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What Are Website Utility Pages?

Business Development

Every time we plan a web design project in West Palm Beach, we make sure to include utility pages. While this sometimes surprises clients, utility pages are actually one of the most important elements of a website.

Now, you’re probably wondering, what are they? Well, what if we told you that you often see them whenever you’re browsing different sites? You’re just unaware that they’re actually called website utility pages!

This post will tell you everything you need to know about these pages – what they are, the different pages your website should have, and several tips to ensure you’re doing it right. With these things in mind, let us begin!

Website Utility Pages – What Are They?

businessman thinking with question marks on background

To put it simply, utility pages are web pages that contain all the legal aspects of your website and business. This includes:  

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service
  • ADA
  • Compliance Statement
  • FAQ Page

For e-commerce sites, it also usually includes a return policy page and a Manage My Account page.  

The links to these pages are typically found in less prominent but still visible areas, either above your main navigation bar, at the top right corner of your website, or at the footer.  

Privacy Policy Page

A privacy policy is a vital document on just about any website. Most legislation around the world requires sites that use personal information to have it. The policy discloses how and why you collect user information, how you’ll use the obtained data, and whether you share it with others.  

Below are five major laws that affect your website privacy policy:

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Considered the world’s strongest set of data protection rules, the GDPR is required for websites that target users in the European Economic Area (EEA). If you happen to be one, you will need to provide visitors transparent information about how their data is collected and handled.  

California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)

The original privacy policy law in America, the CalOPPA outlines what information should be disclosed regarding data handling – such as what data is collected, where it is collected, and whether it’s sold or shared.  

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The CCPA builds on the online privacy policy requirements of CalOPPA, requiring businesses and websites to implement policies that are more comprehensive and transparent.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Whereas the GDPR is aimed at businesses that target users in Europe, the PIPEDA is made for those that operate in Canada. It focuses on 10 privacy principles, including accountability, consent, openness, and safeguards.  

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The COPPA governs websites that market specifically to children under the age of 13. If your target audience happens to be in this age range, you will be required to include a company privacy policy that covers very detailed information about your business.

Terms and Conditions (T&C) Page

Also known as terms of service or terms of use, a terms and conditions agreement is a legally binding contract that aims to protect business owners like you.  

Think of the T&C agreement as a one-stop shop for all the important information your visitors need before they make a purchase or use your services. It gives you the freedom to set the rules and guidelines they must agree to and follow so they can use and access your website, as well as the consequences they’ll face when they fail to abide (e.g., If they break the T&C, you might choose to disable their account).

Despite the fact that businesses aren’t legally mandated to have a terms and conditions page, it’s still smart to have one. Not only will it make your site more professional, but it also establishes the rules that allow you to make your services available to your consumers. Explicitly stating your terms can avoid misunderstanding and complaints from customers.  

ADA Compliance Statement Page

An ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance statement is a message you relay to your visitors that your website content is accessible to everyone. It outlines the policies, goals, and strategies implemented to ensure your website is open to individual with disabilities – such as those who with visual, auditory, and speech impairment, and those with cognitive and neurological disorders.  

While an accessibility statement isn’t mandated for everyone, it’s best that you have it on your website just in case. Marc Dubin, the CEO of ADA Expertise Consulting, pointed out that the lack of this statement is often the first thing a plaintiff’s lawyer will look for when deciding who to sue for discrimination and non-compliance with the ADA regulations.

FAQ Page

businessman holding faq sign

Having an entire page dedicated to answering common queries will no doubt improve your customers’ experience and make it known to them that you’re there to help them. At the same time, providing basic information helps consumers make a purchasing decision.

And, since you’ll also be dealing with general questions regarding the industry you’re in, you can bring in people who aren’t familiar with your business.

Return & Refund Policy Page

A return and refund policy outlines two main things: under what conditions your customers can return an item they bought from your online store and whether you’ll reimburse them or not. It also tells buyers the time frame within which you can accept returns.  

Although there’s no federal law in the US that requires businesses to display this policy on their websites, it’s still wise to do so. Most customers aren’t comfortable shopping at stores that don’t have a return and refund policy in place. They want to have the reassurance that they can return a product and get their money back.

That makes this utility page essential for e-commerce businesses.

Manage My Account Page  

As the name implies, this is where users view and edit their account info, personal details, activity, privacy preferences, and security options.  

What Does a Basic Privacy Policy Look Like?

Your privacy statement should have an accurate representation of your website’s data collection and use. It should be clear, direct, and easy to understand. That way, you won’t have to worry about misinterpretations later on.  

A basic privacy policy generally covers the following:  

  • The information you collect (e.g., names, email addresses, credit card details, IP addresses, social network data, etc.)
  • Where you collect the information
  • Why you collect the information (e.g., to process orders, to complete transactions, to send newsletters, to create and maintain user accounts, etc.)
  • Who else can see the collected data and whether you will share or sell them  
  • The rights users have over their data
  • How users can use those rights
  • How you store the data
  • How to access or remove data
  • Links to other policies
  • Your contact details

Privacy laws change constantly to keep up with technology. We will update this list regularly to reflect these changes.

Here’s the privacy policy page of our West Palm Beach web design website. Go ahead and use it as inspo!  

What About a Terms & Conditions Agreement?

As with any other contract, a T&C agreement needs several things to make sure it’s fully enforceable under contract law. It must possess these four characteristics: fair, lawful, agreed to, and clear.

Keep in mind that there’s no rule for how long your T&C agreement should be, as it all depends on your business needs. What’s crucial is that it comes with these clauses:  

  • A quick intro where you emphasize that anyone using your site should adhere to the terms
  • The exact date when your T&C agreement came into effect (if you amend your T&C, this should reflect the date you changed your T&C)
  • The country or state laws that govern the agreement between you and your customers, (usually where you’ve registered your business)
  • A link to your privacy policy
  • Your contact details including your email address, online chat service, phone number, fax number, and postal address (pick at least two)
  • Limitation of liability disclaimer, specifically for damage caused by third parties, viruses, spyware, device damage, inaccuracies, and errors
  • Limitation of warranty disclaimer where you state that you justify that you’re not responsible for product or website downtime and user enjoyment, and guarantee that your goods or services are fit for a certain purpose
  • Rules of conduct where you state that customers can only use your website/offerings for their intended purpose, set rules for who can access your services, and specify what will happen when someone breaches your terms
  • User restrictions explaining clearly what users aren’t allowed to do on your website
  • Account termination information to inform users that you reserve the right to delete someone’s account if they violate your terms and conditions agreement

If you run an e-commerce website, you might also want to include clauses on:  

  • Returns and exchanges
  • Third party terms and conditions
  • Delivery and shipping details
  • Payment info
  • Subscription info

Protect Your Business with Website Utility Pages

digital marketer holding laptop and making a ok gesture

Not having utility pages like privacy policy, terms of service, or an ADA compliance statement can spell trouble for your business. That’s why you need to set them up on your website – that is, if you have yet to.  

Digital Resource, a leading West Palm Beach web design company that specializes in creating sites for businesses, will be more than happy to get the job done for you. Our dedicated web specialists have the know-how to build you these pages, with our SEO team ensuring that these pages can be found easily in Google and other search engines.  

Talk to us today to learn more!

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