“I'm a business owner who would like to manage my own website. Can you teach me?”
This is a request that I get at least a couple of times per week. It's nothing unusual for site owners to be unhappy when it comes to depending on a web developer to make the changes and updates they need. It makes perfect sense. These days, websites have evolved to be much more than an online business card. They are now rich publishing platforms which require continuous updating to feed and inform our information hungry customers. Because of this, it has become very unwieldy to keep relying on an external company for content updates and simple changes.
Luckily, technology has been quickly evolving to make things easier, less expensive, and at the same time offer a greater level of control then ever before.
Still, there is some good and bad news for those seeking to do it yourself. The good news is that content management systems like Joomla and Wordpress can make managing your content readily possible for those lacking technical skills. The "bad" news (only bad depending on your point of view) is that even with these systems, you're really not going to get much farther than basic content management without a professional background. Unless you're not concerned with the site maintaining a professional appearance across all browsers, the ability to change the layout and most graphical elements is something that requires a professional.
I offer two solutions for business owners who want to manage their site. The first is to build a new site based on a content management system and then train you to use it (which is not difficult). The second is to train you to use your existing CMS if you already own one.
I do not offer: Training beyond basic content management to those who aren't interested investing the necessary time and to take regular lessons for a period of time. Changing the graphics/layout/theme of your website is a skill that requires extensive training (and practice) to properly do. There's a lot more to it then you may think, and it's not something you want to cut corners on if you care about presenting yourself and your business in a professional image.
So in a nutshell unless you are someone who plans on web development as a career, I would not recommend trying to go beyond basic content management. But on a trip back to the good news, the options you'll have for even "simple" content management are getting better all the time. There are many great photo galleries (with automatic resizing and thumbnail creation), shopping carts, events calendars, newsletters, forums, etc. available as extensions that can be set up to allow you a lot of control.
If set up properly, a CMS can put quite a bit of power in your hands... while lowering your web maintenance costs. But you'll probably not want to throw away that rusty web developer quite yet ;)