Guide To Writing A Web Terms-Of-Service Agreement

So you’ve built the next great website, app, or another online service. What’s next? One of the most important things to do is create a Terms of Service agreement for your new venture. 

A good Terms of Service agreement can help protect your business and prevent it from being sued by users or other parties. 

It also helps set expectations for users about what’s allowed and what isn’t on your platform as well as informs them about how they can get in touch with you if their account is compromised. While there are many ways to write a Terms of Service agreement, here we’ll explore some key areas that need to be addressed for it to be effective:

Terms and Conditions for Your Website – YouTube
Understand the importance of a web Terms of Service.
Ensure your Terms of Service agreement is comprehensive.
Address user obligations and rights clearly.
Include clauses about privacy, data usage, and cookies.
Seek legal advice to ensure compliance and accuracy.

Rules Apply To Individuals And Legal Entities 

The rules apply to individuals and legal entities. The bulk of your TOS agreement will be for the user, but it’s important to remember that there are other parties involved in this interaction as well. The business and the user both have a role to play in making sure the terms of service are followed and that there is no confusion about who is responsible for what action or behavior.

To help you write an appropriate TOS agreement, let’s take a look at how these rules apply in real-life situations:

A company owns a website that sells goods online. They also sell goods through their brick-and-mortar store locations as well.

A person uses their credit card on the site and receives an item shipped directly from them via UPS (they pay nothing extra).

A person buys something using PayPal during checkout but then gets confused when it doesn’t arrive after 10 business days so they contact support with questions about their order status – they haven’t received anything yet but they’re worried they’ll get charged if they don’t cancel before 30 days go by so why hasn’t anyone replied yet…?

Building a solid Terms of Service agreement for your website is essential. Learn about 13 Easy Ways to OK Your Terms of Service to ensure your legal documents are thorough and effective.

Don’t Make Your Terms Of Service Agreement Too Long.

Your Terms of Service agreement should be short and sweet. Don’t make it so long that people won’t read it, or you’ll defeat the whole purpose of having a Terms of Service agreement in the first place!

Make sure your ToS is easy to read by using bullet points, headings, short paragraphs, simple language, and words. Keep sentences as short as possible no more than ten words per sentence is ideal. If you need to use longer sentences they should still be very easy to understand (no jargon or complicated phrasing).

Furthermore, if there’s anything in your ToS that might confuse readers or cause them difficulty understanding what you’re trying to say then consider rewording until the meaning becomes clear.

Make It Easy For Users To Navigate Your Terms Of Service

Your terms of service should be able to be read and understood by anyone who reads them, even if they aren’t very familiar with the technical terminology used in your industry. This means you need to avoid using jargon or long sentences that are difficult to follow.

It’s also good practice to use a table of contents so users can easily find what they are looking for within your document.

Include an FAQ section with common questions regarding your site, such as privacy policy questions or whether there is a minimum age requirement for use. This will allow users who may have concerns about these topics to find answers quickly without having to read through all of the other information provided in the document itself.

If you have any links outside of your website (such as terms from vendors), make sure they work correctly by testing them before publishing them publicly!

Mistakes in legal documents can lead to significant issues. Explore our guide on Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Legal Documents to ensure your terms of service agreement is accurate and legally sound.

Tell Users How To Contact You

Provide a phone number. The best and most direct way to get in touch with you is by calling you up on the phone, so make sure your site is equipped with one of these. 

You can also make this number accessible via text messaging, in case people want to contact you quickly and perhaps more importantly, do not have a good enough internet connection to go through an online form or use email.

Provide an email address for customer support purposes. Your customers will likely need some hand-holding when it comes time for them to use your product or service (which would be reasonable).

So give them an easy way to reach out by emailing questions and concerns directly through their account management page on your website’s interface (or even making sure that information is available somewhere else if that makes sense). 

This means having both an auto-reply feature and actual people checking emails every day who can respond within 24 hours at most especially if these inquiries are critical issues that require immediate attention!

List the mailing address in which legal notices may be sent by snail mail or courier service (i.e., certified mail). 

If someone contacts us about a problem they’re experiencing while using our product/service, we’ll need certain documentation from them before we’ll take any action against a said problem: firstly proof like receipts showing payment history etcetera.

Secondly, documentation showing what exactly went wrong such as screenshots from error messages received after clicking something specific within our website interface itself.

Provide A List Of Definitions For Terms Used In Your Terms Of Service

To begin, you should list the definitions for terms used in your Terms of Service. This list can be found at the beginning of a document or web page and will make it easier for users to understand the rest of your content. 

You may also want to include any other relevant information about your business practices in this section as well, such as:

Explain The Rights Granted For Using Your Services

The first section of your Terms of Service should be the one explaining what rights are granted to the user for using your service. 

The most common use case here is granting access to a website or application, but this could also include granting access to an API or other resources. You must explain these permissions explicitly so users understand what they’re signing up for when they agree to use your product.

You also want to make sure that you limit these permissions by clearly stating any limitations on their usage for example, if someone only has limited access because they’re in “basic” mode and are no longer allowed full access after exceeding their monthly quota of features.

Here’s an example: “Welcome! By logging into [APP NAME], you agree to abide by our Terms of Service as well as any additional guidelines we may publish from time to time.”

Include the types of content banned from your service, but don’t go overboard with banning content.

This section is where you should list the types of content that are unacceptable on your service. You’ll need to define what constitutes “unacceptable” and explain why this type of content should be banned from your service. You’ll want to include the following:

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What Types Of Content Are Considered Unacceptable On The Platform?

Why does this type of content need to be excluded from your service?

How will you monitor these types of posts/comments? Are there any automated tools, algorithms, or human curators who will monitor all posts? Are there any specific rules about who can flag offensive content for removal (e.g., anyone with an account on a public forum, only admins)?

Inform Users What Happens When Their Content Is Deleted And When Their Account Is Canceled Or Terminated

There’s a lot of good advice out there about how to write your terms of service agreement, but one thing that is often overlooked is the section on user-created content. 

That’s right: if you allow users to create their content on your website or service, you mustn’t forget to address what happens when they violate your guidelines or otherwise misbehave. 

If users can post anything they want on Twitter and Instagram and this includes pictures of their cat and dog you need a clear process for removing any inappropriate material from those platforms.

This doesn’t mean telling people what not to say; instead, make it easy for people who are posting something inappropriate to remove themselves from your platform without losing all their followers and friends (or having them blocked). This will help keep things positive while also ensuring that the majority of posts are positive as well!

Crafting legal documents requires expertise. Discover insights on The Look and Sound of Expert Legal Writing to ensure your terms of service agreement is professional and well-crafted.

Include Provisions Regarding Intellectual Property Rights, Both Yours And Users’

Include provisions regarding intellectual property rights, both yours and users’. You may want to include a section stating that you own all of the content on your site, or at least any content that was created by you.

If you’re using an open-source license for any of your code (e.g., MIT or GPL), this is good to include too!

And if you are making money off of people’s data (e.g., ad revenue), it’s important to let people know that they don’t have any ownership over their data after they submit it.

List permissible uses of copyright material while prohibiting infringing activities and providing a link to a DMCA notice form.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it covers some of the basic elements of a Web TOS Agreement.

Keep in mind that you may have to modify your TOS agreement depending on how your website works. 

For example, if you are providing any type of online service that users can pay for or use credit cards to make purchases, then it would be very wise for you to include a section addressing what happens in case of fraud or disputes between the user and your company (like PayPal’s User Agreement).

Also remember that although most users don’t read these legal agreements, there are always some who will try out any loophole they can find so they can avoid paying fees or otherwise break rules that prohibit their activities. 

Therefore it’s important not only to include a clear notice about what happens if a user violates guidelines or otherwise misbehaves but also to consider creating guidelines specifically designed for using public spaces such as forums, comments sections, and ratings/reviews sections

Provide clear notice to users about what happens if they violate your guidelines or otherwise misbehave.

You’ll want to provide a clear description of the consequences of violating the Terms of Service. This can include a description of what happens if a user violates your guidelines or otherwise misbehaves.

You may also want to provide examples of possible consequences, such as suspension or termination from the service and loss of any cooperation that may have been granted under these TOS in the past.

Additionally, when describing what constitutes a violation and how violations will be investigated, you need to be clear about these things:

What constitutes an infraction? How many infractions are needed before action will be taken?

Who will investigate these incidents? Will, it is automated software or humans? If so, which humans will investigate them (i.e., employees within your company)?

How long does it take after an incident occurs before action is taken against someone who has violated your guidelines/TOS?

Don’t forget to address user-created content.

You may want to include a provision in your terms of service that addresses user-created content, whether it’s any material that users submit through your site or any other content they create on the site.

You might also want to think about how you’re going to address user-submitted content if you’re running an online forum or bulletin board. 

For example, this could be something like: “By submitting information or materials (such as data, questions, and answers) directly or indirectly in connection with this Web Site and/or Services… You permit us for us to use such information…”

The key here is that whatever wording you choose needs to be unambiguous—you don’t want users misunderstanding what their rights are when submitting material through the website!

Create guidelines for using public spaces such as forums, comments, ratings, and reviews sections.

Create guidelines for using public spaces such as forums, comments, ratings, and reviews sections. This can be done by setting up a template that contains the rules and regulations of the service. It’s important to let people know what they can expect when they sign up for your service, so you must include this type of language in your terms-of-service agreement.

Create guidelines for posting content in private spaces such as email messages or chatrooms. If someone is going to share something intimate with you privately via email or chatroom conversation, there must be clear rules about what information is acceptable for sharing at all times not just during registration or account creation.

Remind users that you have ultimate discretion over penalties for rule violations on your website or service.

Here Are Some Things To Keep In Mind When Crafting Your Terms Of Service Agreement

Be clear about the process for dealing with violations. You should make sure that users know what happens if they violate the terms, and how you will handle any disputes that arise.

Be clear about the process for dealing with disputes. Again, it’s important to let users know what happens if they have a problem with your website or service and how they can resolve their complaints without resorting to litigation (if possible).

Be clear about the process for dealing with complaints and be sure that it doesn’t involve waiting weeks or months before hearing back from customer service, like several companies I’ve dealt with in my time have done! 

Also, remember that while some people might complain just so they can get something out of it (like free stuff) others may be genuinely concerned about how their information is being used; make sure both types of complaints are handled equally well by taking care not only when handling emails but also phone calls or other forms of communication as well!

A logical and effective legal argument is essential for your terms of service agreement. Learn the essentials from our guide on Essential Tips for Writing a Logical Effective Legal Argument to create persuasive and compelling legal documents.

Understand The Consequences Of Having Too Many Rules

Regulations and prohibitions in your Terms of Service agreement.

As you ponder the wording of your ToS, it’s important to keep in mind the potential for unintended consequences that may arise from having too many rules in place. If you have too many rules in your agreement, users can feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the sheer volume of legal jargon. 

They might also start to wonder if there’s something suspicious or untrustworthy about your company because they know they won’t be able to read through every bit of information before signing up which could lead them away from using your product or service altogether.

If you include too many prohibitions and restrictions in your Terms of Service agreement, users might be turned off entirely by what appears to be a lack of trust on behalf of the provider and this would put an end not only to their business relationship with yours but also any potential future use as well. 

So try not only to check out what other companies are doing when it comes time for writing up yours (and make sure it’s not too much!) but also think about how much control over user behavior should actually be included within its terms–and whether or not those rules will ultimately serve both parties’ best interests down the road!


You are likely to make your Terms of Service agreement more user-friendly if you keep it short, simple, and easy to read. You should also include links to the most important sections in your Terms of Service.

If it’s too long or confusing, users will be less likely to read it or use your service.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that provide further insights on writing terms and conditions:

How to Write Terms and Conditions: A Comprehensive Guide: Learn the ins and outs of creating effective terms and conditions for your website or application.

Sample Terms and Conditions Template: Explore a sample template that can serve as a starting point for crafting your own terms and conditions.

Guide on How to Write Terms and Conditions: Get expert advice on drafting clear and legally sound terms and conditions documents.


How do I start writing terms and conditions?

Starting the process of writing terms and conditions involves understanding your business’s specific needs and legal requirements. Begin by identifying key areas that need to be covered, such as user obligations, disclaimers, and privacy policies.

Can I use a template for my terms and conditions?

Yes, using a template as a foundation for your terms and conditions can save time. However, it’s crucial to tailor the template to your business’s unique offerings, policies, and legal requirements to ensure accuracy and compliance.

What should I include in the refund and cancellation policy?

Your refund and cancellation policy should clearly outline the conditions under which users can request refunds and how cancellations are handled. Be transparent about deadlines, eligibility criteria, and any associated fees.

How can I make my terms and conditions more user-friendly?

To make your terms and conditions more user-friendly, consider using plain language and organizing the document into sections with headings. Additionally, provide a summary or highlights of key points to enhance readability.

Are terms and conditions legally binding?

Yes, terms and conditions are legally binding agreements between you and your users. However, the enforceability of these agreements can depend on factors such as how prominently the terms are displayed, user consent, and adherence to relevant laws.