This post is Day 28 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Post about the challenge on social media using the hashtag: #THNblogchallenge. (You can view all of the challenge prompts here.)
Terms of Service
Odds are, you’ve seen more Terms of Service agreements than you could count. And I bet you that you didn’t read through any of them when you clicked “Accept.” Don’t worry. You aren’t the only one who has done it. And you may have thought you didn’t need one for your own site, but the truth is: you do.
A Terms of Service is essentially an agreement between you (as the site owner) and the visitors to your site. It’s a set of rules visitors must agree to in order to use your website. The type of business you’re running online will dictate what topics need to be covered in your Terms of Service.
A few things that should be included in your Terms of Service:
- Intellectual Property rights
- Make it clear that you own the content on your site and that it is protected by intellectual property laws.
- Are your readers allowed to share your content? If so, how? Do they need to get your permission first? Do they simply need to credit you for your work? It obviously goes much deeper than this, but this is an example of something your Terms of Service should include.
- Disclaimer to limit liability
- This attempts to limit your liability as the site owner in case there are any errors in content.
- Comment policies
- Let your readers know how you will handle comments on your site. Will you delete anything that is negative or offensive? This is the place to let people know!
- Policies and warranties associated with your online shop
- If you are selling products or services, you should state return and refund policies, as well as how you handle payment and shipping information.
- If you have any warranties, or lack warranties, for your products and services, include that information here.
Your Terms of Service will include many other topics, but the above contains just a few examples of things your agreement should touch upon.
Visitors to your site need to know how their information is being used. If it is being shared with any third-party services (like your email list provider), they need to know.
A Few More Things…
- Create a separate page for each policy. Don’t put them both on the same page. It’s better for SEO if you have them listed separately.
- Make sure you update your policies regularly. You do not have to announce to your readers when you make minor changes, but you should when you make major changes to the ways in which you use your site. Include a line in each policy that states when it was last updated.
This post is not meant to be taken as any kind of legal advice. I am not an attorney, nor am I an expert on these policies. This post is merely sharing what I have learned through my own blogging experience and education. For more in depth information, consult with an attorney.