I met with a client recently in order to gather her requirements for a project. All sounds quite do-able... except for one request with regards to doubling the lengths of user visits on her website.

I am quite certain I can improve the lengths of visits on their websites... but I can't promise that they will double.

What should I do in terms of writing my proposal? Say that the ideal situation is to double visiting times, rather than promising it?


No, don't make that kind of promise. You can promise to take specific actions which might be likely to lengthen the duration of user sessions, such as what is described here, but you can't put a blanket promise in the contract to "double" the length without exposing yourself to legal action. What if it doesn't work? What if external conditions change? You'd still be on the hook; if you promise it and it doesn't work out, that's a breach.

  • thanks, that sounds about right... we did discuss in the meeting ways to achieve doubling the time spent, so I'll just state in the proposal that I will take those measures in hope that we will be successful, but can't guarantee it
    – user15733
    Jul 10 '17 at 18:12

Even though the request in itself is pretty clear and quite easily measured, it might be worthwhile examining what the client really wants.

If time = money, the request for 'doubling time spent' could actually mean 'double my money'.

If so, perhaps the focus should shift to money instead of time. Perhaps there are other ways to monetize? Betters ads? Memberships? Premium content?

Having said that, if the client is fixated on doubling time spent - you will have a decision to make. If the client wants to penalize you somehow for not fulfilling the request, suggest you are rewarded for over-delivery. That might make them think twice - but it can also potentially make you more of a business partner than a freelancer.

Before accepting the risk, consider to which degree you actually influence user behavior. Even the best technical solution will not get attention if the content is worthless. If the client insists on you bearing the entire risk of something partially out of your hands, walking away might be the best option.

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