The 5 must-have policies to post on your business website.

Depending on what sort of business you run online, there are necessary policies that should be posted with easy access. Some are government mandated, some are voluntary, and some are just good business that protect your reputation and insure customer confidence.

Whether or not you make your own website page exclusively to list your policies, you should consider placing some in more strategic spots. Your potential customers often want to see straight up what sort of return and refund policies or warranties you carry before they consider your product or service.

The following are the 5 essential policies that any online business should put in place:

  1. 1.      A PERSONAL INFORMATION PRIVACY POLICY. If you’re in the United States, you’re legally obligated to have this policy on public display on any business website. The privacy policy must include:
  • What personal and identifiable information is collected from the visitor.
  • How the information is used.
  • Who the information will be shared with.
  • What choices the visitor has regarding the use of the information.
  • The security that’s used to protect the misuse of any information.
  • Instructions on how a site visitor can correct, change, or remove information.
  1. 2.      A PAYMENT PRIVACY POLICY. Enforced by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, this is another legal requirement that you must post if you handle credit or debit card payments.
  2. 3.      A USER POLICY. This is also called Terms and Conditions, or Terms of Use. Many times you’ll see these with a check box where users are required to check off that they’ve read and agree with the terms. It’s a legal agreement that outlines all other policies as well as:
  • How visitors are allowed to use the site.
  • Who is allowed to use the site.
  • Legal and liability issues.
  1. 4.      A SHIPPING POLICY. This is part voluntary, and part a legal requirement. You need to volunteer information on what sorts of charges are in place, and what sorts of time it should take for customers to receive their orders. From the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
  • Live up to the time frame that you stated online.
  • Ship all products within 30 days.
  • Give notice to customers if shipment is delayed and include a revised date with the notice.
  • Allow a customer to cancel a delayed order with a full refund.
  1. 5.      A RETURN POLICY.  This should clearly state all conditions and limitations:
  • Any time limits.
  • Any limits on full or partial refunds.
  • Any conditions that negate a return, such as misuse or neglect.
  • Any restocking or return shipping fees.
  • How the refund will be issued.
  • How long the refund should take to receive.
  • Any 3rd party conditions that might override your policy.

Other policies to consider include age policies to protect children, forum or chat room policies, social media policies, foreign export policies, and policies for external links. Policies are not only wise business that can protect your legal interests, they show your visitors that you’re a professional and you take your business seriously.