What Details Do I Legally Need on my Website?

There is a legal requirement to display certain information on your website. This information depends on whether or not you are a limited company and if your website is an e-commerce website or not. Failing to display this information can result in a fine.

Limited Company Information

If you run a limited company you are required by law to display certain information on your website. The details you need to show on your website are:

  • the company’s registered number
  • its registered office address
  • where the company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland)
  • the fact that it’s a limited company (usually by spelling out the company’s full name including ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’)

It’s a common mistake to you think that you need to display your company’s actual physical address on the website. If you are a limited company then you need to show the address of where the company is actually registered. This may be different from your company’s physical address.

It is also worth bearing in mind that you need to display your limited company information on all public documents and letters. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/running-a-limited-company/signs-stationery-and-promotional-material

VAT Information

If your business is VAT registered then it is a legal requirement to display your VAT number. This is necessary even if you do not sell products online.

Do you need to Show Your Address on Your Website?

There are several reasons why you might want to show your address on your website. For example, if you run a physical shop, cafe etc then it’s really important people can find you easily. As well as showing your address it is recommended the address is accompanied by a map. If your address is particularly difficult to find, directions are also recommended on your website.

If you run an e-commerce website it is a legal requirement to show your address on your website. This needs to be a physical address and cannot be for example a PO Box number. You may have personal reasons why you don’t want your address on your website. This is not uncommon for example, for women who work from home and don’t want the world to know where they live. If this is the case you can buy a virtual office address.

You might also want to display your address for SEO purposes. For example, having your address on your website can help you get found in what is called the Google Map Pack. However, having your address on your website isn’t for everyone, and sometimes when it comes to SEO you need to weigh up the pros and cons.

Sometimes it’s Just not Worth Showing your Address for SEO

I just want to share a little story about my own experience of having my address on my website. Until a few years ago my address was clearly visible on my website. I had it on there for SEO purposes as it helped my side to rank locally. Right at the very beginning of my web design career, I built a speed dating website for a local man who I met for a coffee to discuss his website. He lived on completely the other side of Blackpool to me, approx 2-3 miles away. A few months after building his site I started to see him regularly on my street. It was unnerving, to say the least! I live on a short, quiet residential street and I really think the only reason he was on the street was because he looked at my address. My business was new and I knew that if I removed my address it would affect my rankings so I didn’t really have much choice but to keep it on there.

Fast forward 10 years to New Year’s Day 2018. Just before 10 a.m. there was a ring on the doorbell. I’ll never forget it as my husband and I were playing a game with our 4 year old son who was giggling his head off. I went to the door to find a man on my doorstep who asked me to build a website urgently for his son who was starting a roofing business. He thought that there was absolutely nothing wrong with rocking up at a woman’s doorstep on the morning of New Year’s Day! It was after this encounter that I decided to remove my address from my website. Although I rank on page 1 of Google nationally and internationally, since removing my address from my website I no longer rank locally in Google. I’m hoping that one day Google understands women working from home do not want to have their address on their website. In my case, it has affected my local rankings. This is the price I’m willing to pay for my privacy. I do understand why Google uses a company’s address as a ranking factor, however if Google was a woman working from home I believe that not having your address on your website would not adversely affect your ranking!

Don’t Ignore Legislation

Whether your website is being build by myself or somebody else, make sure that don’t risk a fine by ignoring the legislation surrounding what you are legally required to display on your website. If you want a quote for a website please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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