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September 4, 2014 | Rob Spurlock

How to Write Terms and Conditions for a Website

Writing Terms and Conditions

Have you ever been asked to agree to a Terms and Conditions statement when you visited a website? (If not, I'm impressed - they're everywhere).

Did you skip reading it entirely and continue on as if it were a small bump in the road?

Many website visitors do skip the Terms and Conditions (a.k.a. Terms of Service or Terms of Use), but they are actually legal documents. These statements can either protect your rights or give them away - that's why it's so important to read them!

But what if you're on the other side of this equation?

How to Write Terms and Conditions for Your Own Website

If your website asks for and stores personal information from visitors or users, then including Terms and Conditions is particularly important.

For most websites, a simple disclaimer stating what you will do with the personal data you collect is sufficient, and wouldn't necessarily require users to opt in.

However, some websites need visitors to accept a binding legal agreement, which usually involves both parties' privacy, personal information, and even copyrights.

So if you need a Terms and Conditions agreement for your website, how should you go about writing one?

You can use other websites' versions as a boilerplate to get you started, and they can give you an idea of what you need to cover. Ultimately, you should not copy and reuse an entire Terms and Conditions statement as your own; it could open you up to legal issues that you aren't even aware of, and someone else's policy may not cover all of your business's needs.

Here are a few common things you may want to cover:

  • The name and purpose of the website and the company responsible for it
  • Expected or allowed usage of your website, including guidelines for interacting with other users
  • The repercussions of misuse of your website (banning, cancellation, etc.)
  • Payment details, such as membership or subscription fees, etc.
  • How to cancel an account or opt out of emails
  • Ownership of images, content, software, or services
  • The visitor or user's rights

Lastly, don't forget to include a privacy policy, which should include much more detailed information about any third party systems (such as tracking or data collection) and what you intend to do with your visitors' private information.

Is there anything else you needed to include in your Terms and Conditions? If so, tell me about it in the comments!

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Rob Spurlock

Rob Spurlock

Principal and Founder of VIEO Design™, LLC. Rob has a love for the East TN community. Server environment, web functionality and WordPress expert. He has extensive expertise in the Internet industry and related Internet software with over 15 years experience.

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