If you’re not exactly sure what the difference is… you’re not alone. It’s common for website owners to confuse these important website legal policies.
But fear not! In this post, we’ll help you understand the difference and show you how to get them in place for your website lickety-split.
Let’s dive in!
Although it is a legal policy, it’s not written with legalese or really any legal lingo. That’s because the whole point is to be transparent and to make it easy for your website visitors to understand your data practices.
Yowzers… that’s a lotta legalese.
Acceptable Use: Your terms and conditions should include detailed descriptions of what is allowed and what is not allowed on your site. This includes setting out inappropriate behavior on the site and also setting out that you own the material and visitors are not allowed to copy it.
Personal Responsibility: You’ll also include multiple provisions that set out that visitors must take personal responsibility for what they choose to do with the information you provide. Basically, you tell visitors they should not rely upon the information on your site and they must decide whether it’s right for them.
Use of Downloads & Programs: Assuming that you have resources people can download or courses people can take, you should explain what they are allowed to do with this material. Notably, you’ll provide that these materials are for their individual use and shouldn’t be copied and shared.
Legal Boilerplate: There are a bunch of other clauses you’ll want to include in your policy that amount to standard legal language. These are meant to avoid disputes and limit your liability.
What is a website disclaimer?
Your website disclaimer should be one of your FAVORITE legal documents ever. It’s basically a “you can’t sue me because [FILL IN THE BLANK]” policy. Not sure about you… but that sounds pretty awesome to me.
Your website disclaimer should have provisions covering the following topics:
Not Professional Advice: Regardless of whether you are a professional, your website is NOT dispensing advice. It is education and information only. Your disclaimer spells this out (and gets specific in some instances). It also makes clear that someone using your website is not in a professional-client relationship with you.
Testimonials & Earnings Disclaimer: You’ll generally need to include a disclaimer about any testimonials and results/earnings presented not being guaranteed. That being said, even with this disclaimer, you aren’t allowed to cherry-pick only the best testimonials if they are not representative.
Reviews & Affiliate Links: If you review products or use affiliate links, you’ll want to disclose that in your disclaimer. You’ll also need to disclose any financial interest in the reviews themselves (and mark affiliate links as such), but you should include a general statement in your disclaimer.
Do you need all three website legal policies?
Yep, you do.
And your disclaimer is a whole different animal, combining disclosures about affiliate links and financial interests with legal-sounding clauses about you not being liable for certain things.
Given the very different tone of these policies, trying to combine them into a single policy simply doesn’t work.
Like The Offspring said… you gotta keep ’em separated.
While you could try to craft your website legal policies all by yourself, I do not recommend it. These are NOT fun to write, and you could easily miss something pretty stinking important.