5 Website Legal Requirements for Small Businesses in 2024

5 Legal Requirements for Your Small Business Website

From GDPR to ADA compliance, there are numerous regulations that apply to business websites. We’ve compiled a list of 5 legal requirements to protect your customers and web visitors.

These requirements go beyond reducing legal risk and liability for the site owner. They build goodwill and establish trust with your customers. By adhering to these requirements, you create a safe online environment and improve the overall customer experience.

1. ADA compliance & web accessibility

Every business website should consider accessibility best practices. This means providing all visitors with equal access to your site’s information.

While the legal landscape can be confusing, it has been determined that websites can be considered as "places of public accommodation." The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG) are recommended as the standard for online accessibility.

To reduce the risk of lawsuits, implement WCAG standards on your website. Key aspects of WCAG include alternative text for imagery, captions for video content, color contrast ratios, accessible forms, and keyboard navigation.

In addition, consider creating an Accessibility Statement or feedback page where users can report accessibility issues.

2. Data privacy & collection

If you collect personal information from users, you must have a privacy policy on your website. The policy should define what personal information is collected and how it is used.

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Additionally, users should have the option to request a copy or deletion of their data. Provide a Personal Data Request form and state how users can contact your team for data-related inquiries.

Privacy policies and cookie notifications are now trust symbols on business websites, as consumers are more aware of data regulations.

3. Copyright requirements

Protect your intellectual property by adding a copyright notice to your website’s footer. The notice should include the copyright symbol or the words "copyright" or "copr," the year the website was published, and the business name.

Be cautious when using images on your site. Downloading images from search engines or using improperly licensed stock images can lead to copyright infringement.

4. Data security measures

Implement security protocols on your website to protect collected data. Invest in a secure hosting platform, SSL certificate, and stay updated on plugin and software security patches.

Since web security influences trust and credibility, evaluate what data is being collected and stored on your site.

5. eCommerce transactions & compliance

For eCommerce sites, data security is crucial. Follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) and avoid storing credit card information. Utilize third-party payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or Authorize.net.

Set up a Terms & Conditions page, and ensure visitors accept these terms before completing a transaction. Consult legal counsel to draft the terms & conditions for legal coverage.

Editor’s note: This article does not provide legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any concerns regarding official regulations or legal ramifications.

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