Before I go into the ethics for a web development business, I would like to share a small story that led to writing this particular blog.
Recently I met a web development company owner through a networking event. So, we decided to have a formal meeting, where we could find opportunities for collaboration.
And then the day of the meeting arrived, first of all, it was after office hours.
Which is, something I don’t recommend unless it is very important or a social meeting.
So, during the meeting, my partner and I showed various websites that we had built for the clients.
Now this person started pointing out various problems with our websites. (None of the things this person mentioned are actual problems). Some of these things were, you cannot build a custom website with WordPress, you have to use theme sold on ThemeForest only, designs are pretty limited with WordPress and so on.
The guy had almost nothing positive to say about our websites.
Then he started showing websites built by him. He was so in love with his sites, saying things like this what we design, this is the experience you should aim for and whatnot.
Then he said he charges almost 5x of what we charge because his websites are all custom designed and provide an experience.
There was only one issue with this.
None of the websites he claimed to be built by him from scratch, were developed from scratch.
All of them were HTML templates purchased from ThemeForest.
To explain the issue further, let me go step by step.
Here is what we tell the client
We are very clear about it. The client is also evident with it, and we can provide evidence of the same.
Here is what this guy was telling the client
He was claiming to develop custom websites from scratch, charging a very high price for it and yet buying the readymade template on ThemeForest. He was duping the clients in the process.
And his such activity was not limited to just websites; he was buying readymade videos from VideoHive and claiming them to be his creations.
Therefore I am compelled to write on the ethics of web development business.
Every business in the world has to follow some general ethical norms and some norms specific to the industry.
So, let’s see the specific ones.
1. Completely custom vs readymade templates
It is a well-known fact that the completely custom-built websites cost much higher than the sites built using a readymade template and them making changes in them.
And even though we as a web development company know that we can buy readymade templates, the client may or may not know it. And you should not take the disadvantage of that lack of knowledge.
When we pitch a custom website, the website then should be custom-built. We just cannot claim something as custom-built that is built using a standard template.
This is entirely unethical, and it is fraudulent.
2. Writing credits without permission
Adding credits without the consent of the client. Writing credits like ‘Website built by X company’ in the footer of the website is a thing of past now.
But still, some web development companies prefer to do it. Now, if you prefer to write credits in the footer, make sure you are taking the permission from the clients for the same.
Some clients have no issues with it and will permit you.
Some clients don’t give such permission. In this case, some unscrupulous companies still write the credits, but they set the font colour the same as that of the background.
So that the client cannot see it, but still the search engines will count it as a backlink.
This is unethical.
3. Reusing images and other content
Sometimes clients provide us with some photos that are their images. Maybe they have purchased them from some stock images website.
In such cases, clients own the right of using the image. You cannot use these images for your other project.
And this is not just restricted to images, but it extends to videos, written content and any other type of content.
Some other points are like
- Corrupting the files from a server on non-payment. You should not damage the data on non-payment. You can simply stop the service.
- Not adhering to the non-disclosure agreements (NDA). This is unethical as well as illegal.
- Changing passwords of the client’s account without prior approval.
The story doesn’t end here.
Whatever points I have mentioned above are just a few things you should observe. However, in your day-to-day business activities, you should evaluate every decision that you are taking.
Ethics is not a list of few points talking about the dos and the don’ts.
But it is instead a framework where you should evaluate every decision.
Ethically running your business is a choice, and I hope you will choose the right path also make your list of ethics of web development business.