Before giving out your information on any website, do you feel like you are giving strangers a peep into your personal life?

Yes?

It’s a perfectly normal reaction. People want to know what is going to happen with their information before giving it out.

So you own a website, how do you assure and reassure your users it’s okay to provide you with information?

A privacy policy.

A privacy policy is how you detail your company’s views and procedures on the information you receive from your users.

The privacy policy technically is a legal document but it should be easy to understand. You need to put in great effort to craft a clear and accurate document that does not obscure hidden clauses.

It is important to make that declaration to your website visitors about what you intend to do with the information gathered from them.

The other half of the equation

Having a privacy policy for your website is key. But what’s equally important is complying with the statement you have made in your policy.

It is important that every member of your team understands what your privacy policy says. If they do, it is easier to communicate it to customers and your website visitors or users.

Although the details of your privacy policy are up to your organization’s commitment to privacy, you might need to get a little help on what you should put in your policy.

Why should you have a privacy policy?

Reason 1: Users are interested in their privacy… and you have to indulge them

It’s simple really. People care.

They care about their personal information and what you want to do with it.

So you should be providing the privacy policy not only because it might be legal to do so or because it is required by third party apps but also because it is a great way to foster trust with your audience.

Reason 2: It may be required by the third-party apps

Over the course of running your websites, you might end up using some third party apps such as Google Adwords and Google Analytics.

They actively requires you to have a privacy policy. Not just having a privacy policy but one that contains information about the use of their services, plugins, SDKs and so on.

For instance, using  google analytics require a privacy policy because it collects user data by storing cookies on their PCs. You can disclose this in your privacy policy with a section titled cookies or through an entirely different cookies policy.

If you have gone through Google analytics terms and conditions, you would have realized that it is a requirement in its terms and conditions. The legal agreement requires any business who sign-ups with them and uses their analytics service to have a privacy policy.

Facebook requires the the privacy policy as well. If you are developing a Facebook app, you are required by Facebook to have a privacy policy.

As stated on the Platform Policy of Facebook, a “publicly available and easily accessible privacy policy that explains what data you are collecting and how you will use that data” is required.

What should be included in your privacy policy?

Generally, most privacy policy laws have a blanket requirement. You must inform your users of

  • Your business name/website name, your location and your contact information
  • Be very clear on the information you are collecting from them. It could range from names, email addresses and any other information you require.
  • It’s also important to note how you are collecting this information and what you will be using it for.
  • Emphasize how you intend to keep their information.
  • It should also be clearly stated if the information you need them to share is optional or not and when they can opt-out if they want to.
  • If you will be using any third-party, it’s also important to share.

In as much as it is important that you have a privacy policy, the trust your cultivate with your audience is paramount.

Be transparent as possible and be open to contact. Allow your users to contact you if they have a query by providing your email address or through an online form your readers and use.

If you are ready to create your privacy policy, you can get it here.