Not Knowing What You Don’t Know

Recently we’ve had a couple of WordPress clients venture into trying to rework their sites without any discussion with us. In one case, one obliterated a home page and we had to restore from backup. In another, one changed the Site Title to blank, which would eventually impact SEO. We’ve also had clients add plugins without discussion, just to leave them as orphans when they weren’t eventually used on the site.

The upside of this for our clients is that we tend to find out about this pretty quick. We monitor sites daily, we use a variety of monitoring tools, and we can review logs to see what has occurred. But it isn’t always clean nor convenient to fix these issues.

This seems to be increasing, and I get it, clients want control of their sites, and that is why we provide many of ours with a full admin privilege login to the site. But it is putting us in a position to reconsider this practice. Probably the easiest way to do it is to specify that cleaning up a software or theme design problem created by the client WITHOUT prior consultation is going to be an add-on price. People don’t know what they don’t know, but that’s why you hire those considerably more proficient, to keep you operating properly. Just a simple question in advance can prevent a lot of cleanup later.

So we’ll probably be adding some kind of language to this effect to our contracts in the near future. I don’t see us being able to use a set amount for cleanup because cleaning up a site might take differing levels of work depending on the problem created. But a specific notice of additional cost for cleanup caused by software or design changes created by client without prior consultation is becoming necessary.