Planning on getting a website for your business? Or do you already have one? Either way, it’s great that you know the significance of having your very own site. But while you can enjoy expanding your reach and gaining more customers with one, it isn’t all fun and games.
There are website legal requirements you need to follow—just like there are requirements for starting a legitimate business. These rules and regulations are in place to protect your site visitors and customers.
So, if you want to avoid getting into any legal trouble stemming from your website, you better keep the following in mind:
What Are the 8 Things Small Business Owners Should Know About Website Legal Requirements?
To avoid paying a huge fine or landing a lawsuit, here are the rules your website should maintain:
Provide Information About Your Business
Does your business offer services or sell products? If it does, then your website needs to have information about your company. Being transparent is not only legally required; it will also allow you to develop good ties with your clients.
Here are some of the things you need to display on your site:
- Company Name
- Contact Details
- Office Address
- Registration Number
- Place of Registration
- Membership Details
Ensure Your Site Supports HTTPS
These days, it is crucial to have a website that supports HTTPS. A good web design company should be able to provide you with that. HTTPS is necessary because it guarantees security of data such as user’s personal information or payment data. It follows Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) standards.
Additionally, not having HTTPS can affect your site’s chances of proper indexing. So, to keep your site visitors’ data protected, you need to buy an SSL certificate, develop the website, and change HTTP to HTTPS.
We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Your visitors are willingly giving you their information, so you better reassure them that you’ll only use it for the intended purposes.
Your visitors should be notified if your website collects cookies. They must agree to have their information gathered and analyzed.
Cookies are vital because they help you learn more about your site users. Cookies track:
- The pages they are checking
- How they interact with your content
- Their preferences
Follow ADA Compliance
No matter what your business is, you should consider accessibility when designing and adding content to your website. When your website is accessible, it means every person who goes to your site will have equal access to it—whether they have limited vision or other types of disabilities.
So what are the best practices for web accessibility? The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) would be a good start.
Here are some of the most crucial parts of the WCAG:
- Appropriate color contrast ratios
- Accessible forms with straightforward labels
- Alternative text for images
- Captions for videos
Besides these, you should also think about adding a page that tells users what to do when they experience accessibility issues. You can provide them with a way to contact you or let them share the issues they’ve experienced.
Now you have to remember that just like other aspects of web design, accessibility is not a one-time thing. You need to keep adapting to the needs of your users.
Don’t Forget About Copyright
Aside from protecting your customers’ privacy, you should also protect your intellectual property. You don’t want to wake up one day and see some random website copy-pasting the content you worked hard to create.
With that said, your site’s footer must have a copyright notice. But it isn’t enough to have the copyright symbol. You also need to add the year you published your website and your company name.
Another thing to keep in mind is ensuring that your website is not violating any copyrighted work. If you plan on making your website by yourself, don’t just download any image from Google and add it to your site.
The reason for this is that other sites can own the image, or it may be licensed exclusively to a particular business.
Watch Out for E-Commerce Transactions
If you run an eCommerce business, then you need to be even more careful with data security. Be familiar with the PCI-DSS. This stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Businesses that process any credit card payments on their websites need to follow these guidelines, which were created by the PCI Security Standards Council.
Now the rules are quite lengthy, but they require you to store and use cardholder information properly.
Here are two general rules to follow:
- Use a third-party payment gateway instead of storing credit card information on your site. PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe are three examples of payment gateways.
- Require users to accept the terms and conditions before they check out their order.
People do not like receiving spam. If your website has a form that lets people sign up for your newsletter, make sure they know what they are getting into. Specify the kind of information you will be sending them, as well as how often they can expect to hear from you.
If you don’t do this, you run the risk of being reported for spam. Sending spam, or worse, continuing to send things to people who have unsubscribed from your newsletter, is against personal data laws.
Building a website for your small business is fun and exciting, but don’t rush the process. Make following website legal requirements a priority. This way, you will not only save money and time later on; you will also avoid legal trouble.
Work with Proweaver
Do you want to make sure your company site is compliant with website legal requirements? Allow our experts at Proweaver to help. We do not just offer custom web design, SEO, and original content creation. Our team sees to it that our clients’ websites are compliant with the law, too.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at +1 (949) 242-9506. We will be happy to answer your inquiries.