DOES MY WEBSITE NEED TERMS & CONDITIONS ?

Spindrift Marketing  Q&A With Davina Borrow-Jones

The Mumpreneur Lawyer.

 

There are many “ingredients” needed for a successful small business website. A well-designed website, built with the visitor in mind, and provides the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently. It must be optimised to bring in the right traffic from search engines. Traffic that your business is targeting, and the design and copy engage this traffic and ultimately convert this traffic into customers/clients.

What about website terms and conditions? Are terms and conditions necessary? Does anyone even read them? As a small business, do you really need to create a terms and conditions page for your website?

Website terms and conditions are often an overlooked ingredient when it comes to business websites. We recently interviewed Davina Borrow-Jones from The Mumpreneur Lawyer and asked her to answer a few questions to provide some much-needed clarity about terms and conditions for your business’s website. Davina is a lawyer and helps business’s by providing proactive legal solutions.

 

blackboard with the heading terms and conditions and a stop watch

 

  1.Do small businesses need website terms & conditions?

Yes! Website terms of use (terms for your website visitors) may not be high on your priority list when setting up your business. And since they just seem to sit at the bottom of your website wasting space and getting dusty, you may want to forget them altogether. Indeed, you may think they are the most “boring” part of your website. But when your website developer asks you for them, make sure you are ready! There are so many benefits and important reasons you should include them, and it makes for a very poor business decision to leave them out.

They will help protect your website content and copy, limit your liability if something goes wrong, and make sure you don’t have to troop around the world to determine a dispute. It is best practice to include them, and what’s more, because they help establish authority, they will help your Google ranking. And if you are going to be selling something online, you need them to comply with the Australian Consumer Law.

Even if you have a physical shop and your website is purely information based, we still recommend you have website terms. If there is some outdated or erroneous information that a website visitor relies on to their detriment; you don’t want to be found liable. You get the idea; every website needs website terms and conditions. It’s your domain so protect it as best as you can.

 

2. What should be included in my website terms & conditions?

 

Think of the terms and conditions on your website as a rulebook for your website visitors, and your clients or customers. If they have a complaint, you can refer back to them. If they are well drafted, they will set out adequate terms so that customer complaints can be easily and quickly dealt with. This in turn will lessen the likelihood of disputes and litigation.

Limiting your liability is hugely important to ensure that if a court finds that you are responsible for something, the amount you are required to pay is kept at a minimum. This must be included in your terms and conditions. Where you are a sole trader or partnership in business your personal assets maybe exposed, and one of the best ways of protecting them is by ensuring properly drafted disclaimers limiting your liability and relevant indemnity clauses.

Well drafted terms also ensure that you are compliant with the relevant laws when it comes to matters such as refunds (compliance with the Australian Consumer Law) and collection of personal data (compliance with Australian and overseas privacy legislation).

And it is important to have warnings in there in relation to any unauthorised use of your copyright and trademarks. You spend a lot of time on your website copy and photos, and you want to make sure that your intellectual property rights are protected.

Finally your terms should be governed by Australian law, and the laws of your state. The last thing you want to do is fly around the world to resolve a dispute because your terms are governed by overseas laws.

 

3. How do I go about adding terms & conditions to my website?

It is also important to have the terms and conditions properly drafted by a lawyer. We sometimes see people using free plug ins from overseas, which refer to overseas laws that are irrelevant. A small investment in an Australian lawyer now could mean a huge saving later on. Well drafted website terms and conditions also help improve your Google ranking. This is because Google puts a premium on trust and having a privacy policy and terms of use help you get that trust.

 

laptop computer with website design wording

 

How can businesses contact you if they want help with their Website T&C’s?

To connect with Davina Borrow-Jones, The Mumpreneur Lawyer:

 

Need help creating or enhancing your business’s website?

At Spindrift Marketing we help businesses create powerful websites that are on brand, engaging and built with SEO top of mind. If you would like to find out more about how Our Sydney based Marketing Consultants can help your business, contact us today on:

Phone: (02) 8330 6792 or   Email: info@spindriftmarketing.com.au

 

Article Author: Kim MacDonald, Founder & Principal of Spindrift Marketing, Sydney based marketing consultancy and agency. Kim is a Marketing, Brand Management and Business Development specialist with over 20 years’ experience in a range of top tier multinational organisations, in industries including Professional Services, Airlines, Financial Services, High Tech and MedTech in both Australia and the UK. She has also founded, launched and managed two successful SME businesses.

Connect with Kim MacDonald on LinkedIn