As a lawyer with the goal of helping you ensure that your website is 100% legal, it’s my duty to make sure you know what exactly is required on your website as a business owner that’s selling products and services.
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard all sorts of legal terms (or at least seen them) and you might wonder if those things apply to you.
(Spoiler: they do 😏)
And I get it – all of this can feel extremely overwhelming especially since you *probably* didn’t go to school for this!
When you signed up to start your business, you probably had one goal in mind: to sell your products and services that serve people in a very specific way.
But with that also comes the role of content creator, accountant, bookkeeper, website builder, email marketer, and now… LEGAL EXPERT?!
Don’t worry, friend. While all of these things might seem complicated and scary, I’m here to say that they aren’t as confusing as they may seem. And even better, I’m here to guide you along the way!
In this blog post specifically, I’m helping you fully understand the ins and outs of a legal agreement on your website!
What is a Legal Agreement?
First things first, it’s important to understand what a legal agreement even is and what the purpose of having one on your website is for.
Before I dive into the legal talk, I want you to think about the last time you purchased something online. Maybe it was a course from a service provider, a PDF download or some other product.
When you purchased the product or service, chances are you were required to check a box that said something along the lines of, “I agree to the Terms and Conditions.”
THAT is a type of legal agreement!
In simple terms, a legal agreement on your website is a form of contract between you (the website owner) and your website users (including customers) that specifically outlines certain terms, policies, notices and more.
Each of these legal agreements can be displayed in various ways (I’ll get to that in a minute), but the overall point is that it’s a requirement that users must recognize before being granted access to the website or the service/product that’s being purchased.
Now that you know what exactly a legal agreement is, let’s dive into WHY it matters.
Why a Legal Agreement is Needed on Your Website
Put simply, having various legal agreements on your website is important because it informs the website user of their rights and expectations when using your website or purchasing your product/service.
When you have certain legal agreements in place, you do a few things:
- Protect YOU as the business and website owner
At its core, a legal agreement outlines various terms of your website or product/service including any restrictions or limitations.
It’s typically required that a user or customer agrees to the terms before navigating your website or purchasing something from you. By agreeing, the user recognizes that they’ve read and understand the terms and are ultimately submitting compliance.
This protects YOU as the business owner in the future if or when a user violates the agreement and legal action is needed.
Without the legal agreement in place, you would have no leg to stand on if your user or customer went against the terms, so essentially you are protecting yourself from any potential challenges.
- Comply with legal requirements
As a general rule, websites are required to comply with legal regulations and this is one of them!
This isn’t something that many people are necessarily aware of (good thing you found me 😉) and while it may seem like something that isn’t super important, well it’s the law.
Skipping out on a legal agreement on your website can lead to a massive headache in the future, so save yourself from any unwanted trouble now by making sure you have one!
- Define ownership and copyright
A legal agreement often includes copyright notices and this specifically outlines the website owner’s rights to the website’s content, including text, images, and videos. Having this notice in writing can help prevent copyright infringement on your content and protect your intellectual property.
This is a HUGE component that many business owners overlook. As someone that’s creating content, services, products, courses, etc. you want to make sure that no one steals from you… and gets away with it.
In the online business world, it’s not as rare as you might think for people to steal your stuff. But the WORST thing is when you don’t put steps in place to stop them when it happens.
If you have legally written copyright terms, you will be able to take proper action when or if someone steals your work.
But if you skip this part, there’s not much you can do. 😩 So, do yourself a favor and make sure you implement this ASAP if you haven’t already!
- Limit liability
Lastly, a legal agreement on your website can limit your liability as a business owner.
Most legal agreements will include any disclaimers and limitations and this is what will protect you in the instance of any disputes with a user or customer.
For example, let’s say someone buys your course as a service provider and 6 months later they send you a not so nice message because they did not experience the results you said they could.
If your legal agreement is properly set up with terms and conditions that address your refund policy and include liability limitations, you would be able to deny their request for a refund and know you’re protected in case they did try to sue.
If this information is missing, the customer could potentially pursue further action and you could legally be required to process their request… all because a specific legal agreement was missing.
Two Ways to Display a Legal Agreement on Your Website
Now that you know the what and the why, let’s dive into the HOW so you can successfully set up your legal agreement on your website with EASE!
When it comes to your legal agreements, there’s two main ways you can display them on your website: a clickwrap or a browsewrap.
Firstly and most commonly, let’s talk about the browsewrap.
With this option, your legal agreement will be displayed in the footer of your website – here’s an example from the footer on my own website:
When legal agreements are displayed in the footer, it means that they are binding for ALL people who simply visit your website and browse – hence the name “browsewrap.”
This is a more passive agreement and they essentially agree to the terms listed just by being there – no active action (such as checking a box) is required.
Next, you have the clickwrap.
This is the more active option and is probably something that you’ve even had to do as a user or customer yourself, like I described in the beginning of this blog!
A clickwrap legal agreement is when someone has to actively check a box that says “I agree to the terms…” and this action is typically taken at checkout or when something is added to cart.
When it comes to selling products and services, I always advise business owners to display your Terms of Purchase and Terms and Conditions as a clickwrap (NOT a browsewrap) so that the agreements are more enforceable if any legal action is ever needed.
How to Set Up Your Legal Agreement on Your Website
Ready to make your website legally legit?!
Now that you know the ins and outs of legal agreements for your website, it’s time to put all of this into action.
If you don’t already have legal agreements on your website, it’s time to change that and lucky for you I’ve created a very easy way for you to do it!
CLICK HERE to shop the contract shop and get the customizable templates that you need specifically.
From general privacy policies and disclaimers to industry specific contracts, I’ve got you covered. And if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, I’m always HERE to help!
Here’s to protecting your ass(ets) 👊🏼