Three Legal Building Blocks for your Website

3 legal buildng blocks for your website

With services like WordPress, Weebly, and Squarespace, it seems very easy to create a website. You can input information, add pictures, and your website is online. Like most cookie cutter services on the internet, there is more to the story.

What website owners may not realize is that there are important legal considerations. These considerations should be addressed even if you are just blogging or selling items as a hobby.

If these legal considerations are not properly addressed, the website/business owner could be putting all of his or her personal assets at risk.

  1. Limit your Personal Liability

The unfortunate fact is that if you are operating a website business or even simply publishing a blog, there is a risk you may be sued. Before you start selling products or publish your first blog post, it is important to have properly established a Limited Liability Company or Corporation.

By creating an LLC or Corporation, you can limit your liability to a potential creditor to the assets of the business, rather than your personal assets. Note, filing with the Ohio Secretary of State alonedoes not give you limited liability protection. You will want to work with qualified legal counsel to ensure you company is property formed and maintained, thereby protecting your personal assets.

  1. Use only Licensed Content

If your website uses an image or text without license or authorization, your use constitutes copyright infringement. There are companies, such as Masterfile, that exist for the sole purpose of finding unauthorized use on websites.

These copyright enforcement companies use programs that search for use of its clients images. If they find your website contains an image without a license, you will first receive a demand letter. This demand letter will likely request payment of $1,000 – $3,000 per image. If you fail to respond or negotiate, the enforcement company may file suit in federal court.

What if the website designer made the mistake and failed to get a license? Are you still liable? Yes, the owner of the website is still liable.

For more information on this topic, read our Article related to online infringement claims.

  1. Create a Website Contract (also known as Terms and Conditions)

When a person visits your website, you and the visitor are entering into a contract. This contract may be for the sale (or exchange) of goods or services, for the visitor to view information you have provided, or for the visitor to post information on your website.

Regardless of the type of transaction, as the owner of the website you will want to control the terms of this contract. To control your contract with visitors, you would establish Website Terms and Conditions (and if you are collecting data a Privacy Policy).

Some website owners may consider copying the terms and conditions from another website. Using another website’s terms and conditions may create duties and legal standards you are not able to follow; thus you would be in breach of your own contract. Moreover, for the reasons stated in number 2 above, copying another website’s terms and conditions could be copyright infringement.

As with all contracts, it is best to work with a licensed attorney to ensure you and your website are protected.

By: Elliott Stapleton Esq.

About the Author    

Elliott Stapleton

Elliott Stapleton is an Attorney in Cincinnati Ohio who helps families and business owners avoid unnecessary risk and plan for success. As a Partner with CMRK Law, Elliott focuses on Business Law and Estate Planning. Follow Elliott on Facebook, connect on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

 

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WordPress App

wp logo blueWordPress has a powerful iPhone and iPad application that allows you to moderate comments, edit posts and create new posts from on the go.

Here’s how to use the WordPress app.

Step 1 – Sign In to Your WordPress Account

Choose whether you want to edit a blog hosted on WordPress, start a new blog or edit a self-hosted WordPress blog.

For this tutorial, we’ll assume that you’re editing a self hosted blog.


Once you make your selection, you’ll be prompted for your login information.


Step 2 – Select Which Blog to Edit

The WordPress application can store a number of logins for different blogs. Choose which blog you want to edit.


 

Step 3: Moderate Comments

The first screen you’ll see upon logging in is the comments moderation screen.


Select the comment you want to edit.


Clicking the trash can in the lower left will delete the comment. Clicking the arrow on the right will let you reply to the comment.

Clicking on the center button will bring up additional options.


 

Step 4: Create or Edit a Post

To create or edit a post, first select “Posts” along the bottom navigation.

To edit a post, click on one of the posts you want to edit.


 

You’ll be taken to the edit screen for that post.


 

If you want to create a new post, just click the pencil button in the upper right corner.


 

You’ll be taken to the new post screen.


 

Tap on any area to edit. You can edit the title, the tags, the category and the body text from this screen.

To change the status of the post, click on the mechanic-wheel button on the bottom.


 

This enables you to change the privacy settings and the publishing time of the post.

To preview how your post will look when published, click the eye button.


To add a video or an image to your post, click the film reel or the picture frame in the lower right.


If you want to save the draft without publishing, just click cancel in the upper left and click “Save Draft.”


Finally, when you’re ready to publish a post, click on “Publish” in the upper right corner.


That’s how to use the WordPress iPhone or iPad app to moderate comments, edit an existing post or create a new one.

How to Create a Tweet This Button for Any Web Page

Blogging-Ideas-GirlMake it easy for people to share your content on Twitter. You can create a “Tweet This” button for any page of your website and this guide will show you how to do it.

 

To get started, navigate to: http://business.twitter.com/about/resources/tweetbutton

Choose Your Button and Customize

The first thing to do is choose your button. You can choose buttons with a count of tweets or no count, if you prefer.


 

Now you can customize the text of the tweet, by clicking “Tweet text”. You can have the button pick up the title of the page or you can enter your own custom text. We’ve chosen some custom text.


 Once you have decided on your tweet text, enter the URL of the page you want people to tweet about. You can have the widget pick up the URL from the page you place the code on OR if you want people to tweet another page, specify the URL below.


Finally, you can choose your language. The default is English, so you only need to customize this if you are using another language. Choosing a language will modify the language that appears on the tweet button.


Recommend People to Follow

You can also optionally include up to two Twitter users in the tweet. Their username will appear as @username in the tweet.


 

Preview & Get Code

You can preview what your button will look like at the bottom of the button creation page. Here’s a preview of our button:


 

You can also click it to preview the resulting tweet:


 

And finally, you can grab the code for your website:


Thank Me Later

Blogging-Ideas-GirlThank me later is a plug-in that allows you to automatically email your post commenters. You can set the plugin to send the email out after a delay, giving the reader the sense that you read their comment and personally sent them an email.

 

Here’s how to setup and use Thank Me Later.

Step 1: Installation

Go to your Plugins section, click Add New and click Install on Thank Me Later.


 

Step 2: Go to Thank Me Later’s Settings

Thank Me Later’s settings is located at the bottom of the Settings menu. Click the link.


 

Step 3: Create Your Message

When you land in the settings screen, you’ll immediately be prompted to create your first message. Click the link.


Tell Thank Me Later who the email should be from, the subject and the actual message. You can customize the message with tags to insert your name, their comments, their name, etc.


Once you’re finished, hit save.

Step 4: Add More Messages (Optional)

If you want Thank Me Later to randomly select from a few different messages, you can. You can also set it to send someone a different message every time they comment.

 

To do this, first create several different messages by clicking the Add New Message link.


Set the probability to determine how likely a message is to be sent. .5 is 50%, 1 is 100% and so on.

Step 6: Message Settings

Your message settings will determine exactly how Thank Me Later interacts with your readers. For this plugin in particular, it’s best if you don’t just leave it on its default and instead customized it to behave exactly as you want.

To access the options, click on Additional Options along the top.


 

This is what the message options screen looks like:


 

Here you can choose exactly how your users receive your messages. Here’s what each of these options means:

Maximum Number of Messages: How many emails from you any particular user can receive over their lifetime.

Send Unique Messages Only: Never send the same user the same email.

Comment Gap: If comments are posted in close succession, you can set Thank Me Later to only email users once.

Send Gap: To prevent users from getting to many emails, you can put a waiting time requirement between emails.

Opt Out: Allow users to opt out.

Step 7: Set Your Message Restrictions

In addition to your Global Options, you should also set your Message Defaults. Click on Message Defaults to access this panel.

 


 

Here are the options available in this tab:

Message Delay: How long do you want Thank Me Later to wait before sending a message?

Restrict by Tags: If you don’t want Thank Me Later to email posts on a certain topic, you can block them out.

Restrict by Categories: Same as above, but sorted by categories.

Restrict by Users: Choose whether to send emails only to logged in or logged out users. Leave it unchecked to send it to everyone.

The two other tabs, “Miscellaneous” and “Installation and Information” deal with more technical issues and don’t really affect functionality.

It’s that easy! You’ve just learned how to install Thank Me Later, customize it and use it to send messages to your readers.

Add Signature Plugin

Blogging-Ideas-GirlThe Add Signature Plugin allows you to easily add different signatures to your posts, pages and archives. You can choose to automatically include them on all posts and/or pages, or manually insert the signature in each post.

 

Here’s how to setup and use the Add Signature Plugin.

Step 1: Download and Install

To download the Add Signature Plugin, go to: http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/add-signature-plugin-for-wordpress/

The file is a text file, so to prevent your browser from automatically opening your file in the browser, right click and select “Save File As.”


 

Next rename the .txt file to a .php file.


Upload the php file using your FTP client. Go into your Plugins tab and click Activate.


Step 2: Access the Settings

Click on DDAddSig in your Settings tab to setup your signatures.


Step 3: Write Your Signatures

Write your primary signature, along with up to 6 additional signatures.


You can use HTML in your signatures, along with content insertion codes:


Once you’ve written your signatures, all you need to do is save the options and insert <– ddsig –> in any of your posts or pages to quickly insert the signature.

Step 4: Set Default Display

If you want Add Signature Plugin to automatically add your signatures to all your pages or posts for you, just check the corresponding boxes on the bottom of the setup page.


That’s all there is to it! You’ve now setup your own signature to be easily added to any page or post.

SEO:: Competitive Keyword Research Process

Doing competitive research is much more about having a good process than having the right tools. Having good tools can help you get the job done faster, but knowing how to use the tools is what’s really important.

Here’s a proven keyword research process for finding keywords that are already working for your competitors. This will give you a serious shortcut in the whole testing curve. You’ll still have to do a bit of testing yourself, but you’ll know for certain that you’re starting with a base keyword list that’s working for other people already.

Step 1: Compile a Base Keyword List

Start by compiling a basic keyword list. These aren’t necessarily keywords you’ll actually bid on, but are keywords you’ll use to find all the competitors you want to spy on.

To come up with more ideas, use the Google Keyword Tool to find keywords that are related to yours. Also, try typing in your competitors’ URLs into the Google Keyword Tool to see what their base keywords are.


Make sure you get a wide range of different worded keywords. In other words, instead of “teach English” and “teach English overseas,” try to get a variety of foundation-level keywords: “Teach English,” “English Tutoring,” “Become an English Teacher,” “TEFL,” etc. Don’t just get the longtail keywords of one keyword.

Step 2: Compile a Competitor List

Go into Google and type in each of the keywords you found one by one. Copy and paste the top organic and AdWords results into a spreadsheet.


Rinse and repeat this process for each and every keyword you compiled in Step 1. By the end of this process, you should have a spreadsheet with at least 20 to 40 domains of your main competitors.


 

Step 3: Enter Domains Into a Keyword Research Tool

Take the domain and type it into a competitive keyword research tool like SpyFu, Keyword Spy or SEM Rush.

 

Step 4: Record the Keywords

Take the keywords and enter them into a separate tab in your spreadsheet.


 

Make sure you filter out any keywords that aren’t completely relevant for what you’re selling. Don’t just copy and paste your competitor’s keyword lists without thinking it through.


 

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

Keep doing this process for every single one of the domains you recorded in the beginning. Enter all 20 to 40 of these domains into the keyword research tool and record the keywords in your spreadsheet.

Once you’re done, you should have a keyword list of several hundred entries. Remove the duplicates and you have a good starting point.


Also consider repeating the whole process with another keyword research tool to get different keywords. Different tools will generate different lists.

7 Competitive Keyword Research Tips

1. Repeat this process every 2 months.

Competitor change, as do keywords. Something that’s working this month might stop working the next. New keywords might be found that your competitors are making money on.

The best way to stay on top of the market is to repeat the keyword research process every 2 months or so.

2. Start with ROI, then go for volume.

It’s much better to start with a handful of keywords that you think will convert, than to start with a huge keyword list.

Once you’ve discovered all the keywords that your competitors are using, pick just a handful to test with first.

Pick the keywords that are most relevant to your business and the keywords that signify someone is close to buying.

3. Use Exact & Phrase Match

Using exact match and phrase match allows you to get the highest possible ROI in the beginning. Again, this allows you to target specifically the people who are in the mindset you want to target.

The goal is to make sure that you actually have a profitable group of keywords and product before you spend a lot of money. Once you know you’re profitable, you can lower your standards so you get more volume at a lower ROI.

4. Notice What People Are Not Targeting

In addition to paying attention to what your competitors are targeting, pay attention to what they’re not targeting.

Chances are basic tools like the Google Keyword Tool are going to give you a whole bunch of keywords that in reality aren’t being used by your competitors. This is a great signal that these keywords probably aren’t profitable.

5. Think Outside the Box

Don’t just use keyword tools to come up with keywords. Also use your own knowledge of the market and your customer’s mentality.

Think up all the things that people might type into the search engines if they were in the right mindset to buy your product. Check to see if they have volume. If they do, run with it.

Going outside the box is often one of the best and most profitable ways to find keywords.

6. Pay Attention to Strange Keywords

If during your keyword research you come across strange keywords or keywords that you haven’t thought of yourself, pay attention.

Often time’s this can point to a kind of keyword, mindset or sub-market that you haven’t even thought about targeting yet. It can open a whole different dimension of keywords.

7. Don’t Forget Competitor Names as Keywords

Finally, remember that brand names and competitor names are often the best keywords you can target. You can’t use trademarked names in your ads, but you’re free to bid on them.
Using the information in this report, you’ll be able to compile a comprehensive list of all the keywords your competitors are using. From that list, you can pull the best keywords for your business to come up with a killer ad campaign.

Limit The Distractions on Your Website

WebsiteIf your site is full of links, banners and flashy things, you can bet it’s less likely that visitors will respond to your call-to-action. Limit distractions by:

 

*Limiting advertising banners on the page. If you sell advertising, offer fewer spaces at a more premium price. That way, your advertisers are more likely to get good results and your visitors are more likely to respond to your personal call-to-action themselves. If you don’t sell advertising, but post affiliate and other banners – test their effectiveness. In many cases, graphical advertisements cause more distraction than they’re worth.

*Limit navigation. Keep your navigation as simple as possible. You don’t need to link to every product in your main navigation if you have 50 products. Make use of categories and sub-categories and guide your visitors through your website so they can find what they want. If you are using navigation for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, put some of the links at the bottom of the page to keep the top and sides of your pages uncluttered.

*Keep your main navigation in one place. Generally speaking, keep your main navigation in one place. Either put it on top (which is my least recommended positioning, unless you only have a very, very small handful of links) or on either side. Avoid three column websites that have navigation on both side columns. If you have a third column, place your sign up box there or even a simple graphical advertisement, but avoid making your visitor look all over your page to try to find what she wants.

The only exception is the bottom of your page. It’s okay to put additional links or repeat your navigation at the bottom. Because the bottom of the page is where someone look last, they aren’t as likely to become distracted as when they see a bunch of links at the top and both sides of your page.

*the width of your page Avoid a website that is set to 100% width of the screen. It might look okay on smaller resolutions, but makes your site virtually unreadable on a wider screen as your reader has to move to far left and right to read each line. Not only that, when you allow your site to be resized in different resolutions, you lose control over the way your site appears and how the elements are laid out on the page. You always want complete control of your marketing messages. How wide your page is, depends on your site design and any columns you may have for navigation or newsletter sign ups. As a guideline, I’d recommend the actual main body text area of your site to be no wider than 650 pixels.

*Avoid making them click for additional product info. If you’re selling a product on a particular page, try to have all the information they need to make an informed decision on that single page. You may have little windows that pop-up when they click for more info, but you don’t want to have visitors clicking around trying to find what they want. They’re more likely to get lost and give up their quest if they can’t readily find the information they want.

*Fix Hyperlinks That Don’t Look Like Hyperlinks: Don’t get cute with links. People are accustomed to blue underlined links, use them. If you insist on using a different color, at the very least, make sure they are underlined all the time (and not just on a mouseover). If your links don’t look like links, people just aren’t going to click them as readily.

Of course, how simple you make your page will depend on the page’s purpose. If you are trying to sell a product, the simpler your design, the better. If it’s a content site, you’re more likely to have more distractions like your navigation and advertisements. Blogs, by their nature, also have more links and a few more distractions.

That’s okay, but make sure the links are purposeful.

Review Your Sales Copy

sales copy

 

 

If you’ve just finished writing the copy for your website, take a break and review it when you feel refreshed. When you’re refreshed, review it in a few different ways:

 

 

 

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  • Review and edit on your computer.
  • Print it out and edit it on paper.
  • Print out again and read it out loud. It’s amazing what things stand out when you hear what you’ve written aloud.
  • Hire someone else to thoroughly read your copy and ask if they find the offer credible and if they have any unanswered questions. Ask them:
    • Did the offer seem credible to you? (Ex. If you’re teaching something, do they feel you are qualified to teach it? Are the claims made believable?)
    • Were there any unanswered questions about the product or the offer? If so, what were they?

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Give Potential Customers a Preview of Your Product

Building customer interest and excitement is the first step to successfully marketing many products.

Autoresponders play a vital role in building this interest and excitement. For instance, if you were developing an ebook, you may want to start telling your website visitors and opt-in subscribers about it. Start building interest; tell them what this product will do for them, and how soon it will be available.

Do more than build interest by telling them about it. Use an autoresponder to let them preview your product! Even though you will be selling the product, you can allow your potential customers to preview the information. Have you ever seen previews for movies that will be playing in theaters soon? It is the same concept.

Load one chapter of the ebook into an autoresponder, and put a form on your website where your visitors can enter their name and email address to receive the preview chapter free of charge. This gets their name on your list of potential customer. Each week, send a reminder email, letting them know how close the release date is, and what they can expect from your product – keep building interest and excitement.

Finally, a couple of days before you are ready to launch your product offer those that received the preview the option to buy a pre-release copy. You can opt to offer a discounted price, or leave the price as it will be on launch day – the choice is yours.

Take a look at the list of people who signed up to receive the preview.

How many of them are still ‘subscribed’ to that list? They’ve had the option to stop receiving notices about your product, but they chose to keep receiving the information you were sending. These are highly targeted prospects for your product. They have already shown you that they have an interest in your product, and a large number of those people are simply waiting on the autoresponder broadcast message that will let them know that it is time to pick up their copy of your product!

Isn’t automation a wonderful thing? Using an autoresponder, you are able to see how much of a market there is for your product, and build a great deal of interest in it before it is ever released. This is the key to making sales on launch day. Use autoresponders to build the interest. Get your prospects excited about what is about to come – and on launch day, give them what they are waiting for and watch the sales pour in!

Articles and Autoresponders

Writing articles to market a product or service is an excellent way to build business.

The articles should be very informative, providing the reader with information that is relevant to a specific topic. The article usually includes a link to a webpage for more information. The webpage, of course, is designed to sell a product or service that relates to the topic of the article.

These articles are commonly submitted to article banks, websites, and ezine publishers. This is one of the most effective ways to market a service or product on the Internet, and it can become even more effective when it is combined with the use of an autoresponder.

Begin by setting each of your articles up in your autoresponder. It is important that each article have its very own autoresponder address, so you will need an autoresponder service that will allow you to do this. Next, make a master list of your articles, with the autoresponder address for each article listed beside the title.

You can even add descriptions of the articles on your master list if you want to.

Advertising your articles one at a time can take a great deal of time…but advertising one autoresponder address – the one for the master list – won’t take very much time at all. Simply put it in your newsletter and on your website. You can even allow other ezine publishers to use this is a free resource for their subscribers!