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In Web Site Strategy and Planning, Jen Kramer shows that there's more to building a web site than just implementation. She describes how to create a plan that will ensure the end product meets the client's needs and is as efficient and scalable as possible. Jen explains how to identify the right technology for the design, whether it is CMS-driven or static, and how to organize content and graphics. She shows how to create a project proposal that includes pricing and milestones that demonstrate to the client that work is being done. She also discusses how to measure the success of the design through analytics and user feedback.
All too frequently, clients get focused on getting the website out there. Launch day comes and everyone celebrates. All too soon though, the client forgets about the website. It sits there, unloved, and out of date, because no one thought through what those updates might be and how they would occur. Some updates are straightforward and easy for your client to make, or at least they should be. For example, if your client has a blog, being able to create new blog posts without a high level of technical proficiency is a must for that blog software.
However, if your client has never worked with a computer before, perhaps asking them to make blog posts is not a good idea. Other updates may be more difficult depending on the technological solution you choose for building your website. Talk with your client about what they anticipate will change weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly and almost never, then figure out if they have the technical ability level to do the weekly and the monthly updates. And that you have a technological solution, to match those needs quarterly, yearly and almost never updates can be firmed out to you.
The client does need to make sure that he has the time to make those regular updates or he needs to pay you to do them and they need to have the money to do that. Make sure your client understands that the website is an ongoing expense in terms of renewing domain names and hosting software licenses, if applicable, and other changes that might need to happen, for example, new functionality or software upgrades. A website is never a one-time expense.
Thinking about Hansel & Petal, Kirk Hansel is pretty good on his computer. He knows some Word and does e-mail and absolutely loves Facebook. Of course, he's going to need some training on the Content Management System, but he'll be okay with keeping the site going. He's very, very excited about the blog and the opportunity to talk about green flowers. I will have to do the general upgrades for this website and I need to remember to include that cost in my web hosting fee. Knowing what maintenance will be required for the site in advance will drive which technologies you choose to solve those problems.
The last thing you want is to pick hard-to- use or cloogy software that your client hates. If that's the case, they will wind up thinking ill of you too. Do your homework, and you'll get a much happier ending.
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