Notebook with notepad

Why You Need a Privacy Policy on Your Website

Many websites, by law, should have a Privacy Policy. (Consult an attorney to know for sure whether your site is required to have one or not.) Their purpose is to define for your visitors what data you collect, what you do with that data, and how long it is kept, among other things.

What Data You Collect

Basically every website will collect data of some sort whether you know it or not. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Name, email address, and other data from comment forms, contact forms, or newsletter signups
  • Cookies that store a user’s username or email address to pre-fill certain elements on a form
  • User behavior as collected by Google Analytics or other similar tools
  • Social media widgets that track users
  • Advertising programs (Google Adsense, Facebook, etc.) that track users

Since you, in all likelihood, collect data, your privacy policy must explain why, what you do with it, how long you keep it, how a user can access this information, and more.

How to Create a Privacy Policy

Since this is a legal document, it would be best to consult an attorney. However, there are resources that can help. If your website is based on WordPress, it has a built in Privacy Policy template that you can use as a starting point. It can be found under Settings as shown in the screenshot below:

Privacy Policy Page

Once you click “Create New Page” you’ll be given a template with many items pre-filled, and headers for other sections that you need to fill in or delete as applicable.

If you don’t use WordPress, or would like to see other examples, there are many other Privacy Policy templates available. One such example can be found here on the EU’s GDPR informational website. A quick Google search for Privacy Policy template will return many, many other examples for you to peruse.

You should include information relating to any other third party utilities your uses, such as Google Analytics. If you use WordPress’ Jetpack plugin, you can use their Privacy Policy Helper to add in information for whichever specific features of Jetpack your site makes use of.

Once your Privacy Policy is complete, it should be linked to from every page in your website. Most commonly, the a link to the privacy policy will be placed in the footer of the website.

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