Total Control History – What is Editable, What is Not and Why

Screenshot of the PaperStreet Total Control CMS interface, showing the navigation menu with options like Admin, Home, Content, Blog, Attorneys, Practice Areas, Offices, and More Modules.

Total Control is our base Content Management System (CMS). It has been running for over 15 years now and supports hundreds of law firms. Clients can edit almost everything on their website, but we do run into situations where some things need a designer and developer’s touch.

This history of Total Control is that we originally coded the system in 2003 to give 100% control of the website to our clients. We offered the ability to edit all files, including the header, footer, CSS, JS and even PHP files. 

Clients loved the control, but it was chaos. Clients broke pages regularly. They edited footer files that crashed the site. They added large fonts, crazy images and made their website look like well . . . crap. It was too much control. 

So in our second version in 2004, we gave clients Mostly Control. We kept the name Total Control because it still sounded cool. Mostly Control simply does not roll off the tongue well. 

We updated the system so that certain elements that never really change, and were more complicated to update, were updated by our web developers and designers. This allows clients to focus 98% of what they need in routine updates – adding pages, removing pages, editing pages, creating photos, updating content, editing menus, changing headlines, uploading files and other great features. It alleviates the need for our clients to know code. 

Screenshot of a PaperStreet Total Control CMS dashboard with options for Content, Blog, Attorneys, Practices, Offices, and Social Media. Each section has "Add" and "Edit & Manage" buttons.

We handle the heavy 2% of changes that required more knowledge of PHP, CSS, JS and HTML. This helps clients best use their time on content and we work on the code. We offer same-day updates with speed and accuracy. 

For changes that clients need help on, those changes are usually in the core layout files of the header, footer and style sheets. We routinely help clients with:

  1. Logo Updates
  2. Phone Number Updates
  3. Address Updates
  4. Social Media Icons

These are regular updates that we handle. We code these images and text directly into the templates because it is easier and they don’t often change that much. It could be years before a firm moves or updates their logo. Depending on the client, we sometimes code them dynamically so that the business’s module and social media module will auto pull address info and social links. Other times, it is just easier to code it once in the theme file. 

If you need routine access to make these changes, then we will simply create “widgets” that you can then edit the text too, and they will appear on the site. We would recommend this if we are updating the item at least once a quarter. 

Alternatively, we can have our team update as needed. Typically, if the update is infrequent and once per year, we will do the update for you. If it happens regularly, we will code a widget. 

If you have any questions about Total Control, drop us a line in the comments. 


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