Agency Tips: Guiding Clients from Tinkering to Trusting

Agency Tips: Guiding Clients from Tinkering to Trusting
  • 4 min read

As WordPress agency owners, we understand the delicate dance of balancing client autonomy with website stability. But, and we’ve all been there, we also know that sinking feeling when we see a notification about unexpected changes on a client’s live website.

Especially in a WooCommerce environment, where multiple users – from marketing teams to shipping departments – interact with the site, the urge to “just make a quick tweak” can be strong. But untested plugin installations, unvetted code snippets, and well-meaning but disruptive edits can create chaos and undo countless hours of development work. What can you do? Actually, a lot.

“You are not the user’ has become one of the mantras of user experience, and rightly so. All our work as UX professionals stems from the assumption that we are different from our users. Artefacts that are right for us are not necessarily right for our users: we can’t judge user interface quality based on whether we like a design ourselves. We need to learn how to create systems that are right for those who will use them.”

What to Do When There Are Too Many Cooks in Your Client’s Website

We’re always telling our clients, “Build the website for your users.” We’re usually thinking of frontend users, but as WordPress developers, we need to keep the backend users in mind too. We talked before about the importance of a fast website, for both front and back; so, let’s repeat that mantra: “Build for your users.”

Before you build a website, the “Who will be using this website?” question is usually facing out. But, what about facing in? Who else will be using the website? A customer is on a website for maybe 15 minutes, but someone working on it will be there for a good part of their 8-hour workday.

From installing plugins before testing them to switching out themes “for something cooler”, you’re soon like what the heck – keep your hands off my website!

So how many cooks are there in the kitchen, anyway?

  • You the WordPress agency: Main developer 
  • Your client’s other agencies and integrations: CRM, Shipping, Social Media 
  • Your client’s in-house staff: Marketing, Support, Accounting, Shop Manager, SEO Manager, Bella from the HR newsletter, Wayne the mailroom guy who took a website course.

Honestly, you’re going to be easily outnumbered at least 10:1.

Getting Married? Get a Prenup

Having a client is like any relationship. There’s hope, trust, fights, even breakups. You’ll meet the client’s friends and family too. If you built a WooCommerce store, there’s going to be a ton of people using it to shop, and another ton of people in and out behind the scenes some of whom you may not even know.

Even if your website isn’t an online shop, once you give the site over to your clients, be smart enough to get a maintenance contract with them. Why? Because at some point in the lifetime of that website, you will be only one of many players getting their fingers onto your finely tuned website. And, honestly, relationships sometimes go sour.

“Start talking about care plans early on, especially in the initial phases of website builds. Introduce care plans to your existing clients, and gradually add them to your lead-generation tactics. Additionally, pitch your care plans when it comes time to renew any existing contracts. This gradual approach has the potential to significantly bump up your revenue” – Top 8 Strategies For WordPress Agencies to Increase Revenue and Profitability

Clients Tinker: Here are a Few Reasons Why

There’s no denying that websites break. It might not be the fault of our clients either. This isn’t a blame game. Being ‘proactively preventative,’ goes a long way.

You didn’t test with everyone.

Skipping user testing leads to websites that miss the mark on user expectations. Frustrated visitors are less likely to convert, which impacts your client’s bottom line. Some of that feedback makes it to someone who has backend access, other than at your agency, and like magic, you have an unexpected change on your hands.

You don’t have a care plan.

It sounds obvious, but without a care plan, clients start making their own updates, which can be the start of a bigger problem.

You didn’t train the client enough.

Without proper training, clients struggle to manage their websites, leading to confusion and potentially damaging mistakes. This translates into costly agency interventions to fix these issues and delays your client’s progress. Training goes a long way to building trust  – let your client spread their wings!

Your client doesn’t understand why you built it that way.

This one is huge. Excluding clients from the design process can result in a website that doesn’t meet their needs or user expectations. This can lead to post-launch problems and dissatisfied users. Moreover, unclear communication regarding limitations and best practices can leave clients unaware of potential damage arising from their own actions. If they don’t know what that button is for, they might push it. Oops!

Looking for the best WordPress hosting for your agency? Impress clients with the best performance and security for your clients to make your life easier managing your business

Agency Tips: 3 Ways You Can Build Client Trust and Avoid Those DIY Mishaps

So, how do you navigate the “access challenge” without jeopardizing client relationships? Here are some tips for guiding your clients away from DIY disasters:

Be Transparent

  • Clearly outline the boundaries of client access and the potential risks of unauthorized changes.
  • Explain the impact of any changes on security, performance, and functionality. Show them what happens in a safe, production environment. They may be wrong, but they may be right!
  • Remind them of the value you bring as their agency – especially your expertise to ensure their website is stable and optimized.

Empower Your Clients

  • Create a designated sandbox environment where clients can safely “try things out.”
  • Provide a clear pathway for them to suggest improvements or customizations.
  • Offer training workshops or resources – especially in areas where they can implement change. You won’t always be there!

Foster Collaboration

  • Maintain open communication to understand their needs and concerns, addressing them proactively before they lead to impulsive edits.
  • When faced with a client requesting a change, work together to find a solution that meets their needs while maintaining site integrity.

You can go a long way to guiding your clients away from the temptation to tinker with their website. Ultimately, this approach leads to a stronger relationship, a more stable website, and a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Bonus Tip: Think outside of the box.

Don’t be a Helicopter Agency. Let your client go. By failing and learning with minimal support from you, you may be helping your client to grow. Your goal should be to have your clients handle their own website, only contacting you in an emergency, while you move on to help new clients get their foot onto the ladder. Do you really want to be updating plugins on a website you made in 2015 in 2025?

We’d Love to Show You What the Fastest WordPress Hosting Actually Means for Your Agency!

Grow your agency with lightning-fast, secure, and optimized websites that are easy to set up & manage. Top-tier agencies and online businesses choose as their trusted managed WordPress hosting provider – why shouldn’t you, too?

New call-to-action