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7 Must-Have Clauses in a Website Design and Development Contract

With the advent of e-commerce and almost all businesses going online, there is an increasing demand when it comes to social media presence and the creation of websites along with their maintenance. Website design and development isn’t an easy feat and often requires expertise. But to ensure that the expert engaged does the job and does it well, it is important to consider entering into a website design and development contract. It becomes equally important to hire a professional, who can help draft a contract regarding the same. 
A website design and development contract is a legally binding agreement that is entered between the web developer and an individual who needs the website. It is necessary because it helps define the responsibilities and roles to be performed by both parties so that both work towards the same goals. It negates confusion, misunderstandings and the possibility of dispute. 
Drafting such a contract entails planning and addressing a wide range of issues that could crop up during the term of engagement. 
While no two website design and development contracts are the same, it is safe to say that they are as unique as the resulting websites. 
Some must-have clauses are given below –
Website specifications
This is the most important area that needs to be addressed. There needs to be clarity about what is the business for which the website is to be created and also the platform which would be used to make it. This should also contain details about the design, colour schemes, SEO, functionality and technology along with any other additional material that shall be used. 
Website Maintenance 
It is necessary to clearly mention that the contract is for website design and development only and does not extend to the long-term maintenance of the website created. If such services are needed by the individual, it is important to put a separate clause regarding the same, after deciding on the relevant details. However, generally, there is a particular window following the development, where the developer may be obligated to perform the maintenance work. 
Confidential information 
During a professional relationship, there is a lot of exchange of information that happens, which needs to be protected.  This clause would contain all the information that shall be considered confidential for the purposes of this contract and also how that information will be put to use by the other party. There can also be a non-compete clause that could be put to prevent the parties from poaching each other clients. 
Cost and payment terms 
This clause defines how the compensation is fixed between both parties so that disputes do not arise after the work is done. It should ideally contain the details of the amount and a timeline by which the amount would be paid. A developer would often require an initial deposit of some specific amount in advance before starting work. 
Intellectual property rights 
Intellectual property rights are with the person who is the creator unless such rights are assigned to some other party. Hence it becomes important at the outset to define that the website developer shall assign the IPR like copyright of the content in artwork, and design to the individual for whom the website is created so that both parties are on the same page. If the website developer uses certain intellectual property rights for multiple clients, he would ideally provide the clients with the license for using the same. 
Obligations of both the parties
It is important to define the obligations of both parties to the contract so that there are no disagreements regarding the scope of work that both need to put in. It would also help them not keep unreasonable expectations from each other. 
The individual’s duty should be to provide relevant content asked by the web developer. The web developer on the other hand must meet the timelines set based on the mutually agreed acceptance testing procedure defined beforehand. The developer also has the responsibility to ensure that the website delivered is up to date and without any glitches, which may be detrimental to the business of the individual. 
Termination and Disputes resolution
This clause will state the conditions due to which the contract can be terminated. This may include scenarios where the web developer is unable to finish the work, delays in delivery and failure to pay. The dispute resolution mechanism also needs to be specified, in case of disputes. Mostly, the parties prefer alternative dispute resolution mechanisms like arbitration instead of going to courts for speedier relief. 
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Nonetheless, it still provides an outline as regards the various clauses that must be included in the agreement and serves as a good starting point. Including the above clauses in the web design and development contract can help ensure that the working relationship between both parties is smooth and without issues.  

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