Why You Need To Legally Protect Your Website

Graphic to promote blog post written by attorney turned entreprenuer Sam Vander Wielen about what your website needs to be legally legit. The graphic hows an image of a laptop and iphone. The text is the color blue with teal accents in sans serif fonts.

Hi there! I hope you’re enjoying these last few (official) weeks of summer. I know so many of you are busy getting your kids off to school, squeezing in a quick vacation, or are just trying to soak up the gorgeous weather. But today’s topic is an important one… one that I see overlooked by so many of us entrepreneurs.

Why You Need To Legally Protect Your Website

When I talk with so many of you, you ask me: “What do I need to have on my website to protect me & why? Will copyright protection actually protect me from copyright infringement?”

There are so many reasons (legally speaking) that you want to protect your content, website, and business through having a website disclaimer, terms & conditions, and a privacy policy, but here’s a big one I want to focus on today…

Since you have no control over who reads/visits your website, implements your content, and how, you need to protect yourself & your biz with some basic legal documents to cover your booty.

Unlike our 1-on-1 client relationships which rely on our client agreement, we don’t make any “official” agreement with our website’s visitors unless we have some basic legal documents in place.

You’ll notice (if you have my DIY legal templates already) they all start out by telling your site’s visitor/reader that, by continuing to browse your site, try something (a workout, recipe, self-care suggestion, etc.) they see on it, or provide their email address for your newsletter, they’re agreeing to the terms of your disclaimerterms & conditions, or privacy policy.

website sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach

Since just about anyone can visit your site without you knowing or controlling what they do with your suggestions, your disclaimer/T&C/privacy policy are your only chance to protect yourself & your biz with visitors. (PS. If you need all 3 documents, I’ve put them in a nice & neat bundle for you!)

Now everything I’ve talked about up to this point focused on you being on defense in your business. I love to chat with my clients about how to use these DIY legal templates on the offense (should you ever need it!), too.

Here’s a common scenario.

You write amazing blog posts and post gorgeous photos you take and maybe even edit yourself (this is all known as your intellectual property). Because you got my terms & conditions template & your website includes it in plain black and white, you’ve followed along in my How-To Video Tutorial and the prompt in my template where I tell you to spell out your policy on how & when people can use/share your content and photos.

Then one day you find out Susie Q re-purposed your recipe or post, used your pictures, and didn’t give you the attribution as you laid out in your terms & conditions.

Since you have those terms & conditions in place (and had them in place when Susie Q visited your site & lifted your content) you can kindly email Susie Q, point to the section of your T&C which talks about attribution/sharing rules, and ask her to correct it.

Here’s another common scenario for those who sells things/products/downloads on their website.

You sell stuff on your website (or as an online course) and you allow people to pay in 3 installment payments spread 30 days apart.

After Month 1, Susie Q’s credit card gets declined but she still has access to your course or download.

No worries! Your terms & conditions layout your payment policy, which specifically spells out what your rules are about installment payments and what to do if a card gets declined. It even allows you to pull access from a membership site or to a course.

website sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach

See how this works? Legal protection isn’t just about easing our anxieties as a business owner, and being able to defend ourselves should we ever need to (although, yes, that’s a huge part!).

It’s also about sticking up for ourselves as business women, protecting what we’ve worked so hard for, and not letting people take our stuff. Unfortunately, it happens more than you might think, and it’s important to have contracts in place that protect your business.

Do you have any questions about why it’s important to protect your website? If you’d rather talk through your questions over the phone, grab a free 20-minute Legal Checkup session so we can chat. You’ll leave feeling so clear on what you need, when, and why.

I’m here to help if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy your weekend. Chat with you soon!

xo – Sam

website sam vander wielen diy legal templates health coach webinar{Want to learn more about what your website needs to be legally legit? I’m offering a *free* webinar this Thursday, 9.14.17, at 6pm EST! Don’t worry if you can’t make it live. A recording will be sent out after the webinar. To sign-up for the webinar & to get the recording, head here!}

Here’s the gist: you need to protect your website with some basic legal documents because you don’t know who’s visiting your site and what they’re doing with what they read there. Having those documents on your site is really your only chance to have any sort of “agreement” between you & that person. Get covered, girl!

Please remember that this post does not contain legal advice, it simply contains legal information and education meant to empower you to confidently run your business.

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