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.

Making Your Website Legally Compliant - What You Need To Know About Adding Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site

If you do any kind of business online, you do not want to find out that you have been operating on the wrong side of the law.

Internet laws are designed to protect consumers and apply to any person who sells, markets or promotes products and services online. Anyone who owns a website risks being sued for not following compliance laws. Feigning ignorance about the law will not prevent someone from taking legal action against your business.

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

Better Business Bureau

(Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program – BBB)

These laws has legal ramifications for several business activities, including:

  • Any kind of advertising, e.g. Google AdWords or AdSense
  • 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 statement, earning disclaimers, etc.), many sites such as Google won’t let you advertise, digital marketplaces like ClickBank or JVZoo will not let you list digital products on their network, PayPal could suspend your account, Facebook could suspend web applications, and you will not be allowed to enroll in a number of advertising or online marketing networks.

If you are not in compliance, you could face a number 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 site are required to comply with certain legalities, the importance of remaining compliant with the terms of service of third-party providers whose services or products you may be advertising online, and that there are plugins for WordPress that can help your sites become more compliant, such as the plugins listed further below.

Is Your Website Compliant?

Does Your Website Comply With All Legal Requirements?

Note

Disclaimer: Please note that we are not lawyers and we do not provide legal advice on this website. You must carry out your own due diligence and we recommend consulting legal experts about the best way to ensure that your website fully complies with the law wherever you do business.

Why It’s Important To Make Your Website Compliant

Are you at risk? Consider for one minute what could happen to your business if any of the situations below were to happen:

  • A customer has a heart attack after using your online fitness program.
  • The skin care products you promote as an affiliate gives a number of users skin rashes.
  • Your opt-in list provides a statement informing subscribers that you won’t sell their information, but you have not clearly spelled out what you plan to do with it.
  • Someone steals content from your site and puts it up on their own site.
  • There is no statement on your website making visitors aware that you are recommending a product as an affiliate and may derive a financial benefit if visitors buy it.
  • You didn’t spell out the conditions of your refund/return policies.
  • Your visitors claim the testimonials on your site are misleading and try to sue you because of it.
  • You didn’t disclose in a product review that you were given a free copy of the product.
  • Your site publishes adult-related information and you haven’t taken sufficient measures to restrict access by underaged children.

Consider now these actual examples of costly compliance breaches:

  • A CPA Marketer failed to provide adequate disclaimers telling visitors they would have to give up their personal information to complete a debt reduction offer. Cost = $390,000.
  • A social networking app developer copped a whopping $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 does not allow users to scrape UIDs. Many internet marketers took a risk and lost. Their accounts were shut down, costing them 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% had infringed at least one of Google’s policies, more than 65% had infringed at least 2 of Google’s policies, and more than 40% were in breach of 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 entirely 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 become exposed to the risk of non-compliance?

Regardless of whether you are a:

  • CPA or PPA Marketer
  • MLM Networker
  • Affiliate Marketer
  • AdSense Publisher
  • Niche Marketer
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • e-Commerce Store Owner
  • Adult Content Publisher
  • Freelancer, Consultant Or Coach
  • Seller Of Any Product Or Service Online

it’s important to make sure that your website is fully compliant with the law.

Complying With Third-Party Services Terms And Policies

Compliance with 3rd-party companies terms and policies is important.

You are required to let your site users know that your website complies with all necessary laws and recommended guidelines. This not only increases consumer trust and buyer confidence in your website, it’s also required in most cases by most companies you will do business with.

For example:

Google requires websites to display certain information if using many of their services. This includes using Google Analytics

Policy requirements for using Google Analytics

(Policy requirements for using Google Analytics)

Earning revenue with your website with Google AdSense ads

Google AdSense policy requirements

(Google AdSense - policy requirements)

And even promoting your products or services via Google AdWords

Policy requirements for using Google AdWords

(Policy requirements for using Google AdWords)

If you plan to sell products online using companies such as ClickBank, JVZoo, or other established online merchant networks, you are required to add legal pages before they will approve your products for selling via their network …

ClickBank - policy requirements for digital product vendors

(Policy requirements for using ClickBank)

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

Federal Trade Commission - consumer policies and regulations

(Federal Trade Commission – consumer guidelines and regulations)

FTC Regulations – Ensuring That Your Site Is Compliant

FTC regulations governing how business is conducted online were introduced in March 2012. A quick search online will easily reveal that many sites are unaware (or choose to ignore) these requirements. As is already the case, this will most likely prompt the FTC to make an example of businesses and prosecute companies in an effort to get other businesses to comply.

If you plan to do any type of money-making activity 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 interests by making sure that your website complies with all FTC guidelines.

Various sites provide guidelines on how to structure disclaimers and disclosures to help your site comply with FTC requirements. See the 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 laws and regulations)

Don’t Forget Social Media Apps

If you are planning to create applications for your site, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others require you to provide access to various legal pages …

Facebook developer app - policy requirements

(Apps that interface with social networking sites like Facebook also require compliance)

Tip

  • If you are not sure whether or not you are breaking the law, and/or Terms of Service policies and guidelines of companies like Google, Facebook, etc., it’s best to assume that you most probably are.
  • If you are considering promoting anything online using affiliate marketing, or make money online with Google AdSense, eBay or Amazon advertising, or using Google AdWords pay-per-click ads to drive visitors to your pages, etc., then find out exactly what kind of legal information you need to include on your site to comply with their Terms Of Service and policy requirements - don’t risk having your accounts suspended.
  • If you’ve ever wondered if “borrowing” a Copyright Notice is Copyright infringement, take proper precautions to avoid becoming a magnet for litigation.

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

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

Common Legal Pages To Add To Your Site 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 website should keep you out of trouble with most regulatory agencies and third-party providers, and even help to avoid potential legal issues or even threats of legal action (e.g. “takedown” notices):

Additionally, you may want to look into including one or more of the following pages:

  • Affiliate Disclosure (if you sell or promote affiliate products and services)
  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Compensation Disclosure
  • External Links Policy
  • Financial Disclaimers (if your website provides general information about financial areas or income opportunities)
  • Refund Policy (if you sell products or services online)
  • Media Terms Of Use (e.g. if you allow users to download videos or audio files on your site)
Types Of Disclosure Pages

It’s important to add the right disclosures to your website. For example:

  • No Material Connection – Lets your visitors be aware that you’re not being paid for writing the content.
  • Affiliate Links – Discloses to readers that you may derive some form of financial benefit if they buy through one of your affiliate links.
  • Review/Sample Copy – Discloses to visitors that you have been given a review or sample copy of the product or service by the author or developer.
  • Sponsored Post – Disclosure that informs visitors that you were compensated in some way to write the content.
  • Third Party Advertising – Lets readers know that you’re using online behavioral tracking technology. This is required to satisfy the “enhanced notice” the Better Business Bureau has been requiring website publishers to show prominently on their sites since January 1, 2014.

Adding Compliance Pages To Your Website

Ideally, you should have a lawyer prepare the verbiage of your legal documents. Once you have this, there are several ways to include them in your website.

Upload Legal Pages Manually

If someone prepares the legal content for you in HTML format, you can simply upload these to your site, or have someone upload them for you.

We recommend creating a legals directory in your server and uploading your legal pages to this directory using FTP …

Upload legal pages to your server via FTP

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

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

Custom WordPress Menu

(WordPress Menu)

Displaying Legal Web Pages On Your Site

Make sure that your legal pages are fully up-to-date and clearly visible to all visitors. You can insert these into the sidebar (or the footer of your site) to ensure that visitors have access to legal information from every page …

Display links to legal pages on all of your website's pages

(It’s important to display legal pages to users on all of your site’s pages)

If you need help displaying links to pages on your WordPress sidebar or footer, see this tutorial:

Templates

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

Find Legal Forms

Find Legal Forms - Legal forms

(Find Legal Forms – Attorney-prepared legal forms)

More information:

Another option is to download a package of legal templates drafted by attorney Scott Talbert

Cut And Paste Website Legal Pages

Scott Talbert's Legal Form Templates

(Website Legal Pages)

Cut & Paste website legal templates were created by an attorney and feature less passive voice and more plain language phrasing and can be customized with search and replace to add your own details, then pasted into your web pages.

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

  • Anti-Spam Policy
  • Copyright Notice
  • Disclaimer
  • DMCA Compliance
  • Federal Trade Commission Compliance (This proprietary FTC page accommodates new FTC regulations brought into effect in March 2012)
  • Privacy Policy: Google, DoubleClick DART, etc.
  • Terms of Service (ToS) & Conditions of Use.

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 server as described previously.

For more details, visit this website:

Legal Page Plugins

In addition to using cut & paste legal templates, you can simplify things by using plugins.

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

WP Legal Pages

WP Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress

(WordPress Plugin – WP Legal Pages)

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

WordPress Legal Pages is not a free plugin, but it’s a low-priced and well-supported plugin that will make the work 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 WP Legal Pages:

  • 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 a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Customizable Pages – Includes customizable and easy to edit legal form templates (e.g. Terms Of Service, Disclaimer, Earnings Disclaimer, Privacy Policy and more!)
  • Editable Pages – WYSIWYG editor lets you edit all legal pages just like every other WordPress page.
  • Custom Shortcodes Integration – You can add shortcodes to any of your WordPress pages and the information is then automatically inserted into your content when published.
  • Exclude pages. Exclude pages from menus with a simple checkbox and delete and manage these like every other WordPress page.
  • Forced Options – Force page lock down. When the user agrees to your legal terms, the page unlocks, giving them access.
  • Additional Features – The plugin is updated with new features when new versions are released.

When you install WordPress Legal Pages, a new menu item is added to your main navigation section …

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Legal Pages Menu

(WordPress Legal Pages – Menu)

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

WP Legal Pages - Settings Screen

(WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress – Settings)

You can create legal pages for different online uses, such as business websites, niche sites, medical sites, etc …

WP Legal Pages - Page Type

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

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

WordPress Legal Pages Plugin For WordPress - Pre-configured Legal 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

Visit this site to learn more about this plugin:

Compliance Bar Plugin – WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

Compliance Bar Plugin - WordPress Plugin For Website Compliance

Compliance Bar is a simple WordPress plugin with over 20 customizable legal pages for your online presence …

Compliance Bar Plugin - Compliance Plugin For WordPress

For a detailed article about this plugin go here:

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

Legal Suite Pro Plugin

(Legal Suite Pro Plugin)

Legal Suite Pro 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 - 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 site. You can have legal pages installed and set up on your site in less than one minute and the license allows you to install and use the plugin on all of your sites (even sites that you decide to sell or flip).

More information:

Important

If hiring lawyers to create your online legal documentation is currently out of your budget, then consider implementing at least some basic form of legal protection on your site until you can afford to hire a solicitor.

We want your site to be protected!

Download the Legal Pages Generator software below (for FREE!), or consider choosing one of the better solutions we discuss in this article, such as using legal content, or a WordPress plugin as described in the section below.

Legal Pages Generator

(Legal Pages Generator Software)

Legal Pages Generator 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 are making money online, you need to make sure that your website is compliant with regulatory agencies and any guidelines and terms of service provided by 3rd-party services and products that you may be promoting or offering online. If your website isn’t compliant 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?

Useful Info

Disclaimer: Once again, please note that we are not lawyers and we provide no legal advice on this website. You are strongly advised to do your own due diligence and consult a legal expert about the best way of ensuring that your website is compliant with all legal requirements in your country or region.

Resources

Here is a useful list of additional sites we recommend you visit to better understand what may be required of your website to stay compliant and meet legal requirements and guidelines:

And …

We hope this article has helped you understand why it’s important to have a compliant website. Use the information presented above to quickly add essential legal pages to your website using inexpensive legal resources and solutions.

***

"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie

***

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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.