You’re creating a gorgeous website for your business, spending hours and hours polishing the messaging, landing pages, your bio.. but what about that fine print you see at the bottom of websites?

Focusing on marketing and building your brand so you can get more business is important, but the fine print and legal stuff that you put toward the bottom of your list is way more of a priority than you think.

Let’s say you you don’t have a proper terms and conditions page and someone makes a comment on your blog that rubbed someone else wrong. You probably didn’t even have a chance to read the comment, but you get sued for endorsing it! Yep, simple as that.

That’s just one example of how the lack of proper terms can bite you in the ya-know-what.

While the legal terms are undeniably the most boring pages on your site, they can be what saves you or buries you, depending on how yours are drafted.

So let’s define what’s what and why you shouldn’t take them lightly.

Terms & Conditions

This is the page that tells visitors the rules for accessing and using your website. You’re right, nobody reads the terms. But they still have to be well done so you’re ready when the “bad guys” show up. And they inevitably do.

“So please reconsider copying and pasting someone else’s terms and conditions because you’re likely shooting yourself in the foot.

You’ll want to take the terms and conditions page seriously so they hold up in court if the occasion ever arises. And since every website is different, you’ll want to have custom-drafted terms and conditions.

Disclaimers are Simply Disclosures.

For example, an affiliate disclaimer lets visitors know that you’re paid for referrals when they read your recommendations. Another example of a disclaimer is that you don’t endorse and aren’t responsible for the statements made by third parties.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is your disclosure statement informing customers how their personal information will be collected, stored, disclosed to third parties and used on the site. (Note: if you use Adsense on your pages then Google requests certain Adsense-related language in your policy).

If you’re gathering user’s personal data (like email addresses), you are required to have a privacy policy, which should be unique to your business.

Bottom Line: The Fine Print Matters

As you can see, all three of the above have different purposes. The terms on your site are a legally enforceable contract and the first go-to in resolving disputes involving your site visitors and online clients.

Improper or incomplete terms can leave you open to a major legal headache.

If you get sued by a website visitor, the terms can protect your rights to your website content and limit your liability, OR leave you open to a major legal headache! If you’re conducting any business online, it would be smart to invest in terms (including a privacy policy) custom tailored to your business.