Yet another cms idea

Hello everyone, even if the topic is off the table. I still have an idea for the cms. Our customers need only the possibility to change images and texts, right? I have programmed them a web-ui with vuejs, uploaded the content in a json file, and read it out again with javascript. Authentication is done with jwt. This is always a big effort.

Now the idea:

Imagine there is a BS-Studio app only with the display in the middle, without the panels left and right. Positions are fixed, only texts and images can be changed. Then the customer can upload the page. This will also save the “file.bsdesign” on the server. With this file we can then, in the full-featured BS-Studio continue to work.

This small program, we would then buy from the developers of BS-Studio, and resell it to our customers.

In principle cmsstash, like cost-cms or crushy-cms. only with our favorite program BS-Studio. It also had the advantage that we and our customer can work on the same “file.bsdesign”.

Maybe, i am and was not the only one with the idea, but i would find it sexy :slight_smile:

Until then “happy coding”
Greetings Andreas

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I believe this is the basic idea behind Pinegrow’s implementation of a CMS. Personally I think it’s just a minefield waiting to be stepped on.

In my experience, people who cannot build websites themselves are more likely to mess a page up if given editing access, then they are to update it correctly. Even seemingly simple things like changing text and images are still like witchcraft for people who don’t understand web development. The average person doesn’t understand the concept of dpi, file formats, compression or image optimization. If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve encountered a website where someone uploaded a 3000 pixel image and used some website builder to shrink the image down without actually changing the resolution, I’d be quite wealthy.

Hi Printninja,
your experience with customers, I also share. Aspect ratios, huge images, other font styles, yes, the customers have no idea about it.But the first sentence in a new project is always: We would like to make changes to the site itself.
We owe this to the website construction kits - you can do everything yourself, very easily. Nowadays, if you don’t offer an editing option, you lose some customers …

Looked at Pinegrow, yes you are right. Something like that. So the question to Martin is: Will there be a BS-CMS-Client program :wink:

Thank you for starting this thread! Giving your client the finished bsdesign file and a copy of Bootstrap Studio would achieve most of what you are suggesting. Developing a specialized version of Bootstrap Studio just for this case is not worth it, I think.

As for a CMS, it would be most useful if it is cloud based, so that clients can login and see an UI for adding and editing items/sections without the risk of breaking their design. This is a complex thing to build, but we may take a closer look at it once we have our ecommerce components ready and if users are interested.

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Hi Martin, thanks for the quick reply. Bootstrap Studio has too many buttons for the normal user :slight_smile: That’s why the thought of a simple version. But cloudbased is of course possible. It would be a dream if you would think about it. Many greetings and thanks for your great software, Andreas

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What about having the ability to lock areas of the design so they can 't be edited. I’m sure Microsoft expressionweb had a feature for allowing editable regions.

Even locking areas down doesn’t prevent people from uploading massive images (which most images tend to be now that everyone takes pics with their phones.) The BSS software would need to be modified in such a way to resize and optimize the images upon upload - for every screen size.

Cloud website builders like Wix (and even social media websites like Instagram and Facebook) do this to a degree automatically, but everything gets more complicated when it comes to building a website that actually ranks well. Will the person who uploads a new picture know how to write a correct alt tag to go with the image for screen readers & visually challenged people?

I’ve lost count of the number of websites I’ve worked on that were built by supposedly “professional developers” and every image on the site is missing an alt tag. Will the person editing the text understand the relevance of heading text vs paragraph text, or how headings affect the on-page SEO? What happens when the newly posted text on the page no longer coincides with the former page title or meta-description?

When it comes to websites, the phrase “a little knowledge is dangerous” perfectly describes the scenario of allowing the owners of websites to edit their own websites that they hired professionals to build for them. I mean, unless they don’t care about having a slow website that doesn’t rank well, in which case, they’ll just join the millions of other horribly coded, badly performing, poorly ranking websites already on the internet courtesy of Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, Muse, GoDaddy, etc…

I agree with Martin. If a person really wants to edit their own BSS website after they have someone build it, a single $60 investment is peanuts to give them the ability to mess it up to their heart’s content.

I agree also that it shouldn’t be done, but …

What you “can” do is enlighten them. Have them purchase the software and instead of setting up a CSM, charge them to train them on how to edit what it is they want to edit. What I typically do when I hand off a site to a client that wants to do their own editing is explain that fixing the site costs much more per hour than updating it does. I let them choose their poison, pay me to do the site edits for $XX or pay me to fix what they blundered for $XX x 2, and then pay me to do the edits they were trying to do.

If you train them though, it’s a whole lot less likely that they will blunder. It’s really not all that hard to explain the areas “not” to be touched, and what is safe to be touched. And you make good money training people ( I make more doing than than I do doing site edits so … there’s that).

As for the SEO etc.? I once again reiterate ‘Train’ them. If they insist on it that’s their right, they paid for the website, it belongs to them so I’m not going to stand in their way, I just make sure they walk away with enough knowledge to know what not to mess with for SEO, what is good to mess with, what size the images need to be and how to input the content.

Keep it simple, it’s really not rocket science with BSS. Not saying it’s super easy, it’s not, but it’s easy enough to show them the basic ropes. Worse case scenario is they hang themselves with it and you make some extra dough fixing it for them :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi all, there is a lot of truth in your comments.

We (by that I mean all of us here) advise our customers not to use WP, wix & co. for well known reasons. We tell the customers, with us all typos are perfect, the page loads fast on all devices and has a working OnPage SEO.

But some customers need a small CMS and that’s all I have in mind. Not the whole site, but only some areas.
A few examples:

Actions in an organic farm:
Here I created a subpage. A simple authentication, text and image upload based upon a form. Created with PHP (Imagecheck with GD) JSON file as database.

Course plan in a gym:
Was something more complicated (data tables) for this reason I used vuejs and vuetify. Is a client application, so I had to do the authentication with JWT token. Sqlite3 and JSON as database. Small PHP script to handle DBs Upload.

Again to my idea:

Both are very costly and the clients, don’t understand why it is so expensive. Some jump off and use the the WPs out there …

Again to course plan, with a possibility to use the WYSIWYG editor of BSS, it will be much easier. As printninja said, pinegrow has something like that. But I’ve been working with BSS since 2016, I want to keep it that way :slight_smile:

I am more a programmer than designer, so I could help myself.

But I am also a good company, who does not want to leave his customers with a software they can not use. That’s why BBS as a full version doesn’t work.

Hand on heart, most customers come because of recommendations.

My goodness, so much text - if you got this far, thanks for reading :slight_smile:

Martin, wanted to see what BSS can do for us, many wishes were fulfilled, so keep your fingers crossed :slight_smile:

Many greetings
Andrea

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Hello, a very interesting idea, but I think it is unnecessary to create a separate CMS specifically for this … In the block there is a mini CMS as a plugin and it operates only in a separate section such as news … It is worth thinking about this something and I think it is easier to apply and easier to adapt. If the client wants a blog, he will have it as an additional functionality. I think everyone will agree with that …

Just stumbled across something interesting,

Wanted to share this with you briefly.
The AOS library, has also found its way into the BSS :laughing:
Andreas

@nasiusii where can i find this mini cms? :sunglasses:

THX nasiusii,
but i stay with BSS :slight_smile:

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I was looking at Quill a few months back for a project, it seemed quite good, but I was having problems with it wiping out the editable area that a php script was loading, you might want to look at Medium Editor which is a lot more basic (Didn’t allow images if I remember correctly) but sometimes basic is better for the end user…

https://yabwe.github.io/medium-editor/

Me too, for a number of reasons, but I just share how the competitors have realized this

You could choose to just add <hooks> for various flat file CMS system(s). This would allow BSS users to implement CMS aspects throughout their designs and for their clients to use web access to make minor edits as designated. I believe Blocs app is an example of that approach.

This way you could avoid the complexities of reinventing a CMS and instead use existing. There are some really nice flat file CMS options available to do so.

I have to admit that it’s enticing for sure. I have had a handful of clients (heck most of them at first) that wanted to do the updates themselves. When I told them they needed to have a working knowledge of HTML/HTML5, CSS/CSS3, some Javascript ability and Bootstrap Framework, that usually made them say “oh, well you can do the updates for us right?” and that was that. But I have a few that always ask me here and there if anything has come about to allow them to do simple updates like a bit of text and/or a few images on a page. Most of the time just one page is all they want to update and they would have me update the rest.

So Although I say no, I wouldn’t want time wasted on this right now, it is something that might be interesting to look at in the near future once we have most other things worked out and added? Just a thought :slight_smile:

If this is prying, feel free to not answer, but this thread got me curious as to what sort of business model people use for building and maintaining websites for their clients?

I know that many people use a traditional model where they charge a set fee to build the website, and then charge for updates, maintenance, additional features, etc, based on the amount of time it takes. So a typical example might be to charge someone $2500 to build them the website, and then say $100 an hour for updates, maintenance, etc. Many people would bill in 1/2 or even 1/4 hour increments, so a simple photo change might cost $25.00, but adding an entirely new page with a photo gallery might be $400.

Obviously, for clients who do a lot of updates, their bills add up fast, and they can be lucrative clients. But then you also get the people who you build a website for, and then you never hear from them again.

I went in a totally different direction when I started my website business. I decided to not charge people to build their websites. Instead, I sell them a “website subscription” (similar to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc…,) where they don’t have to pay anything (or maybe a small startup fee on very complex jobs) and are able to get a totally custom (no templates) website put up online in about a month with no money down. They don’t have to do any work, or know anything about web design. I do everything, soup to nuts, from editing their photos, to logo design, to setting up their Google Analytics and web console. I’ll even do Google Ad campaigns or Facebook Ad campaigns. In some cases I even help them set up their social media accounts, claim and setup their Google “My Business” listing, etc… (of course a lot of these perks cost extra money.)

They sign a 12 month legal agreement to pay a certain amount each month. Then, after 12 months, they are free to stay with me on a month-to-month basis, or they can quit. For that amount, I build their website, I do all the on-page SEO, I provide them with a free email (additional email accounts are extra,) and they get a secure contact form. All the maintenance and updates are included.

Depending on the particular plan they choose, determines how much time they get each month for updates and maintenance. But, they never get actual ownership of their website unless they pay an additional fee up front. So when a client leaves me, they don’t get to take their website (although they can certainly take any content they have provided.) But I retain ownership of the actual HTML, CSS and JS files (just like the big companies like Wix, Squarespace, etc…) They can always steal the site (though most usually don’t have the skills to do this) but it has happened 2 or 3 times over the past 11 years. Sometimes, they will have another web developer try and copy the design, or the general look and feel, and they change the wording and images just enough to make it not be outright theft, but they rarely get as good a product as they get with me. I generally adhere to the “under sell and over deliver” ethos.

So as an example, I may have a client who I will sell a website to for $200 a month, and it costs them nothing up front, and nothing down the road. They don’t start paying until their site is approved and live. If they want a page of text updated, or an event calendar, or photos changed, or new videos added, it’s included as part of their monthly fee. So in essence, I am their CMS. Unless they go over the amount of time they get each month, they are billed nothing extra. Most clients (I’d say 70%) do not do more than 5-6 updates a year. Some do none. Others do 3-4 every month.

So with my system, there are a number of advantages (and some disadvantages.) The most obvious advantage is I have a rough idea of how much money will be coming in each month. Even when I don’t sell a new website for 3-4 months, I still have an income. Sometimes it can get lean, and other times there’s a surplus, but I’ve found it’s a lot less stressful than the constant ups and downs of never knowing when you’re going to get a new client, or if an existing client is going to need an update done this month.

The downsides are attrition. For instance, I lost five clients in the first 3 months after COVID hit last year. This was (very) distressing, but not absolutely devastating. It didn’t bankrupt me. So like any web developer, I am constantly looking to sell and build new websites, because I’m constantly losing clients. Companies go out of business. Some clients just decide they’d rather try using a competitor, or they have someone whisper in their ear that this stuff is easy, and they can do it themselves. A small number have even ripped me off (had me build their website and then just never paid their contract.) 75% of the websites I have built I no longer do business with the clients. They are either gone, out of business, switch to a different developer, do the site themselves, or ripped me off.

It’s a different approach that I think most freelance web developers don’t consider, but it has a lot of benefits (and some detriments.)

So how do the rest of you run your web development businesses?

I am strictly an hourly setup with a few exceptions. I do run a yearly contract for updates that runs similar to what @printninja has with X number of hours within X amount of time. My contract is a one or the other scenario. The client either uses up the number of hours in the contract, or the time frame elapses and it expires. If a client has a contract with me for maintenance, I charge by 15 min increments after the first 1/2 hour. If no contract, then it’s always half hour increments. I charge a flat hourly fee for all maintenance work and a full quoted price for all new website design. Hosting is included with a new website design for the first year once the site is made live.

All new website fees are due in full prior to work starting if the client wants to watch the site being created real time via links to the test site, or half down prior start of work with screenshots emailed to them for feedback rather than links to the test site. So far everyone has opted to pay in full and I’ve not had any issues with anyone being disappointed or wanting their money back, or anything like that at all.

I have probably an even amount of clients that do nothing with their sites versus those that have monthly updates (barring the Covid 19 pandemic which put a lot of them at a stand still for a while, they are starting to pick back up again).

Most of my clients host with me and I do their SSL certificate purchases and installations and many I manage their domain names as well for a fee.

That’s about it, sweet and simple, the way I like it lol.

All my clients want a flat rate for the website. If you calculate well, that also fits. As soon as the project is completed, I issue an invoice. After that, I charge by the hour. I have gradations for programming, graphics and content. Usually it is enough for the customer if I update images and texts. But some would like to do it themselves. I also refuse to make the whole page changeable. But parts, that are very dynamic, I enable the desire of independent change. Works quite well that way.

I started the thread, because the desire for “can I change some things myself” is growing. Meanwhile, some small businesses are only on Facebook and or WP / Wix. Scary, isn’t it?

Larger customers see that, fortunately still different.

I see the reason in the fact, that the web development is no longer measured by the quality, but only by the price and there, unfortunately, the website builders are always one step ahead of us …