February 1, 2022

A Privacy Policy How to Guide for Your Website

You just launched your brand new website. The design is modern, the tone of the content matches your brand’s voice, and you’re promoting it through various website marketing strategies.

The new website has everything your company needs to succeed — or does it?

One oft-neglected item on company websites is a privacy policy. A privacy policy is essential for any company that collects data on its website. It can potentially protect your business against lawsuits should something go awry. If you don’t have a privacy policy on your website, don’t fret. This privacy policy how to guide will explain why you need a privacy policy and how you can create one.

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy tells your website visitors how you collect and store data and what you plan on doing with it. Most privacy policies also specify a time period for how long you store data. Privacy policies may also include information about where you store data, who else has access to it, and what security measures you take to protect it.

Why Does Your Website Need a Privacy Policy?

Data privacy regulations change frequently, but they all exist for one reason — to protect the consumer. There are several federal regulatory systems in place that help protect consumers’ privacy, including:

A privacy policy is necessary if you collect contact information, use website analytics tracking, or store users’ preferences based on cookies. You also need a privacy policy if you communicate with customers through chatboxes. And if you run Facebook or Google ads, a privacy policy is required if you collect any user information.

In addition to protecting the consumer, a privacy policy instills trust and confidence in your website visitors. When you’re honest and transparent about how you plan on using their data, they’ll feel more comfortable submitting their information or making a purchase on your site.

How Do You Create a Privacy Policy?

It’s best to consult with a legal professional to help you determine what kind of privacy policy your business needs. But if you’d prefer to do it yourself, there are some resources online that can get you started.

The Better Business Bureau has a sample privacy policy statement that you can customize for your own website. The FTC has several resources that cover privacy policies for various industries and address several of the top federal regulatory systems.

You can also utilize a privacy policy generator such as TermsFeed or Termly. But again, you should speak with an attorney to ensure your privacy policy covers everything relevant to your unique business.

What Should a Privacy Policy Include?

Information that you should include in your privacy policy includes but is not limited to:

  • A brief intro that explains the purpose of the privacy policy
  • Which information you collect — for example, contact information, credit card information, usernames, or IP addresses
  • Your data collection methods
  • How you use the data you collect — for example, to display ads, inform users of important updates, or share data with third parties for analytics tracking
  • A statement that you may change your privacy policy in the future and that you’ll contact your customers when changes are made
  • How you’ll contact customers when you update your privacy policy
  • Your cookies policy, whether you use cookies to track users’ information yourself or use a third-party service that does so
  • A list of ways customers can contact your company if they have privacy concerns
  • Ways for customers to opt out of sharing their information

Where Should You Put Your Privacy Policy on Your Website?

The most common place to put a privacy policy is in your website’s footer. It should be omnipresent on every page of your site. You can place it near other similar links in your footer, such as a link to your Terms and Conditions.

It’s also a good idea to include a privacy policy link on lead generation forms, contact forms, or registration forms on your website.

Additional Tips for Creating a Privacy Policy

Whether you create a privacy policy yourself or have someone else do it for you, it should be clear and thorough. You should provide as much detail as possible while keeping it free of complex jargon.

It’s also helpful to include a table of contents and a summary section in your privacy policy. This will enable readers to easily find the exact information they’re looking for.

And even though we said it twice, it bears repeating — while you can craft a privacy policy yourself or utilize a service to do it for you, it’s best to speak with an attorney to make sure your privacy policy suits your business’s needs.