A content management system (CMS) is a great tool for almost every business. It allows for easy updates, quick access to content, organizing a blog and much more. From Squarespace to WordPress, there are hundreds of CMS tools available to enhance the presence of your content online. However, CMS solutions aren’t void of limitations.
While most CMS tools are chosen for the benefits they bring to the Marketing and Business Development teams within a company, they can impact far more than just those individuals. The legal team typically doesn’t play a role in the purchase of new software or tools that the marketing or content team is using. But problems can arise when legal content is hosted through CMS tools. If an issue were to arise, a judge or lawyer isn’t going to care that your legal team didn’t have any say in purchasing a new system or tool.
There are four major reasons a CMS is not the ideal platform to host legal terms:
Keeping track of records
A CMS will track changes made to a website over a certain period of time. Changes made to legal content often falls outside of what is tracked by the CMS, as this content is typically kept in text files. It’s hard to keep track of records if they are not there, and staying up-to-date on all changes made is crucial to protect yourself if you end up in a courtroom. But software does exist that allows companies to better track the changes made to any legal content that your company hosts.
The placement of legal terms
Any legal content must be disclosed to every customer. While a CMS can certainly present the legal content, the design and placement usually make it difficult to find, let alone navigate. An unclear tab might lead to another tab that displays a link saying, “Website Terms.” Or worse, it might end up buried in the footer of the website in a color that matches the website background, making it nearly impossible to locate. This is particularly important to note because burying your browsewrap or click-through might leave them unenforceable, which could land you in some hot water. Lack of constructive notice that the use of a website is subject to legal terms can be disastrous. Legal content that is hard to find and difficult to navigate is of little value to a business trying to protect itself.
You have to show proof
Should the unfortunate need arise for a business to enforce legal terms, the company will need to provide evidence that a user accepted their legal agreements. A CMS won’t be able to provide a listing of who signed the legal agreements, which is a legal team’s worst nightmare. Even if a CMS does a decent job of hosting legal content, it certainly is not going to create any type of self-contained, durable record of that legal content to use when needed. Businesses need a solution that will store the signed legal agreements and allow them easy access to the records so they can defend their company if needed.
Stay on top of updates
The best place to present legal content and have it accepted by a user is during a click-through process (think: registration forms, opt-ins, check-out flows). However, a CMS is of little help when integrating legal content into a click-through process. And there is no fast and efficient way to make updates to your legal content, which needs to be updated regularly. The legal team can save time and money by finding a better host that allows them to easily update the content of the legal agreements, without getting developers involved.
Content management systems are great, but unfortunately, they aren’t the best option for hosting legal content. It can lead to a world of trouble for a legal team and ultimately puts the business at risk. Consider solutions designed with the legal team in mind, and built specifically to manage and track website legal content. These solutions will implement best practices for design, assist in publishing legal content, and store information from clickthrough agreements, allowing a business to obtain the contract acceptance it needs.