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Content Management Systems and freelance web design

Discussion in 'Website Coding & Programming Forum:' started by SeedySteve, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. SeedySteve

    SeedySteve Member

    Do you think you need to compromise your coding skills by using content management systems like Wordpress?
    ...and if you don't use them, what's the best way to hand off a built website to a client? Would you show them how to update content using code, or would you charge them to keep up site maintenance?
     
  2. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Knowing how to build websites via a CMS is an additional skill, whether or not you choose to compromise your code in the process is up to the developer! Fact is that customers don't want to pay someone to make small changes to their website that they can do themselves. If it's a client with a large business and a busy website then you've got more of a chance that they will outsource their website maintenance, but even then it's probably easier to use a CMS anyway.
    If you're doing a lot of static websites then unless your customer/client is very tech savvy, don't even give them the option to do it themselves, because unless you're willing to work for free to fix their mistakes, it will definitely end up costing them more. Sign them up to a website hosting and maintenance package and state in the contract how many hours per month they are entitled to. My contract states 2 hours, some months a client won't ask for any changes, and some months a client might ask for 2 and a half hours worth of work - which is fine for me and I don't charge them extra.
     
  3. SeedySteve

    SeedySteve Member

    So, I would say, charge £X for the site construction initially and charge £X per month/hour for support and upkeep?
    I'm a little way off this, but I'm just trying to get my head round the freelance thing...
     
  4. The Simulator

    The Simulator Active Member

    Personally I've had nothing but hassle from the 'maintenance' approach so I no longer do it.
    I just build in WordPress and hand it over. Anything they want changing that they can't do themselves I charge for as and when.
    Much less hassle this way.
     
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Yeah, I give my clients the option. A static site with monthly support built into the hosting contract or they can go with a CMS which will cost them more initially but from there they will only have to pay for the hosting.
    So yeah, for the former, you would charge them £X for the site construction initially and then you work out the monthly maintenance package with them. Do you offer website hosting as a reseller? Charge for hosting their website and then determine how frequently they want changes made to their website and cost it appropriately.
    Bear in mind, some months they will probably expect a little more than what you've allowed for in their contract, but some months they won't want any work done. Depending on the site of course, but that's my general experience with it.
     
  6. SeedySteve

    SeedySteve Member

    I haven't even given this a thought - it does seem that it might be a hassle if something goes wrong. My initial thoughts were i was going to work along the lines of building the site and then letting the client sort out the hosting. If there is money to be made in the up keep of the site, then I can't see it being too much of a problem working on it a couple of hours each month.
    Like I say, I very new to this, so I'm open to all ideas. I want to learn coding, make simple, intuitive, attractive websites... and then make that my job :)
    I've come across these companies in a mag recently, and they're the kind of thing i'm aiming for, long term.
    http://www.visual-kitchen.com/
    http://www.fullstopinteractive.com/
     
  7. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Yeah those are some nice sites and it's good that you're aspiring to that style of website design! I can tell you that whilst reselling web hosting can make for a good passive income, if you don't know what you're doing it can cause you a lot of frustration. Half the battle is finding a good hosting company to partner with. Ultimately, if something goes wrong and you can't fix it, you are at the mercy of their technical support.
    In the past I had a project whereby the clients wanted to move their website onto my servers. I wasn't overly experienced at the time, and I had to deal with the company who was (and still is) hosting their website. Naively I thought this would be a simple process, but it was made clear to me at the end that their only goal was to maintain their hosting contract with my client. They delayed at every step of the process and were blaming me for their incompetence, which for whatever reason, they believed and I lose the entire project. That was probably one of my most stressful weeks ever, in my life. It's not fun to have the CEO phoning you up demanding to know why nothing has happened for the past week and you have to sit there and try to explain to a technophobic businessman that you are unable to gain access to the back end of their current website and that the back up files of the website, given to me by the other hosting company, was in fact a completely different and non functioning version of their website. Yes, sabotage was on the menu that day...
    You'll have to learn a fair bit about how to manage a domain and the DNS entries of it, how they all work and the least destructive way of transferring a website. Something else I have come to learn is that surprisingly, instead of simply contacting someone about a new website, they go off and buy the domain name and start using their shiny new emails immediately. Some times they've already signed up to some kind of hosting package, in which case you have to try and explain to them why it would be better for them to have everything under an account with you. Good luck if they've just signed up for a year!
    Oh and be expected to answer questions like how to make titles bold in MS Word!
    But it's not all bad. Once you've got the understanding you can make some decent income from it, and you often become their go to person for any other type of technical or design work and some times this can be invaluable. But it would be unwise to treat this is a very simple aspect of website development that doesn't require much input on your behalf! I would suggest perhaps working with someone else with experience in this area if you wanted to then go off and do it for yourself. It's best not to use your clients as guinea pigs!
     
    SeedySteve likes this.
  8. SeedySteve

    SeedySteve Member

    Cheers Squiddy - great response!
    Yeah, I've got an opportunity to build a friends website at the minute, and then I need my own. Once they're up and running and I'm happy with the content etc, I'm going to start putting the feelers out for some non-profit work.
    After that, I think I'm gonna head to my local business link - they can help me with a bit of background, and maybe put me in touch with some start-ups... we'll see.
    thanks again
     
  9. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Local charities can be good to work with, and a most local charities rarely have a budget for branding, and so usually are in need of a brand make over. However, don't be annoyed if they turn you down, some times they just don't want to offend their friend/nephew/niece/son/daughter/friend of a friends dog who made their awesome, rainbow gradient and bevelled logo!
     

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