All reputable web designers will offer a client some sort of written agreement stating the scope of the project and the price. Many other standard, simple declarations such as the launch date, website details, and payment schedules can be included as well. However, there have been many less-reputable web designers that have structured their contracts in ways that can leave clients extremely vulnerable, or at worst, without a website at all at the end of the day.
Understand What You’re Signing
It is important to read the fine print and review all details of a contract. Be fully informed and ask questions of the designer if any verbiage is unclear or confusing. If a verbal answer is not satisfactory, have the clarification included in writing on the contract and notated by both parties. It is much better to have any details and clerical issues worked out prior to commencing on the project both to save time and potentially additional cost.
Read the Fine Print
Recently, at a meeting with a new client, we were discussing details regarding the redesign of their existing site. My first red flag was that they had no login information or knowledge of where their hosting and domain was parked. After trying to get this information, the client discovered that they did not have control of their domain because of their contract with the previous designer. The designer had control of their domain name, and in fact contractually owned their website. The client was effectively leasing it from them for a monthly fee. This is the most common ‘hook’ that most customers will encounter; designers offering a low or no upfront cost for the website, instead relegating payment to a monthly fee. But as part of the agreement, the customer finds themselves without ownership rights to their domain or website, and effectively held hostage to a designer that can now charge any fee they want for changes.
Web Design as a Service
Web design should be considered a service agreement, just like hiring a landscaping company. You wouldn’t lose possession of your yard because of a bad agreement with someone who is only there to cut the grass. Your website is your physical property; treat it as such.
Have Control of Your Website
At the end of the day, you should have full ownership of your domain and any design performed by the website designer. Insist that this is explicitly stated in the contract. In addition, you should have login credentials that are active and functional, and an ability to access the account that your domain and hosting plan is under. Even barring an unfair contract, if the web design company dissolves or you lose contact with your designer, having access to your account is imperative.
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The Fine Print
There is none with Ink and Link Creative. Once we complete a project for you, your website is yours to do with as you will. our customer service and attentiveness keeps clients coming back, not gimmicky contracts.
Call us any time at 256.970.4558 - we can create a plan for any size project, budget, or schedule. Even better, we're local to the Huntsville, Alabama area, and we live, work, and play where you do. Find out how Ink and Link Creative can serve you!