How to set up a website with the correct legal framework

By:

Date: 18 November 2021

Two people at a desk, working on a paper document

Setting up your website with the correct legal framework will make sure that both you as a company and your clients are protected. It is a way for you to lay out what you are offering your clients in a clear and transparent manner and can protect you from legal action in the future.

What should be included in the terms and conditions?

Terms and conditions, though not a legal requirement, are a recommended addition to any website. Mainly, having this page can limit your liability in the case that a customer makes a claim. 

Additionally, it protects your right to any content contained in your website. Regardless of the content of your website, you should make sure to include a notice about copyright in order to protect your intellectual property rights.

In the terms and conditions, you should clearly express the contractual terms between you (the business) and the customer. They should clearly state who is subject to the terms and conditions, copyright, privacy policy, restricted behaviours, prohibitions, warranty, what would get a user banned and how data is used on the website.

"As a general rule of thumb, you will need a disclaimer removing any liability from errors in your website's content as this limits any future liability," explains RQC Group, a compliance consultant.

"Disclaimers such as this are even more important for websites that have public comments or forums as you will need to limit your liability from any offensive external postings. Adding something simple such as that your company is not responsible for statements made by third parties will help to protect you in the long run."

You should personalise the language and tailor the text to suit your website and company. For example, if your product has any age restrictions for users, this should be stated here. Additionally, if you are an ecommerce website, you would specify the terms of payment policy, refund and shipping terms.

Your terms and conditions should also relay where your website is operating as this will affect the governing law.

Is privacy policy a legal requirement?

All websites will need a privacy policy which is a way of letting users know how their personal information is being gathered, used and protected. When creating a website, your commitment is to user privacy, thus you need to be fully transparent. 

Users of your website will refer to your privacy policy to see how your website is adhering to laws on privacy so you should write your privacy policy in language which is clear and easy to understand. 

Due to ever-changing laws, you should update your policy regularly to reflect any changes, both within the law, your business or your protocols. Make sure your privacy policy is dated and if any changes are made that you also update the date. 

How can I make sure my website adheres to GDPR?

All companiess need to adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to ensure that customer data is being handled correctly. In order to assure your clients that you comply with GDPR, there are a few measures you should take.

If your website uses any plugins, you should review them to assess how they might be using your user's data. This use should be included in your privacy policy and users should consent to their usage.

When using cookies on your site, you should obtain clear consent. A typical way to handle this is by using a popup when the user first enters the site which asks them to consent to or decline cookie use.

As much as possible, try to limit the amount of data you are collecting and storing from your clients. This could include simple actions such as cleaning up your mailing lists and limiting the amount of form submissions clients are required to fill in.

What should be included in the website footer?

In general, your website footer should contain a copyright notice, contact information and social media icons where relevant (see an example). Here is where you should include the links to your privacy policy, sitemap and terms of conditions.

If you have any specific certifications or credentials, these badges should be displayed in the website footer. This helps establish trust for users visiting your website. 

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by Tudor Lodge Digital

What does the * mean?

If a link has a * this means it is an affiliate link. To find out more, see our FAQs.