Version 2.1.9

Website Guidelines

In-depth website guidelines to help build, refine, or audit your own website to modern professional standards.

Legal

Terms & Conditions

While Terms & Conditions policy is not legally required, it does help limit your liability should any future legal issues arise; it sets the contractual terms and rules of using your website. This is especially important for websites where users can post content, sign up for accounts, and e-commerce sites.

Your website should have a terms and conditions policy which outlines the site owner/contact information, your limitation of liability, the user notification process of updating the terms, as well as your country of governance.

In other words, Terms and Conditions tells the user that you’re not responsible for anything bad that happens when using the site.

In the U.S. it was found that 97% of people ages 18-34 consent to legal terms and services conditions without reading them.

Further Reading

Terms & Conditions

While Terms & Conditions policy is not legally required, it does help limit your liability should any future legal issues arise; it sets the contractual terms and rules of using your website. This is especially important for websites where users can post content, sign up for accounts, and e-commerce sites.

Your website should have a terms and conditions policy which outlines the site owner/contact information, your limitation of liability, the user notification process of updating the terms, as well as your country of governance.

In other words, Terms and Conditions tells the user that you’re not responsible for anything bad that happens when using the site.

In the U.S. it was found that 97% of people ages 18-34 consent to legal terms and services conditions without reading them.

Further Reading

Privacy Policy

There are no overarching laws that require you to have a privacy policy in the US, but many common marketing tools require you to have a privacy policy, and you may also be obligated under CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act); it’s best to have an updated policy to save you a headache down the road. Be sure to check all third-party tools you’re using – like email newsletter integrations, Facebook Lead Ads, and Google Analytics – for any additional information that may be legally required to be in your policy.

Your website privacy policy needs to outline the site owner/contact information, what types of information your website collects, how the information may be shared, used, or stored (including with third-parties), the user notification process of updating the privacy policy, as well as the effective date. The policy should be easily found on your website, and be written in clear language that users can easily understand.

Skipping out on a privacy policy is just asking for trouble. Ultimately, privacy policies provide a safeguard for both you and your visitors.

A privacy policy is a vital part of any website’s legal framework and shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s also a key indicator of credibility, trust and your dedication to protecting your users.

Further Reading

Cookie Policy

Cookies are bits of data that track user activity and help websites function. While you do need a Cookie Policy for CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act) compliance, it is not otherwise legally required in the U.S. (yet – but it is part of GDPR compliance). However, providing this information helps show your respect for your users privacy, and helps improve your credibility.

The cookie policy on your website should explain what cookies are, the types of cookies that will be used, how your website uses cookies, and how a user can delete, control or opt out of cookies. The policy should be easily found on your website (it can be added or part of your privacy policy), and be written in clear language that users can easily understand.

The purpose of the cookie policy is to explain the consequences of allowing or disallowing cookies so that visitors can make an informed decision.

Further Reading

Website Copyright

A website copyright notice helps protect the hard work and creativity that goes into your site from being stolen. This helps you have legal baring if someone does steal content published on your site. It can also be beneficial to outline further terms of use of your content in your Terms and Conditions policy.

Your website needs a copyright notice in an easily found location (commonly found in the footer), that includes the copyright symbol or word copyright, the year of publication, and the copyright owners name. As websites are constantly being updated and changing, you ideally want to keep the copyright year updated to the current year.

A copyright notice tells users that your website belongs to you and that they cannot copy the content without your permission.

Further Reading

Content Attribution

Just because something is publicly available does not mean it is in the public domain and available freely to use; no content can be used without a license or other permission. It’s safest to assume all work is copyrighted unless otherwise specified.

Your website needs to use original content, own licenses to use content, or properly attribute the creator or author. Stealing others work is a copyright infringement and puts you at risk of major legal repercussions.

Copyright infringement carries fines anywhere from $200-$150,000 per instance, even if you weren’t aware of the infringement.

Content theft = Plagiarism. Plagiarism = theft. And theft is theft is theft is theft.

Further Reading

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