Frank Camuglia

March 5, 2021

"Four Important Requirements for Small Business Websites"


As a recap from our meeting, here is the information I covered.

The four important features all websites should have:
1- SSL Certificate
2- Privacy Policy
3- Terms & Conditions
4- Accessibility Statement/ADA Compliance

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security), are protocols for establishing authenticated and encrypted links between networked computers.

The most common and well-known use of SSL/TLS is secure web browsing via the HTTPS protocol.
Users visiting an HTTPS website can be assured of:

  • Authenticity. The server presenting the certificate is in possession of the private key that matches the public key in the certificate.
  • Integrity. Documents signed by the certificate (e.g. web pages) have not been altered in transit by a man in the middle.
  • Encryption. Communications between the client and server are encrypted.

Because of these properties, SSL/TLS and HTTPS allow users to securely transmit confidential information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials over the internet, and be sure that the website they are sending them to is authentic. With an insecure HTTP website, these data are sent as plain text, readily available to any eavesdropper with access to the data stream. Furthermore, users of these unprotected websites have no trusted third-party assurance that the website they are visiting is what it claims to be.

Modern desktop browsers also alert visitors to insecure websites that do not have an SSL/TLS certificate and Google will flag your site as insecure lowering your rankings in search.

What is a Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy is a statement or a legal document that states how a company or website collects, handles and processes data of its customers and visitors. It explicitly describes whether that information is kept confidential, or is shared with or sold to third parties.

Personal information about an individual may include the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Religious beliefs

Companies or websites that handle customer information are required to publish their Privacy Policies on their business websites. If you own a website, web app, mobile app or desktop app that collects or processes user data, you most certainly will have to post a Privacy Policy on your website.

There are several reasons for a website to post its Privacy Policy agreement on its website.

Here are some of the main reasons:

  • Required by the law
  • Required by third party services
  • Increases Transparency

Read more here:
Privacy Policy Article


What are Website Terms & Conditions?

Website Terms of Use
, also known as website terms and conditions or terms of service, govern the use of a website by visitors.
Any businesses with an online presence - even those which are not actually selling goods or services on their website - must include certain details in order to abide by the Electronic Commerce Regulations, such as full company details. Website terms and conditions are the best place to include such information.

A prominently displayed link to the website terms of use should ideally be visible from every page on your site. At the very least, a link should be visible from your homepage. 

If you have a registration process, this can deal with agreement of users to your website terms and conditions.

You can also ask users to accept the website terms in order to gain access to certain functionality. Asking users to to expressly agree to the website terms, for example, by clicking an ‘I agree’ button, may be particularly relevant if users are entering a restricted area of the website for which they have to register.

Ensuring that your website has an effective and legally sound set of terms and conditions of use will help to protect both your business and website users.

Accessibility Statement

A first step on the path to web accessibility and litigation avoidance is to publish a "Web Accessibility Statement" on your website. An Accessibility Statement serves a number of different roles and audiences. Not only will this better serve those with disabilities, it may even reduce your legal exposure. 

Benefits of a Web Accessibility Statement

  • To the potential plaintiff firm trolling, an accessibility statement (placed prominently in the footer) serves as a flag to say "we're on this, move along". There is so much ripe low hanging fruit, that most trolls will simply skip to the next website on the list.
  • Such a statement demonstrates intent. In court, such a statement shows that this initiative has management buy-in.
  • For the people that count: visitors with disabilities, you want to communicate your intent, your commitment, and provide a path for communication so that the individual can be helped.

What If Our Website Isn't Accessible Yet? Should We Still Publish A Statement?

The answer is YES. Not having a website accessibility statement communicates that you're ignorant of this issue and that you don't care about them.

If you are at the front-end of this process and your site has not been fully audited and remediated, then to start you're going to want to instead express your intent.... "we are in the process of.... our goal is to..."

I recommend simply making sure you've included two things: the goals you're striving for, and how to reach you for assistance (ESSENTIAL). If you engage with the disability community and have accolades to show, then great.

Final best practice for web accessibility statements: location location location.

One must be able to find this statement. Visibility is key. The web accessibility best practice is to included it in the footer of every page, along with your privacy policy.

Read more here:
Accessibility Article

Frank Camuglia
SMR Website Design

Phone/Text: 1-516-387-6868