Free Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for Your WordPress Sites

Free Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for Your WordPress Sites

Creating Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy used to be hard

Does your website have a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy?
It really should.

Do you recommend your clients create their own, but they say they don’t want to?
Now it’s easy to get a generic (but customized) Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Why You Should Have Terms of Use and Privacy Policy Pages

All of your and your clients’ sites should have these legal documents publicly posted for several reasons:

  • Best Practices
  • Required if you create a Facebook App (e.g. to integrate your site with Facebook)
  • Establishes credibility with visitors, even if they don’t click on or read them
  • Protects you and your business

Why You Don’t (Yet) Have Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy Pages

Here are some common reasons for skipping the T&C and PP:

  • Don’t think to do it
  • Scared of posting anything legal that an attorney doesn’t do for you
  • Hard, boring, time-consuming, stupid, confusing
  • Don’t want to commit to your own terms

It’s Just Good Business

Let me settle this issue for you… You should have a Terms of Service / Terms of Use / Terms and Conditions and a Privacy Policy to protect yourself, be compliant with Facebook or industry/association requirements, and establish credibility and trust with your website visitors.

I understand why you wouldn’t want to… Your site is going along just fine without one. You aren’t sure how to create one. You don’t know how to phrase things properly. It takes time and it’s boring. Or maybe you don’t want to commit to your own terms, but I hope that’s not the real issue.

Bottom Line: You should. You know you should. And you want to, but only if it’s easy.

Easy Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for Your Site

The kind (and rich) folks at Automattic have their own TOS and Privacy Policy documents. Automattic has single sites, landing pages, a WordPress MultiSite blog network (a.k.a. WordPress.com), offers subscription services, and provides website hosting, management, and customizations. They invested the time and money to draft custom legal documents that cover all their online interactions, communications, and product/service offerings. All big companies and governments do the same thing, but what about itty-bitty and small business sites like yours? Well, Automattic says it’s okay to use theirs:

(Note, we’ve decided to make the below Terms of Service available under a Creative Commons Sharealike license, which means you’re more than welcome to steal it and repurpose it for your own use, just make sure to replace references to us with ones to you, and if you want we’d appreciate a link to WordPress.com somewhere on your site. We spent a lot of money and time on the below, and other people shouldn’t need to do the same.) – http://en.wordpress.com/tos/

(Note, we’ve decided to make this privacy policy available under a Creative Commons Sharealike license, which means you’re more than welcome to steal it and repurpose it for your own use, just make sure to replace references to us with ones to you, and if you want we’d appreciate a link to Automattic.com somewhere on your site. We spent a lot of money and time on the below, and other people shouldn’t need to do the same.) – http://automattic.com/privacy/

The problem with using their TOS and PP for your own purposes is that they specifically mention things like Akismet, Jetpack, WordPress.com, and VIP. So you can’t do a straight copy, paste, replace with the text.

In writing this post, I was going to suggest that you do just that… until I re-read it all (last time I read it was a year or so ago). I didn’t want to give up on helping you get your own TOS and PP because I know how important and un-fun (yes, un-fun) it is.

I went the extra mile for you on this one and created a WordPress plugin that allows you to input your own name, website, location, and other details into a version of Automattic’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy documents and lets you use one of 3 handy shortcodes.

Download the free Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy WordPress plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory and get yourself a basic, working TOS and PP within 5-10 minutes!

I even created a video demo for you:

Alternative/Complementary Plugins

There are a variety of ways to get your own Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

  • Hire an attorney, by the hour or through something like Pre-Paid Legal
  • Obtain a generic one from somewhere online or in a product/purchase bundle
  • Create your own, mashing up from a variety of ones you found online

If you do have your own Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy documents (or use my plugin’s shortcodes) all you have to do is create a Page, title it appropriately, and type/paste in your text. However, there are a variety of T&C-related plugins that you might be interested in:

  • Without WP_DEBUG errors
  • With WP_DEBUG errors (only included because of so few related plugins existing)
    • Terms and Conditions required at first sign-in and whenever else you decide (e.g. updated T&C), includes generic Terms of Use text: Terms of Use (mentioned here)
    • Pop-up box to display your specified T&C post: EMC2 Popup Disclaimer
    • Enhanced registration page, including disclaimers: Pie Register

Download my free Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy WordPress plugin to get yours setup in no time.

WordPress Terms of Use and Privacy Policy plugin

Credits: Push and Great success!