The anatomy of a website terms of use

I’ve written about various aspects of terms and conditions for a little while now and I thought it would be helpful to present an overview of a website terms of use. This is hardly the only way to frame a website terms of use but it is a way that makes sense to me at least.

It is important to bear in mind that a fair amount of thought and planning should go into a website terms of use, especially where the website takes advantage of complex elements like 3rd party authentication mechanisms and so on. Clients often ask me for a simple 1 page terms of use at the beginning of a project. The difficulty with that is that a 1 page terms of use generally won’t cover the basics, let alone afford my clients with the level of protection they would be comfortable with.

My preference for a website terms of use is to rather focus on accessibility at the expense of brevity rather than brevity at the expense of effectiveness. If your terms aren’t as comprehensive as they should be, you’re probably wasting your money on what you are getting because the resulting terms will have holes big enough to drive a lawsuit through.

Published by Paul Jacobson

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at @automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

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