Is This Your Website’s Kryptonite?

I finally had a chance to watch the latest Superman movie, Man of Steel. It’s a great movie, has great effects and a totally bone-cracking scene at the end that I won’t say any more about, because I don’t want to spoil the movie for you.

Superman is a great guy – good sense of moral judgment, saves the world, can bounce bullets off his chest.  But, he has a weakness – Kryptonite.  If he breathes the air from Krypton or gets exposed to rocks from Krypton, he becomes weak like normal men. This is a big problem when you are battling super powered villains out to rule the world.

Is this your Kryptonite?

Website owners have a similar problem.  If you have a website online, then you need to make sure that you don’t have your version of Kryptonite on your site. Kryptonite for website owners can leave you open for lawsuits, legal action, or legal investigations. It can completely ruin your business.

What I’m talking about here is the need for legal forms on your site. Typically, when I review clients websites they either don’t have the right forms, don’t have any forms, or the forms they have are incomplete.

If you are in this situation you are leaving yourself WIDE OPEN for trouble from private lawsuits and from the fed. But how do you tell whether or not you have the right forms on your site?

The best way is to consult a lawyer or have a lawyer draw up your forms. But this can get expensive.  That’s why I rely on LegalFormsGenerator.com . These forms are created by attorneys. They don’t substitute for legal advice, but they can certainly help protect your business from frivolous lawsuits and legal investigations.

Here are the forms that you may need:

I’m not a lawyer, so… make sure that you get legal advice from a lawyer. But I have helped many, many people develop internet businesses, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s needed. Here are the forms that businesses usually need.

Privacy Policy: When you have a good privacy policy in effect (on that is understandable and meets legal requirements) you build trust with your customers, because they understand exactly how their information is going to be used.

Refunds Policy: One of the easiest ways to get your online reputation turned into dust is to have an unclear refund policy. By making your refund policy super easy to understand you give yourself a serious boost in the eyes of your customer. Having a clear refund policy can also help keep you out of trouble with your credit card company.

Affiliate Program Agreement (if you have an Affiliate Program): Did you know that you are responsible, at least in part, for the behavior of your affiliates. By having clear and reasonable rules for them to follow you can keep yourself out of legal trouble.

Terms & Conditions of Use:  One of the best ways to get sued running an online business is to not set clear rules regarding the use of your website. Terms and conditions of use are absolutely vital to protecting yourself online.

Video & Audio Terms of Use: Surprisingly, many people feel like any content on any website is public domain and can be used however they choose. By setting up a video and audio terms of use you protect your content.

Affiliate Compensation Disclosure Policy: If you are an affiliate of another company you are legally required to disclose that fact. If you don’t you can be investigated or sued.

Anti-Spam Policy: As you know,  I strongly believe the money is in the list. But to build a list, you MUST have an strong anti-spam policy that your site visitors can understand.

External Links Policy: Did you know that if you (or one of your visitors) links to content on the web that contains a virus or illegal material you can be charged with a crime or sued? Having an external links policy can help prevent this.

Earnings Disclaimer:  You need this one if you sell a product or service (like coaching or an ebook) that shows people how to make money. An earnings disclaimer tells them how much they can reasonably expect to earn.

DMCA Notice: Sometimes when you use photos, articles, video, or other media and you think you are doing it legally – you may not be. Using copyrighted material illegally is one of the most common causes of lawsuits. A proper DMCA notice will help you avoid trouble and create an easy way to handle any copy wright infringement issues that come up.

Health Disclaimers: Another place where it is vital to manage customer expectations is if you are in a health related business. It’s important to have appropriate health disclaimers that create expectations that are reasonable.

Getting the right disclaimers.

Legal language: Legal language is a beast of its own and it’s not something I specialize in. When you are putting the right forms on your site you need to make sure they are in the right language.

Disclaimers particularly for online marketers: If you live in the United States, there have been recent rulings by the FTC that you need to comply with. Having the right legal documents that apply specifically to online marketing can be the difference to staying in compliance and getting prosecuted.

Forms customized to your site: It’s important to have forms that are specifically customized to your site. Generic forms just don’t cut it.

Where I get my forms

The forms that I use on my site come from LegalFormGenerator.com. They have a simple 3 step process that makes it easy to get the right forms for your site. You can see how it works in the video they have posted here.

Avoid Website Kryptonite

When you’re in business you want to do business, not deal with lawsuits and criminal prosecution. Having the right forms on your site will help protect you. It may not give you the physical strength of Superman, but it will help your business avoid its own kind of Kryptonite.

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