We find that most clients want us to develop a great CMS design which allows them to make changes themselves, thus avoiding future costs for editing the site. Unfortunately, some clients feel this means they can also make other changes which are not allowed and will corrupt their site look and feel. When we talk about a content managed site …. it is just that….. a “content” managed site (the ability to manage the content) and nothing more.

A well-designed site:

The amount of time spent on developing a website theme, optimizing page layout and working hard to make each page of the site consistent in look and feel belongs only to the original designer.  Those who are not proficient with advanced programming skills, can easily corrupt the overall theme design and end up with what our kids refer to as a “hot mess.” Your website is an investment and should be treated as an investment. Having the original developer/designer make all changes that are not content related is the safest bet. Many of the backend features are there for programmers only. Programmers use these theme features to further optimize the theme layout and concept, and to keep updates current.

Popular mistakes to avoid while editing your website:

Clients who have administration rights to log into the back-end of the website, have been known to play around, making changes, and clicking on features simply to find out what happens. What happens is that they will corrupt the site’s programming which in turns renders the site inoperable. At this point is when we get a call to undo the damage.  Here are a few things “not to do.”

  • Never allow outside companies with wild claims of improving your site to access the backend of the site. You can actually get banned from Google if they use SEO methods which are not allowed.
  • Should you receive email asking you to update the site theme or perform other tasks, DO NOT COMPLY. Contact your developer to avoid over-riding delicate programming.
  • Never attempt to make changes on contact forms (they are created using a program called php and can easily be corrupted by any attempt to add or delete fields).
  • Stay away from changing images and jQuery messaging.  Leave this to the programmer. Content managed sites allow nothing but content changes.
  • Do not attempt to change or edit the menu, add or delete pages.  You can permanently damage the site and it is costly to repair. Only the programmer can change the site navigational system.
  • Do not copy and paste any outside content from any source. This will import unwanted programming which will corrupt the site. It is difficult to delete this programming and it is costly to do.
  • Do not add any duplicate content from page to page and never add used content to blog entries. Add new content each time you edit the site.
  • Do not change the size, color, type and style of the font. Most sites are created using a “stylesheet” which keeps the font consistent on all pages.
  • Do not use the bold or underline function at all and never capitalize any words other than the first word of a sentence or paragraph.

Repairing the damage:

If there happens to be a current backup of the site, the developer will need to take the site offline and re-install a fresh copy.  We use a program called “Backup Buddy.”  However if the client is not careful they could also delete the backups. This will incur expense for the hours needed to make the change. If there have been recent changes, those changes will be lost. Better to be safe then sorry. Stick to updating the content areas and there should be no problem. You’ll be able to keep the site content updated and new. This will raise your rank to one of authority.  Hiring a professional to make any changes other than content changes is the best rule of thumb. Your investment deserves to be protected.
Hurry back for more next time and have a great week.
Jean Holland-Rose
SEO Professional