A friend has a website in place but he's concerned that he's not getting enough traffic. I've looked at his site, and I believe I can optimize it. Of course, I'll need access to the html source code and directories. But his site is designed and maintained by someone else. What's the professional, courteous way to proceed? My friend lives in a small town, and his webmaster is local, and I don't want to disrupt their relationship.
I usually ask for contact information for the designer and talk to him/her directly. I discuss what I am being hired for and assure him/her that I need to have a working relationship with him/her and do not wish to step on toes.
I ALWAYS mention the fact that I understand that he/she has the design concept and integrity as his/her first priority and underscore the fact that we need to work together with him/her in order to accomplish both our goals.
I then stick to my word and consult with him/her often. I usually give general instructions about what we need in the way of text. For instance, "We need 3 or 4 more paragaphs at the top focused on red tennis shoes."
Tell the developer that it's your job to make him look good. If the client doesn't get traffic, it's logical that he's likely to lose interest in the long run. If he loses interest, fffssssst!, there goes future development and maintenance. Worse, he tells his buddies at the local golf club and the developer loses some potential clients.
Thanks for the good advice. Do you usually have access to the logs so you can do keyword analysis? Do you write the content yourself and do you have write permission on the site's directory? If two people are modifying the same files, then there's a need for some sort of version control system. For a small site, it's probably easier to just hand the designer some modified version of their html and let them put it on the server.
Do you usually have access to the logs so you can do keyword analysis?
Sometimes. It depends upon the client and their policy.
Do you write the content yourself and do you have write permission on the site's directory?
I don't. I am not a copywriter, and I make that clear. I leave the copywriting to professionals. I simply point them in the right direction.
You will find that many large companies and all federal government departments cannot allow you to have write access. I say good! Leaving the uploading to them cuts back on headaches and time and also ensures that they have the correct working copy.
For a small site, it's probably easier to just hand the designer some modified version of their html and let them put it on the server.
In my experience, it is always easier to do the tags myself, recommend the copy changes, and let them do the rest and notify me when they're finished.
Very interesting thread. I had the issue of two people updating the same site, we communicated plenty. In the end I ensured they were responsible for up to date off server backups because they were making lots of small changes.
It sure makes things more complex but you can add version control in comment tags within each page. Page updated by xx on yy changes to zzz