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Website Management: Going Beyond Design and Functionality

Website Management: Going Beyond Design and Functionality

 
Being a more effective marketer
This post gives an overview of an overlooked aspect of website management (legal compliance) with practical steps to tackle the process.
 
Article author: Jordan James
      Written by Jordan James
       (4-minute read)
As a website owner, you probably have a lot on your plate. If getting your business started and setting up your website was already quite the challenge, there’s always more to do with website maintenance and management overall.

In this post, we give a quick refresher about an overlooked aspect of website management, legal compliance. We also provide practical steps and an easy solution to tackle this process. Let’s dive in.



The many aspects of website management

Managing your website extends far beyond its initial building and coding phase, design or functionality.

While the aesthetic appeal and user experience are critical, a website's behind-the-scenes aspects such as security measures, performance optimization like speed or SEO, and mobile responsiveness play an equally important role. Each of these components ensures that your site not only functions correctly and looks good, but also operates securely and efficiently across all devices.

Perhaps one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of website management is legal compliance. Did you know that when operating a website, you have to comply with laws that govern doing business online, like data protection and privacy?

In fact, many of the activities on your website will likely involve personal data collection from visitors, whether it’s through a newsletter signup form, during checkout, or by services like social media widgets that install trackers like cookies. This is highly regulated around the world, and you should make sure to adhere to legal standards to avoid penalties and build trust with your audience.

The online legal landscape at a glance

The digital ecosystem is governed by a complex web of laws and regulations designed to protect both businesses and consumers.

Noteworthy among these are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, the California’s CCPA and CPRA in the U.S., as well as various specific regional laws regarding cookie usage like the EU’s Cookie Law (or ePrivacy Directive).



These global regulations dictate how businesses should handle personal data online, emphasizing the need for transparency and security. As a website owner, understanding them is crucial for the following reasons:
  • Avoiding potential fines for non-compliance;
  • Showing a commitment to user data protection, in turn enhancing trust and credibility to build a strong customer base. Users are more likely to engage with a website that they believe is safe and respects their privacy;
  • Facilitating international business and operations across borders.
As you can imagine, they come with a set of complex requirements you will have to meet in order to make your website compliant. A part of website management will also be to stay compliant in the future, since new laws or obligations are likely to be introduced.

Practical steps for website owners

We’ve put together below a list of practical steps you should implement to get you started. This is to give you a comprehensive idea of what legal compliance should look like on your site. Of course, you should first find out what laws apply to you and your specific business situation!
  1. Develop a comprehensive Privacy Policy: Your privacy policy should clearly inform your visitors of their rights and how/why you collect, use, and store their data. This document must be easily accessible from your site, typically via a link in the footer.
  2. Implement a cookie consent banner: With regulations such as the EU Cookie Law, it’s essential to inform users about the cookies your website uses and for what purposes. You should show a banner at the user’s first visit with a link to your cookie policy, where you describe everything in detail. Find out now what cookies are running on your site with this free scanner.
  3. Obtain user consent: Block any trackers from being installed before user consent. Best practice for collecting consent is to display a banner with two identical buttons labeled “Accept” and “Reject”. Also make sure to gather explicit consent on forms.
  4. Draft clear Terms and Conditions: They serve as a legal agreement between you and your users regarding the use of your site and can help protect your business, setting clauses related to intellectual property rights, user-generated content, limitations of liabilities, payment and delivery, account termination, etc. T&Cs are essential for e-commerce.
  5. Enforce documents at relevant touchpoints: Overall, it’s a good practice to link to your legal documents like Privacy Policy or Terms at other points in the user journey, like account creation or payment process, for enhanced transparency.
  6. Implement strong security measures: Do your best to protect user data from breaches and cyber threats. This includes using SSL certificates, maintaining up-to-date software, and employing strong data encryption methods.
  7. If you engage in e-commerce: Comply with applicable consumer protection laws. This includes providing clear information about products, transparent pricing, refund and return policies, and more.
  8. If you engage in digital marketing: Make sure to learn about requirements for email marketing or advertising. Laws like the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. and the GDPR in Europe set standards for commercial messages, requiring opt-in consent for emails and clear identification of advertisements.

Leverage easy-to-use tools for your website’s 360° compliance

The complexities of legal compliance can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are online tools designed specifically to simplify this tedious process for website owners.



iubenda is one of them. It offers all-in-one lawyer-crafted solutions for legal document generation and consent management to help you comply with various privacy laws around the world. Products are updated automatically when the law changes.

You can easily use their Privacy and Cookie Policy Generator, or protect your business with their Terms and Conditions Generator and customize professional documents for your site. iubenda is also a Consent Management Platform (or CMP) that allows you to display your own consent banner, collect and store user consent as legally-required.

Overall, this is a great option to leave the tough work in the hands of experts, and simplify your website’s management.

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