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.

 

Other Relevant Topics:

FTP on the Go

FTP on the Go IconFTP on the Go is a full fledged FTP program that works from your iPhone or iPad. It allows you to download files, upload files, edit files and do almost anything you could do from a desktop FTP program.

Here’s how to use FTP on the Go.

Step 1: Enter Your Login Information

When you open FTP on the Go, the first screen you see is the login screen. Type in your login information.


 

Once logged in, you’ll see a screen with all your files and folders on it.


Step 2: Downloading Files

Once downloaded, you can then edit the files, or upload them to different directories or websites on your server(s). To download a file, navigate to the exact folder you want to download from by clicking on the folder.

Once you’re in the specific folder, click on the file you want to download. A checkmark will appear next to that file. Then click the down arrow in a circle to download the file.


Step 3: Editing Files

To edit a file, first navigate to your “Saved Files” folder.


Select the file you want to edit, then click “Edit” in the upper right.


The HTML edit screen will appear. Here you can edit the HTML of the page, just as you would in any other HTML editor.


 

When you’re finished, click “Save” in the upper right.

Step 4: Editing Files

After editing a file, you’ll need to upload it for changes to take effect. You also may just want to upload photos or videos from your iPhone to your server. Here’s how.

To upload a file that’s in your “Saved Files,” such as the file we just edit, first highlight the file, then click the up arrow.

 


 

To upload a video or picture, first navigate to the folder you want to upload it to in your “FTP” view. Then click the “FTP Folder Commands” button in the lower right.


Then select “Upload Picture / Video.”


Select whether to upload from your camera or from your library.


Select your picture either in the library or by taking a new picture. Then name your file and resize it before uploading.


It’s that easy! You now know how to download files from your server to your iPhone, how to edit those files and how to upload your saved changes. You’ve also learned how to upload your own videos or pictures from your iPhone to your FTP server.

How to Create a Twitter Profile Widget

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlTwitter provides you with an easy copy-and-paste cod that allows you show your most recent updates on any Twitter page.

 

And technically, it can be used to show the most recent update on any Twitter account. The only exception is that it does not work on private accounts.

 

To customize and create your profile widget, go to: CLICK HERE 

Settings

To start with, make sure you have the correct username in the Settings:

Preferences

 

On the left menu, click “Preferences” and you have a few options:

Let’s talk about these preference options mean…

  • Poll for New Results: Tweets will appear in real time if this is checked. Otherwise, static tweets will appear.
  • Include Scrollbar: This will include a scrollbar in the widget if checked.
  • Behavior: This section allows you to choose between “Timed interval” or “Load all tweets” and decide how many tweets to be shown in the widget. “Timed interval” means that new tweets will be shown up to the maximum at an interval you specify. “Load all tweets” means all the tweets will be loaded to the maximum, without any time interval.
  • Show Avatars: Choose this if you want your avatar to appear beside each tweet.
  • Show Timestamps: Choose this if you want the timestamp to appear for each tweet.

 

  • Show Hashtags: Choose this if you want any hashtags in your tweets to appear. They will be clickable in the widget.

Appearance

Now you can customize the colors of the widget. You can match your website, come up with your own color scheme or whatever you wish. Simply click the color box and you can select a color using the easy color-selecting tool. Click “Done” when you’ve chosen the colors you want.

You can customize the background and text in the “shell”, which is the outer-edges of the widget. You can also specify the background and text of your actual tweets. And finally, you can specify the color of hyperlinks in the widget.

Dimensions

The final customization you can make to the widget are its dimensions. You can either a specify a height and width or you can choose “auto width” which will automatically resize the widget, according to the space provided and the height required to display the tweets.

Test Settings & Grab Code

Once you’ve adjusted all your settings, you can go to the bottom of the page and test the settings or grab the code. We’re going to grab the code for our web page.

Your code is now ready to copy and paste into your web page.

 

Enter it in your web page, or use the Blogger add tool if you use Blogger and voila! Your widget will appear on your page.

How to Create a Twitter Faves Widget for Your Website

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlTwitter allows you to easily create a widget for your website that shows your latest favorite tweets. This guide will show you how to “favorite” a tweet and how to customize the widget for your website.

How to “Favorite” a Tweet

 

Yes, favorite is now a verb and for Twitter, you can “favorite” or bookmark some of the tweets you like best or want to refer to later. It’s easy to make a tweet one of your favorites. All you do is go to your timeline.


When you see a tweet you want to “favorite”, place your mouse over it and you will see some options appear:


If you click “Favorite”, the start will now be yellow and will become one of your favorite tweets.


As you can see above, you can remove the tweet from your favorites anytime by clicking “unfavorite”.

Once you have some favorite tweets, you are ready to use the Faves Widget on your website. You can add favorites anytime and the widget will continue to update.

Creating & Customizing Your Faves Widget

Navigate to: http://business.twitter.com/about/resources/widgets/widget_faves

And you’ll be immediately taken to the “Settings Page”.

Settings

On this page, you can specify the Twitter user. You can actually display the favorites of any account, as long as it’s not a private account.


 As you can see above, you can specify the username, a title for your widget and a caption. You can see a preview of how this will look when you look at the left side of the screen. We are showing that preview below. This is the default color, but don’t worry, you can edit the colors a little later on.


 

Preferences

Now you can click “Preferences” on the left menu and you’ll see a few options:


Let’s talk about these preference options mean…

  • Poll for New Results: Tweets will appear in real time if this is checked. Otherwise, static tweets will appear.
  • Include Scrollbar: This will include a scrollbar in the widget if checked.
  • Behavior: This section allows you to choose between “Timed interval” or “Load all tweets” and decide how many tweets to be shown in the widget. “Timed interval” means that new tweets will be shown up to the maximum at an interval you specify. “Load all tweets” means all the tweets will be loaded to the maximum, without any time interval.
  • Show Avatars: Choose this if you want the users’ avatars to appear beside each tweet.
  • Show Timestamps: Choose this if you want the timestamp to appear for each tweet.
  • Show Hashtags: Choose this if you want any hashtags in the tweets to appear. They will be clickable in the widget.

Appearance

Next, you’ll have the option to change the colors on your widget. You can match your website, come up with your own color scheme or whatever you wish. Simply click the color box and you can select a color using the easy color-selecting tool. Click “Done” when you’ve chosen the colors you want.


You can customize the background and text in the “shell”, which is the outer-edges of the widget. You can also specify the background and text of your actual tweets. And finally, you can specify the color of hyperlinks in the widget.

Dimensions

The final customization you can make to the widget are its dimensions. You can either a specify a height and width or you can choose “auto width” which will automatically resize the widget, according to the space provided and the height required to display the tweets.


Test Settings & Grab Code

Once you’ve adjusted all your settings, you can go to the bottom of the page and test the settings or grab the code. We’re going to grab the code for our web page.


Once we click “Finish & Grab Code” our code appears.


You can now copy and paste the code into your website. If you happen to use Blogger, you can use the handy Blogger tool to insert your widget. Here’s what our widget looks like:


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:


Create an Add to Cart Button in Paypal

PayPal’s shopping cart makes it easy for website owners to process payments for multiple products.

Other shopping carts like 1ShoppingCart, ZenCart and so on require a different payment processor on the back-end, usually with a merchant account tied to a gateway like Authorize.net. That makes the setup process cumbersome and time consuming, sometimes taking months if you don’t already have a merchant account and gateway setup.

PayPal on the other hand, integrates the shopping cart software automatically with its payment processing, so all you need to do is create the buy buttons for your products and you’re up and running.

With PayPal’s shopping cart system, users can add multiple products to their shopping cart and see their products, taxes, shipping and totals before checking out. They can add as many products as they want and just go through the payment process once, making it easy to sell multiple products at once.

Here’s how to add an Add to Cart button to your website.

Step 1: Click on Merchant Services

Access your billing tools by going to Merchant Services.


 

Step 2: Click on Add to Cart Button

Along the top of the merchant services page is a row of 4 buttons. Click on the Add to Cart Button logo to start the button creation process.


 

Step 3: Select Item Name and Price

Give your item a descriptive name. This is the label for the product that your users will see on their shopping cart before they checkout.

The item number is strictly for internal purposes. It makes shipping and handling a lot easier if you’re processing many orders. It’s a lot easier to tell an employee to ship “Item #174” than to ship “A pair of size 8 black Nike sneakers with white laces.”

The item number will be reported to you every time the item is sold. If you run a virtual business or your sales volume isn’t high enough that fulfillment is an issue yet, then you can safely just leave this field blank.

Finally, fill in the price of the item.


 

Step 4: Customize Your Button

PayPal offers many options for how your button can be customized.

First of all, you can customize your button with a drop-down price menu. Use this option if you have items with multiple price options. If you do use this drop-down menu, leave the Price field in Step 3 blank.

You can also add a drop-down menu for different product choices. For example, if you have an item in multiple colors, you can add a drop down menu with their color choices.

You can also add any miscellaneous pieces of text you want above the button.

Finally, you can use your own image if you want to instead of using PayPal’s default add to cart button.


 

Step 5: Specify Shipping and Taxes

Specify the shipping rates and tax rates for this item.

 

Step 6: Apply Advanced Options (Optional)

PayPal offers many advanced options that you can use to customize how your button and shopping cart interacts with your customers.

Click on “Step 3: Customize Advanced Features” to change some of these advanced options.

Among these options include:

  • The ability for users to send you a special note about their order.
  • The ability to specify where users go after completing the checkout process.
  • The ability to use PayPal to pass variables to custom tracking software.

The ability to have PayPal track your inventory.


 

Step 7: Click Create Button and Upload Code

Once you’ve finished with all the options, click Create Button to get the HTML code for the button.


Copy and upload the code generated by PayPal to your website.


 

Repeat this process with each product that you’re selling.

Users will then be able to add products to their cart and choose to either keep shopping or checkout. They can add as many items to their cart as they want and go through the checkout process once they’re ready to pay.

Congratulations! You’ve setup your PayPal add to cart button and are now able to use PayPal to accept payments for one or more product at once.

Set Up Taxes and Shipping in Paypal

Setting up the right taxes and shipping settings for your PayPal account can seem tricky at first, but are essential for just about any internet merchant, especially if you’re selling physical products.

Here’s the guide for setting up taxes and shipping.

Step 1: Get a Premier or Business Account

Personal accounts can’t setup taxes or shipping; only premier and business accounts can. To set up this account, visit:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_registration-run


If you already have a PayPal account, just click “Upgrade now” to upgrade. Alternatively, click “Get Started” under either category to create the account.

 

Step 2: Click on “Profile” Under “My Account”

To access the shipping and taxes options, click on “Profile” under the “My Account” tab.


 

Step 3: Click on “Sales Tax” Under “Selling Preferences”

To setup your sales tax, click on “Sales Tax” under “Selling Preferences” on the column on the right hand side.


 

Step 4: Add a New Sales Tax

Click “Add New Sales Tax” under either domestic or international to add a new sales tax.


When you click add, you’ll see a screen where you can select by state or country the areas you want to add a sales tax to. To select more than one, click and hold control while selecting another one.

To process by zip code rather than state, click on “Zip Code” in the upper right corner.


Once you’ve selected the areas you want to apply the tax to, type in the tax rate and press “Continue”.

Repeat this process for all the different states and countries you want that have different tax rates.

 

Step 4: Click “Set Up Shipping Calculations” in “Selling Preferences”

Go back to your Profile screen under your My Account tab. Click on “Set Up Shipping Calculations” to setup your shipping.


Step 5: Click Start and Select Countries

Click “Start” under either domestic or international to get started.


 

Select where you want to ship your products to. If you want to ship to all states, just add “All States and Territories.”


Click “Continue” once you’ve added all the places you want to add.

If you have different rates for different areas of the country or different places in the world, then create a different shipping option for each.

 

Step 6: Set Your Shipping Settings

Once you land on your shipping setup screen, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:


 

Here’s how to setup each section:

1 – Shipping Method Name: Tell your customers what kind of shipping they’re paying for. For example, “Economy” or “Global Priority” or “One-day shipping.”

2 – Select Delivery Time: Tell your customers when they can expect to receive their package.

3 – What are shipping rates based on: If you want to base how much shipping costs on the total cost of the order, then select “order amount.” If you want it to be based on the weight of the products, select “order weight.” If you want it based on how many items they ordered, select “item quantity.”

4 – What are your shipping rates: Create a range for the order amount, weight or item number, then type in a rate. For example, if orders between $1 and $20 cost $3 to ship, then you’d put in $1, then $20 then $3 in the boxes above.

Click Continue when you’ve added all your settings.

 

Step 7: Review and Save

Review your settings. If everything looks in order, click Save Shipping Methods.


50 Freebies to Give Away for the Opt In

If there’s one thing that makes it easier for you to grow your list quickly, it’s to give away something valuable in return for the opt-in.

If you’re not sure what to give away, here are 50 ideas to get you started.

  1.  A free PDF. Give them a report on something or a brief guide on something.
  2. An audio content download. A lotof people prefer to listen to audio in their cars or on their lunch break, instead of read.
  3. A video download. Videos have higher perceived value than audio.
  4.  A coupon or discount code. This is perceived as almost as good as cash, especially if they plan on buying.
  5.  Free membership. Especially if the membership is normally paid.
  6.  Access to a forum or discussion area. People will sign up just to get access to the advice and conversations in the private area.
  7.  Tips. Give away a giant list of tips. For example, “101 Tips for a Better _____________.”
  8.  Tools. For example, if you run a graphic design site, give away Photoshop brushes for the opt-in.
  9.  Excel spreadsheets. If you run a weight loss site, give away a spreadsheet that makes it easy to track workouts.
  10.  A web application. For example, give away a tool that lets homeowners calculate their mortgage amortization.
  11.  A physical DVD. This works for high end products, such as $2,500 stock trading courses. Giving away a physical gift is a great way to build trust.
  12.  A guide to buying something. For example, write a buyer’s guide for choosing which Android phone to purchase.
  13.  PLR content. Give away content that your audience can give away to their audience.
  14.  A checklist. For instance, give people a checklist on what to look for when buying a new computer.
  15.  A free preview. For example, give people the first chapter of your book for free.
  16.  Give annotated, edited or better formatted public domain content. For example, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” is in the public domain. You could format it to your industry and give it away for free.
  17.  Answer a problem in their mind. Dive deep into it and make sure it’s completely answered.
  18.  Construct a course. For example, a 7-step course to meditating. Deliver it in one email a day.
  19.  Rant. Give away your controversial thoughts on the industry.
  20.  Link to your best posts. Basically give away a report that’s really a guide to your best resources.
  21.  Give a recipe. People are always on the lookout for a great recipe.
  22.  Do as screencast. Record your video screen and give away the video. Use it to teach something on your screen.
  23.  Do a Prezi presentation. Prezi creates graphically stunning presentations that catch and keep attention.
  24.  Give away reference material. For example, for a copywriting course, give away 10 examples of the best copy ads in history.
  25.  Talk about mistakes to avoid. For example, “7 Mistakes Car Buyers Make When Shopping for a Car.”
  26.  Interview someone in your industry. If it’s a recognizable name, you’ll get a ton of opt-ins.
  27.  Access to a live webinar. They have to sign up now to get the time and phone number.
  28.  A recorded webinar. You can make it seem like a time-limited webinar.
  29.  A free teleseminar. Again, people have to sign up immediately to ensure they get a spot.
  30.  A printable workbook. People fill as they learn. Writing down lessons helps boost retention.
  31.  A screen saver. If you’re in the pet industry for instance, a screen saver of cute cats could go over very well.
  32.  A free iPhone or Android app. This is especially appealing if the app is paid by default, but they can get it free by signing up
  33.  A free Kindle book. Again, it’s more appealing if it’s usually a paid book.
  34. JavaScript
  35.  Access to you. For example, promise to answer a question via email for anyone who subscribes.
  36.  Give away a game. Make it educational so people learn as they play.
  37.  Access to a contest. People have to join your email list to participate in the contest.
  38.  Get blog posts in their email. If they love your blog, this alone could be enough.
  39.  Deal reminders. If you frequently do limited time deals, let people know that.
  40.  Random giveaways. Give a prize away to someone in your list every week or every month. Use this to entice people to sign up.
  41.  Members-only events. If people want to come to the event, they have to sign up.
  42.  Give them an opportunity to make money. For example, by posting your content on their Facebook wall. Again, they have to opt-in first.
  43.  Give a mystery gift. Don’t tell people what they’ll get before signing up, just tell them it’s something good. Or tell them what it’ll do for them, without saying what it is.
  44.  Give away something completely off the cuff, but something that people would want. It doesn’t always have to be in your industry to be interesting. This tends to work in “over gifted” industries like internet marketing or weight loss.
  45.  Give them something they’ll use every day. For example, a list of foods to eat and not to eat.
  46.  Give something that helps repair something. For example, a guide to fixing a slow computer, or a software tool that does the same. If it’s a problem they have, they’ll gladly opt in to get the tool.
  47.  Your old content. Lock your old content so people have to sign up to get access to it.
  48.  The second half if an article. For example, you might give Page 1 of an article away for free, but people have to sign up to get the second half.
  49.  A song or something they can listen to. For example, binaural beats or a motivational song.
  50.  Statistics. Give away a detailed report about little known statistics in your industry.

What have you provided that worked the best for building your list? Leave a comment below.

Need help setting up an optin form or creating a downloadable product, we can help. Call 513-317-3049

Improve Your Headline

When approving copy to appear on a website, many business owners don’t consider the effectiveness of headlines. The assumption is that readers will  continue to the rest of the copy regardless of what is at the top of the page. This assumption can be a very costly mistake.

Make sure your headline is an accurate representation of what your product is it’s main benefit or USP. Ideally, your headline will represent your product and move it at the same time, as headlines are rife with the potential to sell your product before readers even begin reading your copy’s body. Two ways to ensure that your headline sends out the right signals is to be specific and to include benefits in it.

IMPORTANT: It doesn’t matter what type of website you have…an online store, a content site or sales letter…you need a headline! You only have a few seconds to grab your visitor’s attention. Do it right away with a headline or it might be too late.

Tips:

*Be specific: Add specific figures (price points, time investments, results), instead of generalizations.

*Benefits: Make sure you include (a) benefit(s) that will make your visitor want to read more.

*Look at other headlines: View other sites and headlines and see what grabs your attention.

 

A/B Split Testing

A/B Split Testing

 

A/B Split Testing helps business owners determine which website element is more likely to produce a desired response from your prospects.

 

 

For example, you can test two headlines to see which performs better. You simply make two versions of the same page, with the only difference being the headline, so you are more likely to pinpoint EXACTLY what is causing the change in response. The key is to only change one thing at a time.

 

You can conduct split-testing through a wide variety of software programs and you may already have some available to you through your shopping cart and other services. If not, you can look at a script like DynaTracker to help you split test. Or you can stick with Google Analytics to monitor your results.

Some of The Items You Can Test on Your Website:

[list style=”black-check-1″]

  • Headlines: Try different versions of your headline, but usually only with small changes each time.
  • Subheadlines: Do the same with your subheadlines as you do with your headline.
  • Product Offer: Try different ways to present your product for ordering.
  • Colors: Test background colors, headline colors, etc. but test one color element at a time.
  • Fonts: Test different fonts in headlines and in sales copy text, but again, test them one at a time.
  • Graphics: Test different product images, guarantee graphics, website images, etc.
  • Price: Test different price points for your product.

[/list]

 

Of course, what you test will depend on your unique website, but the point is you can discover a great many things by performing simple A/B split test.