Charles Murray, a famous political scientist, once said, « The government cannot enforce its mountain of laws and regulations without voluntary compliance. »
When it comes to a website, the bitter truth is:
99% of companies don’t take website compliance seriously unless they’re slapped with a lawsuit.
Your website plays a pivotal role because from facilitating communications to giving performance information to investors – it’s the first place of interaction for the customers. As a result, websites have become an increasing subject of regulation and growing compliance concerns.
With CCPA, GDPR, and ADA laws into action, overlooking website compliance is impossible because the law applies to everyone. If you don’t want to find reality the hard way, it’s time to pull up your socks and give due importance to these laws.
With web accessibility and compliance lawsuits increasing by a whopping 177%, compliance is no more a moral and legal obligation – it’s a financial obligation.
Remember that being compliant doesn’t mean an unappealing design because design and accessibility are two sides of the same coin. They go together seamlessly.
While ensuring web compliance, you also need to ensure that your brand is inviting and accessible to everyone.
It’s the right time to delve into these website elements and follow the rule book of compliance to ensure your website stays on the right side of the law.
1. Become CCPA Compliant – The Mother of All Laws
It’s not uncommon for websites to use third-party tools to understand the customer’s purchase behavior and use the data for advertising and tracking.
While these analytics provide insightful information about customer’s preferences, it puts the data at risk. When understanding the customer’s purchase behavior you end up relentlessly sharing the data without their consent.
This is where CCPA compliance comes into the picture. It promotes data transparency and ensures that your customers know the source of data collection and the purpose of collecting their information.
With the right CCPA tool, you can ensure web compliance in a smoother, faster, and cost-effective manner.
Furthermore, being compliant gives your business the competitive edge as customers gravitate towards websites promising adequate data privacy measures.
Additional Tip: Maintaining data privacy is the first step for being web compliant in 2020.
2. Focus on Product Requirement Document – The Bible for Websites
Building a website from scratch requires meticulous planning as it ensures a high level of customer satisfaction. When building a new website or revamping an existing one, you need a technical document like PRD (product requirement document), which defines what the website is, what it should do, and how.
It’s the heart of your website and is a living document for any stakeholder, including the developer and designer to understand its status. Business websites, which overlook PRD, end up with different assumptions. The document helps in balancing the aesthetics and usability against compliance.
It removes the excessive design thinking and ensures that you follow all website compliance, including a visible opt-out button or adding a ‘don’t sell my information’ page on your website.
Additional Tip: When building a website, always start with a product requirement document template to ensure you don’t miss out on critical website features.
3. Ensure Data Quality – It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Your website data matters because:
Bad data = Bad business
You cannot build a long term relationship with inaccurate data. Furthermore, your ability to capitalize on the data is dependent upon the quality of data collected.
Data has a tremendous impact on your organization’s trajectory and website performance because you predict the customer’s behavior, buying pattern, and use it for effective product management.
The zeal to collect data quickly and use it for real-time purposes forces businesses to skip data quality assurance practice, overlooks data compliance, and ignores the laws.
This ultimately results in reliance on inaccurate and redundant data, thereby creating a domino effect on decisions that are taken using poor quality data.
According to Gartner, the estimated financial impact of poor data quality is $15 million annually.
With so much on the table, ensuring quality data is imperative for business websites.
Issues within your website, such as an error in tagging and data inflation occur when your web page comprises duplicate tags collecting duplicate data), are factors that primarily result in poor data quality.
Give your data quality a boost with the best data quality tools. Look for a tool providing auditing capabilities, metadata support, scalability,
Additional tip: A data quality tool comes as a boon for your website as it can help you identify and remedy potential data disasters.
4. Adhere to ADA compliance – A Website for Everyone
With 22% of adult Americans having at least one disability, it’s imperative to make digital content and websites accessible for everyone.
If there’s a video on your website, can someone who is deaf understand it?
To make a website for everyone, the video would require captioning. Similarly, for visually impaired people, the use of assistive technologies such as screen readers is a must for seamless navigation.
If your website is not accessible to disabled people, you’re likely to be slapped by hefty lawsuits, thanks to ADA (American with Disability Act). For your website to be ADA compliant, ensure that you design it, keeping in mind the disability community.
Additional tip: Your website should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and accessible to everyone.
5. Security for Online Transactions – It’s the Smoking Gun
Making it as easy as possible for the customers to buy and pay on your business website results in higher conversions and sales. Customers today prefer online payments through cards. An unsecured website can expose their crucial data to hackers and external attacks.
The need of the hour is investing in robust encryption tools to make safer online transactions. Focus on adding different security layers such as a firewall, using HTTPS, SSL certificates, etc. to track down malicious sources and hinder the cyber attacks.
Loss of customer data results in a negative brand reputation because no one prefers to buy from a business whose website is susceptible to frequent cyber-attacks.
With hundreds of fake websites on the internet, life is a bit more difficult for legitimate businesses like you. Nevertheless, securing your website and telling your customers about it are two different worlds.
And, you will succeed when these two worlds meet each other.
Additional tip: Securing your website is no more an option; it’s a necessity.
6. Include Terms and Condition Page – The Dullest Place
Undoubtedly, the terms and condition page is the unhappiest place for the customer because you dictate the terms. The presence of the page and the content reduces your responsibility when a customer drags you to the court and protects your right to your website’s content.
Though the law does not require it, it’s a smart thing to do.
Apart from ensuring website compliance, such pages prevent abuses, empowers you to terminate any account, limit liability, and set the governing laws.
Additional tip: The terms and conditions should be relevant to your business.
7. Ensure Legality of Your Content and Images – Simple Actions Do Wonders
Depending upon what you’re publishing, you might have to apply for a license to prevent plagiarism lawsuits. For example, using images without the consent of the photographer or the owner is a breach, and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars. Even if you get the license, you’re probably not the only one with it, and you may not be able to use the image as you want.
Therefore, before publishing any image on your website, ensure you can use it as you want. The same applies to content. Copying someone else’s content without referencing will land you in the court for all the wrong reasons.
Additional tip: Original content and images ensure no trouble comes knocking on your door.
Wrapping Up Website Compliance
With the digital age advancing rapidly, the buzz around website compliance is less likely to subside in the coming years.
In the foreseeable future, web compliance is going to get tougher because of increasing customer awareness.
Being compliant will not only save you from legal embarrassments but will also boost the confidence of your website visitors. Knowing that their data is in safe hands, and they can control the information shared might work as the push they always required to do business with your brand.
Periodically checking your website for adherence to rules and regulations is also critical to ensure complete web compliance. Leaving the guards loose is not the solution as compliance is not a one-time affair.
With freedom being one of the founding principles of the internet, compliance is slowly becoming the building block that supports the goal.
All in all, ensure that you’re protecting yourself and your business from costly litigations. That’s all that matters.
Be web compliant!