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Considerations When Working on an Existing Site

Working as a Joomla webmaster is no simple thing; some days you come across simple jobs, and other times you are tasked with improving a site after another webmaster (or a designer or developer) has either built it or worked on improving it.

Let's face it: building a Joomla website from scratch is easy! In the end, you know what you have done well and what still requires your attention. If you're like me, you take pride in ownership of your work and you don't really like making changes or corrections after another contractor. When in this situation we can quickly realize that webmasters come with varying skill levels.

So, you've taken on the job of fixing a site somebody else has worked on or produced. The first thing you might do is evaluate the administration panel -- you find problems there. Now, you try to figure out just how the content is arranged, what Joomla! components & modules are responsible for specific articles on the site, and even how complex the template is. Such clients often come to us more or less disappointed with their previous contractor. It is up to us (you and I) as service providers -- ones who actually care about the quality of what we produce for clients -- to empathize with this customer, recognizing that he probably paid out hard-earned money for what we deem to be a poor end-product. A professional approach would be to refrain from giving negative comments about the previous work, and to simply focus on how to deliver what the client wants.

How to Value Fix-up Work on a Joomla website?

It is not good practice to drop a potential customer after spending a bit of time evaluating the existing site which had been developed by someone else. It is worth considering the two types of work effort which are likely to result from your site assessment:

  • operations (or amendments) which can be done quickly and cheaply, and
  • activities which require extensive changes to your predecessor's work

In such a situation you would be in a better position to retain this client by providing a 'special deal' in consideration of what has already been lost for this shabby website. You now have opportunity to forge a long-lasting client relationship based upon trust, and could certainly earn a positive voice for your services to other people. When you give your quote, this client will be thinking about what was paid to the previous "skilled Joomla developer". Unfortunately, however, there are always certain customers who cannot or do not want to understand that they have a bad website after having paid a great deal for it.

In Summary

The process of taking over and improving a website after somebody else has worked on it can take more time than you initially estimate. For this reason alone, it is often better to drop the current template entirely and to start fresh with a new Joomla template built on a proven, reliable Joomla framework (like Gavern) rather than to spend a lot of time trying to fix and improve a site based upon a template which may have been poorly-designed.

Ivo Valkov

I'm a front end developer. I love creating things, playing football, snowboarding and so on. I also hope you like all our stuff. We started using Gantry for our projects and honestly, we love it!