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 WordPress Site

Is your website compliant? Do you know if you are breaking the law, or contravening the Terms of Service (TOS) of any third-party companies whose services or products you use or recommend?

Internet laws and regulations were designed to protect the rights of consumers and apply to any person who sells, markets or promotes products or services online. Anyone who owns a website risks being sued for not following compliance laws. Feigning ignorance about legal requirements will not 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 plan to promote anything on your website for profit, then you must follow certain principles of disclosure to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by regulatory departments, such as the BBB, or Better Business Bureau. 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

(Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program – Better Business Bureau)

The new laws has consequences for various business activities, including:

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

Without legal pages on your web site (e.g. terms and conditions of use, privacy policy, legal disclaimers, etc.), many sites such as Google won’t let you advertise, digital marketplaces like ClickBank or JVZoo will not allow you to list digital products, PayPal could shut down your account and withhold payment of your funds, Facebook will suspend your web applications, and you won’t be allowed to enrol in a number of advertising and affiliate merchant networks.

If your online business is not in compliance, you could face a multitude of penalties, including fines, having your website shut down, even jail time!

The purpose of this guide is to help make you aware that your website or blog are subject to certain legal requirements, the importance of remaining compliant with the terms of service of third-party providers whose products or services you may be endorsing online, and that there are easy solutions that can help your sites become more compliant, such as the tools that we discuss further below.

Is Your Site Compliant?

Is Your Site Breaking The Law?

Important Info

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and we do not offer legal advice about your website or business. Do your own due diligence and we recommend consulting a legal expert about the best way of ensuring that your website is compliant with all legal requirements in your country or region.

Why Making Your Website Compliant Is Important

Is your business at risk? Consider for a minute what the implications to your business would be if any of the situations below were to happen:

  • Someone has a cardiac arrest after purchasing your online fitness workout.
  • The skin care creams you promote as an affiliate gives people allergic reactions.
  • You’ve let your subscribers know that you will not sell their information, but you have not spelled out exactly what you will do with their personal details.
  • Someone copies your content and puts it up on their own site.
  • There is no statement on your site letting your site users know that you are recommending a product as an affiliate that you may receive an affiliate commission if they end up buying using your link.
  • You have not spelled out the terms and conditions of your refund policies.
  • Your visitors claim the testimonials on your site are misleading and decide to sue you.
  • You did not disclose in a product review that you received a free copy of the product.
  • Your website includes adult information and you didn’t take appropriate measures to restrict access by underaged children.

Consider also the following actual examples 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 details to complete his offer. Cost = $390,000.
  • A social networking app developer received a massive $800,000 fine for collecting personal information without users’ knowledge and consent – including storing private details about children.
  • 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, resulting thousands of $$$ 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% were in breach of at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% were in violation of 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 with warnings or lose access 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 exposed to litigation through non-compliance?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPC (Cost Per Conversion) Marketer
  • Multilevel Marketer
  • Affiliate Promoter
  • AdWords User
  • Niche Marketer
  • Amazon Associate
  • e-Commerce Store Owner
  • Publisher Of Adult Content
  • Freelancer, Coach or Consultant
  • Seller Of Any Product Or Service Online

It’s imperative to make sure that your website stays fully compliant with the law.

Complying With Third-Party Companies Terms And Policies

Leading online companies and government agencies that regulate trade emphasize the need of observing the terms and policies of service providers.

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

For example:

Google requires you to display certain information if using many of their products. This includes Google Analytics

Policy requirements for using Google Analytics

(Policy requirements for using Google Analytics)

Monetizing your WordPress blog using Google AdSense

Google AdSense ads - policy requirements

(Google AdSense ads - policy requirements)

Or promoting your products using Google AdWords

Policy requirements for using Google AdWords

(Google AdWords – Policy Requirements)

If you sell products online with companies like ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established merchant networks, you will be required to add certain legal pages before your products are approved for sale …

Policy requirements for ClickBank product vendors

(Policy requirements for vendors using ClickBank)

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

FTC - consumer guidelines and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer guidelines and regulations)

FTC Regulations – Ensuring That Your Website Is Compliant

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

If you do any type of selling 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 site complies with all FTC guidelines.

Various online business resources provide guidelines for structuring disclaimers and disclosures to help your site comply with FTC requirements. We provide links to resources to a number of these at the end of this article …

It's important to 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 the law)

Social Media Apps Also Have Compliance Requirements

If you plan to develop applications that will integrate with your website, sites like Twitter, Facebook, and many others require you to provide access to various legal pages …

Apps that integrate with social networks also require compliance

(Facebook developer app – policy requirements)

Useful Tip

  • If you are unsure as to whether or not you may be breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of service providers like Google, Facebook, etc., then you most probably are.
  • If you are considering promoting products or services on your site as an affiliate marketer, or generating revenue with Google AdSense, Amazon, or eBay 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’ve ever wondered whether “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, then it’s best to act now and take proper precautions to protect yourself and your website.

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, almost all 3rd-party services require you to comply with their terms of use)

What Compliance Information Does My Website Need To Be Protected From Legal Compliance Issues?

If you suspect that your website is lacking in areas of compliance, then you will find this section helpful.

Adding the following legal pages to your site will keep you out of trouble with many regulatory authorities and third-party providers, and help to avoid potential legal issues or even threats of legal action (e.g. “take down” notices):

In addition to the above pages, you may want to consider including one or more of these pages if applicable:

  • Affiliate Agreement (if you provide an affiliate program)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Earnings Disclaimer
  • External Linking Policy
  • Health Disclaimers (if your website provides general health or medical advice)
  • Refund Policy (if you sell products or services online)
  • Use Of Media (if you provide users with access to downloadable media on your site)
Disclosure Pages – Types

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

  • No Material Connection – This lets users be aware that you’re not being paid for writing the article.
  • Affiliate Links – Lets your readers know that you may be compensated if they purchase through an affiliate link.
  • Review Or Sample Copy – Lets your readers know that you have been given a sample or review copy of the product or service by the author or developer.
  • Sponsored Post – Disclosure that lets your visitors be aware that you were compensated in some way to write the post.
  • Third Party Advertising – Informs visitors 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.

Adding Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site

Ideally, you will have a lawyer prepare the content of your legal documents. Once you have this, there are several ways to add them to your website.

Upload Legal Web Pages Manually

If someone prepares 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 directory via FTP …

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

(Upload legal pages to your server using FTP)

You can then add a link to these pages in WordPress using a custom WordPress menu …

Custom WordPress Menu Feature

(WordPress Menu)

Where To Display Legal Web Pages On Your Site

Make sure that your legal pages are up-to-date and clearly visible to your visitors. You can add links to your legal pages to the WordPress sidebar (or the footer of your site) so that visitors have access to the information from every page …

It's important to display legal information to users on all of your website's pages

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

We have written a detailed tutorial on adding links to pages on your sidebar menu or footer in WordPress using widgets here:

Store-Bought Legal Templates

You can find downloadable attorney-drafted website forms and agreements just by searching online, or by going to websites like this one:

Find Legal Forms

Find Legal Forms - Legal forms

(FindLegalForms.com)

Go here for more info:

Another option is to download a set of cut & paste legal templates created by attorney Scott Talbert to help businesses protect themselves online …

Cut & Paste Website Legal Pages

Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages - Legal Templates

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

These templates feature less passive voice and more plain language phrasing and can be easily customized with simple search and replace to add your own details, then pasted into your legal web pages.

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

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer (multi-discipline professional disclaimers)
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance (This proprietary FTC page reflects Federal Trade Commission regulations and guidelines brought into effect in 2012)
  • Privacy Policy: Google, etc.
  • Terms of Service & 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 for each legal form you want added to your website, then paste the content from the templates into your web pages and publish or upload your legal pages to your web server as described previously.

Go here for more information:

WordPress Plugins – Legal Pages

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

Here are some great plugins for WordPress websites worth looking into:

WP Legal Pages Plugin

WP Legal Pages Plugin

(WordPress Legal Pages)

If the idea of manually creating legal pages for your website feels too time-consuming for you, then consider using WordPress Legal Pages instead …

WordPress Legal Pages is not a free plugin, 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 many headaches.

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

  • Pre-written Legal Templates – Includes over 20 built-in legal page 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 – Includes fully customizable and completely editable legal form templates (e.g. Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Earnings Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and more!)
  • Easy To Edit Pages – WordPress content editor lets you edit all legal pages just like any other WordPress page.
  • Shortcodes – You can add shortcodes to any of 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 or post lock down. When users agree to the terms, the page unlocks, giving them access.
  • Additional Features – New plugin features get added when new versions are released.

When you install WordPress Legal Pages, a menu feature will appear inside your main WordPress dashboard menu section …

WP Legal Pages Plugin - Legal Pages Menu

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin – Menu)

This allows you to create, edit and view legal pages from your 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 sites, such as business websites with products, affiliate/review sites, AdSense sites, etc …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin - Page Type

(WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Page type menu)

Choose from several built-in legal templates …

WP Legal Pages Plugin - Pre-configured Templates

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – 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

Go here for more information about this plugin:

Compliance Bar Plugin – Website Compliance Plugin For WordPress

Compliance Bar - Compliance Plugin For WordPress

Compliance Bar is a simple plugin for WordPress users with over twenty customizable legal pages for your digital presence …

Compliance Bar Plugin - Website Compliance Plugin For WordPress

For an in-depth review of this plugin go here:

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

Legal Suite Pro For WordPress

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin)

Legal Suite Pro Plugin For WordPress 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 Plugin 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 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 websites (even sites that you decide to sell or flip).

Go here for more details:

Important

If using the services of lawyers to create your legal pages is currently out of your budget, then consider implementing at least some kind of basic legal protection on your site until you can afford legal services.

We want your website to be protected!

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

Legal Pages Generator

(Legal Pages Generator)

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

***

As we’ve previously pointed out, if you do business online (or plan to), you need to ensure that your site stays compliant with regulatory agencies and the terms of service and guidelines of third-party sites that you may decide to promote or offer online. Your website must comply with a wide range of laws and regulatory guidelines, many of which you may not even 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?

Useful Information

Disclaimer: Once again, please note that we are not lawyers and we cannot provide legal advice. Do your own due diligence and consult legal experts about the best way to ensure that your website fully complies with all legal requirements wherever your business is based.

Additional Information

Below is a useful list of sites we recommend you visit to better understand what your business requires to comply and meet its legal obligations:

Additionally …

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why it’s important to have a compliant website. Use the information presented above to quickly add all necessary legal pages to your website or blog using inexpensive methods, resources and WordPress plugins.

***

"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

***

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Author: Martin Aranovitch

Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

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