If you’re new to business or creative entrepreneurship, your top priorities may be finding clients and making money so you can pay your bills. Your second concern, however, should be protecting your business and your website legally. The last thing you want to worry about is a lawsuit or losing all of your hard work!
Don’t worry, though! We have you covered. Here, we share some steps you can take to legally protect your business and website.
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How to Legally Protect Your Website and Business
1 | Use a client contract
You need a contract to protect yourself and your business, especially if you’re a service-based entrepreneur. Contracts also add to the professionalism and trustworthiness of your brand. Your clients know you’re taking steps to protect your business and client relationships, and that speaks to the level of care in your work.
What typically goes in a contract? It spells out everything your clients need to know about working with you, like:
- What services you offer
- What your clients can expect from your work
- The payment terms, including late fees or rush fees
- The term of the contract and the renewal process
- Confidential information and proprietary rights
Plus, if you run into issues in the future with a particular client, you can always refer back to the signed contract. Emails and phone calls can be sketchy in our memories, but a contract is solid proof of your agreement with your client.
Bonus tip: Contracts don’t have to break the bank, either. Our friends at The Contract Shop® offer contract templates for a wide range of creatives and service providers!
2 | Think about registering a trademark
A trademark — the ™ or Ⓡ that you see hovering around company names or logos — protects your brand from theft. Not just your business name and logo, but your tagline or slogan, unique catchphrases, any words that make you you.
While we’re on the subject, copyrights are similar, but they protect your creative or intellectual work. That includes photography, songs, artwork, software code, writing work, movies, and other work.
You don’t want to spend all this time building your brand and website for someone to take your work and pass it off as their own. A trademark can give you legal protection and outline your rights more clearly, should things escalate to a battle in court.
Related post: How to Set Up A Successful Online Business
According to our friend Christina Scalera at The Contract Shop®, privacy policies are the #1 thing every small business owner forgets (or avoids doing). But privacy policies are super important for your business!
4 | Keep your website secure
Trademarks and copyrights protect the content that you create from potential thieves, but there are other online threats you should be aware of. You have to protect your website from hackers and malicious programs, otherwise…you can lose all your hard work in an instant.
We recommend keeping WordPress and any plug-ins running on the latest version as often as possible. If your site is running on an outdated version, you may leave it vulnerable to security breaches.
Another couple of tips? Backup your site regularly just in case. And use strong usernames and passwords that aren’t easy to guess with a mix of symbols, punctuation, and mixed case letters. When you can, use Two-Factor Authentication, too.
Related post: WordPress Security 101: Keeping Your Business Protected
This may seem like a lot of work to legally protect your business and website “just in case,” but trust us: if the unthinkable happens, you’ll be happy that you took these steps!