I have been making Joomla! Websites for clients for the last 5 years, creating simple to complex websites for a variety of clients. In this article, I will show you how I kept my customers happy and turned them into not only repeat customers, but also referrers! If you make Joomla! Websites for clients, following these tips will definitely help you save time and earn more. These have been written after years of experience and plenty of time spent into thinking from the customer’s point of view.
For extremely simple websites, make the pages editable from front-end.
When you are just making a 3-page website for a dance class, there is no point showing the site owner how powerful Joomla! is. They are absolutely not interested in knowing about it. In fact, they start to think that you are trying to sell them something that they don’t really need.
To avoid this, just implement front-end editing facility in their template, and hand over the site. You can do this using the K2 component for Joomla 1.5
Check whether the client’s server allows Joomla
Yes, everyone knows that Joomla can run on any web host that has php and mySQL installed on it. So it is easy to make the mistake of installing a client’s Joomla site on the web hosting package that they previously owned, without checking whether the server allows Joomla or not. Many companies have policies that disallow specific resource-heavy scripts, including Joomla. Even though the site will work initially, one day the client will receive an email from the hosting company that their account is disabled due to violation of terms. You do not want that to happen
How to do this: Before installing a Joomla site, just login into the web host’s site and open a support ticket asking whether you can install Joomla on the site. Such questions are usually answered in a matter of minutes.
Keep a record of all your clients’ joomla sites, and apply security patches yourself (of course, for a fee)
It would be really nice if clients thought of websites as an apartment/house. Once it is sold, it would be the client’s responsibility to install the latest security and surveillance equipment. Unfortunately, this is not so. It is our responsibility to apply security patches to every installation of Joomla! that we have set up. But the good news is, you can think of this as an opportunity to get regular income from existing sites.
How to do this: Maintain a record of all the sites that you have installed, along with their admin and FTP details. Whenever a new patch is made available, install it as soon as possible on the sites. After installing, just tell the client that their site has been updated to the latest version of Joomla to protect it from hackers. They will not hesitate to pay you for your time spent.
If you are using third party components, tell clients about it.
Although you may feel that the main reason to use Joomla in the first place is the extensions available for it, some clients may not feel so. For them, it’s like finding a Toyota sticker in a Honda car. They may feel puzzled, or even annoyed when they realize that you have just mashed up some ready made components to build their site.
What to do to avoid this: When you decide the features of the site along with the client, explain him/her that it would be most efficient to use pre-written components to build their site. This would not only ensure a lower development fee, but also quicker turnaround.
Ensure that the admin knows how to make the most of Joomla
I have seen websites turning into failures purely because the admin does not know how to make the most of the Joomla admin panel. Even if you gave a demonstration of the admin panel at their site, they tend to remember only 1/4th of what you show. It is therefore important to leave some literature for the admin to refer to whenever needed.
How to do this: I initially started creating user manuals for each client. However, it is painfully boring to make visual user manuals with screenshots. To solve this problem, use this service joomanuals.com: this site creates custom user manuals for any joomla site in a few minutes. The user manuals come with custom-generated screenshots, so the client will feel as if the manual has been written especially for him.