Copywriting 911

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Writing website’s privacy policy or terms and conditions may seem a hopeless task, as:

a) few people really enjoy describing legal issues, and
b) even fewer people read such stuff of their own free will.

Nevertheless, both pages make an essential part of any website, so, if you have one and are interested in its progress, take time to write relevant terms and policy – or hire someone who will do it for you.

Here I’d like to answer the most common questions about Terms and Privacy Policy writing.


Privacy Policy: stands for the way a company collects, stores and uses personal information provided by their customers/visitors. The fact that someone likes your site doesn’t mean that he/she burns with desire to give you the email/credit card number/health history/pet name etc. You should remove all user’s doubts by stating that you won’t disclose the data to third parties, will use it only for business purposes and cherish like the apple of your eye. Here neither paroles of honor nor solemn oaths are necessary – just add the Privacy Policy page to your site, and the visitor will feel safe.

Terms and Conditions: refer to the general website rules covering management and financial implications. By publishing relevant and pithy terms, you inform users about their rights and obligations, outline the company’s client policy and make a commitment.

Both: Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions are a kind of official agreement between you and the user. As laws differ from country to country, you may carry a certain risk, if the case is brought to court, so keep in mind your international audience while completing these documents.


Privacy Policy: this page is meant to reassure users by answering such questions as

  • what personal data you collect (Explain what information you need and why. Avoid requesting unnecessary data, otherwise the user may get not only suspicious of your activities but also very tired before the long form is filled);
  • how it is stored and used (Reassure users that you won’t abuse their personal information and will use it only within limited business ends);
  • how you can guarantee its safety (Clarify how your server and online operations are protected from scammers. Show in details how you ensure security and privacy, for example, [all account information on our website is password-protected]);
  • to whom the data may be disclosed (Be upright while listing parties who will get access to the data);
  • how the user can edit or delete it (Establish your credibility by placing such boxes as [Change User Profile] or [Edit My Personal Information]);
  • the way you inform users about policy changes (Ask users to check back your website periodically for updates);
  • who to contact with questions about privacy (Make it clear that you are always ready to answer visitors’ questions and to help them, if necessary).

Terms and Conditions: a standard Terms of Service page may include:

  • definition and interpretation (Clear up what you mean by terms like “Agreement”, “You”, “We”, “Services” etc. This part isn’t a must, but once you decided to write it, stick to official language. Of course, some readers would appreciate if you write something like [Mr. Smith, the Client, hereinafter referred to as “Dude”], but not everyone has a sense of humor, and most people may think you’re unreliable. So try to be as serious as you can);
  • acceptance (Notify users that by accepting the Terms and Conditions they agree to keep the given rules);
  • intellectual property rights (It also makes sense to mention copyright. Though that can’t completely prevent an infringement, such a notification will at least reduce the chances of it);
  • information about website/services it provides/products it sells (Try to put yourself in the user’s shoes and answer all possible questions that he/she may have);
  • terms of delivery/payment etc (See the previous tip);
  • warranties (If you sell something via your website, inform the user that the product/service fits to the stated purpose, doesn’t infringe the rights of other parties, and that you (the seller) have the full rights to it. Don’t forget about the disclaimer emphasizing that you aren’t responsible for any circumstances beyond your control);
  • limitation of liability (That’s a critically important part, as, being neglected, it can result in a real headache. Explain very precisely which obligations to the user you fulfill, and which you don’t);
  • third parties (Remind the user that only those who accepted the present Terms can take advantage of whatever your website offers. Actually that’s quite obvious for most people, however, lawyers think this part is indispensable, so let it be);
  • notices and contacts (Once again show that you are available to answer any question or remark);
  • and any other issue that you consider important.

Both: well, let’s talk about more pleasant things, like KISS. Not trivial kisses at lowercase characters, but the great and effective KISS principle: Keep It Short & Simple. That means: when you use a formal language, don’t overdo it. Give your Terms and Policy to a friend (hereinabove referred as “Third party”) and ask whether they are at least half-understandable (unless your friend is a qualified lawyer).


Where to place links to these pages? Most often Terms and Conditions’ and Privacy Policy’s links are situated on the bottom of the home page, yet some webmasters prefer them to figure on the site bar or even at the top.

Where to find more information considering legal acts? You can visit the SBA official website to underpin the legal ground for your copywriting building.

Now let me solemnly inform you that this article is protected by all existing laws, can’t be copied, and fits to the standards of professional copywriting. We guarantee the protection of your personal data, in case you want to leave a comment or to submit a feedback here.

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