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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]
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.
and I know page name/location changes are not in his best interest
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.
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.