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  1. #1
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    Using WordPress for Clients

    Hello,
    Does anyone know the limitations of using Wordpress to develop sites for clients?

    -The themes are custom and my own.
    -I use a variety of 3rd party plugins

    How do I explain to the client the use of wordpress?

    What disclaimers and legal info must I use to explain this to a client?

    Please feel free to post any other content you feel would be helpful...

    Thank You all, I appreciate your help

    Rob

  2. #2
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Some of my main arguments to convince my clients to use open-source software (mainly Wordpress and Drupal):

    - it is community built, advantage of having many contributors, specialists in their fields
    - if something was to happen to me (I'm on my own!), than there are other people readily available who could overtake the project without much hassle.
    - it's flexibility, many modules/plug-ins readily available if they decide to extend their website with new features.
    - it's been tested no many other websites and has proven to work (knowledge of some good examples can help here)
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I use it a lot for CMSs and blogs. Generally the advantages massively outweight the disadvantages.

    One thing I do point out though is that WordPress is continually updating and it may reach a point where upgrading to the latest release is a security necessity in which case there'd be added cost.

    I try to limit myself to plugins that are very well-used as these are more likely to be updated regularly themselves. Last thing you want is some key functionality falling down further down the line after upgrading WP because a certain plugin no longer works and hasn't been updated.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your input guys...Great Stuff.

    What are your concerns as far as legal issues...I mean considering WP is open source, you can't really sell a wordpress site, can you? Or does the term of the sale have to note something to the effect that they are buying the design and setup but not the platform itself.

    I do use a few plugins that remove WP notices from the admin panel and make it more user friendly for clients. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks again for your help!

  5. #5
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    You sell a service, not the product. You can sell the service of installing, customising, training, etc.

    With regards to removing the wordpress notices, you'll have to check the license that comes with wordpress for a definite answer
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Market101 View Post
    Hello,
    Does anyone know the limitations of using Wordpress to develop sites for clients?

    -The themes are custom and my own.
    -I use a variety of 3rd party plugins
    I try to use as few plugins as possible when developing for clients. The ones I do use I check to make sure they are using the api properly and do not have any direct queries to the database written in as those can break with newer versions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Market101 View Post
    How do I explain to the client the use of wordpress?
    This can be tricky. I'm always on the lookout for a good tutorial. Some of the confusions can be avoided by setting them up with a simple author account (not an admin) and using a plugin like Clutter Free to dumb down some of the menus. Then you can have the simple 'how to write or edit a page' talk to get them started. If it is a one-off job you would definitely give them the administrator login as well and go over some of those details or tell them to be careful with it and read the codex before making any changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Market101 View Post
    What disclaimers and legal info must I use to explain this to a client?
    The only legal thing I get concerned about is keeping WordPress up to date. I've thought about offering a service to keep things updated, but it seems like a huge liability to take on.
    If you are concerned about licensing issues, WordPress is under the GPL so you might want to read that over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Market101 View Post
    Please feel free to post any other content you feel would be helpful...
    I have every client use the WordPress Database Backup plugin (which breaks my rule about plugins) and set it up to email a backup weekly or daily depending on the client. This way you can always roll back if the site is compromised.

  7. #7
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    Don't take my word for it, but as long as you aren't charging for anything that you don't create, you should be fine. So you can charge for installations of the main CMS as well as plugins, but not for the actual CMS.

    But using Wordpress for clients is great because it isn't only a blog system you can have multiple pages and sub-pages and it is very easy to use.

    As far as explaining it to a client, sit down with them and show them how to do the basics (make posts, pages, categories, links, calendar items, plugins, themes, etc.) and when you are done ask if they have any questions and if they don't your job is DONE as far as teaching them goes. Make sure you have that in your contract or else they can legally keep getting support from you forever.

    After you finish explaining it and they agree that they know how to use it and they contact you with questions, you need to have a rate as to how to deal with it, an hourly rate is best instead of a flat rate.

    Hope that helps!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    I've been using WP on client sites for a while now, and I'm starting to get the hang of explaining how to use it.

    1. There are 2 tabs you need to know: Write and Manage. Ignore all the rest.
    2. This is what a Post is. This is what a Page is. This is how I suggest you use them on your site.
    3. This is how to upload a picture. This is how to put it in the post/page.
    4. If you have any questions, give me a call.


    The phrase I keep finding myself saying is "If you can type a letter in Word, you can update your website."

    I've been giving the clients administrative access, but I may be trying out the CMS plugin that was mentioned recently here. I also keep an administrative account on each client's installation so I can go in and fix things if/when they break them.
    M Blaze Miskulin
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist Fergal's Avatar
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    As a client I'd happily pay a developer to set up a site using an open source script or a purchased script, such as VB.

    Personally I think developers often do a disservice to their clients by charging them to develop a customised script, when there is a script already available that can do the job as well, or even better.
    Fergal Crawley (Previous Username: Proudirish.com)
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    The phrase I keep finding myself saying is "If you can type a letter in Word, you can update your website."
    The "Paste From Word" feature in the visual editor makes it even easier.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronjj View Post
    The "Paste From Word" feature in the visual editor makes it even easier.
    Which I find to be a fairly pointless feature for the average user. Why open up and use an entirely different application, when you still have to open WP anyway?

    Open WP, type your entry, click "publish". Done. Importing from Word adds several steps to the process and introduces the likelihood of errors in the importation/translation process.

    Personally, I try to keep Microsoft as far away from my web applications as I can.
    M Blaze Miskulin
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  12. #12
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    Can anyone tell me is there a manual that shows you how to use Wordpress?
    If I can make money online, then anyone can!

    My review of the system I use to make $$$ per month online!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    Which I find to be a fairly pointless feature for the average user.
    It's a good half way point for many non-tech-savvy users. It's there for a reason and it performs the task well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    Personally, I try to keep Microsoft as far away from my web applications as I can.
    Personally, I try to find what works best for each client.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronjj View Post
    It's a good half way point for many non-tech-savvy users. It's there for a reason and it performs the task well.
    "The task" is typing words onto a screen. It's far simpler to type them directly into WP—knowing that what's on the screen is going to be what's on the webpage—than to type it into Word then import it into WP and hoping that nothing gets botched up in the translation.

    A person need not be "tech savvy" in order to type an entry in WP. That's why it's so wonderful. Why add several steps to the process?
    M Blaze Miskulin
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    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazeMiskulin View Post
    "The task" is typing words onto a screen. It's far simpler to type them directly into WP—knowing that what's on the screen is going to be what's on the webpage—than to type it into Word then import it into WP and hoping that nothing gets botched up in the translation.

    A person need not be "tech savvy" in order to type an entry in WP. That's why it's so wonderful. Why add several steps to the process?
    I'm not saying using Word is simpler. I'm saying the familiarity with that program gives certain clients a little more confidence or piece of mind to edit their webpage with WordPress. Some just for the psychological benefit, others because they like to write something, save it on their computer, edit it the next day, then decide if they want to post it, others just like the idea of having everything they do saved on their computer in a format they are familiar with.

    Why do you think the WordPress devs would include the paste from Word functionality? They filter out lots of other tinyMCE buttons.

  16. #16
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    I actually agree with aaronjj. I have worked with clients who are more comfortable using Word, so be it, it's more convenient for them to write their content that way - not to speak of the spell and grammer checker, thesaurus etc that comes with word.

    With some of them I even gave up to tell them to use the paste from word (I told them more than 3 times, implemented a system message and wrote great documentation on how to write for the web, but they just don't listen).

    They mess up their own website, and that's their problem.
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  17. #17
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    I'm a Word user and I wholeheartedly concur with the opinions of C2UK
    If I can make money online, then anyone can!

    My review of the system I use to make $$$ per month online!

  18. #18
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    Thanks artkavanagh for expressing your agreement.
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  19. #19
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    I just started using WP for a redesign of an existing site and have to say it's been wonderful. Most of the site is static pages but it does include a blog, and I think for clients it's a great solution when they want to maintain things themselves.

    In regards to...

    Quote Originally Posted by artkavanagh1940 View Post
    Can anyone tell me is there a manual that shows you how to use Wordpress?
    http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page should tell you most of what you need to know.

    Steve

  20. #20
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    Just thought I'd correct a big misunderstanding going on here.

    It's perfectly legal to sell GPL software, even if you never wrote a single line of code in it. Whether it's ethical or not is another question all together, of course.

    Right from the horse's mouth: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

    Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible — just enough to cover the cost.

    Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

    ...

    Except for one special situation, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It's up to you, and the marketplace, so don't complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.
    As for removing WordPress logos and notices, that's also perfectly legal. There's no attribution requirement in the GPL, just the requirement that GPL licensed code stay GPL licensed and have the license and code included in distributions.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Steve - I'm looking at that right now
    If I can make money online, then anyone can!

    My review of the system I use to make $$$ per month online!

  22. #22
    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    I've just switched over too, from previously using a proprietary CMS that I could sell without any legal or moral issues.

    Just to reiterate some points already mentioned:
    1. You're not selling Wordpress (even though it seems you can) - you're selling your time and expertise in installing and configuring the Wordpress platform. Your skills preparing a custom design. Creating the theme. Arranging/editing copy and photos. Training. Etc etc etc. (If they dispute this you probably don't want them as a client anyway)
    2. It's a good option for the client as it's not just 1 person maintaining it - it's a huge community worldwide. This is also good if you part ways for whatever reason - they'll be able to find someone else who's familiar with it.

  23. #23
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    How do you answer clients who ask why they should pay you to setup a blog, instead of just using one of the free hosted ones out there?

  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardweb View Post
    How do you answer clients who ask why they should pay you to setup a blog, instead of just using one of the free hosted ones out there?
    Flexibility; the customization, having everything run off from your own domain, not mention the countless plug-ins he can have installed that a free hosted blog would not offer. It is pretty easy argument to make.
    ------------------

  25. #25
    The knight who said ni! RockyShark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wardweb View Post
    How do you answer clients who ask why they should pay you to setup a blog, instead of just using one of the free hosted ones out there?
    Also - if they're asking that, then you haven't properly explained the value that *you* bring to the table. Experience, expertise... If someone seriously asks you that after you have demonstrated your knowledge/value then I'd be careful taking them on as a client. Red flag time.


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