How to hand off websites to your clients

Many developers and freelancers offer bundled services such as hosting, inclusive revisions and ongoing maintenance or support services to their clients. But whether the client actually requires this is down to them. Keep reading for all you need to know about handing over websites to your clients.

Web developers come in all shapes and sizes. There are those of us who enjoy building the foundation for a long-term relationship with clients, and others who tire quickly of the same project.

For web developers who find gratification in instant results, and rather than long-term client work, starting to freelance can raise these concerns.

You might find yourself asking whether, as a freelance web developer, taking on new clients brings an increased level of responsibility in the long term, even if the projects you take on are short term.

So, does working directly with clients as a freelance web developer always have to bring a long term responsibility?

Not always, but in many cases, it can be.

Clients are usually seeking the web development services of a freelancer because they either lack the time or expertise to embark on this task themselves. Most often, it’s due to the latter.

Many clients will require ongoing support for the work you’ve produced, particularly if you are offering web development as a complete service. This isn’t always the case, though.

The is also a large number of clients who simply want to outsource or contract specific elements of a project on a short term basis.

You’ll probably find that smaller jobs will demand less long-term responsibility. Whenever you are offering a full-level web development service, the client will most often treat you as their first resort to any future queries or issues that they may encounter (and quite rightly, too).

For clients who are looking to contract out a small part of a larger project, you’ll find that they often possess the skills (or has easy access to somebody else who does), but rather don’t have the luxury of time on their side.

And hence, they’re choosing to outsource this part of their project to a contractor, freelancer or agency. In cases like this, the client usually feels that any intricate changes that may be needed in the future can be made by themselves, at a time when they have more availability.

For businesses, this could take the form of more available staff in the future, who can fine-tune your development work on an as-needed basis.

Very often, these kinds of clients simply require the project to be functional at a basic level and are assured that they will be able to maintain or modify it, if required, in the future.

Cost is another factor. Some clients simply want the work completed, and prefer to pay for future development or interventions on an ad-hoc basis. In this case, they may find that working with a developer in the short-term meets their requirements at the time.

Many organizations also use certain development methodologies or approaches such as Agile or Scrum, which demands that they complete various parts of a project in ‘sprints’ or incrementally, acknowledging that change or adaptations may be needed further into the project’s development.

If it becomes necessary, the developer’s finished product can then be modified or fine-tuned at a later date.

Many developers and freelancers offer bundled services such as hosting, inclusive revisions and ongoing maintenance or support services to their clients.

But whether the client actually requires this is down to them.

In the event that a developer doesn’t want to take on a project for the long-haul, this should be clearly communicated and agreed upon by the client. This way, both parties know what to expect, and the client is fully aware of what they are paying for.

Developing a website or application of any kind is challenging enough of a task alone, not least when you are bound to providing ongoing support to a number of clients.

Therefore, the details of any potential ongoing work or support should be clearly outlined between the developer and the client, so that both are clear on how the synergy is going to work.

There will be, indeed, certain clients where long term responsibility from the developer’s side is likelier to be necessary.

For larger organizations with internal teams, it’s probably less likely that they will require ongoing support. But for smaller businesses or individuals who don’t want to be burdened by the upkeep or maintenance of a website themselves, you’ll probably find that the developer will be expected to commit to providing some form of longer-term support.

Clients who do require a long term availability on behalf of the developer can actually be a great source of long term, stable income. Or, at the very least, a supplementation to the income you make as a freelance web developer.

Charging a fair rate for providing ongoing maintenance, upgrades, and future modifications can be great for keeping your client engaged.

Not only that, but it also provides a greater opportunity for marketing by word-of-mouth recommendations. Put simply, this is because your client is continuously reminded of your dedication to their business, as opposed to a one-time job completed in a matter of days or weeks.

This could very well encourage greater potential income by the acquisition of new clients by referral.

Working with clients for the long-haul also provides a great opportunity for you to continue to surprise them with ongoing improvements and development of their project.

After all, if your client succeeds then you succeed, right?

Just because you want to freelance as a web developer doesn’t mean you will be indefinitely tied-down to every project you commit to.

Long term availability is neither ideal or feasible for every developer and can be a particular source of contention or difficulty for freelancers.

It’s probably important to remember, though, that there are equally as many benefits to building a long-term relationship with a solid client.