Is Your Website Legal?

search engine optimisation

Is your website legal?

When I buy something I expect it to satisfy whatever legal requirements relate to it. What is more, I expect the product supplier to (a) know what those requirements are and (b) make sure they are met before they deliver the product.
However, many website developers’ own websites break UK and EU laws, leaving them open to potential fines and there seem to be few that will advise their clients appropriately.
So, rant over! You should expect your web developer to leave it up to you to know the law, so what is it?
As an absolute minimum, you must have the following:
Registration information
Under the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 (the 2008 Regulations), a limited company must state the following on business letters, order forms and websites:

  • The name of the company
  • The address of the company’s registered office
  • The registered number from Companies House
  • The part of the UK in which the company is registered

N.B. Many people consider an email to be a “business letter” and therefore you should consider also including this information in your email signature.

Most websites leave cookies on the machine of anyone that visits (if only because they have Google Analytics on it).
The recent “EU cookie law” (e-Privacy Directive) specifies that websites must require user consent to leave cookies on the visitor’s computer unless the cookie is a necessary requirement for the website to function (e.g. shopping cart cookies).
In practice this has been watered down, so that “implied consent is a valid form of consent”. However, it is important that users understand what is going on and this must be explained clearly and openly. Does that explain all those banners and annoying pop-ups you see everywhere? Those aren’t necessary, but you should provide explicit navigation to a cookie policy page containing clear descriptions of all cookies, how they are used and how they may be deleted.
If you are selling goods online or collecting data there are other requirements, but I will leave those for another time!
So, make sure that you have your limited company registration details and a cookie policy on the site and you will be well ahead of the game!

Steven Drummond

Web Analytics & Optimisation
"I love solving the technical & marketing challenges that help our customers win more customers."

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