Let’s face it; when it comes to organising the content on your website, terms and conditions can be an afterthought at best. While you may not think you need them, well drafted website terms and conditions can prove invaluable to your business not only from a legal perspective but potentially also from a marketing one. Allow us to explain.
Firstly, the legal benefits…
To protect your business from a legal standpoint all website terms and conditions should contain the following clauses at a minimum:
1. Exclude/Limit your Liability
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of website terms and conditions, an exclusion of liability clause seeks to exclude any liability you may have to website users. Where exclusion of liability is not possible, a limitation of liability clause seeks to limit your exposure to legal and financial liability, typically capped at a sum relative to the website user’s expenditure.
2. Protect your Intellectual Property
Protect the contents of your website and the intellectual property of third parties contained on your website by including a clause restricting the use of any intellectual property contained on your website.
3. Control User’s Actions
It is important to include a clause specifying the user conduct allowed on your website, including conduct with respect to the website and between users (where applicable) to ensure you have recourse to unruly users if required.
4. Terminate Users
A clause listing the events which may lead to the termination of a user’s account is an essential component of website terms and conditions to clarify which breaches will result in a user’s account being terminated.
5. Determine your jurisdiction
Website terms and conditions should note the applicable jurisdiction. Such inclusion reduces the likelihood of a dispute being heard in a foreign jurisdiction, saving you substantial costs in the future.
It is also worth noting that one size does not typically fit all when it comes to website terms and conditions. Innumerable websites are offering standardised or semi-tailored terms and conditions, however, to get the most out of your website terms and conditions, a quick discussion with your legal advisor can help you avoid hassles down the track.
Such customisation is particularly important where your website has e-commerce functionality, including and particularly more so where your website is essentially a platform for sellers and buyers to interact.
Now for the marketing benefits…
There are suggestions (although yet to be confirmed) that a major search engine will lower the ranking of websites without website terms and conditions in their search results. Therefore, affecting the visibility of your website, reducing the amount traffic you receive, and weakening your overall marketing approach.
To conclude, to reduce your risk exposure and gain greater search engine optimisation, it is worthwhile investing in a well drafted set of website terms and conditions. Can you afford not to?
NB Lawyers, the lawyers for employers offer a consultation to discuss how they can assist you with the drafting of your website terms and conditions.