Your business is birthing, you have started marketing, and you are all over Facebook, Instagram, and your website (all of which are going to showcase your beautiful business to the world).
You have spent bucketloads of time and angst writing the perfect ‘about’ page, crafting landing page copy, taking beautiful headshots, collecting testimonials…
And then your website developer asks you for your ‘terms and conditions’ page.
Yeah, I know—you are immersed in the whole story of excitement that is your business baby and your beautiful website. The whole thing about terms and conditions and disclaimers and privacy policies is like drinking cold instant coffee when your business birthing journey so far has been an extra-hot latte.
I mean, seriously—does anyone even read that stuff, all those long words, legalese that can make you go cross-eyed? You are an entrepreneur, a small business, a quirky gig.
So do you really need website legals?
Yes, you do. And here’s why.
- It is smart business practice to have website legals in place on your website, because if a user (client or customer) takes you to court, you can limit your liability AND protect your rights to your website content. The court will consider the relationship between you and the person who is not happy. That relationship is defined in your website legals, so you want to make sure you have them. (And, even better, have them written and quality-assured by a legal professional.)
- If you are selling a service or product on your website (i.e., there is ‘pay now’ or ‘buy now’ button), you need to have an online payment policy dealing with refunds and cancellations and conditions relating to the purchase. Again, legal requirements aside, providing an online payment policy is good business practice. Why would you leave your clients to second-guess how you want to manage your sales?
So, you have your drop-dead gorgeous website and you know you need website legals. What next?
You need to understand your business processes, because the content in your website legals will be unique to your business and website. The good news is that there are common themes that are part of most website legals:
- limitation of liability (from errors)
- disclaimers (stuff you are not responsible for)
- copyright of your content
- governing law (where any issues will be resolved).
You could copy and paste from another business’s website… but, seriously? Yeah, I know people do it, but you know better, right? And even though it may be tempting, it’s also copyright infringement. It makes sense to look and consider what other similar businesses are doing in their website legals, but copying is bad business practice however you look at it.
Instead of copying from someone else’s website, get help to craft website legals to meet the specific needs and requirements of your business and interaction with clients and website users.
Or, if you already have website legals (even if you’ve ‘borrowed’ them from elsewhere), have them reviewed.
The most important thing to remember with website legals is that you need to communicate to your clients and website visitors:
- how you want the website interactions (including sales) to occur
- how you intend the content to be used.
If you don’t do that, you leave your website and business wide open to abuse and inappropriate use of your content on your website.
Need someone to look over your existing legals or draft you some from scratch?
Work with me to create your website legals so that you can be proud of your legals and know that they represent your beautiful business well. Book your free 15-minute consultation now.
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.