December 12, 2019 By Matt Zentz
As you are about to take a new client site live there are a myriad of final tasks you need to do before you flip the switch. Final quality assurance walk-throughs, prepping for DNS updates, last-minute updates, and more can keep you quite busy. But there are several details you should provide to your client before you get full sign-off and move on to the next project.
If site updates are the responsibility of the client, then part of your fee structure should include training for the platform you used to build the site. Even if the client has used the platform before, you'll still want to train them specifically on their site. Every site brings its own approach to managing certain types of content. Whether it's a new plugin or a taking advantage of a newer platform feature, teach them to how to use it to make updates and perform some basic administration, like adding new users.
For all the images you use in your site, your client should know their origin and any licensing constraints. Were they purchased? Are they public domain or royalty-free? Do they have specific license intentions or limits? Don't wait until your client gets a demand letter from Getty Images or some other image provider before figuring this out. At that point, it's probably too late to figure it out.
Wherever you end up hosting your client's website it's important they have information about that host. Issues arise when they are least expected and being prepared to address those starts with knowing basic contact information of the host. I don't think it's great customer service to leave hosting responsibility in the hands of your customers but a lot of agencies do.
This is where even seasoned website developers can get confused. Where a domain is registered (i.e. the domain registrar) is fairly straightforward because everyone knows what a domain is and most know you have to register it and pay for it annually. Where it resolves requests (i.e. its name servers or DNS), however, is the technical component that most people overlook. These two services are often with the same registrar but are just as often split up into separate providers. The go-live of a new site is a good time to make sure the client has this information in hand.
Agencies typically setup some time of monitoring on a site, usually with Google Analytics - it is free after all. But they don't always provide clients access to the analytics account. Whether this is done purposely or not doesn't really matter. The bottom line is one, and preferrably more, of your client's employees should have access to the analytics account. If you've also setup the client in Google Search Console they should be added to that as well.
Not providing this information can have an enormous negative impact on your agency in those cases where something goes wrong. If you're client doesn't have this information because you never provided it to them, they will likely direct their anger and frustration toward your agency.
Compare it to buying a new car. Few people look at the manual or how to get extended warranty work until they specifically need it. And few clients will look at the important details you provided to them above until they need it. Whether or not they are still a client doesn't matter. Spending a little extra time providing this critical information can help maintain the integrity of your name.
Marketpath CMS is a fully managed web content management and website hosting platform that can also provide domain registration and DNS hosting. Send us a note if you're interested in consolidating all the technical details into one trusted partner.
Matt Zentz launched Marketpath from a small Broad Ripple bungalow in February 2001 with a focus on custom web application development. He built the first, basic version of a hosted CMS called Webtools and shortly afterward expanded his team and created the first version of Marketpath CMS.
Matt has worked for a national consulting firm, taught computer programming to high school juniors and seniors , and led the information technology arm of the auxiliary business units at Indiana University.
Matt graduated from Indiana University in 1999 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has built custom web applications since 1995. Matt is husband to an amazing & supportive wife, has three beautiful children, and supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog. He coaches various kid sports, enjoys building furniture, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is very active within his church community and several area not-for-profits.