Why Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions

If you have a business, chances are that you have a website as well. And if you are lucky, that website was a custom web design by Idea Marketing Group – that’s us! The benefits of having a website are manifold – from branding and organic lead generation to customized service delivery and email list growth. Indeed, a website is a perfect medium to introduce yourself and your amazing ideas, as well as to grow your business to new heights. 

Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy for Websites

However, did you know that if your website does not have good Terms and Conditions you may be giving up certain rights and not protecting your business and yourself as well as you should? Furthermore, did you know that if you do not have a Privacy Policy, you are breaking the law?

In essence, these documents are contracts between you and every person who visits your website and may even help increase positive customer relationships by setting the ground rules and establishing that you are transparent.

What are Some Great Advantages of Having Terms and Conditions?

The beauty of Terms and Conditions is that visitors and users of your website are automatically subject to the rules simply by being on your website; there is nothing to sign and no extra steps to take. A big advantage of these rules is something that will improve customer experience: you can specify what actions are acceptable and what actions will not be tolerated. 

For example, you can stipulate that spamming is not allowed and that hateful, violent language will not be tolerated. Finally, you can acknowledge that you can delete anyone’s account if they are breaking these rules. This step will give you control of your website and will improve the user experience by making your website a positive and welcoming space.

Another advantage of having Terms and Conditions is that you can specify where disputes will be resolved. For example, let’s say that you are a business coach based in Chicago that offers a few classes online on your website. A client took the class but did not receive as much value for his money as he wanted and is now suing you.

How do you ensure that you do not have to go to New York, for example, to litigate this lawsuit? Your Terms and Conditions should specify where you will litigate so that you do not have to fly from Chicago to New York and spend large sums of money litigating far away from your home state.

Terms and Conditions are also useful because you can use them to inform your visitors and users that you are the owner of content, logo, design of the website, and other intellectual property. This will help remind users and visitors that they may not take anything from your website without your permission. 

It also helps ensure that you do not lose your trademark or copyright by nature of multiple companies using your intellectual property. This fundamental information helps you gain benefits of privacy and helps deter theft of trademarked and copyrighted materials, thereby possibly saving you thousands of dollars.

Lastly, you should have Terms of Service because they help establish and maintain good customer relationships. For example, if you own an eCommerce store, having a returns and cancellation policy makes your company look more legitimate and puts your customers at ease.

Payment terms also help prevent future disputes regarding when the client is supposed to pay. If you have a membership service on your website, you can specify how one can become a member and how they can cancel their membership, thereby increasing transparency and positive relationships with your clients.

As you can see, having Terms and Conditions is extremely beneficial to establishing what rules your users must follow and to increasing positive customer relationships.

What to Include in a Terms of Service Policy

When putting together your Terms of Service, there are a few essential things you should include in order to save yourself many headaches as a business owner. Depending on what you offer, here are some important points to keep in mind when you structure your document. Not only will the clarity help generate fewer inquiries from potential customers, but existing customers would also understand their responsibilities when it comes to payment, returns, warranty, and more.

  • Business procedures
  • Clear definition of products and services provided
  • Cost of work and payment schedule
  • Customer responsibility and your responsibility
  • Exchange, cancel, indemnity, or return conditions
  • Duration and scope of work
  • Payment terms
  • Dispute resolution
  • Relationship of the parties (ex., independent contractor)
  • Which law should govern the contract

What are Some of the Benefits to Having a Privacy Policy?

Benefits of a Website Privacy Policy

Apart from the fact that it is required by law, there are many benefits of a website Privacy Policy. For one, Privacy Policy explains what information you collect from your users, what you do with the information, and with whom you share it. It provides you with the ability to establish trust with your readers and show that you are authentic and transparent. 

Users feel much safer when they know what you do with their personal information when they interact with your website. It also provides instructions for handling CCPA requests. Overall, every business owner with a website should have a privacy policy to ensure mutual understanding, legal agreement, and personal protection when it comes to data and exchange. 

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act?

Taking into effect on January 1, 2020, the CCPA is a new law that protects California consumers’ data and enables them to control which personal information is collected, used, and sold. It also grants them the right to delete and opt-out of transactions that involve data exchange and sale. In essence, if you have a Privacy Policy on your website and collect personal information and someone from California visits your website, you will be spared the $2,500.00 fee for including the disclaimer.

Although the law only applies to certain businesses, it is important to cover all your bases legally. By specifying the means of data usage to your website visitors, any visitor from California or other states that are consumer data-sensitive must be given the option to opt-out of any collection of personal information. 

Having Terms and Conditions and a Privacy Policy on your website is an excellent way to be transparent, protect yourself and your company from liability, increase positive customer relationships, and keep your website fun and welcoming for everyone. We really hope that you consider these two contracts for your website.

What to Include in a Privacy Policy 

An effective privacy policy should always spell out how your business will interact with, protect, and handle visitor data. Here are the most important terms to include to protect your business from any liability:

  • When your policy takes effect (showcases your most recent legal compliance upgrades)
  • The type of data that is collected
  • How the data is used and if it will be shared
  • Any opt-out procedures
  • What rights users have
  • What security measures are taken to protect user data
  • How cookies are stored 
  • Any penalties for non-compliance

The law is constantly changing, and keeping a constant eye on when you need to update a policy can be daunting. You can save yourself time and money by using Termageddon. We utilize and recommend this service app, as it updates policies automatically whenever changes need to be made to keep your business protected.

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