Do you have a business website or are you in a process of creating one? If the answer is yes, keep on reading!
It’s not a secret that in order to attract more people to your website, make sure they stay long enough and, most importantly, buy from you, it’s essential to have an aesthetic design, easy navigation and engaging content.
But there’s something else you need to think about when creating your business website.
It’s legal requirements.
There are a number of legal requirements a business website must comply with. Some of them apply to all websites while others only apply in specific circumstances such as when collecting customers’ data or selling products or services via your website.
If you don’t want to get into trouble just because you missed a small detail on your business website, this is a perfect chance for you to check whether you have included everything you need!
Essential information that must be displayed on your business website
Your business website must display this information:
- The name of your business. If you’re a sole trader and your business name and your actual name are different, you must provide both.
- Trading address.
- Your business email address and phone number.
- VAT registration number (if applicable).
If you run a limited company or limited liability partnership, your website must also display information set out in the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Regulations 2015. This includes:
- Where in the UK your business is registered (whether it’s England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).
- The registration number.
- The address of its registered office.
Data protection and privacy
If your business collects or processes any personal data via your website, you must display a privacy notice that provides information such as the purpose of collecting the data, how long it will be kept and who it will be shared with.
If you have any online forms for visitors to complete and provide personal details, those forms should collect a minimum amount of information.
Also, don’t try to trick your visitors into signing up for your newsletter by pre-ticking boxes! This is illegal and consent for your business to use personal data must be given voluntarily. It also has to be easy to withdraw consent at any time.
You can find more information about data protection and how to write a privacy notice here.
Does your business website collect cookies on website visitors’ devices?
Cookies collect data such as viewing preferences and browsing habits. If your website stores cookies, you must provide an explanation 0f what each cookie does and ask visitors whether they allow you to collect the information. It also has to be easy to choose which cookies to accept and which ones to decline as well as withdraw consent at any time.
These requirements are made by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
If you sell any products or services via your website, there are a number of requirements you must meet. These include:
- Your business website must provide information about how to place an order and how to correct any errors before confirming it. Buttons that confirm an order must be clearly labeled. It could be something like ‘Confirm and Pay Now’ or similar.
- You must provide your customers with important information such as prices, payment and cancellation terms before they place the order.
- The prices displayed on your website must be clear and include VAT where applicable.
- If you sell any age-restricted items, such as alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets or knives, you might be required to carry out online age-verification checks before someone places an order.
Business website security
Do you sell anything on your website and collect and process payment card details or other personal data? If so, you must have suitable security measures in place to prevent unauthorised access to that data.
Visit the ICO website for more information about what you should do to ensure business website security.
Is your business website easily accessible?
Under the Equality Act 2010, your website must be accessible to people with disabilities.
This includes adding alternative text that describes the images you use on your website, transcripts for video or audio content and an option to navigate your website without a mouse.
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, for example:
- Older people with changing abilities due to ageing
- People with temporally changed abilities. This could be due to a broken arm or lost glasses
- People visiting your website while in an environment where they can’t play any audio
There are a few reasons why digital accessibility is important. Check this infographic:
Alternative dispute resolution
Many traders are required to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service under the terms of their membership of a trade association or a quality assurance scheme.
If you’re required to use ADR service to resolve customer complaints, your business website must provide the name and web address of that ADR service.
You can’t use any copyright-protected material on your website without the permission of the copyright holder. This includes any text, images or videos. Software and coding used to build websites are also protected by copyrights, so they can’t be used without permission either.
Do you have any other questions about creating your business website? Or aren’t sure about something else?
Visit our resource centre, where you’ll find hundreds of articles that will help you start and grow your business!
And don’t forget – we have a team of experienced business advisors and trainers that will be able to help you on your business journey. Contact us today and find out what support is available to you!