Guide

Best practice in web design

Business websites: legal requirements

As a UK-registered business, you will need to disclose certain information about your company on your website. This is a legal requirement. Failure to comply can result in fines, action taken by the regulators, customers or consumer protection bodies, as well as damage to your reputation.

Is your business website legal?

You must display registered information relating to the identity of your business. This includes:

  • company name
  • registered number
  • place of registration
  • registered office address
  • contact details, including an email address
  • details of how to contact business by non-electronic means
  • the VAT number of business, if applicable
  • details of any trade body or regulator registration

For sole traders and partnership, you must display the address of the principle place of business. If the company is being wound up, you must also display this on your website.

This information doesn't have to be on every page of your website, but it must be easily found. For example, you might want to put it on the 'contact us' or 'about us' page. Some websites have this information in the footer section of each page.

Privacy information

As well as registered information, you must also publish on your site:

  • a privacy notice - to explain what personal data you collect and how you use it
  • a cookie disclosure - to explain how you use cookies on your site
  • a disclaimer - to outline your liability for the use of your website and its information

Read about privacy notices under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Cookie information and consent

Under privacy laws, you must tell people if you set cookies on your website. You must explain in a clear statement what cookies do and why, and you must also seek user's consent to the use of cookies by giving them an option to accept or refuse their placement on their devices. You can use pop-ups, splash pages, message bars, banners or other solutions to seek consent.

Your cookie statement can be a standalone page on your website or included with your privacy policy. Read more about cookies and similar technologies.

See our sample privacy notice and sample website disclaimer if you need these documents for your business.

Selling to consumers

If you sell online, you must also include on your website:

These are all required as part of the consumer protection regulations. Read more about consumer contracts.

Remember that, as a website operator, you will also have a legal duty to address any web accessibility issues on your website.