A Practical Guide on Structuring a Contract for Website Design

If you want to develop your business with maximum profit, make sure you have optimized all processes within your company. Although there many issues you have to deal with while working with programmers, manager and marketing specialists, you can’t forget about the other moving force: web design. Designers are working both inside the company and as non-staff workers. Therefore, both business owner and designer need to know how to construct their cooperation. This will save you a lot of time and increase effectiveness of your communication.

Before you accept any web design assignment, it is vital that you have a foolproof contract that will ensure agreement on all vital aspects between the two sides. Having a contract signed and in place ensures that both parties are aware of what the deliverables are, how much the cost is, what the terms of payment are, and what the time frame for completing the job is. Also, the contract is the most fundamental document attesting to the fact that the designer had been authorized to work on a specific project and that he/she is entitled to get paid as per terms contained therein.

Why is it important to implement a web design contract?

Online business heavily depends on the website design, as well as the design of its newsletter, social media profiles, web advertising, ordering forms, etc. When business gets bigger, the number of design projects grows as well, and their complexity, time gaps and cost are getting bigger. However, design is what cannot be put aside giving preference to other components of your brand promotion and development.

The specifics of working online includes unexpected tasks that have to be completed almost immediately. Luckily, when we talk about design, it is possible to update everything quickly in case you have a good specialist that is always available. To get such specialist and develop strong and stable work relationships between you, it is important to define all main requirements and expectations you have in advance. Here is a moment when you need the well-structured contract.

The key steps of writing a good web design contract

The main problem is that while web designers may be good in designing sites, they usually are completely clueless regarding contracts and how they should be framed so that their interests are best protected. Some essential elements that business owners and web designers need to be aware of while drafting contracts:

1. Define the Scope of Work and Specifications

The project scope and specifications are the most important part of a contract. Unless these are detailed, it will not only leave you fuzzy about what you are supposed to design and implement, but also lay the foundation for disputes. Make sure that the contract mentions in as much detail as possible what the web design project entails, including the programs, languages, platforms to be used as well as the structure of the site and the number of pages and graphics and who’s responsible for providing the content.

2. Spell Out the Revision Boundaries

Every project, once executed, will require revisions to match exact customer requirements. However, it also needs to be appreciated that the revisions cannot go on endlessly as then the web design project will never end. Even before mentioning the limit on the number of revisions that you are willing to undertake for the agreed-upon price, you need to discuss it threadbare. All steps have to be talked about to underline the importance of being precise about the requirements and that it is impossible to expect the designer to keep on working on making changes all the time without any additional support. According to one of the senior sales managers of Las Vegas Web Design, lack of clarity on revisions is among the principal causes of friction between the designer and the business owner.

3. Specify Project Dates

Because no design project can be left open-ended, it is vital that the contract specifies certain important dates like work commencement, design completion and approval, content development and design milestones. The contract should invariably specify the completion date, customer review date, and the website launch date. If the payments are linked to the dates, then the contract needs to specify the percentage of the total contract value that is payable on each specified date.

The benefit of detailing all the important dates is that both parties have an idea of what is expected to be completed by which date so that the necessary planning can be done by both parties. As an interested person, designer has to know the specific dates by which he/she has to achieve certain milestones. At the same time, the employer will know the details of payment system and therefore it will be possible to focus on the satisfactory accomplishment of the specified milestones.

4. Detail the Payment Modalities

While the contract will specify the quantum of payment to be received by the designer on specific dates upon accomplishment of certain project stages, the details of how the employer needs to make the payments can also be specified in the contract. It is customary for the designer to provide a number of details on the payment process, for example, in case there are specific demands on using a certain payment system, specific scheduling, or additional options that can be chosen from to ease the process. In case you have a positive experience within the process or you simply have some strict frames you have to work in – do not forget to mention all of them in the contract.


Apart from the points discussed above, it is normal for web design contracts to specify who has the copyright of the website. Usually, the customer will have the copyright but in case there are certain unique elements that are your creation, you may wish to retain them by specifically mentioning it in the contract. The contract should also specify that the website should give you credit for the site design as it could generate further business. All contracts need to include a termination clause to ensure both parties know under what circumstances the contract can be canceled, and what the responsibilities of each party will be in the event of such cancellation. If you are a newbie to the world of contracts, it is best that you consult a specialist, who will assist you to get it right.

To understand the way your contract has to look like, it is important to properly evaluate the work of a designer and how he/she has to interact with the team members that will give the tasks and explain what has to be done in each case. Web design cannot be done in a moment, although it is for sure the best way to optimize the website for the client, increase brand awareness, improve the relevance of the site pages and make ordering form more customer-friendly. All these and many other tasks lie on designer. But a lot depends on the way you work with the specialist, how detailed are your explanations of what has to be done and what are the main aspects of the overall workflow. In case the contract includes all necessary information, you won’t have to spend time on a series of issues and prevent brain drain.

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