Who’s controlling your website?

Aug 30, 2011 by

One of the tasks we carry out on behalf of Clients is updating their websites for them, however, we have noticed a trend of late where they have used a designer who hasn’t given them control of the website, meaning that the only way to get anything changed is to pay your web designer to do it for you, and some of the update costs can be quite alarming.

The other thing we have noticed is that some people think WordPress is only for blogging.

WordPress is a blogging platform certainly, but that’s not all it can do.  If you go for the self hosted version (you use your own website hosting and domain name and it can cost as little as £30 per year) you can create a website with one click installation.  The beauty of the self hosted version is the ability to utilise plug ins. (These are one click installtion extras that do a variety of things that help you customise the site to do what you want it to do).

Did you realise that a WordPress site can run an ecommerce store? A WordPress site can have a members area? A WordPress site allows you to have static pages as well as blog posts?  Did you also realise that Google loves WordPress sites?

If you have a static website this means that you cannot change the content at all.  I am tempted to use the word stale instead of static here but perhaps that is too harsh.  If you wish to update your price list you have to talk to your Designer, if you wish to optimise your text for SEO again you have to talk to your Designer, if you want to update the images you have to talk to your Designer….. spotting a trend here yet?

When I started out with my early blogs I used Blogger, the free blogging tool from Google.  I had a static website as well.  It mean’t that the two sites were unrelated to each other.  I could only update the static website if I emailed my designer and got them to implement the changes.  I did have a great designer but didn’t like to bother them all the time so quite often didn’t make changes I wanted to.

I was then introduced to WordPress and have never looked back.  WordPress allows me to decide how I want my website to look, what I want it to say and when I want to say it.  The variety of themes available is astonishing, from free themes to premium themes and even to theme design software.  This site was designed using a theme designer to enable us to get the layout and colours we wanted.  We then used plug ins to add the extras to the site, the social media links, the Mailchimp newsletter sign up form, the images in the right hand column, we can even choose to switch off the right hand column altogether if we want, and we control it all.

Not everyone wants to install or set up their own wordpress website, that’s fine, we can introduce them to our team of designers.  Not everyone wants to update the website themselves, again that’s fine as we can update it for you, from scheduling your blog posts to adding product to your store.  One word of caution when employing a designer to set up your WordPress site, do ensure that they don’t lock it down, preventing you from adding the plug ins and theme changes of your choice.  I have seen this happen as well.

The whole point of WordPress and why we love it so much is that it puts you back in control.  It’s efficient and cost effective, two things we are always talking about and espousing.

You don’t have to have a blog to have WordPress, you can just have the static pages if you wish, but we would always advise that you start using the systems now that will grow with your business.  Will your static website be good enough as your business grows and develops over the next couple of years or will it become outdated and unfunctional?  Will you have to start afresh with a whole new website because your current website just can’t keep up with your growth.  Have a look at WordPress, it can grow and adapt with you, you can even export all the content from one website and import it straight into another if you need to.

Have a think about what your website is currently doing for you and what you would like it to do, not sure  how to do it or if it will grow and adapt to the changes you need in the future? Give us a call on 01904 890212 and we will happily review it for you and let you know how we can help or make the introductions to our design team.

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  1. I always advise my clients to have a CMS website (I use WordPress most of the time). It is far better for them to be able to make updates than to come to me – especially if it’s something involved as I may be busy.

    Another thing I advise is that they control their domain name too, it is part of their business identity and should be owned by the business not the web designer.

  2. Nice reminder – I got a similar post (in my notebook). I will post it as a response sometime later this week. 🙂

  3. Worse still I have worked with clients who had to pay for plugins installing and WordPress to be upgraded because they were either informed it was difficult to do or, they didn’t realise the plugins and WordPress was open source.

  4. Sharon makes a good point.

    When we applied for merchant banking a while back – one of the conditions was that the domain was owned by/registered to the limited company – not any of the directors personally or any designer or any of these registering services..

  5. I love your Elegant Theme Helen.

    I urge people to read through this blog post and heed the advice. (Good points in the comments too).

    This situation is something we are also faced with at PBS.

    The clients we work with are largely in the social enterprise sector and they have fallen foul of rogue website designers (WD) who have locked down access to their website. In one case a WD offered to take charge of a Charity website for free in exchange for publicising his business. He was however reluctant to spend the proper time in updating and maintaining it. The Charity committee were completely dissatisfied with the arrangement and came to us for advice.

    Honestly, I think it’s despicable behaviour not to mention totally unprofessional. SOME, and I stress some not all WD appear to be motivated by an unhealthy need for control and some, admittedly and thankfully few, do it out of malice when they feel pressurized to give up the control.

    In one of the most severe case of all, we were left with the dreadful task of starting afresh for the client because the domain was registered in the name of the designer, access to the data was denied for the client, and arguments arose over the ownership of the copyright …. it was a total disaster.

    It was an incredibly challenging set of circumstances to handle and was uncomfortable to say the least – acting as a go-between in this situation is not easy!

    Thankfully I can report that everything turned out satisfactorily because we had the technology to scrape the data and start afresh for the client. We acted as mediators and eventually negotiated the transfer of the domain too.

    Businesses do not need this aggravation, because after all, time is money … time spent in this type of hassle-fraught situation is time/money lost.

    It’s a salutary lesson for business owners, social enterprises and charity organisations.

    Rhianne aka @LadyBizBiz
    Rhianne recently posted..Security Audit for SMEsMy Profile


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