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I've thought of using a canned php script (really more of a program) that I know of, but the design can't really change. Besides, then I'm not designing their site.
Charge them until it hurts them real bad and they can't take it no more.
Then squeeze them a little harder. Tell them that it's a royal pain to customize the set up and custom configure it. Thus, it's more expensive to set up, but in the long run they'll be saving bucketloads of money. But don't forget to wring as much as you can out of them. Because it can truly be a pain in the butt to configure.
If you're going to let them update inventory then it's an absolute must that you get a script of some sort. If you are going to let them update the look and layout then be prepared to clean up after them (and charge through the nose for it) or to let them walk away and you move on to bigger and better.
oilman, good point.
Definitely set up the CMS so that the only thing affected is Content, and not the design. Just have the perl and xhtml fill in the table cells.
That's what I did for a client, and their web site looks like a million bucks.
[edited by: martinibuster at 4:00 am (utc) on Jan. 7, 2003]
As said above, charge a lot for this service because they won't be coming back very often.
I know enough php that I think I could figure the site out that way. But, is it possible for me to make a "pretty gui" for them to use that way? Can I use php and still do that? These people know *nothing* about html, let alone php.
BTW: unknownsoldier: I thought of using just tags, but, like I said above, they know nothing about html. Besides, I think that gives them too much of an opportunity to screw up the code. And I really don't want to have to clean it up!
I think the solution to your dilemma depends on how much the client wants to do - if it's a straight text update, e.g., change a list of upcoming events every week or two, letting them change a text file and including that file on the page could be an easy, no-programming way to go.
If they actually want to add new content pages and have them linked appropriately, you'll need at least a rudimentary content management system or heavily modified blog.
If they want to do the full range of web editing, then go ahead and let them use Front Page (with appropriate cautions from you). Don't list the site on your resume or client list, and hope that in a few months you'll get some billable hours to make it work again.
On balance if they want to change the code isn't that their problem?
If they want to use Frontpage then why don't they just do it?
Personally clients who want to do it themselves are a pain - it's not that easy if it was why are they using you in the first place?
But if all they really want is inventory management, and you don't want to roll your own, try looking at some shopping carts.
Or... you could set up all the stylesheets so it formats the text, and just teach them how to use the correct tag to get the style they want... then teach them about br's, hr's, alignment, and how to get images to show up... those are pretty easy concepts to understand and along with detalied comments that might just be the easiest way to go (but be sure to charge them for the lessons ;-) ).
Next question: I have to initially put in their entire inventory. (Hundreds of items, all with photos.) Any suggestions on how (much) to charge? Keep in mind that they also sell on ebay, so they pay something like 30 cents for every item they post.
This is a complete package (web site with shopping cart, hosting, some seo, digital photography, graphics work, etc.)...
doing photo-stuff should be done also hourly i would suggest. take more for this type of work then for text. i would say, 2 or 3 times more then for text.
if you create illustrations for them, that would be again something different and you can think about a fee per day like an illustrator or photographer.