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Web Design

Does my website have any legal requirements?

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For anyone with a little Internet know-how, creating a basic, one-page website can take as little as 30 minutes. Upload your logo, photos and some info, and voila! You are ready to start making money on the Internet!

However, many people are unaware that there are certain legal requirements for websites that conduct business online, and that you could get in trouble for not meeting website legal requirements, trouble ranging from a slap in the wrist to getting your website shut down by the law.

Website requirement #1: Copyright disclaimer

Just like copying your classmates homework landed you in big trouble in school, using somebody else’s images, photos, videos or content without permission is a big no-no.

We’re not just saying it is bad manners: it is actually illegal to use copyrighted intellectual property, and you can receive anything from a cease-and-desist letter to a lawsuit with heavy fines. Create your own material, pay for someone else’s, or at the very least ask for permission and credit your source.

website requirement #2: Privacy policy

If you’re collecting any kind of information from your customers, you must include a privacy policy that states exactly how you intend to use and protect that information.

“I’m not collecting any information, I’m just trying to sell my product”, you think. Do you have a mailing list? You’re collecting email addresses right there. Do you have a comments section? You’re collecting people’s names and comments.

There are many websites that offer free templates for a privacy policy. Find one that suits your website and stick it in a highly visible place.

website requirement #3: SSL certificate

Have you noticed how some websites show a green, closed lock next to their URL, while others don’t? That little lock there means that the site you’re in has an SSL certificate (also known as “digital certificate”), and that all your communications with the site are encrypted and safe from prying eyes. This is especially important if you take online payments or gather other delicate information such as bank accounts or Social Security numbers.

Getting an SSL certificate is a little more complicated than slapping a Private Policy on a sidebar, and you will probably have to pay a vendor to help you get one.

25 Website Must Haves Drive Traffic Leads and Sales

These are just a few of the many website legal requirements around, which vary according to your type of website and industry, as well as depending on the state you're in.

Making your own website is more complicated than you thought, right? Get some professional help - we can take a look at your site and suggest ways to make it safer, more attractive, and a magnet for revenue. Give us a try!

 

About the Author

Jake Fisher

Jake Fisher is partner at Bridges Strategies. He specializes in inbound marketing, B2B sales and multicultural communication. He enjoys good food and bad golf. You can follow him on Twitter at @jakefisher