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How do I edit my own website?

Can I edit my own website?

Basically, we have three types of clients:

(a) clients who want us to do the initial setup, including the domain name, dns, webhosting, initial design, etc., but then know how to edit the website themselves,

(b) clients who never want to make changes themselves, either because they don't care to learn, or because they prefer to spend their time running their business, or both.

(c) clients who want to be in category "a" above, but don't have a lot of experience in HTML.

We are happy to have all three types of clients. We can meet the needs of clients "a" and "b" easily. However, teaching someone enough HTML to edit their own website takes time (it took us years to know what we know now), and can take a lot of time, depending on a lot of factors.

We try to meet each person's needs, but the client may have to spend quite a bit of time on their own learning HTML.

Remember, in elementary and high school, when you would say to your teacher, "Can I go to the bathroom?" and the teacher, trying to teach you the difference between "may" and "can", would say, "Of course, you *can* go to the bathroom. The question is whether you have my permission to go the bathroom -- in other words, if you *may* go to the bathroom."

Here, we have a similar, but opposite, question.

When clients ask if they *can* edit their own websites, the answer is that I have no idea. Perhaps they have the skills, knowledge, experience, editing tools, time, learning capacity, software, computer access, internet connection, etc., and the passion do to so. Perhaps not.

What I expect clients mean when they say, "Can I edit my own website?" is "Do I have permission. Or does OfficesWithoutWalls feel sufficiently possessive about their work that I will be prevented from making changes to the website?"

We feel no proprietary rights to the work we create for our clients. You paid for them; you own them. If you want to update them, please feel free to do so. If you would like to remove pages, add pages, change the text on pages, no problem. We provide each client with the access codes to their control panel, as well as the username and password that can be used for control panel and ftp to change their website and they are welcome to edit their own websites. (please see fine print below)*** So, you MAY make changes to your site.

Of course, we have no control over whether or not you CAN make changes to your website. In an effort to be helpful, we do provide these tips:

Make a backup

The number one secret is: make a copy of everything and hide it from yourself before you start making changes. That way, if you break it, you can copy everything back up the way it was.

In the case of an ecommerce store, making a backup is not quite as simple as it first appears. Please watch this tutorial,


In order to edit most websites successfully, you do need to be able to use HTML. There are free HTML editors available on the internet.

Technically, you can write HTML using something as simple as NOTEPAD, but you will not find it comfortable to do.

One of the many places on the web that lists some HTML editors is this place. We cannot recommend any of them because here, at OfficesWithoutWalls, we use Ultra Dev and Dreamweaver, but you may it find it too expensive to buy those.

A couple of our clients have found this product very useful, Some found it a little hard to install, but easy to use once it was installed. It's fairly inexpensive and you may find it perfect for you. However, be warned that is writes HTML in an non-traditional way. If you later need to ask someone to edit the HTML for you, they may need to start the page from scratch in order to help you. Check it out here, (Again, please make certain to make a backup of your website before you begin.)

If you haven't written in HTML before, and you want to pay us to coach you, we can do that at our regular hourly rate. If you would like to learn on your owne, you will probably find that is a good place to start, especially


In order to make changes to the files, you will also need a way to bring files down from the website and load new ones up to the website. This is called ftp software. There are free ftp softwares on the internet. The most popular is probably ws_ftp.


We have probably already provided ftp information to you. If we have not, or if you have lost it, simple request it by emailing us. It will look something like this.

username yourusername

password yourpassword


If you have an ecommerce store, we don't really recommend that you try to edit it unless you know php and MySQL very well. But, like all other clients, you do have your access codes.

That's one reason why our fees are so reasonable.

We know you have a business to run. And perhaps you don't have the time or inclination to write in HTML, php, or worry about ftp connections. That's why we try to keep our maintenance fees reasonable -- so you can free up your time and have us do the work. Fees for many common update items, such as adding a page, editing a page, adding a guestbook, etc., are included on this page.

Web Design Instruction

If you would like further advice on web design, we charge our regular hourly rate of Forty Dollars US (or, for Canadian residents, CDN) for Web Design Instruction. We DO teach clients what they need to know about web design and, most particularly, about cascading style sheets, for our regular hourly fee. If you are interested, please let us know. We have references and we will set up an online appointment with you and we pay for the long-distance call.


***Here is the fine print:

We guarantee our installation and will repair any problems with the installation of this site, without charge. A number of clients have edited the files and installed revised versions, often resulting in a number of errors. We are happy to fix these errors, however, because we guarantee only our own work and cannot guarantee the programming skills of our clients, we will charge our regular hourly fee (with a minimum charge of Fifteen Dollars) to repair files or cpanel permissions which have been edited by clients.