How to Write Terms and Conditions: Step by Step Guide
Most website owners and application developers will one day wonder how to write terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions are essential as they can offer protection to both your business and your customers. When drafted properly, they constitute a legally binding contract between the two parties and will help set out your respective responsibilities.
From a customer’s point-of-view, dealing with a business that has detailed terms and conditions will provide reassurance and certainty, as having them provides some transparency into your business practices, which could mean avoiding misunderstandings later on. From a company’s perspective, it can help de-risk your business and limit your liability.
Whether you are planning ahead or want to give yours a refresh, it is important to know what should be included in terms and conditions and make sure that you are not forgetting an important step that makes them legally binding, namely acceptance.
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Tips for Writing Terms and Conditions
When brainstorming what to include in your terms and conditions, think about the particularities of your business, service, or product as well as all possible worst-case scenarios.
What happens if a customer can’t use your product because your website is down? What if someone copies and uses your blog posts on their own websites without your permission? What if someone makes racist or violent remarks on your public forum?
You will want to include language that allows you to take action in those circumstances, whether it be to be able to refer your customer to your terms where you set out that you will not be held liable for your website being inaccessible and any damages that could result from this or giving you the power to delete a user’s account when their online behavior goes against your code of conduct.
Your terms and conditions should be easy to read for your users. They shouldn’t have to seek legal advice just to be able to understand and accept your terms and conditions.
Drafting Terms and Conditions
You may choose to write your own terms and conditions, start from a template found on the Internet or retain the services of a lawyer to draft the document for you.
If you are looking for an easy and convenient solution, our terms and conditions generator will allow you to create a custom attorney-drafted agreement for your business in just a few steps, whether you own a blog, website, eCommerce store, or application.
You will start by selecting where you are located, as your terms and conditions will take applicable local laws into consideration:
You will then have to indicate if you need terms and conditions for a mobile application, website, or both, as well as provide the name and URL.
3. Basic or Premium
You will then have the option to choose between a basic or premium policy. If you operate a commercial website or application, the latter is appropriate. You will be getting free regular updates as the laws and regulations evolve as well as have the option to add clauses as you please.
For the sake of this example, we have chosen the Premium option.
4. Company Information
Simply indicate that your website and mobile application are operated under a company name.
5. Account Creation
If your website or application prompts users to create an account, you will have to indicate so so that the appropriate additional clauses may be added, especially if you want to give yourself the power to suspend or terminate accounts that violate your terms.
6. Age Restrictions
The next step will be to indicate if you have any age restrictions when it comes to accessing your website or specific content on your platform.
7. User-Generated Content
If your website or application allows user-generated content to be published, for example, comments under blog posts, public forums where you encourage discussion or reviews submitted by users, you should address that in your terms and conditions.
This will ensure that you have some control over what is published on your platform, can use positive reviews for marketing purposes but also take down abusive comments as needed.
8. Products & Services
You will be able to fully customize your terms and conditions depending on the type of website or mobile application that you have. Simply check the boxes that apply depending on the products that you are selling. This will ensure that the proper information and disclaimers are included.
The next step will be to address the following marketing-related questions: affiliate links, third-party ads, and email newsletters.
10. Additional Clauses
You will then have the option to add additional clauses that may be applicable to your business.
If you are not familiar with one of them, simply click on the blue question mark and a quick definition will appear.
11. Contact Details
You need to make sure that your users can easily contact you should they have any questions or concerns regarding your terms and conditions, as their consent is essential.
12. Updates & Notifications
As you know, your terms and conditions will need to be reviewed and updated from time to time to keep up with any legislative and business changes. You will therefore have to indicate how you will notify your customers of any updates. If you make any significant changes, you may need to request fresh consent from your users.
13. Publish Your Terms & Conditions
That’s it! Based on your answers to the above questions, your terms and conditions will be generated and emailed to you. Simply copy and paste them on your website or include them in your mobile application.
And don’t forget to ask your website visitors or application users to accept your terms and conditions, ideally before they start using your platform. This can be done by having them check a box to that effect at the time of account creation, for example.
- Updated on February 22, 2021