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  1. #1
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    Attainable/updatable sites -a downside?

    Most of my time is spent building web sites for people. We are making sites dynamic, and adding GUI-type administration areas, CMSs, objects and classes, frameworks, templates... a variety of methods to make administration of sites and content attainable by consumers.
    And sometimes I wonder if lowering this barrier is a mistake.
    Every week, I contact a business via their website to inquire about a product (because I live in a rural area and cant shop locally) and am either a)given no response at all, b)told the product is unavailable and logged off, or c)told to phone the store.
    As a consumer, I am annoyed. I take my business elsewhere. (And I'm talking about some major companies, with large, web-based businesses, too)
    So I wonder, when I make a site for someone, and I make it EASY for them, am I setting them up for this sort of BAD publicity...
    Perhaps the dynamic/CMS/do-it-yourself approach only makes it easier for less committed businesses to have web sites that they are not prepared to service.

    Certainly, it seems like absolute blasphemy to even suggest it. But I wonder. How do we get it through to clients that a website requires a commitment of time? Where do we send them if they want to learn about customer service online? Do we care that most clients never really do update their easy-to-update sites? Is it right to just take their money and let their out of date sites chase clients away?

  2. #2
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Yes, I feel the same way sometimes. The client somehow thinks that I will be able to produce profit for them with little or no help from them. Let me tell you, if I was that good at making profit, I would be doing it for myself, not them. I can be a partner is someone's success, but not the sole person responsible for the success of their website.

  3. #3
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    That's interesting, because I've found with all of the sites I've built for the owners to update themselves, so far, all of them have been regularly updating them, even 1 year later.

    Most of my clients are small businesses / sole traders though, so I guess they are pretty committed to making the full use of their website.

    Normally when I do a project handover I make sure to spend a lot of time training the client in how to use the system, even though it is pretty simple. Then I make them use it with me there, and I usually give them "homework" - get them to go back to their office and upload something they needed on there themselves.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by susie54 View Post
    That's interesting, because I've found with all of the sites I've built for the owners to update themselves, so far, all of them have been regularly updating them, even 1 year later.

    Most of my clients are small businesses / sole traders though, so I guess they are pretty committed to making the full use of their website.

    Normally when I do a project handover I make sure to spend a lot of time training the client in how to use the system, even though it is pretty simple. Then I make them use it with me there, and I usually give them "homework" - get them to go back to their office and upload something they needed on there themselves.
    i agree. This is what I really have in mind as a solution: impress upon your clients that updating their websites is an important task to boost their business.

    As a designer, I think it is quite a must to tell the client this. If they ignore the advice, then fine, you have done your job.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    I find most of my clients get on with doing their own updates wher they have access to do so. Most of them make a pretty good job but as always there are some who make a complet hash of things!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member muloe's Avatar
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    I thought I was the only one experiencing this problem but I am "glad" to see that it is indeed puzzling many other web developers. Regardless of the training package included in the projects, I still find that many clients do not update the websites. Worse still, I have had scenarios where somebody new joined the organisations and was placed in charge of the website. They knew a little bit about HTML and decided that it was better to switch back to a static website!

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    I understand where you're coming from, but I have to ask this question: Why do you care? It's not up to you to run the customer's business for them. You've given the customer a tool. You've given them a way to communicate with and serve their customer base. You have (I assume) trained them in how to use this tool. If they choose to ignore it or misuse it, it's really not your problem.

    I build low-end websites for my clients. They're almost all based on WordPress as the CMS, and I show the clients how to use the various features and tools. I make a point of telling them that they have full control of the functioning of the site. I'm available for advice and technical support. If they choose not to take advantage of what I've provided for them... {shrug}. That's their problem.
    M Blaze Miskulin
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    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  8. #8
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    As a project manager for a website development company I see this all the time and it has prompted me to action. I have started up a business where I offer my services to do the updating for them. I contract either at an hourly rate or a 12 month contract for a fixed amount for a certain amount of changes per month and take over the worry of updating the content and keeping it current for my clients.

    It means that their sites are current and the web developer can rest assured that the site remains looking good and is a good advertisement for both businesses!

    It also stops that issue of putting your name on a site and then having the client make really bad changes which reflect back on you.

  9. #9
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    Why do you care? It's not up to you to run the customer's business for them.
    I care because I truly believe that a site's performance reflects on me. The client won't know that their site has failed to boost productivity because their content is out of date or because they have failed to respond to online customer requests - they'll just know that they spent $x on a website, but are not seeing desired increase in sales and/or new customers.
    That's interesting, because I've found with all of the sites I've built for the owners to update themselves, so far, all of them have been regularly updating them, even 1 year later.
    I also spend a lot of time training, and most of my clients DO keep their sites up to date.
    My thoughts are prompted more by my recent experiences as a consumer.

    I have been operating under the assumption that we are doing a service by giving clients more control over their sites. But my recent experiences (out of date content, out of stock items in online stores, unanswered emails etc etc) have caused me to question that assumption.
    I'm looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts and experiences...


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