Finding Support on the Web

June 3, 2010

Developing and maintaining your presence on the Web takes focus. There is always something to do. There's nothing worse than trying to get something done, yet getting thwarted because you can't get help.

There are advantages to sticking with brand names. In the Web world, there are reasons I stick with the likes of Google, Wordpress, and GoDaddy.

Developing and maintaining your presence on the Web takes focus. There is always something to do. There's nothing worse than trying to get something done, yet getting thwarted because you can't get help. Google, Wordpress, and GoDaddy offer different types of support, but all are available 24/7.

Google Knowledge Base - I use a ton (OK maybe seven or eight) Google products, Gmail and Documents being my favorite. I use them everyday.

Occasionally, I'll need help trying to figure something out. These are very powerful tools and I can't know, or remember, everything. For instance, the other day, I had to create and insert a table in a article, but I couldn't figure out one aspect.

Google does not have a help line. Instead, there is a huge Web-based knowledge base. You simply type in your question and the top five to 10 answers, created by Google, pop up.

I have always been able to find my answer to date. It sometimes takes a few rephrases of my question, but the answer is there.

Wordpress - Wordpress also does not have a help line per se. Instead, there is a forum for Wordpress users. One advantage of Wordpress' ubiquity is there are a lot of users and, most importantly, users willing to share their expertise.

You can either look for your answer within the Wordpress forum (free, of course) or type your query in Google. Wordpress' open-source structure has created a subculture of developers that essentially create mini-programs, called "plug-ins," that add functionality to the core Wordpress software. All of the plug-ins have support provided by the developer. (For many, the plug-ins serve as a way to garner traffic to the developers' sites. Most are free.)

Many times, you can also find an answer on YouTube. I find it especially helpful when someone has recorded actual screenshots demonstrating the answer to your particular problem.

GoDaddy and USAA - GoDaddy has unparalleled customer service and support. The only other company in my 49-year history as a consumer that rivals the support of GoDaddy is USAA. The support is available 24/7, is handled within the U.S. and has never failed me. Their technicians are knowledgeable and many are techies themselves.

So what does this mean? Working on and maintaining a Web presence takes time and effort. The last thing you need is to get stymied and have no help available. Choose your products wisely. Expect to have problems and questions. Expect it to be in the middle of the night or on a weekend. You should expect to find an answer ... easily.