Clients want to update themselves

Hi all,
I have been designing web sites for 7 years now and just do basic HTML. Lately I have had alot of clients and potential clients require that they are able to update their sites themselves. These are clients with no experience and no editing software. In the past I would set up FTP access for them suggest software and give them a little training. Now clients want to log on to a site from anywhere and make changes without special software. I’m losing a lot of business to companies offering easy updateable template like sites that requires no coding or software. 3 clients in the last month. Does anyone have any suggestions and if so are they things that can be done on Dreamhost or do I need to pick up an additional service.



my best suggestion would be to use dreamhost’s one-click install of wordpress, though you may find it difficult to edit/customize templates if you’ve never done dynamic sites before.

Indefinetely under construction - Plaid Screen Studios -

In addition to WordPress, as plaidscreen already mentioned, DH also offers a “one-click” installation of a more powerful (and probably for most more complicated) CMS - Joomla!.


There’s undoubtably far more demand nowadays for content managed systems, and dynamic content in general. If you’re losing clients to competitors offering these services then surely you ought to consider either teaming up with a developer that can implement these kind of systems, or start looking at learning some kind of scripting language. It’s not nearly as hard as you’d imagine if you take small steps, particularly with the wealth of knowledge available on the web.

I personally feel from a business perspective that simple static sites have now become such a generic commodity (every potential client for one will likely know a kid next door who’ll knock something out for a few bucks, and will certainly be aware of many other companies offering cheap sites) that it’s hard to apply ‘leverage’ in a pitch for one unless you have something else to give an edge - whether its pure artistry or by adding a little extra via some dynamic code.

East Coast Interactive

Thanks Mike. I definately need to update my skills. Any suggestions on what and where I can get it?

Have you used WordPress or Joomla! before? If not, you should. I achieved a personal revelation the first time I saw WordPress (and generally all the CMS-like web applications out there). I was ready to buy Dreamweaver and start designing my sites by myself when I found that everything I wanted to do for my simple sites was covered by WordPress.

Beyond simply “configuring” WordPress, an amazing amount of customization can be done in creating a custom theme. And once you get into plugins its hard to say where the limit is for a primarily content-driven website. And if you do find that limit, there’s always Joomla!

The idea is that you would administer the WordPress installation and have your client be an “author”. You can have them edit static content pages or create new “blog-style” news posts.

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Albeit probably too late for me to throw my hat over the wall on this one but I have built sites and then enabled Contribute Capability in Dreamweaver so that a client can’t screw things up too bad. One of the best parts about this is it’s a minimal investment that you can budget into a project and even brand Contribute to look like it’s your software that they install.

Just a thought, nothing more nothing less.

And if you want someone who can bang out a pretty quick cms PM me and I’ll help out or at the very least point you in the right direction.