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I have designed a few websites for other people. I not charged for my services as it was a good learning experience for me and I done them as a favour.
However I am being approached by people by word of mouth to design websites for their organisation. Sometimes it is just a club other times it is a business. This time I want to start charging for my work.
I'm looking for some advice before I start charging for my work.
Here's some issues that I thought of:
First of all how should I register the chosen domain name? Normally I would just do this myself but I read on this forum that it would be better to get the customer to register the domain name and hosting space. That way it would be up to them to remember to pay the renewal fees. Also they will be covered if there is a dispute with my self.
Second of all there is the issue of the source code. If I sell the website do I still own the rights to the source code? Also if they register the domain name then they will get the ftp password/username thus giving them access to the code.
I will not be designing static websites because that would mean that I would be continually asked to update the website. I will provide the customer with a dynamic website with a content management system designed by myself. This means that they will not have to contact me every time I they wish to make a change. Of course I would have to sit down with them at the beginning and design a site that meets their needs. However not everything on the site will be editable by the customer - and I don't want to be bothered by several customers who request minor changes to the source code.
And last of all there is support. Whether I like it or not they will always come back to me for support. I'm always happy to help but I don't want to be on call all of the time for everyone that I have designed a website for!
Please add your thoughts on this subject.
Why not? There's money to be made from maintaining sites for clients - I manage many sites on behalf of my corporate clients and a useful revenue stream is the result.
Domain names must be registered to the clients, whether they do the work of registration or not. Generally I register names on behalf of my clients, it's part of thge service. As they'll be paying for hosting you must provide them with the FTP login details, and unless you have previously agreed otherwise it's normal for the copyright in the entire site to pass to the client when they pay your final account. They're entitled to ownership of the code - that's what they've paid you for - and why on earth would you want to prevent that anyway?
Don't be in such a hurry to avoid maintaining sites for clients - it's good business - and although content management systems are an excellent idea not all clients bare interested in doing that work themselves. In my experience a lot of people are very happy to pay for that service. If you do use a content management approach I recommend that you use one of the many widely used proprietary systems, rather than spending time trying to develop something yourself.
in the entire site to pass to the client"
That may be morally true but it would still need to be put in writing; the copyright on work done on a commission or freelance basis rests with the author unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Web sites fall under the same copyright conditions as any other literary work.
The licence for the commissioning individual or organisation to use the web site created by a commissioned/freelance author would be implied, but the copyright wouldn't automatically, legally, go with it.
A court might rule that although the first legal right belonged to the creator/author, the person who commissioned the work would be the beneficial owner of copyright. In that case the court might award copyright to the person/organisation that commissioned the work.
To avoid that kind of case it is advisable to put it in writing before the work commences.
The reason why I do not want to give away my source code is because it has took me a long time to develop it. I don't want someone to effectively steal my product and sell it themselves. I'm not talking about the HTML stuff (anyone can get that by viewing the source through the browser) it's the server side stuff. That's what creates the dynamic pages. Then again if they are coming to me to develop a site then maybe I could assume that they do not have the technical knowledge and are not interested in the source code.
I suppose I could sell the website stating clearly that they do not have access to the server side stuff. - But that goes against the principle of open source code (I mainly use PHP)
Forum Editor - If you are right and people are not keen on adding their own content add would be happy to pay for updates then I might not bother with a CMS. With a lot less effort I could simply use one of the many tried and test CMSs that are out there.
I like the idea of setting a price for future updates. This will make them think twice about asking every five minutes.
I don't mean to sound like I don't care or I'm not happy to support users but feel that it could spiral out of control if I don't set down some terms and conditions in the first place.
Please continue to add commments.
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