7 Must-Haves for Your Website Development Agreement

7 Must-Haves for Your Website Development Agreement

7 Essential Provisions for Your Website Development Agreement

A website development agreement is a must-have for any web design project. While each development agreement is unique, there are some common terms that most share. Engaging with a lawyer who can draft a customized contract based on your needs is the only way to have all of your web development needs met in full, but here are a few provisions that no agreement is complete without.

1. Website Specifics

One of the first things that should be addressed by every website development agreement is what kind of website is going to be developed and how it’s going to happen. The different kinds of websites out there are effectively limitless. It can be easy for partners to enter into a website development project with their own ideas and standards for what the end product should look like. A good website development agreement helps keep everyone on the same page by providing a clear scope for the project and an agreed-upon development methodology. 

2. Communication Standards and Update Frequency

Standards for communication and for providing regular updates are another must-have for any website development agreement. Everyone might communicate well at the start of the project, but as things go on and people get wrapped up in their own work, progress reports can be hard to come by. That’s why your agreement should contain mandatory check-ins on a recurring basis, along with specifics for what should be included in each update. Clear deadlines are similarly important, and plans should be in place for what to do in case of delays.

3. Designer Obligations

Another useful thing about website development agreements is that they clarify the client’s expectations. This is especially true if they have requests that fall outside of the other clauses mentioned in this article. In particular, it helps to address the size of the project, as well as the details of any potential warranties or indemnification clauses. Clients and developers should also discuss who will be in charge of providing training, manuals, and tech support after launch.

4. Support and Maintenance

Responsibility for supporting and maintaining the website is another area where unwritten assumptions are as common as they are dangerous. Don’t let this issue go unaddressed in your website development agreements under any circumstances! Clients should confirm who will maintain the website after its launch. It can also be a good idea to investigate how much support a given developer offers before engaging with them. Decide on how frequently the website will be updated, as well as who is in charge of making those updates. 

5. Confidentiality and Noncompete Clauses

Most businesses and entrepreneurs have some kind of confidential information that needs protection, such as trade secrets or customer data. It’s because of this that your website development agreement needs to have some kind of confidentiality clause, such as a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). At a minimum, your agreement needs to state if the developer will need to stay quiet about the project and whether they can use the final product in their marketing materials. It should also specify what information needs to be kept private, as well as agreed-upon penalties for violating confidentiality. You can also have a noncompete clause to prevent the parties from poaching each other’s talent. 

6. Force Majeure

A force majeure clause — French for “major force” — is essential to protecting both the website developer and the client from any unexpected circumstance or accident that makes satisfying the terms of the contract impossible. It’s nice to think that the other party would be understanding in the event of something like a hurricane. Still, that’s not an assumption that you want to make with something as important as your website. Get it in writing. 

7. Website and Intellectual Property Ownership

Perhaps the most important party of any website development agreement is how it assigns ownership of intellectual property. It’s easy for clients to assume that they own the work that they pay for, while it’s not uncommon at all for website developers to think that they own the work that they create. These contradictory ideas, when they clash, can cause disaster. Reach an agreement beforehand and get it in writing — or, even better, get a local business lawyer to draft one for you. 

A website development agreement is foundational to protecting the rights of both developers and their clients. It’s an essential part of thwarting liability, litigation, and disputes before they become a problem for your project. For a personally tailored website development agreement, call our offices at (727) 279-5037 or hop on over to our contracts page

Image Source: Man Creating a Presentation on Laptop by Canva Studio under Pexel’s Photo License.

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FL Patel Law PLLC is a boutique business law firm dedicated to entrepreneurs and companies.

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