Did something wrong and now your blog is all messed up?
Do not worry, you can easily get help.
However, when asking for help, you need to keep certain things in mind so that your problem is solved as quickly as possible.
As a troublemaker and troubleshooter, I have learned a lot about common blog and WordPress problems in last 2 years. So, I thought I should share what I have learned about getting help for WordPress problems.
So, here's step by step process for identifying the problem and getting help at right place:
Identify Your Last Action(s)
What was the last thing that you did before the problem happen? Was is a new theme or plugin? Whatever it is, note it down.
Most common causes of blog problems are:
- Installing new theme or plugin.
- Editing existing theme.
- Pasting an article formatted in Microsoft Word.
However, if you were sleeping and woke up to see a new problem, this might be tricky. In this case, move on to next step.
Note Down The Error Message
What error message is displayed on your blog. Two most common error types are:
- PHP Errors: You can identify these by looking for PHP messages like "wrong syntax in line xxx" and similar error messages. Usually, these are caused when editing a theme or after installing a plugin on your WordPress blog.
- Server Errors: Identify these by looking for codes like "Error 500: Internal Server Error" or "Server could not find the file specified". These are mostly caused by problems with your hosting company.
Decide Where To Ask
Now, you know the error type. Next is to decide who you should ask. Your options are:
- Forums: If the problem is not really complicated, you can easily find help in forums. However, forums are mostly hit or miss cases. You will find solution to problems 50% of times but many times, your question might not be answered at all!
- Freelancers: Freelancers are quick and since they are experts, they can solve the problems easily. However, they are also a bit expensive. Sometimes, you might end up paying a lot for a small problem. Our venture WordPress Blog Experts can be a good place to start looking for help.
- Friends: They are quick and most of them won't. Before going to a freelancer, they are good option for you. Just make sure to not bother them quite frequently.
Prepare The Question
Now that you know everything, your computer will fire a magic spell and all you know will be posted to relevant place automatically in a manner that people can easily understand.
No! Just kidding. That's never going to happen.
Now, you have the most important thing to do: Prepare The Question.
Why is it most important?
Because you might have done previous steps with 100% accuracy but if you do not describe the problem well, even the best coder for wont be able to help you at all.
So, let's start with preparing the question. Your question must have following details:
- The Problem: What exactly is the problem? Better if you take a screenshot and highlight it.
- The Action: What did you do that caused it? Write with all the details you remember.
- The Error Message: What error do you get?
Next step is to:
Clear Private Information
Take a look at the error message. Most PHP messages may include your hosting panel username as they go like "Error at line xx in document.php in /home/yourusername/wp-content...".
Now, exposing this info, especially the username of cPanel can be dangerous. So, better clear the personal data out.
Ask The Question
Now, go on and ask the question. Where? Well, depends upon the size of problem:
- My Whole Site Is Down: Ask on support forums. If no replies come within 15 minutes, ask a freelancer or friend or contact your host.
- Design Is Broken But Site Is Accessible: Ask on a forum. If there are no replies within 6-12 hours, ask a friend or try undoing your last actions that caused the problem.
- Minor Problems, A Widget Or Section Is Broken: Ask on a forum. If you do not get any replies within 1 day, ask a friend or on another forum. However, these problems are usually solved easily on a forum.
I hope these steps help you to solve the problems with WordPress quickly.
Have any other tips? Do not forget to share in comments. And do bookmark using Delicious or StumbleUpon, who knows when the need arises!