|Customer Wants An Easy Way To Manage Their Site But.|
He's got big ideas, and I see disaster...
Customer has had a static site for about 2 years...
Customer enjoys great organic listings, courtesy of you're truly...
Customer wants to branch out and expand his site...
Customer wants an easy way to add pages at his whim...
The static site is just not gonna cut it for him...too much legwork...
Yes....the answer is a content management system...
I've enjoyed the fact that with a static site I have total control over page code, etc...enabling him to place very well in the organic listings...
My fear is, with the change to a content management system, and not having total control over what's actually on the pages, that he may tank after a change over to a CMS...
Has anyone here EVER moved like this, static to CMS, and was sure it wasn't going to effect the rankings?
(I'm well aware of "you can't guarantee rankings"...so lets not waste time there...and I know page name/location changes are not in his best interest...so I already feel like 2 strikes are already there)
Is This A Move That I Should Encourge My Customer To Make..?
Or is there something I'm not aware of out there that can solve my problem?
CMS's are great, but they do require an often large amount of tweaking to properly optimize.
You would likely have a pretty steep learning curve for both you and your client.
For the most part, most CMS's work off templates, so you can optimize the template to a large degree to get the code structure you want, however some things require hacking the actual CMS to get it to work the way you want.
There are also plenty of add-ons/extensions for most of the CMS's out there that allow you to customize the page names to avoid the problems with changing URL paths/page names, but these also often have shortcomings (such as requiring the section & category names in the URL etc.)
Another option, would be something like frontpage (now called Microsoft Expression Web) or Dreamweaver. They have a lot of features similar to server side CMS's that could work for you as well, plus you would have total control over the code as you are used to.
Long-term your client would probably be better off with an actual server side CMS if the site is going to be rather large, but you will likely have to do a large amount of customization on any CMS to get it to suit your needs.
[edited by: Philosopher at 5:35 pm (utc) on Oct. 22, 2007]
Tell him not to do it.
I can't blame your client for wanting to get more control over his website. Unfortunately, it sounds like making the transition to a CMS at this stage in the game would be problematic.
Explain to your client the problems with making the switch AND, more importantly, provide another solution. I'd appreciate it if one of my web developers told me they couldn't do a CMS for me, but they were willing to cut me a sweetheart deal on adding additional pages themself.
If your client insists on this, then consider a hybrid arrangement, where you continue to handle many of the primary pages that are providing the good listings, and the client can make updates/changes etc on the distinct section of the site that has the content management. If necessary, you could even get the client a second domain name/hosting -- which is where you install the CM system -- then link the new pages into the existing site. If he royally messes up his end of things, your end will still remains viable, so all will not be loss.
|and I know page name/location changes are not in his best interest |
There is no reason that page names or locations should change when you install a CMS. If your CMS requires this then you probably have the wrong CMS solution.
Configure the CMS to match your requirements as much as you can. Many things can be reasonably automated. You can then come along and edit the CMS result yourself for final adjustments SEO-wise without having to affect the actual page apperence.
This can be done, and in some instances is preferable when the client has an ever increasing inventory of product, but will only work if you give them strict rules/guidelines on how to add new material AND the client adheres to those rules/guidelines religiously. In my experience the client will stick to your rules initially but will quickly stray into unoptimised territories requiring refresher courses, remedial work, and the likes that may end up more expensive than getting you to continue as you currently are.
But then, the client did engage you for your expertise in building websites, not in running his company. Perhaps you could offer to run his company for a few days, as "it can't be all that hard really." Perhaps he will then understand why he hired you.