiring someone you don’t know.
Pros: Your membership might entitle you to help that will solve your problem. If not, it might provide discounts on help (we give our customers a discount on tech support). Plus, if you’ve got Site Care or something like it, you’re less likely to have problems in the first place.
Cons: Support service is more like insurance and doesn’t usually cover the cost of fixing problems. If your support/care package includes tasks, sometimes what you need is too complex for the service to handle with one of the limited (usually 30 minutes) tasks they offer.
Hire a WordPress “tasks” service
Hopefully you’re considering this before it’s a dire emergency, but a service set up to handle one-off tasks might be able to help you with simpler problems for not a lot of money.
There’s a whole list of WordPress support tasks we handle with our Quick Tasks service. Anything on the list is $69. We’ve seen similar services with both lower and higher pricing.
Pros: Affordable. If your issue is what the service considers a quick task, it should be completed quickly and with little hassle.
Cons: If you haven’t used the service before you have a critical issue, you’re taking your chances letting them into your site. Some services offshore help and use employees whose language skills might cause problems in your site.
Get support you’ve already paid for
If the problem is with a paid product or service rather than WordPress itself, open a support ticket, get on live chat, or send an e-mail.
Hosting providers, domain name registrars and premium theme or plugin developers usually work hard to help resolve issues with their products and services.
Note: If support is a struggle, consider switching providers before you run into another problem.
Pros: Affordable (the price of tech support is baked into the product you bought). Going straight to the provider should mean you’re dealing with the people who know the product/service best.
Cons: When you buy a premium product, part of your purchase price should cover support. But tech support is often overextended and you’ll have to wait.
Even if you’re entitled to support for something that causes a problem, you have to be able to diagnose the problem in the first place to figure that out.
Hacked? Don’t mess around
While there are certainly trustworthy, capable individuals who offer cleanup services, this is an area where allowing the wrong person to work on your site can worsen the problem by magnitudes.
I once cleaned up a mess of a site for a CPA who, when he realized he had a problem with his PC, shopped around for the cheapest fix-it service he could find. The guy hired a service based in India. Next thing he knew, his PC and his website were completely trashed.
We use and recommend the Wordfence plugin as a first line of defense against hackers and crackers (if you don’t have it, get it – even the free version is pretty good). While we haven’t personally used the Wordfence cleanup service, we feel good about suggesting it if you think your site might be compromised.
Get details here: https://www.wordfence.com/wordfence-site-cleanings/
Pros: The Wordfence team are trustworthy experts with a long track record in WordPress site security. The cost is reasonable for the service provided.
Cons: You need to know enough to recognize when you’ve been hacked. I haven’t personally used the cleanup service, so it’s a bit of an unknown. The price increases when they get busy.
WordPress help when “FREE-99” is your budget
The biggest downside of free help is that it’s not the best for dealing with urgent or complicated problems.
Often, you won’t know the actual cause of the problem you’re experiencing. That makes it hard to know what questions to ask, and where to ask them. When someone does try to help, you’ll have to work through suggested fixes and troubleshooting yourself.
Know that there are better and worse ways to ask for help. The video below offers tips to increase the odds of getting the help that solves your problem (it’s short – just over a minute long).
- Search the forums at WordPress.org.
- See specific plugin or theme forums at WordPress.org.
- Check out the WP Beginner website.
A solution may be waiting for you at WordPress.org
Search the “Fixing WordPress Forum” at WordPress.org for help with your issue. It’s possible someone else had a similar problem and others have already responded. If not, it’s free to sign up and post about your issue.
Pros: Free. Usually good advice if you can be very clear about your problem (starting with the subject, a.k.a., Topic Title).
Cons: Whether you have tech knowledge or not, you’ll need to clearly explain your problem, make sense of any replies and try whatever steps are suggested.
There are hundreds of pages of unresolved forum threads. Be prepared to wait, and be extra gracious to anyone who tries to help you.
Remember – they’re volunteers helping you for free, likely on top of a job, family or other commitments.
Check WordPress.org pages for your theme or plugin
Using a free theme or plugin? Odds are there’s a forum for it at WordPress.org.
As with getting help for fixes to WordPress itself, you’ll need to sign up to post about your issue. The same advice about clarity and gratitude applies, as do the pros and cons.
WP Beginner isn’t just for beginners
We hesitated on this one, but since the pros outweigh the cons we’re sharing it with some caveats.
WP Beginner has a deep archive of frequently-updated posts about seemingly every WordPress problem you could have. Most of the advice is solid. This post about fixing common WordPress errors, for example.
However, make no mistake: The site is heavily monetized. Advice is likely driven by which products and services WP Beginner has affiliate relationships with.
These affiliate products and services aren’t necessarily your best choices and in some cases are downright bad options.
Pros: Free. Oftentimes very detailed, step-by-step advice you won’t find anywhere else.
Cons: Advice steers WordPress beginners toward products and services we don’t recommend for anyone. Some of the advice is very technical and well above the average WordPress user’s head. Some posts stray into developer territory and can leave a beginner in technical hot water if anything goes wrong.
Getting help doesn’t have to be such a pain
It’s true that, if you’re desperate to solve a WordPress problem, you have to either learn to help yourself, pay for help or take your chances with advice you find on the internet.
The obvious solution here is…avoid being desperate 🙂
We hope we’ve helped you avoid desperation with ideas for WordPress support resources you can trust. If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.