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? Why You Need To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site

If you plan to grow a successful business online, the last thing you want to do is to find out that you have been breaking any rules or regulations.

As the cybersphere continues growing at breakneck speed and the rules of the game constantly change, it’s vitally important to stay on top of what’s going on and make sure that your site remains compliant, especially if having a digital presence plays a significant role in your overall business strategy.

New laws introduced in 2014 regulating how businesses promote advertising on their websites clearly state that if you promote anything on your site for commercial gain, you will need to follow certain principles of disclosure to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by regulatory departments, such as the US-based BBB, or Better Business Bureau. 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

(BBB – Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program)

These laws affect various business categories, including:

  • Any form of advertising, including Google AdWords
  • Retarget Marketing
  • Google Analytics (or other analytics software)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Product Creators
  • Blogging
  • etc.

If you do not display certain legal pages on your website (e.g. terms of service, privacy policy, financial disclaimers, etc.), many sites like Google won’t let you advertise, sites like ClickBank will not approve your digital products on their network, PayPal could suspend your account, Facebook will disapprove your web applications, and you won’t be allowed to promote various advertising or online merchant networks.

In addition, you could also be inadvertently leaving yourself open and vulnerable to litigation.

The purpose of this post is to make you aware that your website may be subject to certain legal requirements, the importance of maintaining compliance with the terms of service of external providers whose products or services you may be selling online, and that there are easy solutions for WordPress site owners that can help your site become fully compliant, such as the tools listed further below.

Is Your Website Or Blog Compliant?

Does Your Site Comply With The Law?

Useful Information

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and we cannot provide legal advice about your website or business. As previously stated, this article is designed only to help make you aware that your website may be subject to certain legal policies in accordance with federal, regional or local laws and regulations governing business practices online and that compliance may be required with the terms of service of third-party providers whose products or services you offer on your website

Understanding The Importance Of Making Your Website Compliant

Consider what the implications to your business would be in the following scenarios:

  • A customer suffers a heart attack after using your online workout program.
  • The skin cream you promote as an affiliate marketer gives a number of users allergic reactions.
  • Your opt-in list displays a statement letting subscribers know that you will not sell their information, but you haven’t described exactly what you’ll do with it.
  • Someone copies content from your website and puts it up on their own website.
  • There is no statement on your website letting your site visitors know that you are marketing a product as an affiliate and will derive an affiliate commission if they purchase it.
  • You did not spell out the terms of your refund policies.
  • Your visitors claim that your testimonials are fake and decide to sue you because of it.
  • You haven’t disclosed in a product review that you were given a free copy of the product.
  • Your site publishes adult content and you did not take appropriate measures to keep underaged children from accessing it.

Consider now the documented examples of costly compliance breaches below:

  • 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. In addition to a substantial $390,000 fine, he is now required to issue a copy of the judgement to everyone he does business with for the next 20 years — including employees.
  • A social networking app developer copped a whopping $800,000 fine for collecting personal information without users’ knowledge and consent – including storing private details about children.
  • Facebook’s Terms Of Service prohibits users from scraping UIDs. Many internet marketers gambled that they could get away with it and lost. Their accounts were shut down, resulting thousands of $$$ in lost revenue.
  • An independently-conducted study by Brad Geddes of SearchEngineLand, showed that, of a couple of hundred websites chosen at random, more than 90% were breaking at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% were in breach of at least 2 of Google’s policies, and more than 40% had breached at least 3 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 notices or lose access entirely to the Google program whose policies with the violation, which could result in loss of income (e.g. AdSense or AdWords).

Can you see how easy it is to risk becoming exposed to non-compliance?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPA (Cost Per Action) Marketer
  • Network Marketer
  • Affiliate Product Marketer
  • AdSense Publisher
  • Product Publisher
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • EBay Seller
  • Adult Content Publisher
  • Provider Of Freelance, Consulting Or Coaching Services
  • Seller Of Any Service Or Product Online

You need to ensure that your website complies with all laws governing the use of your site, wherever you are located.

Compliance With Third-Party Companies

Complying with third-party companies terms and policies is important.

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

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Google requires your site to display legal information if using many of their products or service. This includes Google Analytics

Google Analytics - Policy Requirements

(Google Analytics – Policy Requirements)

Generating revenue online with your site using Google AdSense online advertising

Google AdSense advertising policy requirements

(Google AdSense - policy requirements)

Or promoting your business using Google AdWords

Policy requirements for using Google AdWords

(Policy requirements for using Google AdWords)

If you plan to sell information products using companies like ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established online merchant networks, you are required to add various legal pages to your site before they will approve your products for sale …

ClickBank - policy requirements for digital product vendors

(Policy requirements for ClickBank vendors)

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) also requires you to display clear disclaimers and policy statements to visitors, especially when concerning the use of testimonials or product endorsements …

FTC - consumer policies and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer guidelines and regulations)

FTC Regulations – Ensuring That Your Website Is Compliant

New FTC regulations governing how business is conducted online were introduced in March 2012. Search online and you will see that many websites are still unaware (or choose to flaunt) these requirements. As is already the case, this typically 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. it’s best to protect your business by making sure that your site complies with FTC regulations.

There are many online resources that can provide guidelines on how to structure disclaimers and disclosures to help your business comply with FTC requirements. See our additional 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

(Structure your disclaimers and disclosures correctly to avoid running foul of the law)

Social Media Apps Also Have Compliance Requirements

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

Apps for social networking sites also require compliance

(Facebook developer app – policy requirements)

Useful Tip

  • If you are unsure as to whether or not you are breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of websites like Google, Facebook, etc., then it’s best to assume that you most probably are.
  • If you plan to promote services or products on your site via affiliate marketing, or generate revenue with Google AdSense, eBay or Amazon ads, or using Google AdWords to drive visitors to your pages, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you are required to display on your site to comply with all Terms Of Service and policy requirements to avoid having your accounts shut down.
  • If you have ever wondered if “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, take proper precautions to avoid becoming a litigation magnet.

In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, most third-party websites require you to comply with their terms of use

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

What Legal Information Pages Do You Need To Add To Your Website To Be Compliant?

If you suspect that your web site is falling short in aspects of compliance, then you will find this section helpful.

At its most basic, adding the following legal pages to your website will help keep you out of trouble with many regulatory agencies and 3rd-party providers, and even help to avoid possible legal issues):

Additionally, you may want to consider implementing one or more of these pages if applicable:

  • Affiliate Disclosure (if you promote or sell affiliate products or services)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • External Links Policy
  • Health Disclaimers (if your website or blog provides health or medical content)
  • Refund Policy (if you run an e-commerce site)
  • Use Of Media (e.g. if you provide users with access to media on your site)
Types Of Disclosure Pages

Adding correct web content disclosure information is important. For example:

  • No Material Connection – Discloses to site users that you are not receiving any kind of compensation for writing the post.
  • Affiliate Links – Notifies users that you may be compensated if they act on your recommendation and buy through affiliate links on your site.
  • Review/Sample Copy – Lets visitors know that you have been given a review or sample copy of the product or service you’re reviewing or writing about.
  • Sponsored Post – Lets site users know that you have been compensated in some way to write the article.
  • Third Party Advertising – Lets users 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 display prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

Adding Compliance Pages To Your Website

Ideally, you will consult a lawyer and ask them to prepare the content of your legal documents. Once this has been completed, there are several ways to add them to your website.

Uploading Legal Pages To Your Website

If someone prepares the legal content 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 via FTP …

Upload legal pages to your web server using FTP

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

You can then add a link to these legal pages from your WordPress site using a custom WordPress menu …

WordPress Menu

(Custom WordPress Menu Feature)

After uploading your legal pages, make sure that these are kept up-to-date and clearly visible to all visitors. You can insert these into your sidebar menu (or place them in the footer section of your website or blog) so that users can access the information from all of your pages …

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

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

To learn more about displaying links to pages on your sidebar and footer menu, see this step-by-step tutorial:

Templates

You can easily find attorney-prepared downloadable forms and agreements just by searching online, or going to sites like this one:

Find Legal Forms

FindLegalForms.com

(Find Legal Forms – Legal forms)

More info:

Another option is to purchase a package of legal templates written by attorney Scott Talbert

Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages

Scott Talbert's Legal Forms

(Website Legal Pages)

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

The legal forms included in Scott Talbert’s Website Legal Forms include:

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance (This proprietary FTC page accommodates new Federal Trade Commission regulations and guidelines that came into effect on March 2012)
  • Privacy Policy
  • ToS & Conditions of Use: with inter- & intra-page redundancy, Contra Proferentem provision, reservation of rights, and exclusive social media admonition.

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

Visit this website to learn more:

Legal Page Plugins

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

Here are some great WordPress plugins that you should check out:

WordPress Legal Pages

WordPress Plugin - WordPress Legal Pages

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin)

If you don’t want to spend time creating legal pages manually, then consider choosing a plugin like WP Legal Pages

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

Here are just some of the benefits of using WordPress Legal Pages plugin:

  • Built-in Templates – The plugin gives you access to over 20 built-in legal page templates created by professional lawyers.
  • Quick And Easy To Use – Set up most of the legal pages you need in around 3 minutes with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Fully Customizable Pages – The plugin includes fully customizable and easily editable legal form templates (e.g. Terms Of Service, Disclaimer, Earnings Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and more!)
  • Easy To Edit Pages – WordPress content editor lets you edit all legal pages just like any other page on your site.
  • Custom Shortcodes – You can add shortcodes to any of your pages and the information will be automatically inserted into your pages when published.
  • Exclude pages. Exclude pages from menus with a simple check box and delete and manage these like any other page on your site.
  • Forced Options – Force page or post lockdown. When users agree to your terms, the page unlocks.
  • New Features – More features are being added to this plugin with every new version.

After installing WordPress Legal Pages, a new menu item will display inside your main navigation area …

WordPress Legal Pages - Menu

(WP Legal Pages – Legal Pages Menu)

This lets you view, create and edit legal pages from the admin area …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin - Settings Screen

(WP Legal Pages – Settings Screen)

The plugin gives you the option of creating legal pages for different types of websites, such as business websites with products, affiliate sites, e-commerce sites, etc …

WordPress Legal Pages - Page type dropdown menu

(WP Legal Pages – Create different legal pages)

You can also select from various built-in legal templates …

WordPress Legal Pages - Legal Templates

(WP Legal Pages Plugin – 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 the plugin site for more information about this handy plugin:

Compliance Bar – WP Website Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar - WP Website Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar is a simple plugin for WordPress users that includes over twenty customizable compliance templates for your website …

Compliance Bar - WP Compliance Plugin

For more details, visit the plugin site here:

Legal Suite Pro

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

(Legal Suite Pro)

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 of Service
  • Earnings Disclaimer

Legal Suite Pro Plugin For WordPress - 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 secured rights to high quality, professionally written legal disclaimers and packaged them 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 plugin licensing is very flexible, allowing you to install and use the plugin on all of your sites.

For more information, go here:

Important

If using the services of lawyers to create your legal documentation is currently out of your budget, then consider implementing at least some basic form 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 software below (it’s FREE!), or consider choosing one of the better solutions we discuss in this article, such as using legal documentation, or a plugin as described in the section below.

Legal Pages Generator

(Legal Pages Generator Software)

Legal Pages Generator Software quickly generates basic legal documents for your website including Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Copyright Notice, Website Disclaimer and Earnings Disclaimer.

***

As stated earlier, if you engage in any form of commercial activity online, it’s important that your site stays compliant with regulatory agencies and the guidelines and terms of service (TOS) of 3rd-party services and products that you may be promoting or selling online. If your website doesn’t comply with laws intended to protect 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

Disclaimer: Once again, we are not lawyers and we cannot provide legal advice. We strongly advise you to do your own due diligence and consult a legal expert about the best way of ensuring that your website fully complies with all legal requirements concerning your specific business.

Additional Legal Information

Here is a useful list of additional sites we recommend you visit to better understand what your site may require to stay compliant and meet legal obligations:

And …

We hope this article has helped you understand why it’s important to have a compliant website. Use the information provided above to quickly and easily add legal pages to your WordPress site.

***

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Originally published as How To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site.