Tips for your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages

Legal requirements for websites

Editor’s note: The following article is curated from the GoDaddy community. We’ve made some light edits for formatting and clarity. Looking for help with GoDaddy products or getting your business online? Join the community to get answers from other GoDaddy customers.

Member Haile1 asked:

“I am publishing a website, however I am unfamiliar with the legal requirements needed to ensure that it is legally compliant. I was wondering if anyone can point me to trusted and reliable services that can perform these tasks such as writing privacy policy and terms and conditions documents or where I would be able to find more information.”

As a web pro, I believe that all websites should have both a Privacy Policy and a Terms of Use page. I add them to every site I build. And it’s assumed that ANY website which asks for personal information (even if just emails), should have a policy.

Privacy Policy

There are a number of free policy generators (some are templates, some ask you some questions to fine-tune the needs for your site).

Even if you write it on your own, you need to cover some basic items:

  • What you collect (name, contact info, demographic info, other relevant info…)
  • What you do with the info you collect (answer the reader’s questions, process their requests such as to schedule an appointment or deliver a product, use it to improve your services…)
  • Security (basic statement about the fact that you have put in place suitable physical and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the info collected)
  • Links to other sites (if you link to other sites, state that you can’t be held responsible for the protection and privacy of any info readers provide while on those sites)
  • Controlling the info (assertion that you don’t sell or distribute any info collected)
  • Instructions about how to contact you if the reader thinks you are holding incorrect or incomplete info, and a promise to correct any info found to be incorrect.

Of course one would hope that you actually DO everything you say you do.

Terms of Use

Terms of Use is a bit different. That’s about the assumptions you make regarding how people use the content of your site.

For example:

  • Use of materials on the site is at your own risk.
  • No warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, etc. of information found on the site (useful to cover any accidental typos in pricing, etc.), and that it is subject to change without notice.
  • Statement of your ownership of the materials on the site (and this may get into trademarks, etc.). This includes the design/layout/appearance IF it was a custom design. If you’re using templated system where you used what was provided, you can’t say this. Of course the content is under your ownership (assuming you didn’t lift it from elsewhere).
  • Disclaimer about links to other sites, that they are provided for convenience and do not signify endorsement (and you have no responsibility for the content of linked sites)
  • Unauthorized use of the site (or its contents) may give rise to a claim for damages and is subject to the laws of the US (or whatever country you are in).

There’s more that can be covered, but you get the idea.

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Also published on Medium.