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 …

Is Your Website Compliant? The Importance Of Adding Legal Pages To Your Website

If you do any kind of business online, the last thing you want to do is to learn the hard way that you have done something illegal.

Internet laws and regulations are designed to protect consumers and apply to anyone who markets, sells or promotes goods or services online. Anyone who owns a website risks being sued for not following compliance laws. Feigning ignorance about legal requirements won’t excuse someone from taking legal action against your business.

Recent laws introduced in 2014 to regulate how businesses promote advertising on their websites state that if you promote anything on your website for profit, you must follow certain disclosure guidelines to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by consumer protection departments, such as the US-based Better Business Bureau, also known as BBB. Search online for information about “The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program,” which regulates behavioral advertising across the internet for more details.

Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program - Better Business Bureau

(Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program)

These laws affect several online business activities, including:

  • Any kind of advertising, including Google AdSense
  • Retarget Marketing
  • Google Analytics (or other analytics software)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Product Creation
  • Bloggers
  • etc.

If your site does not display certain legal pages (e.g. terms of service, privacy policy, financial disclaimers, etc.), many third-party sites such as Google won’t let you advertise, digital marketplaces like ClickBank won’t allow you to list digital products, PayPal may suspend your account and freeze your funds, Facebook will suspend web applications, and you will not be allowed to enroll in a range of advertising and online merchant networks.

If your website is not compliant, you could also face a whole range of penalties, including fines, having your website shut down, even jail time!

The purpose of this article is to make you aware that your website or blog are required to comply with certain legalities, the importance of remaining compliant with the terms of service of external providers whose services or products you may be advertising on your site, and that there are solutions for WordPress website owners that can help your online properties become fully compliant, such as the plugins that we list further below.

Is Your Website Compliant?

Does Your Site Comply With The Law?

Info

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and we do not provide legal advice. As stated previously, this article is designed only to make you aware that your website may be subject to certain legal requirements in accordance with federal, regional or local laws and regulations that govern business and that compliance may be required with the terms of service of companies whose products or services you advertise on your website

Why It’s Important To Make Your Website Compliant

Consider what would happen to your business in the following scenarios:

  • A user has a cardiac arrest after they use your online fitness workout.
  • The skin care lotion you sell as an affiliate marketer gives someone skin rashes.
  • Your opt-in list provides a statement letting subscribers know that you won’t sell their information, but you have not informed them exactly what you will do with it.
  • Someone steals your content and puts it up on their website.
  • There is no statement on your site letting visitors know that you are endorsing a product as an affiliate and will receive a commission if they buy via your link.
  • You don’t spell out the conditions of your refund and return policies.
  • Someone claims that the testimonials on your site are all fake and decides to sue you.
  • You did not disclose in a product review that you were given a free copy of the product.
  • Your site includes adult information and you didn’t take appropriate measures to keep underage persons from accessing it.

Consider now these actual case studies of costly compliance breaches:

  • A CPA Marketer failed to provide adequate disclaimers telling visitors they would be required to give up their personal information (including credit card information to complete a debt reduction offer. In addition to a hefty $390,000 fine, he was also ordered to provide a copy of the judgement to everyone they do business with for the next 20 years — including employees.
  • A social networking app developer copped a massive $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 prohibits using software that scrapes UIDs. Many marketers took a risk and lost. Their accounts were shut down, costing them thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
  • An independent 2010 study by Brad Geddes of SearchEngineLand, showed that, of a couple of hundred websites picked at random, more than 90% had broken at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% were in breach of at least two of Google’s policies, and more than 40% had broken 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 to the Google program whose policies they had infringed, which could result in loss of income (e.g. AdSense or AdWords).

Can you see how you could easily be exposed to the risk of litigation?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPA, CPC or PPA Marketer
  • Network Marketer
  • Affiliate Marketer
  • AdWords Advertiser
  • Info Product Publisher
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • e-Commerce Store Owner
  • Adult Content Publisher
  • Provider Of Freelance, Coaching Or Consulting Services
  • Seller Of Any Product Or Service Online

It’s vitally important to ensure that your digital presence has the right legal pages and information displayed to all you site users.

Complying With 3rd-Party Companies - ToS, Policies, etc.

All of the leading online companies and government agencies that regulate trade in many countries emphasize the importance of complying with the terms and policies of service providers.

You are required to let your site users know that your business complies will all laws and recommended guidelines. This not only increases trust and buyer confidence in your business, it’s also a requirement of most companies you will interact with.

Here are just some examples:

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

Policy requirements for using Google Analytics

(Google Analytics – Policy Requirements)

Generating revenue with your blogs with Google AdSense display advertising

Google AdSense online advertising - policy requirements

(Google AdSense online advertising - policy requirements)

Or promoting your products using Google AdWords

Google AdWords - Policy Requirements

(Google AdWords – Policy Requirements)

If you plan to sell products online using places such as ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established merchant networks, you will be required to add legal pages before your products are approved for sale in their network …

Policy requirements for vendors selling through ClickBank

(Policy requirements for ClickBank product vendors)

The Federal Trade Commission also requires you to display clear disclaimers and policies on your site, especially regarding the use of testimonials or product endorsements …

FTC - consumer guidelines and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer guidelines and regulations)

FTC Regulations – Ensure That Your Website Is Compliant

FTC regulations governing the conduct of businesses online were introduced in March 2012. A quick search online will easily reveal that many websites are still unaware (or choose to flaunt) these requirements. As has happened in the past, this typically ends up with the FTC making an example of businesses and prosecuting website owners 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 any chances. Even if your business is not located in the U.S. it’s best to protect your business interests by making sure that your site is compliant with all FTC regulations and guidelines.

There are many business resource sites that can provide guidelines for structuring disclaimers and disclosures to help you meet FTC requirements. See our additional references and useful resources section at the end of this article for more information …

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

(Structuring your disclaimers and disclosures correctly is important to avoid running foul of laws and regulations)

Social Media Applications - Don’t Forget These

If you plan to develop social networking applications that integrate with your site, you will also be required to provide social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others with information about various legal pages …

Facebook developer app - policy requirements

(Social networking apps also require compliance)

Practical Tip

  • If you are unsure as to whether or not you are breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of service providers like Google, Facebook, etc., it’s best to assume that you most probably are.
  • If you plan to promote products or services on your site as an affiliate marketer, or making money online with Google AdSense, eBay or Amazon ads, or driving visitors to your website with Google AdWords, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you need to display on your site to comply with their Terms Of Service and policy requirements - don’t risk having your accounts suspended.
  • If you’ve been wondering if “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, then it’s best to act now and take proper precautions to protect yourself and your business interests.

In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, most 3rd-party websites require you to comply with their policies and guidelines

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

What Compliance Information Do You Need To Add To Your Website To Be Covered Against Legal Compliance Issues?

If you suspect that your website or blog is lacking in terms of compliance, then this section will help you.

At its most basic, adding the following legal pages to your website should help keep your business out of trouble with many consumer protection authorities and external providers, and avoid potential legal issues or even threats of legal action (e.g. “cease and desist” notices):

As well as the above, you may want to look into adding any of these compliance pages where applicable:

  • Affiliate Disclosure (if you sell or promote affiliate products or services)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • External Links Policy
  • Financial Disclaimers (e.g. if your website or blog provides general content about financial areas or income opportunities)
  • Refund Policy (if you run an e-commerce site)
  • Audio/Video Terms (if you allow media downloads on your site)
Disclosure Pages – Types

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

  • No Material Connection – Informs your visitors that you’re not being paid for writing the article.
  • Affiliate Links – Disclosure that informs your visitors that you may derive some form of financial or similar kind of benefit if they act on your recommendation and buy through your affiliate link.
  • Review/Sample Copy – Lets users be aware that you have been given a review or sample copy of the product.
  • Sponsored Post – Disclosure that informs readers that you have been compensated in some form to write the post.
  • Third Party Advertising – Lets your visitors know that you’re using online behavioral tracking technology. This is required to comply with the “enhanced notice” the Better Business Bureau has been requiring online publishers to show prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

How To Add Legal Pages To Your Website

Ideally, you will consult lawyers and ask them to prepare the content of your legal documents. Once these have been done, there are several ways to add them to your website.

Upload Legal Pages To Your Website

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

We recommend adding a legal directory to your web server and uploading your legal pages to this folder via FTP …

Create a 'legals' folder in your web server and upload pages using FTP

(Create a ‘legals’ folder in your web server and upload pages using FTP)

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

WordPress Menu

(WordPress Menu)

After uploading your legal pages, make sure that these are fully up-to-date and display clearly to visitors. You can insert links to your legal pages into your sidebar (or the footer of your website or blog) to ensure that users have access to legal information from all your pages …

It's important to display links to legal information on all of your site's pages

(Display links to legal pages on all of your site’s pages)

To learn more about displaying links to pages on your sidebar or footer in WordPress using widgets, see this tutorial:

Templates

You can find downloadable attorney-drafted forms and agreements just by searching online, or visiting sites like this one:

Find Legal Forms

FindLegalForms.com

(Find Legal Forms)

Go here for more info:

Alternatively, you can download a package of legal templates designed by attorney Scott Talbert

Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages

Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages

(Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages – Website Legal Pages)

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

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

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer (multi-discipline professional disclaimers)
  • DMCA Compliance
  • Federal Trade Commission Compliance (This proprietary FTC page reflects Federal Trade Commission guidelines that came into effect on March 2012)
  • Privacy Policy
  • ToS & Conditions of Use.

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

Visit this site to learn more:

Legal Pages – Plugins

In addition to using copy & paste legal templates, another option is to use plugins.

Here are some great WordPress plugins that you may be interested in using:

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin

WordPress Plugin - WP Legal Pages

(WordPress Plugin – WP Legal Pages)

If the idea of manually setting up legal pages for your website feels too time-consuming for you, then consider choosing WP Legal Pages instead …

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

Here are just some of the reasons to consider using WordPress Legal Pages:

  • Built-in Legal Templates – The plugin gives you access to over 20 built-in legal templates created by a team of professional lawyers.
  • Very Quick And Easy To Use – Set up most of the basic legal pages you need in around 3 minutes with just a few mouse clicks.
  • Customizable Pages – Includes fully customizable and easily editable legal form templates (e.g. Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Earnings Disclaimer and more!)
  • Editable Pages – WordPress content editor lets you edit legal pages just like every other page on your site.
  • Custom Shortcodes Integration – You can add shortcodes to any of your WordPress pages and the information is then automatically inserted into your content 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 site.
  • Forced Options – Force page lock down. When a user agrees to the legal terms, the page unlocks.
  • Additional Features – More features are being added to this plugin with every new version.

When you install WordPress Legal Pages, a menu item will display inside your main navigation area …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Legal Pages Menu

(WP Legal Pages Plugin – Legal Pages Menu)

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

WP Legal Pages - 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/review sites, e-commerce sites, etc …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Create different legal page types

(WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Page Type)

Select from a number of built-in legal templates …

WP Legal Pages Plugin - Built-In Templates

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin – Pre-configured 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

To learn more this WordPress plugin, go here:

Compliance Bar Plugin – WordPress Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar Plugin - Compliance Plugin For WordPress

total website compliance and disclaimer solution …

Compliance Bar - WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

Learn more about this plugin here:

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin)

This 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 And Conditions
  • Earnings Disclaimer

Legal Suite Pro For WordPress - Professionally-written legal forms

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin – 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 powered site. Your legal pages can be installed and set up on your site in one minute or less and the license allows you to install and use the plugin on all of your sites.

Go here for more information:

Important

If hiring a lawyer to create your legal pages is out of your budget, consider implementing at least some basic kind of legal protection on your site until you can afford professional legal services.

We want your website to be legally protected!

Download the FREE Legal Pages Generator tool below, or use one of the better solutions we discuss in this article, such as using legal page templates, or plugins - see section below.

Legal Pages Generator Software

(Legal Pages Generator Software)

Legal Pages Generator lets you quickly generate necessary legal documents for your website including Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, Copyright Notice, Website Disclaimer and optional Earnings Disclaimer.

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As stated earlier, if you do any kind of business online, it’s important that your website stays compliant with regulatory agencies and any terms of service (TOS) and guidelines provided by third-party sites that you may be promoting or recommending online. If your website doesn’t comply with laws intended to protect consumers, you’re breaking the law.

Being non-compliant 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?

Info

Legal Disclaimer: Once again, we are not lawyers and we cannot provide legal advice. Do your own due diligence and consult a legal expert about the best way of ensuring that your website fully complies with the law pertaining to your business.

Resources

Below is a useful list of websites we suggest you visit to better understand what your business requires to comply and meet legal requirements and guidelines:

Additionally …

We hope you have found this article useful and that it has helped you understand the importance of having a compliant website. Use the information presented above to quickly and easily add essential legal pages to your WordPress website.

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"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now