Legal pages on your author platform are an essential element of your website. They are required to protect both you, and the visitors to your website. If you think about it, you wouldn’t just give your personal details and/or credit card information to a random person on the street, so why would you do it on the internet?
In order for us to hand over any information, we need to feel safe and to trust that our personal data will be treated with respect and confidentiality. Safety leads to trust which ultimately leads to conversions.
It is also very important to remember that some legal information is required to be on websites by law and if such information is not available, then the site owner is in breach of the law. This is most definitely not a good place to find yourself in as ultimately, your site can be shut down.
Examples of legal pages that you may need on your website are:
- Terms and Conditions
- Copyright Notice
- Refund Policy
Let’s take a look at each one in turn, what they are and why you need such legal pages on your author platform:
Privacy policies will differ from website to website and content will be dependent on individual websites but privacy documents will contain:
- an explanation of what personal data you collect and what you use it for;
- how people can access data they’ve given you and how they can opt-out of subscriptions etc;
- how you will inform people of any changes to the policy;
- a statement about age restrictions;
- a statement about “no follow” or “do not track” links;
- a statement and how you share personal information with third parties (even if this is just with your email marketing tool).
Terms and Conditions
Website terms and conditions are, in essence, a contract between yourself as site owner and your visitors. They set out the behaviours you expect from your visitors and, in turn, what they can expect from you. Terms and Conditions are essential if you have an eCommerce site, i.e. if you sell anything via your author platform. They can help if disputes are ever raised in association with payments, purchases, intellectual property and will limit your legal liability.
Terms and Conditions will be unique to your individual business but, at the very least, will contain:
- in what country/legal jurisdiction disputes will be handled;
- limits on damages and warranty;
- an intellectual property policy;
- your rights in refusing service;
- how purchases are processed;
- refund policy;
- disclaimers; and
- how any changes in the terms will be communicated and updated.
If you work with brands in any way, you will need to have a disclaimer on your site which highlights to visitors that you are paid for certain links or posts etc. If you display any affiliate links, sponsored posts or paid advertorials then you must have a disclosure and disclaimer statement. A short statement should also be repeated on all posts, pages etc. where content of such nature appears.
A disclaimer cannot rule out action being taken against you, it can help. to mitigate it and will help to protect your best interests. There is some overlap between a disclaimer and a terms and conditions document but they are not the same thing and must be treated as separate documents.
A copyright notice is simply a notice that alerts visitors to the fact that all content on the site is yours and that they do not have the right to use it without your permission. You can give people the right to use your content within certain limits and if you want to do this, you should use your copyright notice to lay out the terms of such use.
A simple copyright notice will include the copyright symbol i.e. ©, the year and the name of the copyright holder (you or your business name). You should also be clear about what is and is not allowed. Remember if you do grant permission for people to use any of your content, also have a notice that you maintain ownership over it at all times.
If you sell anything via your website, you will need to have a refund policy (even if it’s “I don’t accept refunds”). This should be part of your Terms and Conditions, but it’s an important policy that is worth stating clearly on its own. People will be able to find it much easier if it’s separate rather than having to trawl right through your terms and conditions. Be very clear about your refund policy as this will save headaches at a later date when someone raises a dispute.
Make the refund policy very clear and super detailed. Include the following:
- any time limits on requesting refunds;
- how long the procedure takes;
- what happens if items are damaged or not received;
- what condition the item needs to be in for a refund to be honoured;
- where relevant, who pays postage costs;
- when the customer can expect their money back.
As you will see, there should be a variety of different legal pages on your author platform. Not all of these are required on all platforms e.g. where you do not sell anything, but be sure to check what pages you are required. to have and get these in place.
Websites such as www.websitepolicies.com are a great place to find templates for many of the policies you need. to have on your website but be sure to tailor any template to your indiviudal site.
Were you aware of the legal pages you need to have on your author platform? Do you have all of the necessary policies on your own site? What are your experiences of legal pages? Do let me know in the comments below.