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WordPress Freelancing basic question

Do you let the client have access to make changes to their website later on?  Do you show them how to do it if so?  and lastly, how do they get the permission to work on the site w/o having access to the other sites on my platform.  I am brand brand new!  and I have a client wanting to give me money.

Advocate I

Hi Sparklebaby!


I've done a few of these in my time, maybe I can be of some help. Typically I give access to the client, once we've completed the site. When I create a Wordpress site (self-hosted) for a client, it's apart of a "content management website package" I've created for them, so that have a website that they can easily edit and manage after we've completed the initial design and development. This is different from a "regular" html website design package, as the point is for them to be able to handle the site on their own, with little professional help, so it's more economical.


Upon completion of the site, I'll give them basic user information, how-to login and make basic edits (usually resources and links Wordpress readily provides) and then sometimes a 30-minute consultation via or Google Hangout (that's included in their scope) where they can ask specific questions (this is all included and stated in the scope). I let them know that this is basic and they can find much more information online and on Wordpress just by searching. 


If you will be creating a .org (self-hosted) site then it's probably best to do it on their server, through their GoDaddy account, and just request access via GoDaddy Pro, so that they don't actually need any access to your server (bad idea). 


Does this help? Glad to share info.




Nisha Kittles

Hybrid Graphic & Web Designer

Advocate IV

Coming at this from the client side: I cannot imagine paying someone to create a website for me that I would never be able to edit myself. Also, shouldn't the client's website be in his/her own hosting account, not connected to yours? The client needs to have full ownership of the site. This is a problem I've seen too often with small business owners - they pay someone to build them a site, then don't have access to it, and when the person moves or changes jobs or just disappears and stops answering emails and phone calls (it happens more often than you think), they're stuck with a domain they can't access, a website they can't update, no idea how to get control of it and no one to ask. PLEASE don't leave your clients in that situation!


The down side is that the client may mess something up in trying to make updates on their own. In which case...they'll have to call you to fix it. Which is okay, right?


Erika Kerekes, Founder & Condiment QueenNot Ketchup Gourmet Grilling Sauces

Good to hear you points @NotKetchup


This is also what makes Wordpress such a great platform for both parties. Quite frankly there's not much on the front end the client can break. As long as the updates are maintained, it's seamless. The interface is created just for that purpose.


Nisha Kittles

Hybrid Graphic & Web Designer

@nisha wrote:

Good to hear you points @NotKetchup


This is also what makes Wordpress such a great platform for both parties. Quite frankly there's not much on the front end the client can break. As long as the updates are maintained, it's seamless. The interface is created just for that purpose.


Nisha Kittles

Hybrid Graphic & Web Designer

There is quite a bit a customer can break in WordPress. Let me count the ways:


1. Depending on how the content was created they can delete content and overwrite any older versions.

2. They can update a plugin which is not compatible and break it.

3. They can try switching themes and be unable to get back to the old theme.

4. If child themes are not used, they can update a theme and erase any changes made to a theme.


When giving access with administrative access, you want to make sure you have automatic backups happening so in case something goes haywire you can easily get back to a "snapshot" without much trouble. Managed WordPress from GoDaddy gives you 30 days of daily backups without needing to install any plugins.


The thing most customers don't understand is that making changes of any kind on a production website other than really quick, simple content changes is not a good idea. Staging should be used and then promoted to production in most cases to avoid real issues.


So if you give your customer administrative rights, what happens if they mess something up? Can they go back to you and you fix it for them?


We have maintenance plans and do work for our customers so they don't fall into this trap. Giving non-technical customers access to admin rights on WordPress can really come back to bite both the customer and you as a developer. Your mileage may vary.

Alex Sirota, PMP - NewPath Consulting - Schedule some time with Alex
"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



They could, but what if they are not interested in a maintenance plan or maybe a limited maintenance that includes only updates and fixes? Isn't that the idea of a WP site?  We can't deny them access to their site. Transparency is the name of the game, clients can read and follow directions, as long we've  done our jobs and given them the information they need, guidelines for usage, and a clear scope for work, all of the things you mention can be avoided and/or handled easily. Good-for-everyone. Any good freelancer, contractor, web designer, etc. wouldn't be handing over a site without making sure all of these things are covered with the client, that's what I meant in my first response. It keeps everyone safe. Who would hand over a site without backups and explain those backups systems to a client? I also would expect and communicate the importance of following directions and the consequences and if there site went down or they needed further maintenance from my team, it's either built into a scope or added hours.


Nisha Kittles, Graphic Designer

Customers need to understand that maintenance of a website is a crucial part of running an online presence. Without maintenance, like any property, it will become rundown and break. The idea of a WordPress site is not "set it and forget it" -- not only is it not a good idea for SEO, but it is a security risk.


So then, what sort of customer knows how to do this maintenance. You can't possibly give them all the information they may need. You just don't know what the next version of WordPress, plugin(s), theme will bring. You can't predict the future.


But you can teach them to risk manage -- and that is what a maintenance plan is. I think many developers/designers don't really understand risk management, because they feel they are so technically astute they can solve any problem. But they highly underestimate the capability of their customers. By a lot. Even with great documentation and "30 minutes of training."


And I have seen almost ALL websites that I take over on our plans that don't have backups, no staging, out of date WP and plugins. In MOST situations that is what it is like. You are living in a dream world if you think all developers do what you do.


I believe the fixed price contracts with no (optional) maintenance plans sets up your customers for failure. Not keeping your customers for the long term is also a bad business practice. I do believe some developers want to "wash their hands" and "get their money" and let someone else deal with the utter messes they've created. It's the business we are in. WordPress is a complex code base with lots of moving parts. It's not "easy" as most developers lead their customers to believe.

Alex Sirota, PMP - NewPath Consulting - Schedule some time with Alex
"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sure , I understand – but there are many ways to an end. I have a unique perspective as well–I'm a designer, not a developer. 


I am from the new-school and wordpress, in my opinion,  came from the need to alleviate the heavy burden of complicated, restrictive, expensive, website builds in a time where startups are exploding. They are highly-capable with in-house technical capabilities, mobile/byod workforces, web-based apps, far less IT and their focus is marketing,  visual branding and productivity.  Yes, they consider SEO, but it's a small piece of their inbound marketing strategy. They aren't interested in being bothered with inquiring with me every time they go to do a blog post. Those that don't fit in that category either don't want to or don't want to learn, so they come back to for (billable) help (I think flat rates are bad ideas too). All of this was up-front and they thrive.


Either way, it's interesting to see your perspective, thanks @Alex-NewPath. Good to see how others are doing it and how I can improve.


Nisha Kittles, Graphic Designer

Hello everyone,


Sorry if I am posting in the wrong thread but I really need help regarding Wordpress and you guys seem to be pros at it.


I just got Managed Wordpress from GoDaddy.

I needed help in creating individual client pages for multiple clients, so that they can log on and see their page. Each client should be able to access his or her own page only.


It would be great if anyone can help me with this.


Thank you,


Vishesh Jain

Several years ago I had a similar situation happen to me.  I engaged a website hosting provider when unbeknownst to me at the time one of their sales representatives high-jacked my website account and installed it on his private server.  I could not get to my website or make any changes or updates because I was at the mercy of that individual.  This is no fly-by night web hosting provider. This is a highly reputable web hosting provider. Once I realized what was going on I reported that individual to company management. I am stepping back into the ring with my blog but I do with allot of trepidation and caution.  



Lady Bug