In recent conversations with small business owners about designing a website for them, many have stated that they don't want to spend a lot of time maintaining the site. I'm starting this thread in hopes of generating ideas on how to respond to this concern. I'd like to be able to return to all of these potential clients with a solution, and have it ready for any future discussions.

I should add that for the most part this has been a comment from retail business owners. Generally these small shops have only a few employees, and the owner oversees almost all aspects of the business. They are not looking to get in to e-commerce.

I'll get the ball rolling by listing some of my own ideas.

1. Ask "what do you mean by a lot of time?" or "what would you consider a reasonable amount of time?".
Quantify what a lot of time is. This will give you a common ground to base future decisions off of, and to draw comparisons to.

2. Figure out what would need to be updated, and how often.

The business owner may bring up the objection before you've discussed what will actually be on the site, making this option more difficult.

3. Explain what kind of maintenance services you offer.
The client might be willing to pay to have some of the tasks handled by you. It's important to realized that while some work can be unloaded on to you, the business owner will still likely have to spend some time to provide you with information, make decisions, etc.

4. Explain/demo a sample content management system.
Personally, I use Wordpress to back all of my sites. Having a short video that details the process of making a simple update could show the client how easy updating the site would be.