When negotiating terms with a digital agency for your web design project, it’s important to make sure your contract includes a section on warranties. In this blog post, we’ll explain why warranties are so critical, as well as look at what a website warranty should cover.
Why you need a website warranty
Let’s say you’ve launched your website, and everything looks great. But two weeks later, you discover a bug or something else that isn’t working correctly on the site. This could be something small — for example, a button that doesn’t work — or it could be something bigger that prevents the website from functioning properly.
I specifically say “two weeks” in this scenario, because if something is wrong with the website, you’ll almost certainly know about it in the first few weeks. Either a feature on your site will stop working for some reason, or a fresh set of eyes is going to find something.
The big question is who is on the hook financially to get it fixed? This is where your website warranty comes in.
The components of a website warranty
It’s unrealistic to expect a lifetime website warranty.
Website warranties may vary greatly in terms, so it’s important to read over yours to know:
- How long your website warranty lasts
- What your website warranty covers
There is no set standard, but knowing in advance what your warranty covers and for how long can avert lots of finger-pointing later on.
It’s unrealistic to expect a lifetime website warranty, but you should make sure you’re comfortable with the warranty terms before signing your contract with the digital agency.
Does your warranty cover future functionality?
One thing you may want to factor into your warranty is future functionality. Will your website adapt to changing digital trends? The degree to which your warranty covers this adaptability should be laid out clearly.
With a constant and growing threat of hackers, web servers and content management systems are constantly being patched and upgraded to improve security and performance. However, some of these patches and upgrades can prevent code that previously worked well from operating entirely. Code can commonly become deprecated (out-of-date) and no longer work as it once did, all because the hosting environment was made more secure. That’s why you’ll want to ask if your website includes a warranty for upgrades that will inevitably be needed at some point.
To further illustrate this, think about the differences between a DIY Software as a Service (SaaS) site and a more customized site built for you by a digital agency. One of the advantages of building your site with a SaaS website builder is that it will very likely have routine updates that keep your site running smoothly. However, if you decide to hire a digital agency to assist you, you may not be covered when technology advances.
Warranties should be tailored to your project
It’s appropriate to ask for longer, more detailed warranties for longer, more detailed projects.
For example, if you have a particularly large website with lots of features, a sixty-day warranty might be insufficient because it might take longer than that to find all the bugs. Likewise, more complex websites are more likely to suffer compatibility issues as servers and protocols are upgraded, so it would be helpful for the warranty to cover these issues for a time.
Regardless of the terms of the warranty, make sure you know and understand them and can agree to them.