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.
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.
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!
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…)
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.
Other legal documents you may need:
(And for my fellow copywriters, check out this Scale Successful Legal Bundle for all the legal docs you could ever need at a seriously discounted price!)
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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