Guest Post by WordCamp Albuquerque Speaker Sean Wells
Patience is a virtue. And, unfortunately it’s a virtue that I wasn’t given. Although I consider myself a technical tinkerer, I’d much rather spend my time on developing the content of my sites than the mechanics. As a result, I have put some time into finding online services (Cloud Applications) that provide me with easy to use, easy to track, easy to understand applications to enhance my sites.
“Cloud Applications” are programs that exist on the web. You do not download them to your computer. This is handy because it means you don’t need to be at your computer to use them. You can have other people login from anywhere and access the files and data, just like WordPress itself. Many of these services are free or cost very little with great discounts for non-profits.
I don’t hate plug-ins and widgets. There are many amazing plug-ins that are free and great. But, in addition to the convenience, I find the outside services sometimes offer additional benefits like:
- advanced features like statistical tracking
- easy-to-use graphical interface (ie, it’s pleasant and intuitive to use it) ideal for clients
- great technical support
- reliability–most of these companies are well-established and will be around in the future
- free or cheap with good discounts for non-profits
- accounts that are isolated from your WordPress site
These benefits can be particularly helpful when I am designing a website for an organization that may have different people needing to gather different information from different areas of the site. I can create unique access to relevant people and give them access and training to only the part they need, without my having to intervene in the future. For instance, by setting up a membership page with a cloud service, the membership specialist can log in anytime and export a complete list of new sign-ups without having to contact me or gather information from a trickle of notifying emails.