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5 Legal Requirements for Websites You Might Be Missing

Imagine this… you’ve picked your branding colours, nailed your logo, and have the most magical website that you just know is going to captivate your ideal clients from the first moment they land eyes on it. You’re 2.5 seconds away from hitting launch on your new website, but then you remember there’s a few important legal things you MUST have on your website. We’ve all been there, and though navigating the legal requirements is not nearly as much fun as designing and launching your website, it is really important to make sure your website’s legal bases are covered.

So let’s dive into the legal requirements for websites you need to have before you hit ‘Launch’.

1. Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a must-have on any website. It’s not the sexiest part of your site, I get it! But it is so important. When someone visits your website, it is your duty to inform them of any data or information that you’re collecting. This may be personal information, their name, email, location, etc. This includes any information that’s collected using cookies. A privacy policy informs users of the data you’re collecting and lets them know what rights they have on your website.

Your data collection method is unique to you and your website, therefore, you need a specific privacy policy for your website, not a copy/paste version of someone else’s. Even if you have a website hosted on another platform such as Squarespace, WordPress, or Shopify, you still need to have your own specific privacy policy. This is one of the legal requirements for an online business’s website.

2. Professional Website Disclaimers

If you’re providing any kind of information, resources, or educational content on your website, it’s a good idea to include appropriate disclaimers on your website. A website disclaimer is a legal statement in which one person tells the other person that they are denying legal responsibility for something that may happen as a result of the other person using or implementing what they're offering.

The purpose of a website disclaimer is to draw your client or customer’s attention to and outline the potential risks that may arise as a result of their use of your content, resources, products, or services, whether paid or not. It’s important to use legal disclaimers when appropriate to highlight any potential risks so that clients and customers can make the most informed decisions around accepting those risks. This helps you limit your liability as much as you can. If you are providing free resources, blog posts and other content with tips and tricks, it’s a good idea to include a disclaimer that the content you are providing is for educational and informational purposes only, since you can’t control how the general public implements (or doesn’t!) the information you provide.

Website disclaimers are most commonly found in the website terms of use section and should be easy to find and understand. As an online business owner, it’s a good idea to include these disclaimers not only on your website, but in your contracts.

3. Testimonial Disclaimers

Another one of the important legal requirements for websites is using specific testimonial disclaimers on your website. If you want to use and showcase client testimonials on your website, you must include a disclaimer that sets out that all situations and circumstances are different and that individual results may vary. A common one for example, goes something like this: Lauren increased her profit by 6-figures in 6 months because of your phenomenal business coaching. While that is an INCREDIBLE testimonial, an appropriate disclaimer saying that these results aren’t guaranteed as individual results may vary. A clear testimonial disclaimer also states that you are not responsible or liable if your client or customer uses your product or service and does not reach their specific goals, unless you provide this as a guarantee, which you should be very careful of. Social proof is so important for growing and scaling your business, and an appropriate disclaimer is just as important.

4. Pop-Ups

How many times have you closed a pop-up or clicked “I accept the terms” out of habit on a website? We’re all guilty of doing it! However, those little pop-ups have a very specific purpose and are one of the legal requirements for websites.

When users visit your website, they need to ACTIVELY accept your website terms of use and privacy policy. Therefore, your terms of use need to be easy to find and understand and you need to include an OBVIOUS way for users to accept. A pop-up couldn’t be more obvious, right?! It gives users the chance to actively read the pop-up, review the policies on your website, and accept. Whether they read the policies or not is up to them, but you can rest assured that you did your part by including an obvious pop-up for them to accept.

A similar pop-up is needed for users to your website to actively accept or change their cookie settings. A website cookie is used to track a user’s behaviour and collect other information while on your website. Cookies are used to help remember information when a user logs onto the website again. If you’ve ever had your name and email populate on a website when filling out a form to grab an awesome freebie or product, that’s website cookies in use!

5. Important Website Terms Users Want to Know

Your website terms of use sets out your relationship with anyone who visits your website and gives details about how they can interact with your website and use the resources and content provided. There are some important website terms that users want to know that should most definitely be included on your website. These terms include clear refund policies and how they can and can’t use the content, resources, or freebies provided on your website. Having these rules set out in your website terms of use gives you something to refer back to in case someone misuses or copies your content, requests a refund outside of the refund window, etc.

As a website designer, I know that all of the legal requirements for websites aren't the most glamorous things in the world. Trust me, the designs, colours, and unique elements are what light me up! However, these legal requirements are essential to keeping you, your business, and your users safe.

It can all feel a bit overwhelming, especially if all of the legal stuff is outside of your zone of genius. Good news, though! I have an amazing, trusted source for you for all of the legal stuff when it comes to websites and online business!

Contracts Market provides clarity to law with their lawyer-drafted, peer-reviewed website terms of use and privacy policy template bundles. These can be easily and quickly customized to meet the needs of your unique business, taking the stress and confusion out of all of the legal requirements for your website.

If you’re looking for a solid website terms of use and privacy policy for your website, you can click here to shop the legal templates!

*Disclaimer - This post includes an affiliate link for Contracts Market templates. If you purchase through the link, I may receive a commission.


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