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Web Design/WordPress - Third Party Developer access


Do I need to restrict what access I provide to a third party developer that will be updating a WordPress template.

The individual asked for cPanel log and password but my hosting company said not to provide that and set me up with an FTP to use. I would like the developer to be able to update and see the corrections live versus uploading all the files and testing then? Is there a SOP for this? Could you advise on how I should be doing this?   

I am new and a little confused. When I asked the developer he said if I am not comfortable with providing cPanel that all he would need is the WordPress dashboard log info. He would only need cPanel if there is a bigger issue or something goes wrong within the site.

- Is that correct?
- Do I need to restrict any access in the WP dashboard?

Eventually I would like to add some type of e-commerce, accept credit cards or payPal. When dealing with a third party developer are there any precautions I should take here? I am not sure how the e-commerce part works at all but I am sure I would need to provide them with sensitive info. at some point?  

Thank you, Mr. Somerfleck, I really appreciate your expertise and knowledge!

Sudden Impact Web Design
Sudden Impact Web Desi  

Responsive Design
Responsive Design  

The problems with web design today (and hence internet marketing, which is a process) is the free template generator types of services such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and "how cheap can I get this" sites such as eLance and Upwork take what is a process, then take an aspect of that process and turn it into a one-off commodity. The public then begins to see web design and internet marketing as separate, either free or cheap as a cheeseburger, and the number of jacked-up, cheap, non-functioning websites proliferate.

At Sudden Impact Web Design, we love our clients because they help keep our business afloat, but they're not web developers, internet marketing experts, familiar with eCommerce, or SEO experts. Most in fact don't know what SEO is, how it works, why it works, and don't really want to know because they have professions and lives outside of that area of expertise.

My point that I'm getting to in a roundabout way is that non-developer clients really should not be taking on the role of developer, and when you have non-developers telling web developers what to do and how to do it you have websites with no SE0, that are not responsive, and that are essentially what the client paid for - static, one-off items that sit online never helping the business in any real way at all.

I allow clients access to their sites essentially as visitors, but not so that they can change coding at will, download plugins, or change the structure of the site. Most would unknowingly and unintentionally break their site without ability to fix it (if possible).

In order for me to work on a client's site, that someone else created, I would be unwilling to touch it if I could not have the username and password to log into that site as an Administrator. But I also explain this to clients who ask for help in such a way and won't go the FTP route (which can work easily but just takes alot more time).

You should only give access to your WP Dashboard (and the CPanel, which to me are the same) to people whom you can trust. I met one man (no kidding) who had an online dating site. He was very cheap or very poor (according to him). So he found "developers" at bars, bought them beers and food, and in exchange asked for web design work. Needless to say his "business" is kaput and never had a chance because he gave everyone access to the Cpanel/dashboard. When working with developers you should require that they have verifiable references. This will weed out most. Then look for a portfolio of past work, live sites, SEO ability, look for related education, and writing ability.

If a developer doesn't have these skills, run in the opposite direction. At Sudden Impact Web Design, we post references/testimonials very clearly, along with related education, SEO work, eCommerce samples, case studies, and "hide in plain site." Those that don't do this or can't do this aren't in a place where they can help a business grow and more likely than not are not very experienced. So you get what you pay for and seek out ultimately.

I don't work on others' sites for the most part, simply because it's relatively impossible to know what someone else did, why they did it, how they did it, what tools they used; so in many cases it's easier and faster to simply create a new site and move on with the client then having an improved site that can be part of an ongoing process if they are able to execute that, want it, understand it, and value it.

But to get back on the primary topic, yes, you should be willing to give access to a developer who is open to working on a broken or malfunctioning site, but you should make sure they're experienced and have credentials and references first, pay them first, make sure they're registered with a local Chamber of Commerce or BBB, and then proceed very clearly documenting in writing what you want done and their understanding and agreement that they can do that and will.  

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David Somerfleck


I've been developing professional-level websites for small-to-medium businesses since (at least) 1998. I can answer any questions related to WordPress, website development, training, eCommerce, set up, marketing, social media integration, business management, and small business development as it pertains to integrating internet marketing, and Search Engine Optimization.


I have 10 years' experience developing websites for small to medium sized businesses, have successfully started two profitable businesses on my own, and have been training people from all walks of life in web design, SEO, and WordPress since 2010. I have a BA in English, and also have worked as a professional journalist, copywriter, editor, and educator.

Aurora Chamber of Commerce Colorado Technology Association The Internet Society Freelancers Union International Webmasters Association Denver Better Business Bureau Colorado Small Business Development Center Network Denver Metro Volunteers SCORE Denver Foothills United Way Denver IT Alliance former member Society of Professional Journalists Investigative Reporters and Editors American Federation of Teachers

Gulfshore Business magazine Naples Daily News Cape Coral Daily Breeze Fort Myers Neighbor newspaper

BA, English 10 years' experience in web design 10 years' experience in educational program management and teaching Training people in WordPress, web design, and SEO best practices since 2010

Awards and Honors
Published in over 50 periodicals

Past/Present Clients
AOL Caribou Coffee Ruby Moon Investigations Even Flow Coffee small to medium businesses and startups across the US

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