The Importance of Terms of Use and Disclaimers

TsandCsandDisclaimers

A few weeks ago we posted about the importance of including a privacy policy on your website. Terms of Use, or Ts & Cs, and Disclaimer pages are equally important, and each serves their own special purpose, with the aim of keeping you and your business protected online.

Having Terms of Use or Terms and Conditions, Disclaimer and Privacy Policy pages on your site is not just important from a legal standpoint. Some experts also suggest including these pages on your site can actually help to improve SEO. Essentially, the theory is that, because Google ranks trusted and quality sites higher in search results, including these pages on your website will help to demonstrate your website as a quality and thus increase its chance of being viewed favourably by Google and other search engines. The rules of SEO are constantly changing as search engines adjust their algorithms to best meet the needs of users, but including these as part of your SEO strategy certainly couldn’t hurt.

Terms of Use

Sometimes referred to as Terms and Conditions, Ts & Cs, or Terms of Service, a Terms of Use page outlines the rules a user agrees to abide by to use your services, and these will vary depending on your business or the purpose of your site. The information included on this page might relate to intellectual property, how you expect people to behave in your online community, and how you deal with online orders, deliveries, returns and complaints.

When approaching your Terms of Use page, consider your website’s main purpose – does it provide information, entertainment, or online services? What possible problems could someone encounter while using your site? Have a look at the terms and conditions pages of quality websites in similar industries, and take note of what they include.

Organise your ideas into groups of related topics, which might relate to issues such as privacy, copyright, affiliations and partners, refunds and complaints. Write your terms and conditions in a clear, user-friendly voice, or use a service such as Snapterms to create them for you.

Disclaimer

You may think your blog doesn’t require a Disclaimer, but this page, no mater how brief, is an important aspect of protecting yourself legally. A Disclaimer page is a space to assert that the content on your website is informational, but visitors should use their own discretion when using the content on your site. In other words – you will not be liable for any damages should someone use information from your site, and that information causes harm.

While this might not seem immediately relevant, consider the consequences of someone taking a post on your site to be legal or healthcare advice. It’s crucial to express that while your content is informational, readers must use discretion when using the information on your site to make decisions.

Similarly, you may want to include a note about advertising, explaining that advertisements or reviews on your website may not be considered endorsements.

If you missed it, be sure to read Why Every Website Should Have a Privacy Policy

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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