Shorten the time from sap to syrup.

In Learning by Gregg Banse

Outside the sun is shining. The temperatures here in Vermont are rising from their early morning chill to something more reasonable – for Vermont that is. Vermont sugar makers are chomping at the bit. They’re waiting for those temperatures to rise above freezing, or more specifically, for the nights temps to drop below freezing and then swing to above during the days. This is what makes the sap in the maple trees run up and down and fills the sap buckets.

To make maple syrup it takes about 30 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. 30 to 1. I’ve spent time in sugar shacks during the maple season and I can tell you for a fact that even with fancy technology like reverse osmosis, sugaring is hard work. As long as the sap is flowing, they’re in the shack boiling. A lot of work for a little gain but if you’ve tasted pure maple syrup, you’ll know it’s worth it.

Turning a WordPress website into a reliable tool that runs and rests when you want it to, that shares your vision, your products, or your message with your community and customers isn’t necessarily easy. Much like making maple syrup, it can be a lot of work and frustrating to learn what you need to know and then how to apply it. Oh and then there’s the strategy of how to use it and deciding what’s worth your time to focus on! There are a lot of learning curves but don’t let them daunt you. Take them one at a time.

The Tool itself- WordPress

WordPress is a tool and it’s pretty intuitive but even then, there are some functions that could use a bit of help. Fortunately, the documentation for WordPress is pretty darn good too. If you want to learn something and can’t find it – ask. Register for an account and go to the Support forums and ask. Chances are good you’ll get an answer within a few hours for something simple – just be sure to post in the right forum depending on what your question is.

The Add-On Tools

While WordPress out of the box is pretty darn good, customizing it to do exactly what you want is half the fun! There are literally thousands of options here – you can add a newsletter signup, use different analytics tools that hook into your Google Analytics, add Project Management functionality, and even make your website mobile friendly. There is no end to what we can do with WordPress.

Knife Skills

knife-skillsBare with me a moment while I build an analogy. In the world of cooking there are certain skills you have to master before you can produce fabulous food your friends and family will rave about. You learn the basics first: knife skills, stove top & oven cooking, ingredient pairing, menu planning, wine pairing, presentation, and hosting. To do a dinner that get’s rave reviews takes a lot more than dumping a box of pasta into hot water and opening a jar of sauce right? Leveraging your website is no different.

How many times have you sat in front of your computer trying to figure out how to do something like add a newsletter signup to the sidebar? That’s actually pretty easy to do – if you know how. What about how to use those newsletters to make more money? That’s not so clear cut. Adding a newsletter is a part of the basic skill set that involves adding widgets. Learning how to add widgets is like learning how to sharpen and use a knife. It’s relatively easy to do and it’s something you’ll use over and over again. It’s one of several basic skills involved in becoming a WordPress power-user, master, ninja, ____ (fill in the blank).