website policies

Policies for Websites: Keeping Your Site Legally Compliant

Owning a website, whether it be for personal use or business-related, is becoming more accessible to a wider audience. Maybe you’re looking to promote yourself through an online portfolio, perhaps you’re in the midst of launching a small business with a plan to sell goods online, or you’re simply laying the groundwork for an idea that’s been wandering around in your head for some time now – either way, there are website policies you should follow if you want to ensure your website is legally compliant.

Besides staying on the right side of the law, your website should make your users feel safe. Consumers are not going to give their personal contact information to an untrustworthy website, which means enacting these policies can help you offer users peace of mind and a better chance at conversion.

In this blog post, The Partnership will review policies that belong on your website in order to remain legally compliant.

Terms & Conditions

According to WebsitePolicies.com, the Terms & Conditions agreement is “a page on a website that sets out the rights and responsibilities of anyone using the site. It effectively forms a contract between the site and the user.” However, it’s important to note that Terms & Condition pages are not a legal requirement, but a highly recommended one.

If your website deals with any form of interaction with its users such as ecommerce, commenting options, blogs, or social media, you should absolutely have a Terms & Conditions page.

Why?

For legal protection. While unlikely, a legal dispute could arise in regard to your website – but with a Terms & Conditions page, the courts will have access to it in order to discern the validity of a complaint.

But what exactly should be included in Terms & Conditions? How robust should this one page really be?

There is a high chance that this page will be the dullest on your website – but as we’ve said, it’s still important. According to WebsitePolicies.com, your Terms & Conditions page should typically contain the following:

  • Limit of Liability
  • Copyright
  • Country of Governance
  • Change Clause

If your website is an eCommerce site, you should also consider:

  • Description Disclaimer
  • Price
  • Returns and Refunds Policy

For explanations of these terms, click here.

Privacy Policy

Privacy is not an uncomplicated phenomenon and in recent years, it has become a more controversial topic when discussing it as a human right.

The definition of a Privacy Policy, according to PrivacyPolicies.com, is “a statement or legal document that states how a company for website collects, handles and processes data of its customers and visitors. It explicitly describes whether that information is kept confidential or is shared with or sold to third parties.”

This personal information may be a person’s name, address, email, phone number, age, sex, marital status, race, nationality, or religious beliefs.

In a world of privacy breaches and constant changes in internet security, it’s important to have a Privacy Policy in place in order to let your users know that their privacy is respected within your business practices. Everyone can agree that there is no validity to websites that don’t respect their user’s personal information. Breaches of this personal information can have serious consequences such as identity theft or the selling of user information – both personal and financial (credit card/banking information).

Privacy Policies should be on every website – especially if your site handles, collects or processes any customer information.

Copyright Notice

A Copyright Notice is actually not a required legal policy; however, it’s a great way to deter others from lifting, stealing or “borrowing” your content.

According to CopyBlogger.com, a copyright notice makes your visitors aware than your content is legally yours and they do not have the right to use it without your permission.

There are three technical requirements for a copyright notice:

  • The Copyright symbol ©, or the words “Copyright” or “Copr.”
  • The year the website was published
  • The name of the copyright owner

Typically, it’s best to put this information in the footer of each page of your website. That way, if you ever need to file a formal complaint or sue due to infringement, the existence of your copyright notice will establish that the perpetrator was aware prior to legal action.

Final Thoughts

A website can open doors for you and your business, but not if you’re going in blind. There are several requirements, rules and regulations that all website owners should be aware of. At the end of the day when your policies are all in place, you will be able to offer a pain-free, respectful experience to every user and keep yourself on the right side of the law.

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