How To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site

Learn how to make your WordPress site or blog legally compliant and how to shortcut the process using legal page creation plugins …

Making Your Website Legally Compliant - How To Add Legal Pages To Your Website

Is your WordPress website compliant? Do you know if you are breaking the law, or contravening the Terms of Service (TOS) of any companies whose products or services you are doing business with?

As the digital way of life continues growing at an extraordinary rate and rules keep changing, it’s important that you stay on top of what’s happening and make sure that your site remains compliant with all laws and regulations, especially if your web presence is important in the success of your business strategy.

New laws introduced in 2014 regulating how businesses promote advertising on their websites state that if you plan to promote anything on your site for profit, you will need to follow certain disclosure guidelines to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by consumer protection departments, such as the US-based Better Business Bureau (BBB). Search online “The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program,” which regulates behavioral advertising across the internet to learn more.

Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program

(Better Business Bureau Website)

The introduction of these laws has implications for several business activities, including:

  • Any form of advertising, including pay-per-click advertising
  • Retarget Marketing
  • Google Analytics (or other analytics software)
  • Affiliate Marketers
  • Product Creation
  • Blogging
  • etc.

If your website does not display certain pages (e.g. terms of service, privacy policy, financial disclaimers, etc.), many third-party sites such as Google won’t let you advertise, sites like ClickBank will not allow you to list digital products, PayPal could shut down your account, Facebook could reject your web applications, and you won’t be allowed to enrol in a number of advertising or affiliate marketing networks.

If you are not in compliance, you could face a whole range of penalties, including fines, having your website shut down, even jail time!

The purpose of this post is to make you aware that your site(s) are subject to legal requirements, the importance of maintaining compliance with the terms of service of other providers whose products or services you may be recommending online, and that there are easy solutions for WordPress that can help your online properties become fully compliant, such as the tools discussed further below.

Does Your Website Comply With The Law?

Does Your Website Comply With All Legal Requirements?

Note

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and we are not providing legal advice on this website. You must do your own due diligence and consult a legal expert about the best way of ensuring that your website is compliant with all laws wherever your business is based in.

Why It’s Important To Make Your Website Compliant

Consider what would happen to your business if the scenarios below were to occur:

  • A customer suffers a heart attack after they use your online fitness workout.
  • The skin care lotion you promote as an affiliate marketer gives someone who purchases from your link allergic reactions.
  • You’ve let your subscribers know that you will not sell their information, but you have not informed them exactly what you will do with their personal details.
  • Someone steals your content and publishes it on their own website.
  • There is no statement on your website making your site visitors aware that you are an affiliate for the product you’re marketing and will earn an affiliate commission if they buy it.
  • You didn’t spell out the terms of your refund and return policies.
  • Your visitors claim that your testimonials are fake and try to sue you.
  • You have not disclosed that you have received a free copy of the product you reviewed.
  • Your site contains adult information and you didn’t take sufficient measures to restrict access by underage persons.

Consider also these real case studies of costly compliance breaches:

  • A CPA Marketer failed to provide adequate disclaimers telling online users they would have to give up personal information to complete a debt reduction offer. Cost = $390,000.
  • A social networking app developer copped a whopping $800,000 fine for collecting personal information from mobile device address books without the owners’ knowledge and consent – including storing private information about children.
  • Facebook’s Terms Of Service does not allow users to scrape Users IDs. Many internet marketers took a risk and lost. Their accounts were shut down, resulting thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
  • An independently-conducted 2010 study by Brad Geddes of SearchEngineLand, showed that, of a couple of hundred websites picked at random, more than 90% were in breach of at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% were in violation of at least two of Google’s policies, and more than 40% had infringed at least three of Google’s policies. Although the website owners could technically be sued by Google, more than likely what could happen, is that they would be issued with warnings or lose access entirely to the Google program whose policies they had violated, which could result in loss of income (e.g. AdSense or AdWords).

Can you see how easy it is to risk becoming targeted for litigation?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPA (Cost Per Action) or CPC (Cost Per Conversion) Marketer
  • MLM Networker
  • Affiliate Promoter
  • AdSense Publisher
  • Info Product Marketer
  • Amazon Associate
  • e-Commerce Store Owner
  • Adult Content Publisher
  • Provider Of Freelance, Consulting Or Coaching Services
  • Seller Of Any Product Or Service Online

it’s important to ensure that your website is legally compliant.

Compliance With 3rd-Party Services - ToS, Policies, etc.

Complying with 3rd-party services terms and policies is important.

You must let your site visitors know that your business complies will all legal requirements and professional guidelines. This not only increases consumer trust and buyer confidence in your business, it’s also required by most companies you will interact with online.

For example:

Google requires you to display legal information if using their services or product features. This includes using Google Analytics

Policy requirements for using Google Analytics

(Policy requirements for using Google Analytics)

Generating revenue with your online properties using Google AdSense advertising

Google AdSense advertising - policy requirements

(Google AdSense policy requirements)

And even promoting your products or services via Google AdWords

Google AdWords - Policy Requirements

(Policy requirements for using Google AdWords)

If you plan to sell information products with places like ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established merchant networks, you will need to add legal pages to your website before your products can be approved for sale …

Policy requirements for ClickBank vendors

(Policy requirements for vendors selling through ClickBank)

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) also requires you to display clear disclaimers and policies to visitors, especially when using product testimonials or endorsements …

Federal Trade Commission - consumer policies and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer policies and regulations)

New FTC Regulations Require Your Site To Comply

FTC regulations governing the conduct of businesses online were introduced in March 2012. A quick search online will reveal that many websites are unaware (or choose to flaunt) these requirements. As is already the case, this often ends up with the FTC making an example of businesses and prosecuting companies in an effort to get other businesses to comply.

If you plan to do any kind of money-making activity online, therefore, it’s best not to take chances. Even if your business is not located in the U.S. we strongly recommend protecting your business by making sure that your website is compliant with FTC regulations and guidelines.

There are many online business resources that can provide guidelines and examples on how to structure disclaimers and disclosures to help you meet FTC requirements. See the references and useful resources section at the end of this article for more information …

Word your disclaimers and disclosures correctly to avoid running foul of laws and regulations

(Structure your disclaimers and disclosures correctly to avoid running foul of laws and regulations)

Social Media Apps Also Require Compliance

If you are planning to develop social networking applications for your website users, you will also be required to provide sites like Twitter, Facebook, and many others with information about your legal pages …

Facebook developer app - policy requirements

(Facebook developer app – policy requirements)

Practical Tip

  • If you are unsure whether you may be breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of websites like Google, Facebook, etc., it’s best to assume that you most probably are.
  • If you plan to promote anything online via affiliate marketing, or make money online with Google AdSense, Amazon, or eBay advertising, or driving visitors to your site with Google AdWords, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you are required to display on your site to comply with their Terms Of Service and policy requirements - don’t risk having your accounts shut down.
  • If you have been wondering whether “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, take proper precautions to protect yourself and your business.

In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, almost all 3rd-party services require you to comply with their terms of use and policies

(In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, most 3rd-party services require you to comply with their policies)

Common Legal Pages To Add To Your Site

If you suspect that your website falls short in terms of compliance, then you will find this section helpful.

Adding the following compliance pages to your site should help your business stay out of trouble with many consumer protection agencies and 3rd-party service providers, and avoid possible legal issues or even threats of legal action (e.g. “take down” notices):

In addition to the pages above, you may want to look into including one or more of the pages listed below where applicable:

  • Affiliate Disclosure (if you provide information about affiliate products or services)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Compensation Disclosure
  • External Linking Policy
  • Health Disclaimers (if your website or blog provides health or medical advice)
  • Refund Policy (if you run an e-commerce site)
  • Video/Audio Terms Of Use (e.g. if you provide users with access to downloadable videos or audio files on your site)
Types Of Disclosure Pages

It’s important to add the correct types of disclosure pages to your website. For example:

  • No Material Connection – Lets your visitors be aware that you’re not being paid for writing the content.
  • Affiliate Links – Disclosure that informs users that you will be compensated if they act on your recommendation and buy through affiliate links on your site.
  • Review/Sample Copy – Informs readers that you have been given a sample or review copy of the product by the author or product developer.
  • Sponsored Post – Lets visitors be aware that you have been compensated in some way to write the content.
  • Third Party Advertising – Informs users that you’re using online behavioral tracking technology. This is required to satisfy the “enhanced notice” the Better Business Bureau has been requiring website publishers to show prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

How To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Website

Ideally, you should consult lawyers and ask them to prepare the content of your legal documents. Once this has been done, there are several ways to include them in your website.

Upload Legal Pages Manually

If someone prepares and delivers the legal verbiage for you as standard web pages (e.g. HTML), you can simply upload these to your web server, or have someone upload these pages for you.

We recommend adding a legal directory to your server and uploading HTML pages containing your legal documentation to this folder using FTP …

Upload legal pages to your server via FTP

(Upload legal pages to your web server using FTP)

You can then easily add links to these pages in WordPress using custom links in your menu admin area …

Custom WordPress Menu Feature

(WordPress Menu)

After uploading your legal pages, make sure that these are up-to-date and display clearly to your visitors. You can insert links to your legal pages into the WordPress sidebar (or the footer of your website) so that users can access the information from every web page …

Display links to legal information on all of your site's pages

(It’s important to display links to your legal pages to users on all of your site’s pages)

We have written a detailed tutorial on adding links to pages on your sidebar here:

Templates

You can find downloadable attorney-prepared forms and agreements just by searching online, or visiting websites like the ones shown below:

Find Legal Forms

Find Legal Forms - Legal forms

(FindLegalForms.com)

For more information, go here:

Alternatively, you can download a package of website legal templates designed by attorney Scott Talbert to help businesses protect themselves online …

Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages

Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages

(Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages – Legal Templates)

Cut & Paste website legal pages were created by an attorney and feature less passive voice and more plain language phrasing and can be easily customized with a quick search and replace to insert your own business name and URL, then pasted into your web pages.

The legal templates included in Scott Talbert’s Website Legal Form Templates include:

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer: multi-discipline professional disclaimers
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance (This proprietary FTC page reflects new FTC guidelines brought into effect in 2012)
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service & Conditions of Use.

You can either create a new page on your website for every legal form you want to add to your site, then paste the content from the templates into your web pages and publish or upload the pages to your web server as described previously.

Go here for more information:

Legal Page Plugins

As well as using legal templates, another option is to use WordPress plugins.

Here are some great WordPress plugins worth looking into:

WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress

(WP Legal Pages Plugin)

If you don’t want to spend time creating legal web pages manually, then consider installing WordPress Legal Pages

WordPress Legal Pages is not a free plugin, but it’s a reasonably affordable and well-supported premium plugin that will make the task of creating and implementing legal pages on your site much easier and save you a great deal of time.

Some of the benefits of using the WordPress Legal Pages are:

  • Built-in Templates – Over 20 built-in legal templates created by professional lawyers.
  • Quick And Easy To Use – Set up most of your basic legal pages in around 3 minutes with just a few mouse clicks.
  • Fully Customizable Pages – The plugin includes fully customizable and editable legal form templates (e.g. Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Earnings Disclaimer and more!)
  • Easy To Edit Pages – Content editor lets you edit legal pages just like any page on your site.
  • Custom Shortcodes – Add shortcodes to any of your pages and the information will be automatically inserted into your pages when you publish.
  • Exclude pages. The plugin lets you exclude pages from menus with a simple checkbox and delete and manage these like every other page on your website.
  • Forced Options – Force page or post lockdown. Page unlocks when the user agrees to your terms.
  • Additional Features – More features get added to this plugin with each new version.

After installing WordPress Legal Pages, a new menu feature is added to your main dashboard menu section …

WP Legal Pages - Legal Pages Menu

(WP Legal Pages – Legal Pages Menu)

This allows you to create, view and edit legal pages from your admin area …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Settings

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin – Settings Screen)

The plugin gives you the option of creating legal pages for different online uses, such as business websites with products, affiliate websites, Amazon sites, etc …

WordPress Legal Pages - Page Type

(WP Legal Pages – Create different legal pages)

Select from several built-in legal templates …

WP Legal Pages Plugin - Built-In Templates

(WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Pre-configured Legal Templates)

Legal page templates include:

  • Terms of Use (Users are forced to agree to Terms and Conditions before using site)
  • Linking Policy
  • External Links Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Refund Policy
  • Affiliate Disclosure
  • Privacy Policy
  • Affiliate Agreement
  • Facebook Privacy Policy
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • Antispam Policy
  • DoubleClick DART Cookies Policy
  • Disclaimer Template
  • FTC Disclosure Statement Template
  • Medical Disclaimer Template
  • Testimonials Disclosure – As per FTC guidelines
  • Amazon Affiliate Disclosure Template
  • DMCA Policy Template
  • California Privacy Rights Policy Template
  • Digital Goods Refund Policy Template
  • COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Policy Template
  • Blog Comments Policy Template
  • Newsletter Subscription Policy and Disclaimer Template
  • FTC Disclaimer Widget

Visit this website to learn more about this useful plugin:

Compliance Bar – WP Website Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar Plugin - WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

Compliance Bar is a simple plugin for WordPress websites that contains over twenty customizable legal templates for your online business …

Compliance Bar - Total Website Compliance And Disclaimer Solution

More info:

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

Legal Suite Pro

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin)

Legal Suite Pro Plugin lets you easily install professionally-written legal pages such as:

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance
  • Privacy Policy
  • Social Media Disclosure
  • Medical Disclaimer
  • Terms of Service
  • Earnings Disclaimer

Legal Suite Pro - Professionally-written legal forms

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin For WordPress – Professionally-written legal forms)

Additionally:

  • Drag & Drop FTC Disclaimer Widget: Add an FTC Disclaimer to any WordPress sidebar or widget area.
  • Customizable EU Cookie Compliance Bar: Display an EU cookie compliance bar if you are getting traffic from the EU and your sites use cookies.

With just one-click you can install almost all of the legal pages your site needs and these professionally written legal pages can be created in your theme and/or as a standalone page outside of your theme.

The plugin developers have packaged high quality, professionally written legal disclaimers into a plugin that can be installed quickly on any WordPress site. You can have legal pages installed and set up on your site in less than one minute and the license allows you to install and use this plugin on all of your sites.

Go here to learn more:

Important

If hiring legal experts to create your legal pages is currently out of your budget, then consider at least implementing some kind of legal protection on your website until you can afford a lawyer.

We want your site to be legally safe!

Download the Legal Pages Generator tool below (it’s FREE!), or use one of the better solutions we discuss in this article, such as using attorney-drafted legal page templates, or plugins - see section below.

Legal Pages Generator Software

(Legal Pages Generator Software)

Legal Pages Generator quickly generates essential legal documents for your website including ToS, Privacy Statement, Copyright Notice, Website Disclaimer and optional Earnings Disclaimer.

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As stated earlier, if you engage in any form of commercial activity online, you need to ensure that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies and the guidelines and terms of service (TOS) for third-party products and services that you may decide to promote or endorse online. If your website isn’t compliant with laws designed to protect the rights of consumers, you’re breaking the law.

Non-compliance puts you at risk of suffering both financial losses and the loss of your reputation. Why risk your money and reputation, when you can protect yourself so inexpensively?

Important Info

Legal Disclaimer: Once again, we are not lawyers and we provide no legal advice. Do your own due diligence and consult a legal expert to ensure that your website is compliant with all legal requirements concerning your specific business.

Resources

Here is a time-saving list of sites we suggest you visit to help you better understand what your site may require to remain compliant and meet legal obligations:

And …

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why it’s important to have a legally compliant website. Use the information above to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your WordPress site using simple and inexpensive solutions.

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"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)