Why you should understand how your website works

We work with many clients who already have a website but find themselves reliant on the site developer or designer to make any changes that they want to make, even small changes like correcting typos, adding new content or changing images.

Some designers and developers are keen to keep control of the sites that they build, concerned to ensure that clients don’t mess with them or (more cynically) looking for a source of recurring revenue. And indeed many clients are happy with this arrangement, perhaps believing that changing the website is a dark art that they would never be able to master themselves or that making changes is so time consuming that it’s better to have someone else do it.

We take a different approach. Our aim is always to empower clients to be able to take control of their own websites. A client may still decide that they want to outsource the running of their site to a designer or developer, but they do that from a position of power and knowledge rather than of ignorance and desperation. Here’s why this matters.

  • Understanding the implications of what you’re asking for – You may not want to make all the changes to your website yourself but it’s useful to have a general idea of the implications of any change you want, in terms of how practical it is and how much work it’s likely to be. This puts you in a stronger position when your designer or developer comes back with a cost and timescale as you’re better able to judge how reasonable this is and assess the value of the change to your business against the time it will take and the cost of doing it.
  • Be able to implement quick changes yourself – Lots of the things you’re likely to want to do on your website are going to be quick changes that will take only a few minutes to implement. It’s rarely cost effective to outsource this sort of stuff. In the time it takes you to explain what you want to have done you could have done it yourself. Most developers or designers will have a minimum block of time that they charge for so you’re likely to get billed for half an hour or an hour of someone else’s time to make a small changes that you could have made yourself in five minutes.
  • Be more agile and flexible in the way you use your site – There will be times when you want to be able to make a change to your site quickly. Perhaps something’s happened in your area and you want to be able to put out a quick blog post or press release in response. Perhaps you need to remove a product from the site because you’re out of stock. If you can make these kinds of changes yourself then you can do them as soon as you need them. You’re no longer at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. It can be extremely frustrating to wait days or even weeks for your changes to reach the top of someone else’s to do list.
  • Putting a vital business asset under someone else’s control is risky – If you don’t know how to get into the backend of your site or can’t access it without your designer’s help then you risk losing control of your site completely if anything happens to your designer. What if the design agency goes out of business? If you use a freelancer what happens if they get a full time job, or get ill, or you have a falling out with them? If you can’t access your own website and navigate around the basics it’s like not having the keys to your own office.
  • No one else cares about your site the way that you do – Ultimately your website is one of the main assets of your business. You need to understand the basics of how it works in the same way that you keep track of your accounts or you understand the legislation that impacts your business. It’s your business and understanding how it works is part of running it well.

Our Build a website in one day training course is not just for people who want to build a website from scratch. It’s also useful for anyone who already has a WordPress site and wants to better understand how WordPress works.

If you’re currently reliant on a designer or developer to make changes, or you’re spending vast amounts of time trying to work out how to do things yourself then this course is for you. You’ll gain a good understanding of core WordPress functionality and how to take control of your WordPress site yourself.

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