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6 Pages Every Website Needs: a Privacy Policy, Disclosure, and More

Building a website is easy nowadays. However, what about building a site with all the right pieces and information? Not so much. Many people fall into the trap of creating a site that doesn’t include all of the pages it should – and that’s a mistake which can hamper progress and generate legal issues further down the road.

Learning the types of pages that your website should include is not that complicated. In fact, if you spend any amount of time online, then you’ll already be familiar with the pages we’re about to recommend.

We’ve found that there are six types of pages that are often overlooked when it comes to putting together a website. Let’s figure out why that’s a mistake and whether your site should consider including one (or more) of them.

1. Privacy Policy

Let’s be honest, hardly anyone takes the time to go through privacy policies these days. However, that is not to say that privacy is an insignificant issue. Considering the amount of time users spend online these days, privacy policies play a significant role in their experience, whether or not they read them.

Is it necessary for every website to have a privacy policy? No, not every site needs one. However, most do. If your site collects any user information, such as names and email addresses, or uses cookies to track user behavior with a program like Google Analytics, then yes, you need one.

In addition, when it comes to cookies, it’s worth noting European Union-based services must comply with the 2011 Cookie Law. Arguably, the law also applies to international services that target EU consumers online, so brushing up on the requirements might be a good idea.

2. Terms of Use

An official terms of use (TOU) document, also commonly called terms of service (TOS), is crucial for any website that provides a service. From a legal standpoint, TOU protect you by clearly outlining how your service operates, any conditions you might have, and other key factors. Here are some other items a good TOU page might include (depending on your area of business):

  1. How your billing is structured.
  2. Late payment fees and how they are applied.
  3. Any conduct that might lead to termination of a customer’s account.

A good rule of thumb for determining whether you need a solid TOU page is whether any money changes hands in exchange for your services. If so, you definitely should protect yourself from a legal standpoint.

Finally, while there are several free generator tools online, they should only be used for reference. For this kind of document, you really should sit down with a lawyer to look over your TOU.

3. Disclosure

Disclosure pages are important from both a legal and ethical standpoint. If you run a website with an audience that relies on your expertise and advice, you must inform them whenever a conflict of interest arises. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission of the United States specifically requires you to disclose that information.

If you’re not sure whether you need a disclosure page, we’ve got your back. Let’s run through a few scenarios together:

  1. If you participate in affiliate marketing programs, then yes, you should include a disclosure.
  2. If you run contextual ads (such as Google Adsense) then you should also include a disclosure.
  3. If you receive compensation in any form for including anything on your website – a link, an image, an article, anything – then you should absolutely include a disclosure.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve covered the legal issues let’s take a look at the usability side of things. First up, a section of frequently asked questions (FAQ).

FAQs make a lot of sense for businesses that get a lot of repetitive questions. A good FAQ will take a variety of questions and provide concise answers and possibly link to more detailed write ups where applicable. It’s a simple format that works.

If you ever find yourself dealing with the same simple support queries or customer questions over and over again, then you should consider adding a dedicated FAQ page.

5. Testimonials

The importance of testimonials is easy to grasp. If you provide any type of online service, your current users and customers will be your most effective advertisers (as long as you treat them right). In most cases, including testimonials on your homepage is entirely alright. However, creating a separate page for testimonials might be worth considering if you have tons of positive customer feedback.

Aside from service websites, portfolios and e-commerce sites also benefit enormously from including testimonials. If you fall into one of these categories and don’t have any testimonials, you might want to correct that sooner that later.

6. Service Detail Pages

This one is only applicable to businesses that offer multiple services or several tiers of a single service (just like we do). The idea is that while plan comparison tables are a fantastic way to inform users about the most important aspects of a service, you will also want to give them the full details.

Using a single page to get into the details of multiple plans or services can be far too cumbersome – the content either gets too long or messy to navigate. Instead of doing that, offer concise product comparison tables that stick to the key selling points of your services. Then, create additional separate pages for each tier or service and get into the small details to target customers that want to read the fine print before making a decision.

Conclusion

Adding the right pages to your site can make it more effective and keep you on the right side of the law. It might seem like a hassle, but if you think about it, the benefits clearly outweigh the modest investment of time. So, if you want to make your site more usable and stay out of trouble, these are the six pages you should consider adding to your website:

  1. Privacy policies: Critical for any website that stores personal information or tracks users.
  2. Terms of use: Necessary for sites that provide services, especially if any money changes hands.
  3. Disclosure: To let your visitors know if you’re being compensated for recommending or advertising a product or service.
  4. Frequently asked questions: A lifesaver for websites that receive lots of support queries.
  5. Testimonials: Important for service websites, portfolios, and e-commerce sites.
  6. Service detail pages: A good practice for websites that offer multiple services or several tiers of a single service.

Are there any other pages you think more websites should include? Tell us why in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pexels.

About Taryn Steele

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