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How to Draft Website Terms and Conditions

How to Draft Website Terms and Conditions?

Website Terms and Conditions, also known as “terms of use,” are a set of legally binding ground rules between a website owner and visitors. 

These rules shield your business by providing legal protections, especially in the event of a dispute. If you own a business and are thinking of starting or updating an official website, you definitely want to draft your Terms and Conditions correctly.

Why Website Terms and Conditions Are Important

Here are three reasons why Terms and Conditions are essential to your business:

1. They Limit Your Legal Liability

Mistakes happen, no matter how competent your team and business systems are. This is why knowing how to set up Terms and Conditions that include clauses limiting responsibility from your end can be helpful.

2. They Prevent Content Theft

Terms and Conditions clauses that reinforce your ownership of the content on your website can help you protect your intellectual property rights. This lets users and competitors know that your website’s content is protected by international copyright laws, preventing content theft.

3. They Give You the Freedom to Terminate Accounts

Having Terms and Conditions on your website gives you the authority to terminate accounts that violate them. This way, you can make your website a safe space for users and enhance their user experience.

What to Include in Your Terms and Conditions

The simplest way to have robust Terms and Conditions is to use compliant templates from The Contract Shop to ensure you don’t overlook anything important. If you’re going to take the do-it-yourself route, here are some must-have clauses to be aware of:

User Obligations

Users should always be aware of the limitations surrounding what they can and cannot do on a website. For example, you might want to include a clause that prevents them from using your website in a way that could be harmful to others. This might be uploading inappropriate content that invades another user's privacy or is considered harassment or bullying. 

Intellectual Property Rights

You must protect the intellectual property displayed on your website. This includes logos, domain names, service marks, and any other content on the site such as blog posts and videos. The clause should make it clear that the user has no right to copy, use, reproduce, or redistribute the content of your website without prior written consent.

Product Information and Warranties

Your customers should have a clear idea about the kind of products and services you offer. Adding a clause that includes a concise description of your products is essential. 

Moreover, some products come with a warranty. Your Terms and Conditions can be an ideal place to specify the type, duration, and limitations of these warranties. 

Disclaimer of Liability

Without a clause that states the limits of your liability, your business website can potentially face legal consequences for any time period (even those that are brief) when the site is inaccessible. Therefore, this clause is added to protect your business from facing instances of website shutdown, viruses, online attacks, and contingencies beyond your control. 

Dispute Resolution

No business wants problems to arise from issues with customer service. Therefore, it is always best to be prepared. 

To ensure a smooth complaint process, you should always include a clause that clearly states how complaints should be filed, what information should be included, and where they should be sent. This allows your customers to interact with you in an organized manner if there is an issue. 

Privacy and Data Protection

You should also include a section that notifies users about what information will be retained and what will be discarded. The visitor should be told about your cookies policy and a link to the privacy policy page should be included.

The Takeaway

Once you have your Terms and Conditions ready, remember to place them at a strategic location on your website where they are easily accessible by users. They can be located within your email sign-up forms, in a pop-up box, or on your account login page.

For more specific information related to e-commerce, check out our post on how to set up Terms and Conditions on an e-commerce website!

Kevin Gallagher
Kevin Gallagher

Kevin Gallagher is the CEO of The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, coaches, and more. His background is in helping online businesses grow, having previously worked at Allbirds managing part of their operations. He is proud to report that his digital artist wife Mandy is a happy customer of The Contract Shop®, and his main motivation is to help as many people like her as possible with the tools that they need to confidently manage their businesses.

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