Get It in Writing:
The IT Professional's Guide to Essential Contracts

Chapter 1: Contracts that Define Client Relationships
Part 1: Examples of Client Contracts
B: Web Design Contract



Website developers and designers: this contract is for you. Typically, it includes the following sections:

  1. Fees and Payment Terms. Your hourly rate and how you'd like to be compensated. You might also include late fees and payment default procedures.
  2. Expenses. Which party is responsible for domain and licensing expenses (including sales tax). Usually, you want the client to pay.
  3. Services. What you will and won't do for the client. This should specify third-party operations you may handle on behalf of your client (e.g., web hosting and domains).
  4. Completion. The steps each party will take to ensure project completion. For example, you may submit the final website to the client and get their approval in writing. Only then will you publish the website and submit it to search engines and directories.
  5. Deadlines. When the total project and project milestones will be completed.
  6. Copyright. Assurance that the logos, audio, video, trademarks, and photos the client submits for you to use are owned by the client. The client agrees to indemnify and hold your web design company harmless against all claims of copyright or trademark infringement, privacy violations or defamation, arising out of use of the work.
  7. Ownership of Copyright. This specifies that your client retains all copyrights to material they submit for you to use.
  8. Cancellation of Work. Conditions for when work can be cancelled, who retains the ownership of copyrights for any original artwork produced for the project, and billing for work completed up to cancellation.
  9. Other Electronic Commerce Business Relationships. Statement that you aren't responsible for issues related to services offered by outside parties (e.g., interruption in payment processing services, Internet service, or web-hosting service).
  10. Testing and Acceptance Procedures. Your process for testing web elements and getting client approval.
  11. Sole Agreement and Amendment. Essentially, to change the terms of this contract, it has to be in writing and signed by both parties.
  12. No Guarantees. Limit of your responsibility for how much (or how little) traffic the new website generates.
  13. Governing Laws. Statement that the client must comply with federal and state ecommerce laws, copyright laws, and use laws. Get in writing that you can't be held responsible for their noncompliance.
  14. Confidentiality. This replaces a separate non-disclosure agreement. For more about NDAs, jump to page 19.
  15. Security. Statement that your client will hold you harmless for security flaws in the software.
  16. Accessibility, Usability, Cross-Platform Issues. This explains you will do your best to make sites useable across as many platforms as you and the client agree to.

For a web design contract template, check out the one offered by Media Surgery.

Next: Part 1C: Examples of Client Contracts: Service Level Agreement

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