Why Websites Need Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions

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Ever wonder why every website you visit has a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions page linked at the end? Like—what even is that? And do you actually need one?

Spoiler alert: yep, you do. Those pages aren’t just legal mumbo jumbo to ignore.

Privacy policies and terms and conditions can save you from messy legal battles (and the hefty legal expenses that come with them).

I’m willing to bet that the reason most business owners and website creators don’t bother with legal protections like this is because they’re freaking confusing. There’s no universal rulebook to this stuff—no one tells us why we need them, so we go without, and hope for the best…

Well, not anymore.

In this post, I’m covering everything you need to know about what they are, and why you need your own for your site.

Privacy Policy

With companies like Facebook making headlines for misusing information, or the new iOS15 update that requires users to opt-in to their information being shared with apps, it’s no secret that online privacy is a huge concern for people.

Many people don’t understand the complexities of internet privacy; they just want confirmation that nothing sketchy is happening.

Privacy policies tell visitors how your website will collect, store, protect, and use the information they provide while on your site. Most often, information is collected through sign-up forms.

It may seem obvious that you are collecting their information this way, but a privacy policy clearly outlines what you intend to do with it. When you’re as transparent as possible, people will feel comfortable giving you their information. While they’re likely just visiting your site for a quick scroll through your services or to read your latest blog post, it’s still important to show them that their information is safe with you.

So, how are you going to protect information people willingly give you? Enter: the privacy policy.

A privacy policy explains how your readers’ information will be stored and used, and it protects you in case any sort of security breach happens—like, say, your email marketing platform getting hacked. You don’t want to be at fault for something that’s out of your control, and privacy policies allow you to protect yourself (so users can’t hold you liable for data breaches).

A privacy policy protects both you, the website creator, and the user. Every creator needs a privacy policy on their website; it’s non-negotiable if you are collecting personal data from users.

Click here to get your privacy policy template — use code “BETWEENTHELINES” for $10 off!

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions, terms of service, terms of use, disclaimer… They all mean the same thing. Which is… what, exactly?

Let’s break it down in simple terms.

A terms and conditions agreement outlines a set of rules that users need to follow when interacting with your website. Simply put, here are a few things the user is agreeing to by being on your website:

  • Intellectual property is copyrighted and owned by you, the business owner, and cannot be used for monetary purposes
  • Abusive accounts can be terminated or banned from your website (i.e. hateful speech, spamming others, attempting to infect the website with cybersecurity threats such as malware)
  • You, the business owner, cannot be held responsible for errors on the website or inaccurate or incomplete information presented
  • Laws and jurisdiction depends on your state or country of residence, which must be stated in the terms and conditions

 

If you are an e-commerce company, you also need to have a return policy in your terms and conditions. (It can get really messy really fast if you don’t.)

Especially in the world of online shopping, return policies are something that can make or break a decision to purchase. I suggest making them stand out in the terms and conditions agreement or creating a new page altogether to state your return policies. Make it easy to find and understand for customers.

A form of a terms and conditions agreement is required by law in multiple countries including the U.S., UK, and Australia. So, if you don’t have one… I suggest you get on it.

Click here to purchase a terms and conditions template — use code “BETWEENTHELINES” for $10 off!

How These Pages Impact Creatives and Online Service Providers

Sometimes creatives and online service providers are the most at risk of their intellectual property being misused or stolen. With 100% of business being done online, there’s only so much you can do to protect your intellectual property.

A good first step, though? (You know where I’m going with this…)

Having a privacy policy and terms and conditions agreement in place will protect you the most. If anything related to your business is misused, you have the legal right to enforce the terms stated on these two pages.

If your website doesn’t explicitly state the legal terms found in these documents, and your intellectual property gets misused or stolen, there’s not much you can do. You never stated that there would be repercussions to stealing your business information. In the eyes of the law, you’re at fault, and the thief will likely get away unscathed.

The solution? Grab these privacy policy and terms and conditions templates to customize and post on your website.

Compared to paying for legal fees (and probably losing the battle), the templates are so worth the investment.

As a website copywriter passionate about all things digital business, I want your brand’s virtual home— and intellectual property—to be protected and used for their intended purpose: to make you money!

Other legal documents you may need:

 

Lil present for you, too: use code “BETWEENTHELINES” for $10 off any of the above legal docs! 

I hope you found this post helpful (and that you’re on your way to legally protect your business)!

Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list to be notified when more posts like this go live! And speaking of posts like this—if I’ve now got you thinking about the safety of your business, check out my Expert Interview with my attorney, Chandler J. Esq., all about how to legally protect your brand.


If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:

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