In 2010, it should not be happening, but it is. Over and over.
Everywhere we go, we talk to small business owners who have purchased websites for their small business but have no access to update them. And they are frustrated, understandably so. They feel trapped after having paid significant $ for a site that isn’t as nimble or dynamic as their business. They don’t want to pay the developer $100 to make a small change, or a lot more $ to make major updates.
In our view, this is marketing malpractice unless all parties are clear on the consequences from the outset. Ten years ago, or even five, web development was a much more difficult process, as developers had to build sites from scratch or license expensive platforms. Either way, it was expensive for everyone.
Today, much of the heavy lifting is already done. There is WordPress. Joomla. Drupal. Dot Net Nuke. Each is free, or nearly so, freeing the developer from the time consuming platform building process and thereby allowing the focus to be on design, functionality and search engine friendliness. Each of these platforms also offer an administrative back end so that the site owner can do their own thing–add or change text, photos, even add and delete pages. In industry parlance, it’s known as a Content Management System, or “CMS”.
There are also proprietary or licensed platforms that–while they typically are more expensive and often require pricey hosting plans–at least provide the site owner to update some text and other content. The downside, in addition to the budgetary impact, is that they are not usually portable–the site owner is pretty much tied to the developer for major updates, redesign, and reworking. Plus the sites can’t easily be moved from one hosting company to another, should the client decide to part company with the developer.
At Keywerx, we develop in WordPress and to a lesser extent, Dot Net Nuke (DNN). They aren’t the only solutions, but they are the ones we know and like. It depends on your needs as to which we recommend. We also provide training on how to work the administrative area so that you don’t waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do.
If you are a small business owner planning to hire a web developer, and you are offered a site without a CMS–even if you have no plans to regularly update your site right now–run the other way. Fast.