Tackling Website Disclaimers

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Having a website can be a total game changer in your business, but having a website that doesn’t (at least) meet the bare minimum legal requirements can be detrimental to your business.

Yikes!

Now, I’m no lawyer and I’m certainly not qualified to hand out any legal advice, so please know this is NOT legal advice!

However, I do know a thing or two about what your website needs in order to be online legally and I want to make sure to share that with you so that you can knock out a quick legal audit on your own site and your clients’ sites! Below I’ve outlined the four most important things you need know in order to make sure your website checks the basic legal boxes. At the end, I’ve also included a link to my absolute favorite privacy policy and terms of service templates! (Looking to skip the explanations and jump straight to the templates? Click here!)

No Illegal Activity

First and foremost, you can’t be doing anything illegal on your website. This one is a little obvious, but I felt like I was doing a dis-service leaving it out. In order for your website to exist online legally, you can’t be conducting any illegal activities on your website. Got it? Good. Moving on!

Privacy Policy

Second, you absolutely have to have a privacy policy. This does not have to be crazy detailed, but it does have to be present. If you build your website in WordPress, you are provided with a very, very simple privacy policy that meets the absolute minimum, but I would suggest enhancing it or replacing it if you are able because although it checks the legal boxes, it doesn’t really check all the boxes. The purpose of a privacy policy is to make sure that you are telling your website visitors what type of personal information your website collects (i.e. cookies, names, emails, payment information, etc.) and what your business does with that information (i.e. disclosing that you do not share this information with any other parties, businesses, people, etc. or disclosing who you will share this information with such as a collaborating business). It doesn’t really matter if your website visitors never, ever read this information. It is still your responsibility as a business owner to have this information available. 

Terms of Service/Terms and Conditions (optional, but highly recommended)

A terms of service agreement (also called terms and conditions or terms of use) is not always something that is necessary in order to check off the bare minimum legal boxes for your website. However, it is highly recommended that you have something in place. Having terms of service information on your website protects your business by outlining what website visitors, potential paying customers, etc. can expect regarding how your business operates. Joey Vitale, an excellent lawyer in the online space, explains the need for terms of service in the best way. He describes terms of service as a contract between you and your website visitors that establishes the rules and regulations for your website. If you want to be super clear about the activity on your website such as users may not hack into other’s accounts, may not steal your content, etc. You will want to look into having a terms of service ASAP!

GDPR Compliance (necessary for some businesses, but not all)

There is a lot of confusion out there about GDPR Compliance.

What is it? Who has to abide by it? Doesn’t it have to do with Europe – why do I need to know if I’m a US business?

Regardless of the base location for your business, you’re going to want to check and see if this applies to you. Compliance is fairly easy so don’t start sweating yet! Explained in the most straight-forward way possible, if your website is open and available to any person living in Europe, your website must be GDPR compliant. GDPR is a European law, but is in place to protect European citizens. This means if you’re website is available to European citizens, it applies to you!

Linked here is a super handy guide to everything you need to know about GDPR and how to navigate this law in your business. 

And, linked here is an easy to follow checklist specifically for US businesses to walk you through how to make sure your website meets GDPR compliance, 

Making Your Website Legal

So, if you’re cringing a little now that you’ve read all of that, don’t worry. If you have some legal work you need to do on your website, there’s no time like the present to get started!

The best way to ensure that your website’s legal requirements are fully customized to your business needs is to hire a lawyer to write them for you. But… this can be quite pricey. Like thousands of dollars kind of pricey. If this is in your business budget, I say go for it! If it’s not, don’t worry – you still have really good options!

Remember Joey? That awesome lawyer I mentioned earlier? Well he has a program called The Startup Kit* that is actually a step-by-step process walking you through how to get an LLC for your business. This program also includes customizable privacy policy and terms of service templates. I promise you, even if you’re already an LLC and have zero need or interest in that part of the program, these website disclaimer templates are the BEST templates you will find for under $100 and honestly I would recommend them even over the templates that cost $200, $300+. Joey’s templates are actually what I use for my website and what I recommend to all of my clients! You can get access to the templates and get your website in tip-top legal shape here*!

*Items marked with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. If you purchase the product or service through this link, it will not cost you any more, but I will receive a small commission. Thank you in advance for your support!

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