Newsflash! If you own a website, it is important to have legal policies in place to protect yourself and your users. Yep, you heard it here. Your website is your online “home” and needs legal protection too. In fact, some of the policies below are legally required and your business can be fined, denied from using Facebook Ads, and more if you don’t have them in place (and in the proper places).
- The types of personal information you collect, such as name, email address, or payment information
- How you collect personal information, such as through cookies or opt-ins
- How you use personal information, such as to provide services or marketing communications
- How you share personal information, such as with third-party service providers or government authorities
- How you protect personal information, such as through encryption or other security measures
- How users can access, modify, or delete their personal information
#2 WEBSITE TERMS OF SERVICE
Your Website Terms of Service should include the following:
- The “rules” for using your website, like they can’t steal your content, post mean things or threats in the comments, etc
- Your ownership of the website content, such as copyright or trademarks
- Your disclaimer of liability for third-party websites (meaning, if you you link other websites from yours, whether that’s Amazon, or other sites or products you may recommend)
- Your disclaimer of warranty or guarantee for your website (basically there is no guarantee, you are just providing info and education)
- Your dispute resolution process should something go down, such as arbitration or small claims court (this DOES happen, bloggers do get sued for things like negligence when someone has relied on the information on the blog and gets physically, financially or mentally injured). The Media Law Resource Center estimated that there were $17.4 million in court judgments made against bloggers by the end of 2014 (read more here).
Disclaimers, ah disclaimers, my favorite. They are a statement that limits your liability or responsibility for certain aspects of your website or services (whohoo, we love that). They are not legally required, but they can help you avoid lawsuits or claims from users. Of note, often disclaimers are included in your Website Terms of Service and that’s totally fine.
As long as you get your website policies and disclaimers from a source you trust and know they were drafted by an attorney, you should be good to go!
Your Disclaimers should include the following:
- Your disclaimer of liability for the accuracy or completeness of your website content
- Your disclaimer of liability for the use of your website or services
- Your disclaimer of liability for any damages or losses caused by your website or services
- Your disclaimer of responsibility for the actions or behavior of users on your website or services