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? What Legal Pages To Add To Your Site

Is your website legal? 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 recommend or advertise?

As the digital economy continues to grow at breakneck speed and rules constantly change, it’s absolutely vital that you try to stay informed about what’s happening and ensure that your website or blog remains legal, especially if having a digital presence plays an important part in your business strategy.

Recent 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, then you need to follow certain principles of disclosure to prevent enforceable orders being issued against you by consumer protection agencies, such as the 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 to learn more.

Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program - BBB

(Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program – BBB)

The introduction of these new laws affect several business categories, including:

  • Any kind of advertising, e.g. contextual ads
  • Retarget Marketing
  • Google Analytics (or other analytics software)
  • Affiliate Marketers
  • Product Creators
  • Blogging
  • etc.

If your site does not display certain pages to visitors (e.g. terms of service, privacy policy, financial disclaimers, etc.), many third-party sites like Google won’t let you advertise, online merchants like ClickBank or JVZoo will not approve your digital products on their network, PayPal could suspend your account and freeze your funds, Facebook will reject web applications, and you will not be allowed to enroll in most advertising or online merchant networks.

If your digital presence is not in compliance, you could face a number of penalties, including fines, having your website shut down, even jail time!

This article explains why it’s important to have a legally compliant website and describes inexpensive ways to make your WordPress site legally compliant in minutes.

Does Your Website Or Blog Comply With The Law?

Does Your Site Comply With The Law?

Info

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that we are not lawyers and we are not offering legal advice in this article. As stated above, the purpose of this article is only to make you aware that your website may be subject to a number of legal requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern business online and that you may be required to comply with the terms of service of third-party providers whose products or services you use on your website or blog

Why It’s Important To Make Your Website Compliant

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

  • A person has a heart attack after they use your online fitness program.
  • The skin care creams you sell as an affiliate gives people skin rashes.
  • You’ve let your subscribers know that you won’t sell their information, but you have not informed them exactly what you will do with the information you have collected.
  • Someone steals content from your website and publishes it on their website.
  • There is no statement on your website or blog telling your site users that you are an affiliate for the product you’re recommending and could receive a sales commission if they decide to buy using your link.
  • You don’t spell out the terms and conditions of your refund policies.
  • Someone claims the testimonials on your site are misleading and tries to sue you.
  • You did not disclose that you received a free copy in a product review.
  • Your site contains adult content and you have not taken appropriate measures to keep underaged children from accessing it.

Consider also the real examples of costly compliance breaches described:

  • A CPA Marketer failed to provide adequate disclaimers telling visitors they would have to give up their personal information to complete his offer. Cost = $390,000.
  • A social networking app developer received a massive $800,000 fine for collecting personal information from mobile device address books without the owners’ knowledge and consent – including storing children’s private information.
  • Facebook’s Terms Of Service prohibits using software that scrapes 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 2010 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 violation 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 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 easy it is to risk becoming exposed to non-compliance?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • PPA (Pay Per Action) Marketer
  • Network Marketer
  • Affiliate Promoter
  • AdWords User
  • Info Product Marketer
  • Amazon Associate
  • EBay Seller
  • Adult Content Publisher
  • Freelancer, Consultant Or Coach
  • Online Seller Of Any Product Or Service

it’s important to do whatever is necessary to make sure that your online business remains fully compliant with the law.

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

Leading online companies and government trade regulatory agencies emphasize the need and importance of complying with the terms and policies of 3rd-party service providers.

You must let your site visitors know that your business complies will all legal requirements and recommended guidelines. This not only increases trust and confidence in your site, it’s also a requirement of many companies you engage with.

Here are just some examples:

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

Policy requirements for using Google Analytics

(Policy requirements for using Google Analytics)

Generating revenue with your site using Google AdSense

Google AdSense ads - policy requirements

(Google AdSense ads - policy requirements)

And even promoting your products through Google AdWords

Policy requirements for using Google AdWords

(Google AdWords – Policy Requirements)

If you sell products online with merchants such as ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established merchant sites, you are required to add various legal pages before they will approve your products for selling via their marketplace …

ClickBank - policy requirements for product vendors

(Policy requirements for vendors using ClickBank)

The Federal Trade Commission also requires you to include clear disclaimers and policies on your site, especially if you plan to use testimonials or product endorsements …

Federal Trade Commission - consumer policies and regulations

(FTC – consumer policies and regulations)

FTC Regulations – Ensuring That Your Site 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 already been the case, this often ends up with the FTC making an example of businesses and prosecuting site owners in an effort to get other businesses to comply.

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

Many online business resources provide guidelines and examples for structuring disclaimers and disclosures to help your business comply with FTC requirements. We provide references to some of these at the end of this article …

You must 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 the law)

Social Media Apps - Don’t Forget These

If you are planning to create applications for your website, social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others will require you to provide information about your legal pages …

Facebook developer app - policy requirements

(Apps that interface with social networks also require compliance)

Useful Tip

  • If you are unsure whether you are breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of sites like Google, Facebook, etc., then it’s best to assume that you most probably are.
  • If you plan to promote anything online using affiliate marketing, or monetize your pages with Google AdSense, Amazon, or eBay advertising, or driving visitors to your site using Google AdWords, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you need to display on your site to comply with all Terms Of Service and policy requirements to avoid having your accounts terminated.
  • If you’ve ever wondered if “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, then it’s best to take proper precautions to protect yourself and your business.

In addition to legal and regulatory compliance, almost all 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)

Basic Legal Pages To Include In Your Website To Ensure Compliance

If your web site falls short in aspects of compliance, then this section will help you.

At its most basic, adding the following compliance pages to your site will keep you out of trouble with most regulatory authorities and third-party providers, and avoid potential legal issues or even threats of legal action (e.g. “takedown” notices):

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

  • Affiliate Agreement (e.g. if you sell products or services through an affiliate program)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Compensation Disclosure
  • External Links Policy
  • Health Disclaimers (if your website provides health or medical advice)
  • Refund Policy (if you sell products or services online)
  • Audio/Video Terms (e.g. if you allow users to download videos or audio files on your site)
Disclosure Pages – Types

Adding the right disclosure information is important. For example:

  • No Material Connection – Lets your readers know that you will not receive compensation for writing the post.
  • Affiliate Links – Lets visitors be aware that you will derive some form of financial benefit if they purchase through affiliate links on your site.
  • Review Or Sample Copy – Lets your readers be aware that you have been given a sample or review copy of the product or service you’re writing about.
  • Sponsored Post – Informs your visitors that you have been compensated in some way to write the content.
  • Third Party Advertising – Informs your 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 display prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

How To Add Legal Pages To Your WordPress Website

Ideally, you will have a lawyer prepare the content of your legal documents. Once these have been done, there are several ways to include them in your website.

Uploading Legal Web Pages 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 these pages for you.

We recommend creating a legals directory on your web server and uploading HTML pages containing your legal documentation to this directory using FTP …

Upload legal pages to your server using FTP

(Upload legal pages to your web server using FTP)

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

WordPress Menu

(Custom WordPress Menu Feature)

Make sure that your legal pages are fully up-to-date and clearly visible to your visitors. You can add these to the sidebar menu (or place them in the footer section of your website or blog) so that users will be able to access 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 information on all of your site’s pages)

To learn more about displaying links to pages on your WordPress sidebar or footer using widgets, refer to this step-by-step tutorial:

Templates

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

Find Legal Forms

Find Legal Forms

(Find Legal Forms)

Go here for more details:

Alternatively, you can download a package of cut and paste legal templates drafted by attorney Scott Talbert

Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages

Scott Talbert's Website Legal Pages

(Website Legal Pages)

These templates were written by an attorney and feature less passive voice and more plain language phrasing and can be customized with search and replace to insert your own business details, then pasted into your web pages.

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

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer: multi-discipline professional disclaimers
  • DMCA Compliance
  • FTC Compliance (This proprietary FTC page reflects FTC guidelines brought into effect in 2012)
  • Privacy Policy: Google & DoubleClick DART, etc.
  • ToS & Conditions of Use: includes 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 site, then paste the content from the templates into your pages and publish or upload your legal pages to your server as described previously.

Go here to learn more:

Legal Pages – Plugins

As well as using copy & paste legal templates, you can simplify things using WordPress plugins.

Here are some great WordPress plugins worth looking into:

WordPress Legal Pages

WordPress Plugin - WordPress Legal Pages

(WordPress Plugin – WP Legal Pages)

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

The WP Legal Pages plugin is not free, but it’s a very affordable and well-supported premium plugin that will make the job of creating and implementing legal pages on your website a lot easier and save you loads of headaches.

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

  • Built-in Legal Templates – Over 20 built-in legal templates created by professional lawyers.
  • Very Quick And Easy To Use – You can set up most of your basic legal pages in a few minutes with just a few mouse clicks.
  • Fully Customizable Pages – Includes fully customizable and easily editable legal form templates (e.g. ToS, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Earnings Disclaimer and more!)
  • Editable Pages – WYSIWYG editor lets you edit all legal pages like any WordPress page.
  • Custom Shortcodes – You can add shortcodes to any of your website or blog pages and the information is then 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. Page unlocks and can be accessed only when user agrees to your terms.
  • New Features – More features are being added to this plugin with each new version.

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

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Menu

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin – Legal Pages Menu)

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

WP Legal Pages Plugin - Settings Area

(WP Legal Pages – Settings Area)

The plugin gives you the option to create legal pages for different types of websites, such as business websites, niche websites, AdSense sites, etc …

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

(WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Type of Site menu)

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

WP Legal Pages - Legal 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

To learn more about the benefits of using this plugin, visit the plugin site:

Compliance Bar – WordPress Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar Plugin - WP Website Compliance Plugin

Compliance Bar is a total compliance & disclaimer solution for your website …

Compliance Bar Plugin - WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

For more details, visit the plugin site here:

Legal Suite Pro

Legal Suite Pro Plugin For WordPress

(Legal Suite Pro For WordPress)

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 & Conditions
  • Earnings Disclaimer

Legal Suite Pro Plugin - 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 less than one minute and the plugin licensing is flexible, allowing you to install and use this plugin on all of your websites.

More information:

Important

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

We want your business to be legally protected!

Download the FREE Legal Pages Generator software below, or choose one of the better solutions we discuss in this article, such as using legal documentation, or a legal pages plugin as described in the section below.

Legal Pages Generator Software

(Legal Pages Generator Software)

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

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As stated earlier, if you do business online, it’s important that your site is compliant with regulatory agencies and the guidelines and terms of service (TOS) provided by 3rd-party sites that you may decide to promote or advertise online. If your website doesn’t comply with laws intended to protect the rights of 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?

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Disclaimer: Once again, please note that we are not lawyers and we provide no legal advice. We strongly advise you to do your own due diligence and consult legal experts about the best way of ensuring that your website fully complies with all legal requirements wherever your business is based.

References And Legal Resources

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

See Also …

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand why it’s important to have a legally compliant website. Use the information above to quickly and easily add essential legal pages to your site.

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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.