One of the most used lines amongst my fellow website builders is this: “We’ll be using a CMS, so you can easily add or change things yourself.”
True. The goal of a Content Management System is that the end user can easily add or change content. However, there’s a catch. While it might be easy for a user to write articles or make changes to articles, that’s not an excuse for you to “train” them properly.
When you build a CMS based website, it doesn’t suffice to say “Just click Add Article there, and start typing away!” You need to take things a bit further. You should help the users make their site look good / decent. You can do this, by teaching them the fundamentals. Help them to avoid making their site look “bad”.
Why is this important? Maybe it’s just me. But when I visit a website and I see that things look “wrong”, I want to know who’s responsible for this mess. I don’t point fingers at Company X , but at the people who built the website. Company Y created the website, and it looks bad? Tsk, tsk, tsk, Company Y. Not very cool.
An example, perhaps. A week or two ago, a young woman who had starred in a TV show announced that she had just launched her website. Curious, I visited the website. The first thing I noticed was that it was built in Joomla! How I immediately recognize a Joomla! site is something I’ll never understand. But that’s off topic. The second thing I noticed was a text on the front page, that didn’t “fit” in the design. The text was waaaaaaaay too long – or the design was just plain wrong.
I didn’t blame said woman for this mistake. You don’t expect her to have built the website herself, so you look for the designer. I decided to blame him instead. A few days later, the problem was “solved”; by performing some Joomla! tricks that didn’t really solve the problem, but merely “masked” it.
The problem? Mr. Web Designer hadn’t taught his client that there was such thing as a “read more” button, or how she should use it. This allowed the woman to make him look bad as a web designer.
Take some time to teach your client the essentials. Help them make their site look good – not only is it important to them. It’s also important to you and how people mighty “see you” as a web designer.