Legal Pages for Website

What are the legal documents you need for your website

So you’ve decided to launch your own website or at least a landing page.  Bravo and good for you.  You’ve take a huge step to owning your content, crafting an email list and starting your business.  But once you start, there are a couple of (admittedly boring) legal pages you should (and sometimes must) have on your website.  Let’s talk legal.  

Privacy Policy Page

First, there’s the Privacy Policy. You may or may not be legally required to have one on there under certain laws. Last year, and after hearing or reading the warnings from several online lawyers about the absolute need to have a website privacy policy, which they sell, or else face stiff fines from countries on the other side of the world, I did a deep dive study into these laws. And I, personally, have come to the conclusion that there’s a lot of bad information out there and that there are a lot of unnecessary or inadequate templates being sold. But that’s my thought. You get to form your own.

Here are some of the statements I read or hear that I do not agree with. If you live in the U.S., you are legally required to have a privacy policy. If someone in the European Union signs up for your newsletter, you have to have a privacy policy which complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you are a California-based business, you have to have a California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)-compliant privacy policy. If you just buy my template (ranging anywhere between $27 and $450), it will take you less than 15 minutes to fill it out and insert it on your website and then you will be completely compliant with those two laws.

As mentioned above, I became incredibly obsessed over data protection laws last year and even considered opening up my own template shop. After my deep dive into these laws, I came to the opinion that (1) those laws do not necessarily apply to you; (2) it still may be a good idea to have a privacy policy; and (3) slapping a template on your website should take more than 15 minutes and will, not alone, make you compliant with those laws. If you are not hiring a lawyer to draft a privacy policy for your website after he or she does a thorough review of your data collection procedures and uses, then you should have a basic understanding of (1) how you are collecting data; (2) what you need to disclose; and (3) what procedures you need to continue to do to ensure you are complying with the policy on your own website.

I do not sell privacy policy templates. If you are a life coach certified by the Life Coach School, they offer a template for you to use on the certified website. (Even if you use it, you may still have questions when it comes to filling in the blanks–I’ve coached certified clients through that). But, just having a template is not, in my opinion enough.

I do think there is a lot of bad information out there. But, I took one course from a lawyer based in the EU, who did a really good job explaining the laws, what business they apply to, and how to actually comply with the laws even after the policy is on your website. She offers a lot of courses, including a free one to just get started, but I found the information in her Privacy Policy Workshop accurate and helpful to actually understanding the laws. You may not need the templates which come with the courses, but the information is helpful in understanding.

Please note, those are affiliated links and if you do make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. But I wouldn’t recommend her courses if I didn’t take them and found them useful. And as my own disclaimer, I’m only suggesting her courses as helpful legal information and not as legal advice.

Terms and Condition Page

Terms and Conditions, which are sometimes called Terms of Service or Terms of Use, are not really required, but are nonetheless a really good idea and I like to have a page that is separate from the Privacy Policy. Terms are basically the contract you have with your website visitors and potential users, customers or clients. They are agreed to by the website visitor by either of two methods. First, there’s “clickwrap,” which is when a website visitor affirmatively checks a box that they have read and agree to you Terms (which is conveniently linked) before doing something like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. Second, there’s “browsewrap,” which is when you include language in your Terms that there continued use of your website constitutes an agreement.

Neither is really a guarantee that your Terms could be held up by a court as a legally binding contract should something go down and you were challenged, but if you do your best to give your user notice of your Terms, make it in readable font, and don’t bury something in there that could be considered egregious, it’s you best shot.

The reason for having solid, personalized to your website Terms is that it establishes rules for using your website as well as limiting liability, protecting your intellectual property, and making all necessary disclosures. If applicable, you’ll set forth any return policies and user account policies. Should there be a disagreement, it will be in your Terms that you establish rules for dispute resolution (and that’s big) and jurisdiction.

Although it may be tempting to just find a template on the web or go with the prefilled out one that came with your website, Terms can actually be important especially if a website user misuses your website, copies your content, shares their username or wants a refund. And one thing you definitely don’t want to do is go to another website with a sort of similar vibe to yours and just copy theirs. This YouTuber found that out the hard way.

As with the privacy policy, if you are a coach certified by the Life Coach School, they offer a template for you to use on the certified website. But, it’s a good idea to read through it and understand it. Other templates are sold by other online lawyers, including the lawyer I mentioned above, but you should still take time to really understand what you are putting on your website and what those words mean.

Disclaimers

Disclaimers in your website legal pages do essentially two things. For one thing, they show all your cards and that’s important because there are some federal and state laws that are going to require you to do so. In a disclaimer, you’ll disclose that you’re not a doctor, psychiatrist, or dietitian, that you’re making a commission off of that affiliate link, or that your post is sponsored by a company, or that your previous client’s amazing results from following your coaching program are not typical. Whenever this is the case, you are more likely than not required to make the disclosure in the actual post. But then, after you do so, link to your full disclosure page. It’s just extra protection.

The second reason for disclosures are really to cover your tush. This is where you’ll try to limit your liability as much as possible. Although having a client or group member sign a waiver of liability, you may not be able to obtain a similar signature for marketing such as Facebook or Instagram Lives, or YouTube videos. This is the next best thing. Make your disclaimer as solid as possible and just go forth with confidence.

Conclusion

In the end, my opinion is that there are laws and legal reasons for you to have these documents on your website and you should have a basic understanding of the reasons why they are there. Templates, standing alone, are not necessarily sufficient and there is a lot of bad information out there from lawyers and services selling templates. But, this should not make you spin in confusion and stop you from putting up a website in an effort to establish your coaching practice and creating content for your future clients.

If you notice you are having thoughts about this that are not serving you and your business, click the button below and we can talk about it during a 30 minute call. During the call, I won’t be offering your legal advice or tell you how to fill in the blanks of your template. But, I will help you manage your thoughts, empower you to make a decision, and help you move forward with your website.

Schedule Appointment

**The information in this post is for general information purposes only.  It is not intended or meant to be legal, financial or other professional advice.  Neither Megan Green nor Megan Green LLC is intending to create and attorney-client relationship with you.  You are encouraged to seek out the advice of legal counsel or other professional advice before acting or refraining from acting based on the content contained on the Site.  Megan Green LLC assumes no responsibility for errors or omission in the contents on the Site.

Add A Comment