Why Website Terms of Service Are Important


If you’ve ever visited a website, you’ve likely seen a “Terms of Service” agreement or a similar contract. While this is an essential part of every website, some businesses don’t realize just how valuable it can be. There are some websites that won’t even let you browse until you agree to their Terms of Use, while others simply have them available to protect the company from any legal repercussions that may come. 

There are several different reasons to have a proper Terms of Service agreement for your website. Understanding what this agreement is and how it protects your business (and the end user) will help you get a better idea of why it’s so necessary. 

What are Terms of Service?

A Terms of Service agreement, sometimes also called “Terms of Use” or “Terms and Conditions,” is an agreement that users must comply with if they are going to use a certain website or service. This is a legally-binding agreement that is subject to change, and includes information about:

  • Technology
  • Products
  • User activity
  • Accounts
  • And more

There are two main types of TOS agreements that you will find online. Knowing the difference will ensure that you put the right one on your website. 


Browsewrap agreements are built into the website via a hyperlink. This will allow you to list the TOS on the website and connect it to another page with a detailed review of all the terms and conditions that are relevant and applicable. This is a more passive way of offering a Terms of Service agreement to your customers. 

It is also the one that tends to cause more issues because it doesn’t actively require users to consent to the TOS before they browse the site. However, it’s still one of the most common ways that sites create this type of agreement. If you choose this method, be sure to consult a lawyer to avoid any big legal loophole issues. 


Clickwrap agreements are the best choice for those who want to make sure that users see and read the Terms of Service before they use the website. This is usually done through pop-ups on the website, or a page blocker that requires users to scroll and agree before they can view the content. This means that your website (and your users) are better protected. 

It also means that in the event of legal issues, you have a better chance because these agreements hold up better in court. They’re more secure and much more enforceable, which is what makes them a good choice for anyone who wants to protect their business assets. 

Why do I need a TOS? 

Legal protection is a broad answer, but it’s the general reason that these agreements are created. There are a few specific reasons that you’ll want to keep in mind when you are creating your own Terms of Service:

  • It provides protection from liability for website users, including from potential malware or a website maintenance issue. For example, a banking website with a solid TOS could avoid being sued by users for the site being down and keeping them from being able to conduct banking. You can also protect your business from any other potential liability that could arise with your Terms of Service agreement. 
  • The TOS also gives you the chance to define the conduct that is permitted on your website. It defines the scope of use and makes sure that people know they can or can’t submit, upload, or share certain content or information. It also explains the legalities of reusing the content on your website elsewhere, protecting you from copyright issues and the like. 
  • A TOS also allows you to create an indemnification process, which spells out the process for taking legal action against anyone who violates the TOS and the penalties involved. You can include a specific limitation or exclusion of liability, too, along with an arbitration clause that spells out what happens if you have a dispute and don’t want to end up in court.

These are just a few of the perks that come from having a Terms of Service agreement on your website. 

How do I create a TOS for my website?

You can find some great examples of website Terms of Service agreements online to help you create your own. There are even some templates that let you fill in your specific details so that you don’t have to write the entire thing. Whether you use those, draft your own TOS, or have a lawyer do it, you’ll want to make sure that it includes:

  • Acceptance of Terms
  • License to Use
  • Cookies
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • International Use and Compliance 
  • User Accounts
  • Modification of Site 
  • Support/Maintenance
  • Privacy Policy 
  • Rights and Ownership 
  • Disclaimers
  • Termination and Modification

You should review and update your TOS agreement regularly to make sure that there are no important changes that need to be made. If there are updates or items that need to be modified, you will then want to notify all users of the updated Terms of Service so that they can re-consent. 

Better protected than not 

Ultimately, a TOS agreement is going to make sure that you are protected from all legal issues related to the use and access of your website and the information on it. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) may also require written disclaimers of warranty for products or services, and many financial and banking regulations require explicit disclosures to be made for online access. Therefore, it’s best to create a strong website Terms of Service agreement so that you know that your business is protected. 

While you’re making changes, why not change who handles the leads?

You’ve got a lot on your plate with a business to run and a website to manage. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all alone. You can partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai and have a 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss a lead. Plus, we can also assist with lead intake, appointment scheduling, and outreach campaigns to get those leads in the first place. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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