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 Legally Compliant? A Guide To Adding Legal Pages To Your Website

Is your WordPress website compliant? Do you know if your site is breaking the law, or breaching the Terms of Service (TOS) of any third-party companies whose services or products you are offering or endorsing?

Online laws were designed to protect the rights of consumers and apply to anyone who markets, sells or promotes products and services online. Every website owner 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 that regulate how businesses promote advertising on their websites state that if you promote anything on your site for commercial gain, then you must follow certain principles of disclosure to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by regulatory agencies, such as the (US based) BBB, or Better Business Bureau. Look up “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 new laws has legal implications for various business categories, including:

  • Any type of advertising, like text link advertising, Google Adsense, etc.
  • Retarget Marketing
  • Google Analytics (or other analytics software)
  • Affiliate Marketers
  • Product Creation
  • Bloggers
  • etc.

If your website does not display certain pages to visitors (e.g. terms of service, privacy statement, earning disclaimers, etc.), many sites such as Google won’t let you advertise, digital marketplaces like ClickBank will not allow you to list your digital products for sale, PayPal could close down your account and freeze your funds, Facebook will suspend web applications, and you won’t be accepted into various advertising or online merchant networks.

Additionally, you may also be inadvertently leaving yourself open and vulnerable to expensive litigation.

The purpose of this post is to help make you aware that your website are required to comply with certain legalities, the importance of maintaining compliance with the terms of service of other providers whose products or services you may be offering online, and that there are solutions for WordPress users that can help your sites become more compliant, such as the plugins discussed further below.

Is Your Site Compliant?

Is Your Website Or Blog Legally Compliant?

Warning

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and we do not provide legal advice. As stated earlier, the aim of this article is to make you aware that your website may be subject to certain legal policies in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern your business and that compliance may be required with the terms of service of 3rd-party companies whose services or products you use on your website

Why Making Your Website Compliant Is Important

Consider for one moment what could happen to your business if the situations below were to occur:

  • A user suffers a heart attack after using your online fitness program.
  • The skin care products you promote as an affiliate gives someone who purchases from your link an adverse reaction.
  • You’ve informed your subscribers that you won’t sell their information, but you have not informed them exactly what you’ll do with the details you’ve collected.
  • Someone steals content from your site and publishes it on their own site.
  • There is no statement on your website making your site visitors aware that you are recommending a product as an affiliate that you may derive financial benefits if they buy it via your affiliate link.
  • You haven’t spelled out the conditions of your refund or return policies.
  • Your visitors claim that your testimonials are misleading and decide to sue you because of it.
  • You have not disclosed in a product review that you were given a free copy of the product.
  • Your website includes adult-related content and you did not take appropriate measures to restrict access by underaged children.

Consider also the documented examples of costly compliance breaches described:

  • A CPA Marketer failed to provide adequate disclaimers telling online users they would have to give up their personal information to complete an offer they were promoting. In addition to a hefty $390,000 fine, he is now required 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 received a whopping $800,000 fine for collecting personal information without users’ knowledge and consent – including storing children’s private information.
  • Facebook’s Terms Of Service does not allow users to scrape UIDs. Many internet marketers took a risk and lost. Their accounts were shut down, costing them thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
  • An independently-conducted 2010 study by Brad Geddes of SearchEngineLand, showed that, of a couple of hundred randomly-picked websites, more than 90% had broken at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% had breached at least 2 of Google’s policies, and more than 40% had infringed 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 cautions or lose access to the Google program with the infringement, which could result in loss of income (e.g. AdSense or AdWords).

Can you see how a business owner can easily be exposed to the risks of litigation through non-compliance?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPA (Cost Per Action) Marketer
  • Multilevel Marketer
  • Affiliate Promoter
  • AdWords Advertiser
  • Niche Publisher
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • e-Commerce Store Owner
  • Publisher Of Adult Content
  • Freelancer, Consultant Or Coach
  • Seller Of Any Service Or Product Online

You need to do whatever is necessary to make sure that your digital presence is fully compliant with the law.

Compliance With 3rd-Party Companies Terms And Policies

Compliance with third-party services terms and policies is important.

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

For example:

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

Google Analytics - Policy Requirements

(Policy requirements for using Google Analytics)

Making money online with your sites with Google AdSense advertising

Google AdSense advertising policy requirements

(Google AdSense display advertising - policy requirements)

Or promoting your services or products via Google AdWords

Google AdWords - Policy Requirements

(Policy requirements for using Google AdWords)

If you plan to sell information products through companies like ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established online merchant networks, you will need to add various legal pages to your website before they will approve your products for selling via their marketplace …

Policy requirements digital product vendors selling through ClickBank

(Policy requirements for ClickBank product vendors)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also requires that you add clear disclaimers and policy statements on your website, especially when using product testimonials or endorsements …

Federal Trade Commission - consumer guidelines and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer policies and regulations)

FTC Regulations Require Your Website To Be Compliant

FTC regulations governing the conduct of businesses online were introduced in March 2012. Search online and you will see that many sites are unaware (or choose to ignore) these requirements. As has already been the case, this often results in the FTC making an example of businesses and prosecuting site owners for breaches of regulation in an effort to get other businesses to comply.

If you do any kind of business online, therefore, it’s best not to take chances. Even if your business does not operate in the U.S. it’s best to protect your business by ensuring that your website is compliant with all FTC guidelines and regulations.

You can find many business resource sites that can provide guidelines on how to structure disclaimers and disclosures to help your site meet FTC requirements. We provide links to useful resources to some of these at the end of this article …

Word 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)

Don’t Forget Social Media Applications

If you plan to create social networking applications that integrate with your website, you will also be required to provide sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others with access to your legal pages …

Facebook developer app - policy requirements

(Apps that integrate with social networking sites also require compliance)

Tip

  • If you are not sure whether or not you may be 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 are considering promoting services or products online as an affiliate marketer, or generating revenue online with Google AdSense, Amazon, or eBay ads, or use Google AdWords pay-per-click ads to drive visitors to your pages, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you are required to include on your site to comply with their Terms Of Service and policy requirements to avoid having your accounts suspended.
  • If you’ve 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 policies and guidelines

(In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, most third-party websites require you to comply with their policies and guidelines)

Essential Legal Pages You Should Include In Your Website

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

Adding the following legal pages to your website should help keep your business out of trouble with most consumer protection agencies and external service providers, and even help you avoid possible legal issues):

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

  • Affiliate Agreement (if you provide an affiliate program)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Compensation Disclosure
  • External Linking Policy
  • Financial Disclaimers (e.g. if your website provides content about financial areas or income opportunities)
  • Refund Policy (if you sell products or services online)
  • Audio/Video Terms (if you allow users to download media on your site)
Types Of Disclosure Pages

Adding the right type of disclosure is important. For example:

  • No Material Connection – Informs your readers that you will not receive compensation for writing the content.
  • Affiliate Links – Lets visitors be aware that you will receive compensation if they buy through your affiliate link.
  • Sample Or review Copy – Lets site users know that you have received a sample or review copy of the product you’re reviewing or writing about.
  • Sponsored Post – Disclosure that informs users that you were compensated in some way to write the content.
  • Third Party Advertising – Informs readers that you’re using online behavioral tracking technology. This is required to comply with the “enhanced notice” the Better Business Bureau has been requiring website publishers to show prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

Adding Legal Content To Your WordPress Site

Ideally, you should consult your lawyer and ask them to prepare the verbiage of your legal documents. Once you have this, there are several ways to add them to your website.

Upload Legal Pages Manually To Your Site

If someone prepares 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 them for you.

We recommend creating a legals folder in your server and uploading your legal pages to this directory (e.g. via FTP) …

Upload legal pages to your server using FTP

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

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

WordPress Menu

(Custom WordPress Menu Feature)

After uploading your legal pages, make sure that these are kept up-to-date and clearly visible to visitors. You can insert links to your legal pages into the sidebar (or the footer of your website or blog) so that visitors will be able to access legal information from every page …

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

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

If you need help displaying links to pages on your sidebar using widgets, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

Store-Bought Legal Templates

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

Find Legal Forms

FindLegalForms.com - Attorney-prepared legal forms

(FindLegalForms.com – Legal forms)

Go here for more information:

Alternatively, you can purchase a set of cut and paste website legal templates designed by legal attorney Scott Talbert to help businesses protect themselves online …

Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages

Website Legal Pages

(Cut And 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 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 Templates include:

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer (multi-discipline professional disclaimers)
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance
  • Privacy Policy: Google, etc.
  • Terms of Service & Conditions of Use.

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

Go here for more details:

Legal Page Plugins

As well as using templates, you can keep things very simple by using plugins.

Here are some WordPress plugins worth looking into:

WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress

WordPress Plugin - WP Legal Pages

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress)

If you don’t want to bother with creating legal pages manually, then consider installing WP Legal Pages instead …

This plugin is not free, but it’s a very affordable and well-supported plugin that will make the work of creating and implementing legal pages on your website much easier and save you time.

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

  • Built-in Templates – Over 20 built-in legal page templates created by a team of professional lawyers.
  • Quick And Easy To Use – You can set up most of your basic legal pages in a few minutes with just a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Customizable Pages – Includes fully customizable and easily editable legal form templates (e.g. Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Earnings Disclaimer and more!)
  • Easy To Edit Pages – WordPress content editor lets you edit legal pages like any WordPress page.
  • Custom Shortcodes Integration – You can add shortcodes to your pages and the information will then be automatically inserted into your pages when you publish.
  • Exclude pages. Exclude pages from menus with a simple checkbox and delete and manage these like every other WordPress page.
  • Forced Options – Force page lockdown. When users agree to the legal terms, the page unlocks.
  • Additional Features – The plugin is updated with new features when new versions are released.

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

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin - Menu

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin – Legal Pages Menu)

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

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin - Settings Screen

(WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Settings Screen)

You can easily create legal pages for different types of websites, such as business websites with products, niche sites, AdSense sites, etc …

WP Legal Pages - Page Type

(WP Legal Pages Plugin – Create different legal page types)

You can also select from a number of built-in legal templates …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin - Legal 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

For more information about using this handy plugin, visit this website:

Compliance Bar – Compliance Plugin For WordPress

Compliance Bar Plugin - Compliance Plugin For WordPress

The Compliance Bar Plugin For WordPress is a total compliance and disclaimer solution for your online business …

Compliance Bar Plugin - WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

More info:

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

Legal Suite Pro For WordPress

(Legal Suite Pro For WordPress)

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 Use
  • Earnings Disclaimer

Legal Suite Pro For WordPress - Professionally-written legal forms

(Legal Suite Pro – 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 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 this plugin on all of your sites (even sites that you decide to sell or flip).

More information:

Important

If hiring lawyers to create your legal pages is out of your budget, then consider implementing at least some basic form of legal protection on your website until you can afford legal services.

We want your site to be 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 documents, or a plugin - see section below.

Legal Pages Generator

(Legal Pages Generator)

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

***

As stated earlier, if you do business online, you need to ensure that your website is compliant with legal requirements of government agencies that regulate business online and any guidelines and terms of service (TOS) of third-party sites that you may be promoting or using online. Your internet presence must comply with various laws and regulatory guidelines, many of which you may not be aware of.

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

Disclaimer: Once again, we are not lawyers and we are not offering legal advice here. You are strongly advised to do your own due diligence and consult legal experts about the best way to ensure that your website is compliant with all legal requirements regarding your specific business.

Additional Legal Information

Here is a useful list of additional sites we suggest you visit to help you better understand what your business requires to remain compliant and meet legal obligations:

In Addition …

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of having a legally compliant website. Use the information provided above to quickly and easily add essential legal pages to your website.

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"Your training is the best in the world! It is simple, yet detailed, direct, understandable, memorable, and complete." Andrea Adams, FinancialJourney.org

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