|Client wants ability to update website|
(Rather than using webmaster for every update)
A potential client (a small township) wants to enable various departments within the town (i.e. police, administration etc.) with the ability to maintain & update their respective section of the township's website rather than relying on a webmaster.
1) Is this even a good idea?
2) If so, what would be some possible solutions?
just my 2-cents here:
If you have any of your company recognition banners/links on the website, I would probably advise you to remove them once you begin to let others (people with no experience...) tinker with their website...
I've been this exact route before, and eventually you look like you've designed a website that's a mess...
everyone and their brother wants to be a web designer, people with no clue begin to tinker with colors, settings, etc...you are the person that has to fix the problems, you are the person that has to explain to the secretary why orange text on a pink background is wrong (...she'll tell you she loves it, ...she only loves it because she did it) it's not a matter of good format with these type of situations...it's "I'm proud that I figured out how to get that far...and you're not gonna take that away from me"
Others looking at the site will wonder what the webmaster was thinking when he/she created the page...it's not your work...but you'll be responsible for it...
Do they want to be able to change content and layout, colors, etc. or just content?
If it's just content, I would give them a web form to use to change/update content (similar to how a blog works).
Their *$^ù ups will be your fault in their eyes ( they'll blame you every time they screw up ..those they tell wont know enough to know different ) and those of eveyone else ( cos they will blame you )..get paid ..in full... walk/run ..away ...wash your hands ..pull anything that will associate you to it ..
Let them know if they bad mouth you for their mistakes that you have lawyers with sharp teeth and media acces ..
leave a back door ..or 10 to the server ;)..for clean ups via "proxy" access in case it makes you look bad ..you can always blame Brazilian hackers :)
[edited by: Leosghost at 9:49 pm (utc) on Dec. 15, 2005]
Yes, I think it is a good idea, a site like that will be more current and more useful if it is regularly updated by those who 'own' parts of it.
There are many content management systems that handle situations like this and can allow you to keep the site design entirely apart from the content. Mambo/Joomla would work very well for this type of site, as would Coranto, and loads more.
There is a bit of a learning curve involved in setting up a site with these systems, but they are very simple for the end users to update.
Those who own a site should always have the ability to update it and I almost invariably insist that they at least can, even if they don't always choose to in the event. A webmaster is there to make that possible by providing the tools they need, supporting their use of those tools and generally keeping the site on track in an 'overseeing' capacity.
Thanks everyone for their input. I'm assuming they only want to update content. I agree that letting them change anything else would lead to inevitable disaster :)
abbeyvet, I took a quick look at Joomla (and Coranto) and there is indeed a learning curve. I get the impression that, when implementing a CMS like Joomla that the site has to be designed with this functionality in mind. You couldn't (realistically) just plug it into an existing site. Correct?
Also, regarding CMS workflow features, do you find this a necessary component to, as you put it, "keeping the site on track in an 'overseeing' capacity". (IOW's, their updates must be "approved" by you, the webmaster, before publication.)
|You couldn't (realistically) just plug it into an existing site. |
You could with Coranto, to some extent but it would take some work - and a fair bit of time learning how it all stitches together. You would need to copy and paste a lot of content to get it into the system, but would not need to change your site structure or the page designs.
Where I have set up systems for site like this, with different departments etc, I generally train one person in a department, and they then become a 'high level' user, able to approve content for publication and edit content submitted by 'ordinary level' users. The webmaster sits on top of the high level users.
I am most familiar with Coranto, and there is is straightforward to allocate categories to users and to give varying levels of permission to those users.
So far it has not fallen down - you can sticky me if you like for some URLs.
I did a web site for a county as a consultant. I knew the IT department would be a problem for updates. So, for those departments with monthly minutes - I designed a way they could upload their minutes in .doc format.
It isn't perfect and there have been some problems with the uploads, but even the IT department could solve them. And, it reduced the mailing of the minutes to concerned citizens.
I have dealt with client updates a number of ways. My best solution to advise them to learn how to use Frontpage. There's plenty of support around for that, it's cheap, and it gets them out of my hair.
Developing custom solutions in software that I write is too expensive for them and they always seem to want some kind of unanticipated flexibility that will require additional programming.
Contribute. You can be the administrator and control what sections they have access to , what they can and cant do. You could stay involved somewhat by being the approver for the drafts untill people get up to speed..
I have two people working on my site with me now and i can control it from the style sheets they see , to what folders they can edit in etc.
The GUI is quite user friendly , looking a lot like a word processor. It plugs in perfectly with Dreamweaver and respects template rules etc.
The only drwaback is that its hard on a host FTP wise and there are some connectivity issues with it ( it seems highly dependant on the host set up , with 1/5 of the hosts i use not working well with it ) .This has forced me to look at webdav ( better but a lot more tricky ).
Not sure if that helps, it may or may not suit your deployment.