Disclaimer: I am one of the creators of this product
Recently a friend of mine who creates websites for small businesses came to me for some help. He wanted a way to be able to train his clients within WordPress itself. While he could add some existing plugins that load up pre made videos, or provide his clients with some PDF files or even point them to a site like this one, he wanted a more finer degree of control.
On his wishlist was:
- Bespoke training for his clients in particular
- Easy to add training with rich content like images and videos
- The ability to provide updated training
- And above all an easy to use system for the clients.
With this information in hand I set about creating him a quick plugin which blossomed into something much more: Easy Admin Training.
If I do say so myself, this plugin will rock your world if you provide website services to clients.
Built with WordPress
Making the most of the power of custom post types and admin menus, the plugin creates a top level menu in the dashboard area. Every time a new piece of training or content is added it is placed in a sub menu, allowing clients instant access in a manner they are already accustomed too: a WordPress menu.
As they are custom post types, the ability to add in pretty much whatever you need to teach your clients about how to use the site is available to you, be it adding diagrams and screenshot, embedding YouTube videos, etc.
The plugin gives you control over not only the content that is added but the order they appear in the sub menu as well. This is done either via a pre-set selection such as A to Z, and also by a drag and drop system for the perfect order.
Up to date training
This was a harder challenge to achieve, to make sure it was secure I couldn’t use outside URL’s. We settled on using RSS feeds. With this system you can create content on your own website or if you prefer a specially set up tutorial site, and use categories to split the content up in any way you like and then just use those category feeds. For example you could have a specific set of training for one theme and different training for another and using the RSS feeds, you can add a list of training articles specific to that site.
The RSS feed can also be added to the dashboard area as a widget as well, so you can filter in your latest news.
Write once, read (by) many
Obviously it would become a pain in the rear very quickly if you had to add your content manually for every client. As such I added a simple export and import system, that will export the content, masked links and settings and port them over.
There is even an image import so you don’t have to “hotlink” your images. As well as that any URL’s matching the old site (where it was exported from) get automagically changed into the new site’s URL. To facilitate inter linking of the different content pages I added a neat little tag that is used instead of an URL. This tag also keeps track of the current site’s URL.
Promote and sell your stuff!
An added bonus that was soon realised when I was making this was that as a marketer it is now possible to have not only an easy way to add in affiliate links, but you could even build a small store like page promoting your latest and greatest products or services within the clients admin area!
To make it easier I added a built in link cloaker to mask those ugly affiliate links companies always tend to give us.
White (label) is the new black
When dealing with clients you generally don’t want another companies logo in their face: it looks bad on you (after all in the eyes of some clients you of course wrote all the code from scratch…) and also takes away some of your own brand presence. As such I made the branding for Easy Admin Training very subtle and also made it so it can be removed completely.
The main menu title can also be customised should the default title “Training” not be sufficient.
Now you see it, now you don’t
The final piece of the puzzle was to stop clients from accessing the inner workings of the plugin and messing about with everything. The plugin has a password protection system that once activated will hide all the admin parts of the plugin but leave the training visible.
Stuff but not nonsense
As well as all of this I packed in some extra useful stuff in the shape of info boxes (or call outs if you prefer) and button shortcodes that can be added into your content. Also there is a contact form shortcode, to allow your clients to get in touch with you (if you want them to!) via email.