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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict XiledWeb's Avatar
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    Client would like to make changes themselves

    To cut a long story real short:

    I designed a website for a client that was just going to be "simple with a few pages", so I set it all up on a server and they were ready to go (looking back I majorly undersold myself). Well, the clients are always making changes, and are wanting the changes done yesterday.

    Some of these changes are really simple, like textual wording, and some are more technical, like producing a new page, etc etc. It isn't a huge site, but time consuming, any web work I do is on top of my 40 hours per week (which they knew about).

    A few weeks ago they ask me for the link so they can make changes (none of this was mentioned to begin with), so I sent them the the admin login to the site. Seeing that they couldn't make the changes they want, they went ahead and purchased a new server with yahoo small business.

    So, they now ask me to move over all the files etc and teach them how to 'use yahoo'. I set up the site on the new server, set up their e-store and they're now up and running again.

    After all that, is there a CMS I can use for clients so they can go in and make simple textual changes to the site? I don't think they understand that I charge by the hour, not by what I do so they probably begrudge paying me the hourly rate just for changing text.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    I hope you're charging them for all the extra stuff you've been doing for them.

    Do you know PHP? It's pretty easy to put together a simple CMS in PHP. I learned from this sitepoint book, it's pretty easy to get started with
    http://www.sitepoint.com/books/phpmy...664789a0cd305c

    Make sure you charge them if you set one up for them!!! And it sounds like you might not be using contracts... if that's the case you should start so you don't get burned.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict XiledWeb's Avatar
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    I've been charging them, just not what I should have. Let's just say they're friends of someone I know..something I've learned a lot from. I didn't set out a contract because I didn't anticipate the procedure lasting this long..as I said..I've learned a lot working with this client.

    Using a PHP content system was something I contemplated, but the interface would have to be something really simple. I was thinking more along the lines of some kind of software?

    Quote Originally Posted by busy
    I hope you're charging them for all the extra stuff you've been doing for them.

    Do you know PHP? It's pretty easy to put together a simple CMS in PHP. I learned from this sitepoint book, it's pretty easy to get started with
    http://www.sitepoint.com/books/phpmy...664789a0cd305c

    Make sure you charge them if you set one up for them!!! And it sounds like you might not be using contracts... if that's the case you should start so you don't get burned.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    Seriously - I make some good cash off of my a-la-carte services. I charge for FTP, Bandwidth, Storage Fee's if I have to keep things on my hard drive. I'm not anal by any means but shoot if someone goes to get their car fixed they are charged a parking fee. My ISP charges me bandwidth so why not have the client pay for it.
    </rant>

    Anyways - you can setup a site with mambo, php-nuke or a number of other great CMS systems that will easily allow them to change things. you could also just set them up with a dyname text file whereas they can just change this *.txt and it will automatically be imported into an html file or whatever...But seriously - I'd just take 3 or 4 months and learn PHP.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict XiledWeb's Avatar
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    I know PHP, I meant simple so that the end user, i.e the client, could easily add and change text without having to learn or do too much.

    And as of tonight, I'm taking time out as a freelance web designer to learn new skills, I think it's a necessary thing to do just to keep up with the way the web is going.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    If you know PHP - then make them a simple form that will change whatever they need to be able to change.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist bronze trophy Derek Sheppard's Avatar
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    This is a common problem, and if you have the skill, time and inclination you can certainly put something together yourself. I have none of those, so I use a variety of off-the-shelf software that makes my life easier.

    I don't build plain HTML sites any longer. Even (especially) when customers want 'simple' sites that 'we can update occasionally'. Guess what? 90% of the time, I do the updates. I prefer a CMS or online editing script to do them, so I build it in as a benefit, charge more for the feature and use it myself.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution so I use a set of scripts for various needs. There may be better things available, but I don't have the free time to try and learn all that's out there and these have the right combination of ease flexibility and technology I need. Cost is a factor, but I don't mind paying for good products - this is a profession, not a hobby. Here's what I use:

    Macromedia Contribute - for html legacy sites. If someone has an older site and gets the bug to do it themselves, this is what I get them. Better than trying to teach FrontPage.

    Interspire Webedit
    - functionally similar to Contribute. This is for new sites that will not require fancy add-ons, but will need updating.

    There are a couple of free alternatives that may do. Try SnippetMaster or Edit-Point (http://covertheweb.com/edit-point/).

    Limbo - a light-weight CMS that emulates the Mambo admin interface and can use Mambo templates. It can use MySQL or text databases. Great for simple sites, especially if you feel the site may grow to require additional capabilities in the future, with Mambo / Joomla as the upgrade path. It's got a few quirks, but nothing that discounts it.

    Mambo/Joomla - a great CMS. Excellent for many reasons: very capable and flexible, many add-ons, active and continuing development, etc. Good for medium to large sites and corporate sites. A few drawbacks for special needs (rudimentary access control), but nothing I've run up against or not found an add-on to fix. I know this system well enough now that it would take a lot for me to move.

    This topic can spark almost religious flame wars as people try to promote thier favorite systems by ripping others, and I'm sure that opinions will vary regarding my choices. My criteria do not necessarily match theirs (or yours). I view these as simply tools to use to accomplish the job. I'm not interested in more elegant code or better use of bleeding-edge tech.

    That said, there are other systems that are interesting: Typo3 for large corporate sites, Wordpress or Textpattern for simple business sites, Drupal for mid-sized sites. If I were starting over again, I'd look at these more closely - but I have a business to run, and life is short.
    Last edited by Derek Sheppard; Dec 9, 2005 at 07:34.


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