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Web Design Contracts, What you need to know

When purchasing a service such as web design it’s quite normal to be asked to sign a contract or agreement before work commences and for the most part a web design contract is put in place to protect both the consumer and the web designer but there are a growing number of dodgy web design agencies using one sided contracts to make sure they get paid whether they do a good job or not or to force a client into paying ongoing or hidden fees that they where not aware of.

A web design contract should be simple and not be pages and pages long, the contract should simply state that the web design company will design the website and the customer pay for the end result.

With a service as opposed to a product there are a number of differences as you don’t immediately see the end results, so along with the contract their should always be a proposal that clearly states what features etc the website will have and the estimated time frame. It should also clearly show the total fee and should not be one sided in favour of the web design agency, for example the client must be happy with the end result and the site must stay within the guidelines stated in the proposal. A good, professional web design company will be flexible and work with the client to give an end result that both parties are happy with before settlement of any outstanding invoices, however a rogue web design company will have a contract stacked in their favour so you must be aware of the following;

A contract must have an estimated completion time as there are many dodgy companies out their running a business model where their income is based on deposits as they have no intention or the skill to complete any work. This scam works because it is quite common in the web design industry to take between a 30-50% deposit. For a legitimate company this is so the client is also committed to getting the website completed as they have money already invested but for the scammers it’s a licence to earn money for doing nothing… I’ve known of agencies running this scam for up to 2 years collecting as many deposits as possible then simply going into liquidation. It is also important to have a detailed proposal to go with the contract, a verbal discussion with a salesman who simply tells you what you want to hear means nothing so the great professional looking website you where promised ends up being a cheap 2 minute install that looks and functions nothing like you expected and if you simply have a contact that says 5 page website then that’s all the company has to give you as that is all you have signed for.

Also beware of ongoing fees as this is another business model being adopted by many dodgy agencies across the UK. You should fully read any long winded multiple page contracts, although to be honest this type of contract is usually a sign of a dubious company anyway to i would be wary from the offset.

With web design there are legitimate ongoing fees such as annual hosting fees and domain name renewals, these fees should be industry standard so check online for hosting and domain fees yourself and if your chosen web designer seems to be charging outrageously high annual fees then run a mile.

Apart from outrageously high legitimate fees beware of companies tricking you into signing up for manufactured services; I’ve come across companies stuck in 3 even 5 year contracts for these services paying £50 – £200 PCM which include technical sounding services such as Search Engine monitoring, position check, monthly search engine submission. to be honest I’ve come across all sorts of technical sounding jargon that literally means your paying for nothing.

Remember when you launch a website it is picked up by Google, Bing etc after a couple of weeks, you can expedite this process by pinging the search engines or submitting through webmaster tools or similar, what you do not need to do is submit your site every month, once your site is indexed it stays indexed.

Position check!! Yes I’ve come across companies paying a monthly fee for a dodgy web design company run a piece of free software and send then their position for various Keywords/Phrases.

So beware of the growing number of web design agencies using these tactics to force you to pay £1000’s for a website worth a few hundred, if that…

Key Designs have been operating in the Leigh and Wigan area for over 15 years and during this time have completed 100’s of websites, large and small and boast 100% client satisfaction. So if you’re looking for Web Design Leigh or Web Design Wigan, Key Designs are your perfect local partner.

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