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5 Reasons You Need a Website TOS (Terms of Service)

By now, you’ve likely noticed that almost every website you visit has some terms of service (TOS). Usually, you need to agree to the website TOS before even accessing the website content 😇! If you have your own website and don’t have a website TOS, you might want to consider creating one.

Why bother? Although it isn’t a legal requirement, if you approach most business owners, they’ll tell you that terms of service have great significance 👌. In this article, we discuss the top five reasons why you need a TOS for your website 👏 and show you how you can get your own!

What Is a Website TOS?

Let’s start with the basics here. A website TOS (terms of service) is an agreement that you as the website user must read and accept to use the website or access a service. Website terms of service are also known as “terms and conditions” or “terms of use.” 

Terms of service mostly apply to e-commerce and social media websites✍. Like privacy policies, a website TOS applies to other websites that store any form of personal information from website users. 

A TOS serves as a legally binding agreement between the website owner (service provider) and its users 🤝. and the TOS is not static—it changes over time to incorporate additional terms.

A TOS can explain issues such as:

  • User activity
  • Product or service
  • User accounts (including credit card info). This is especially important for ecommerce services
  • Technology🖥
  • Policies on illegal activity, unauthorized access, and the like
  • Policies on third-party websites or cookies

5 Reasons to Have a Website TOS

As we’ve mentioned, a TOS has great significance to your website and its users. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should bother with a website TOS.

1. Limit Abuses from Users

With an e-commerce or social media website, you create a platform accessible to a significant number of users 👥. Due to this large number, some people with abusive accounts may decide to use your website as a platform for spreading hate messages via the comments or other functions on the site.

Obviously, that’s not something you want. What is the best way to avoid punitive damages or personal jurisdiction as a result of this? We bet you know the answer!

You need to state in your terms of service that you’ll not tolerate any form of abuse that may jeopardize personal safety or lead to exemplary damages. Additional rules in the form of consumer software license agreements can also outline the consequences of violating this or your privacy policies. 

Other forms of abuse that may happen on your website include spamming other users and infecting the website with malware 🤓. Terms of service agreement can help minimize all this by giving warnings about proprietary rights and outlining the possible consequences. 

2. Declare Ownership for Your Content

When people access your website, you need to remind them that everything in the website exclusively belongs to you 😣 except user-generated data. In your TOS basic rules and copyright laws, you need to declare ownership of things like design, logos, and general website content. 

Through the Intellectual Property rights clause or other separate terms, you can declare that you have full ownership rights. Anyone using your website content for personal gains without your permission will therefore face prosecution. This can also be served through additional copyright notices. 

3. Terminate Accounts of Abusive Users

What happens to those abusive users that upset other users 😥? You have the legal right to suspend or terminate their accounts!

When a user registers to your platform and wants access to content, you need to remind them of this. Through a legal agreement, you can let them know their accounts could get terminated🔐 at any time if they violate the website’s policies and those from search engines.

Through your terms of service accountability provisions, you can also outline what happens if an account gets terminated. In this case, despite third-party rights, the user will no longer access the information they saved on the website. You can outline such information in the basic personal information protection policy.

4. Set the Governing Law

Like any other platform with basic provisions, underlying rules and applicable terms govern your website. You should indicate this in your website or mobile app terms of service with competent jurisdiction. You must remind🗣 each website user that the prevailing laws of the state and federal-compatible terms must take effect. 

What if something happens with illegal content or a despite that requires legal interpretation📚 of custom terms? The governing laws in your terms of service agreement can act as a reference and prevent confusion.

5. Mitigate Liability for Your Website

In your website’s TOS section, you may want to state to users what you won’t have sole discretion or legal liability for. State📝 what you can do and what you can’t do if any errors occur on your website (limitation of liability). This can lower the risk of consequential damages or a legal process you can’t afford. 

For instance, what happens if users find the website content not suitable for them or incomplete for their use? In the applicable policies, you may state to users that you won’t have any right to go after you in this case. 

How Often Should You Update Your Website TOS?

Since rules and regulations keep changing, your website terms of service policy have to do so as well. You need to update 🔄 or review your acceptable use policies regularly. Experts recommend doing so at least once every three or four months.  

Whenever governing laws change, ensure that you make the relevant updates ☑ on your website TOS. You should also review the changes to ensure they conform to your original objectives. Prevent gaps in your website terms of service for best results 😎.  

Do You Need Help with Creating a Website TOS? 

When designing your website, you may experience some challenges😣 in developing a good TOS. The entire agreement needs to cover all your bases, and that’s easier said than done! However, this should not worry you much 😅 since you can seek legal document assistance services from us.

For help, just book✍ a consultancy service with us here. You can also purchase💵 our website terms and conditions template to help in crafting your TOS. With our assistance, your website TOS will be up and running in no time!