MWD Blog_Why Your Website Should Have a Privacy Policy

You’ve most probably seen privacy policies on some websites you’ve visited, and maybe like some people, you didn’t pay much attention to them. What are they for, anyway?

Turns out, a privacy policy is actually one of the most important documents you need to have on your website, whether you’re a blogger or a business owner. Simply put, it’s a legal disclosure document that informs your website visitors or customers what information you collect from them, how you collect and store it, and how you use it.

Why it’s important

Why Your Website Should Have a Privacy PolicyWith everything moving online and security issues abounding, your website visitors would trust you more—and would therefore be more likely to make business with you—when you inform them and assure them—in writing—about how you protect their privacy and ensure the safety of their information with you, whether it’s their personal preferences or their email address or their billing information. In writing is more binding than an unspoken understanding, so give that peace of mind to your website visitors, especially if they are customers.

Now that you know why it’s imperative that you have a privacy policy on your website, let’s see how you can get it done.

Of course, you can choose to write your privacy policy yourself. (See the Privacy Policy Essentials section to know what you should include.) But if you want a quicker, more convenient way to do it, check out the following section.

Don’t want to write a privacy policy yourself? Here’s a solution.

Let’s be clear here: copying a privacy policy from another website and pasting it on yours won’t work. Its content is highly dependent on what is on your website. And if you’re tempted to look for a generic one over the Internet, please don’t. A one-size-fits-all privacy policy is certain to have loopholes.

I get that most of us are busy people, and we love doing what we do best – entertaining. I am almost certain that for most of us it’s not writing personalized privacy policies for your website… There are services online that create customized privacy policies. One of these is Iubenda, which generates a privacy policy tailored to your website in seconds. Fast and convenient.

Want to write it yourself? Here are the privacy policy essentials you should include.

Basic Parts of a Privacy Policy

1. Introduction

Start off with a little something about your blog or business and the function your website serves. Keep it clear and brief.

2. What information you collect

Here is where you inform your website visitors what kind of information you gather from them. Whether or not it’s obvious that you’re collecting their personal details when they fill out a form on your website or subscribe to your mailing list, you should state it in writing in your privacy policy. Always try to be as transparent as possible.

Also, if your server logs visitor information such as IP addresses and hostnames, make sure to mention that in your privacy policy.

3. How you collect information

Do you get your website visitors’ details when they fill out the forms on your websites or type them into your subscription boxes? Or is the information gathering automated? Be detailed about this.

4. Where you store information

Website visitors, especially those who are looking to purchase something on your website and would therefore need to give their payment information, are concerned with how their information will be stored. This is where you assure them that their details will be stored in a safe, secure environment. Be sure to specify whether it’s on your server (is it here or abroad?) or in the cloud.

5. If the information will be shared

Are you going to share the information of your website visitors with a third party? If yes, tell them and why. Sometimes it is unavoidable. For example, if you have to mail them their order or a simple thank-you postcard, then your courier will be privy to their mailing address.

Be conscientious when writing this part, and don’t be tempted to put just a simple “We will not share your information with any third party” if that is not the case.

6. Your contact information

End with your own contact details so in case your website visitors have a question or a concern regarding your privacy policy, they would know how to reach you. To inspire more trust, include a physical, real-world address and a phone number if possible, aside from an email address.

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So what are you waiting for? Go and make and add a privacy policy to your website now. Your website visitors would be glad you did.