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Help Clients Keep Their Website Up-to-Date

One of the realities that new web designers quickly learn, is that websites are in constant need on change (That’s why CSS based design is the way to go – forget tables!). This is sometimes the bread-and-butter of a web designer who counts on a monthly call to do odd jobs like inserting a new article or correcting a few spelling errors, but for others, this can be a real pain in the butt.

If you depend on these 'change request' to earn your bread, then you should seriously look into pure CSS based design; it will save you a lot of time! If on the other hand you’re one of the latter, read on …

Recently a member of the forum posted this question:

“I've been asked to design a website for a friend who owns a Recruitment Agency. They have jobs that they want to advertise on their site, which they would like to be able to update at their end whenever they choose. How do I go about providing this?”

My answer:

You can create a database driven website using something like PHP or ASP but that may be overkill. If only one or two people make the job postings, I would suggest that you get them to buy Macromedia Contribute - it's like web design using MS Word but it actually works well!

I am not trying to push Macromedia products, but when something is good, it's good…

I had a similar situation recently where my client wanted to be able to update parts of the website, but they didn't want to learn Dreamweaver and they knew nothing about HTML.

My first thought was to go with a dynamic website (PHP, JSP et cetera), but since there was only one or two who would make the updates on their end, and the changes were at best periodic, I suggested Contribute because it's easy to learn, cheap and saved me the headaches of making little changes here and there…

Another option is to build the pages that will need constant changes with Flash. Flash has the ability to link text boxes to normal text files that are sitting on the server.

How it works:

Flash will load the text it reads in the text files and then display the same text in the Flash movie. This doesn’t require any programming to set up and is pretty easy to do. So when your client needs to change some text, all they have to do is go into the text files and edit it.

If you liked the article and you want to see more let me know!

Stefan Mischook.

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