“I’m so excited! I’m open for business! It was as simple as launching my website!”
Is that you? As a service-based business, it’s likely that your website is one of your primary connections to potential clients, partners, and advocates. With so many user-friendly, cost-effective website tools available, opening a business online can be a snap. What a great opportunity!
Before you jump in, take a moment to consider your website and the law.
Launching your website without the proper legal compliance can put you at risk for unwanted fines, lawsuits, and loss of credibility.
Your website is subject to all the same laws and regulations (and a few more) of any business. Even more concerning is that your website reaches people all over the world; so it must comply with laws specific to your user’s country of residence. It’s important that you protect your website to ultimately protect your passion.
“I have to worry about legal stuff for my website? What could possibly be involved?”
Think about your website and the law as being just like your business operations. Protecting your website starts with all the protections for protecting the rest of your business as discussed in my guide “4 Steps to Protecting Your Passion.” In fact, your website may be the most public and permanent part of your business. It’s important to apply these first four steps to your website. For example, be sure you legally can use all the content on your website.
Next you need to consider your user interactions and content.
Be sure to include readily available Terms and Conditions with your company’s rules for others posting user-generated content. Also include a disclaimer stating how users can use the information on your website, and what liability (if any) your business accepts.
Don’t forget about accessibility regulations as well.
The number of website accessibility lawsuits filed under the American Disabilities Act is increasing at an exponential rate. To avoid such a lawsuit, your website must provide equal access to all web users, including those with a disability.
Be extremely cautious of protecting user information that your website collects.
- Be sure any personal information you collect and use complies with privacy laws around the world.
- Any communications generated from your website (such as email subscriptions) should include an “opt-in” to comply with anti-spam laws.
With data breaches being so prevalent these days, take precautions to prevent being hacked and include information for those accessing your website of what your security policy includes.
If you are selling online, you need to pay special attention to e-commerce security and regulations and consumer protection laws.
P.S. Are you and/or your business Florida based? If so and you need help with understanding more about Your Website and the Law, we’re here for you. Contact us here.