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Importance of Privacy Policies for Websites

By Somer Athari

June 26, 2023

privacy policies for websites

If you want to collect, protect and store data, first you’ve got to talk to a squirrel. 

They know how to use their razor-sharp claws to bury nuts in the tree’s bark or the ground below, giving them a reliable food source during the harsh winter months when food is scarce. 

But winter is the least of their worries. Other animals, like woodpeckers, chipmunks, mice, raccoons or even other squirrels, may try to steal the nuts. This could result in a lack of food for our furry friend during the cold winter months. 

To mitigate these threats, squirrels have a plan. A plan to hoard an abundance of nuts, even store them in multiple locations. 

Similarly, businesses must take proactive measures to safeguard their customers’ personal information. A privacy policy is one way to do this, outlining how the business collects, uses and protects personal data. 

Burrow deeper to discover why privacy policies matter more than ever before.

do i need a privacy policy on my website

Do I Need a Privacy Policy on My Website?

As the digital landscape evolves, privacy has taken center stage. People are increasingly conscious of how their data is being used, and rightfully so. 

According to Statista, in 2022 alone, there were 1,802 data compromise cases in the United States, affecting more than 422 million individuals through breaches, leaks and exposures.

A privacy policy serves as a digital handshake, reassuring your website visitors that you respect their privacy and are transparent about how their data is collected and used. As digital advertising moves to a cookieless future, this transparency is becoming increasingly important. 

Privacy policies foster trust with your audience and are also required by law in many countries. That’s right — if your website collects personal information from visitors, you must have a privacy policy in place. Trust us, you don’t want to tangle with legal complications!

Updating Your Privacy Policy

You’re not out of the woods just because you’ve created a privacy policy page in the past.

Privacy laws and regulations are continually evolving, and businesses must keep pace with these changes to ensure compliance and maintain the trust of their customers. Consider conducting a regular data privacy audit to ensure that your privacy policy remains relevant and effective.

There are several situations when businesses should update their privacy policy. Here’s a checklist to help determine if it’s time to update your privacy policy:

  • Changes in Regulations: Keep an eye on any changes in privacy laws and regulations relevant to your business. For example, to comply with GDPR and CCPA regulations, your business might be compelled to offer certain data protections to residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom and/or California. 
  • Changes in Business Practices: If your business collects or uses personal information in a new way, it’s time to update the terms of service of your privacy policy to reflect these changes.
  • Changes in Collected Information: If you start collecting new types of information or personal identifiers, you need to update your privacy policy to reflect this change.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: If your business merges with or acquires another company, you should review and update your privacy policy to ensure it covers the newly acquired company.
  • New Technology: If your business implements new technology that collects or processes personal data, you should update your privacy policy to reflect these changes.
create a privacy policy page in wordpress

Best Practices for Creating a Privacy Policy

Alright, now that we know why privacy policies are so important, let’s talk about creating one that’s not only legally compliant but also user-friendly and easy to understand.

  1. Consider Legal Review: While there may be legal requirements that your website has a privacy policy, there’s no requirement that you have to consult a lawyer to have a privacy policy. Plenty of free resources online allow you to create one yourself, but you pay for what you get. Consulting a lawyer familiar with these documents is a best practice.
  2. Be Transparent: It’s crucial to be upfront about what kind of data you collect and how you use it. Don’t try to hide anything! Example: “We collect your name and email address when you sign up for our newsletter. We use this information to send updates about our latest blog posts and promotions.”
  3. Keep it Simple: Use clear, concise language that’s easy for everyone to understand. Skip the legal jargon and write like you’re talking to a friend. Example: “We use cookies on our site to improve your browsing experience. Cookies help us remember your preferences, like your preferred language or the items in your shopping cart.”
  4. Organize Your Policy: Break your privacy policy into sections with headings and bullet points. This will make it easier for your visitors to find the information they want.
  5. Update Your Policy Regularly: Keep your privacy policy up-to-date with any changes to your data collection practices. If you start collecting new information or change how you use the data, update your policy and notify your visitors. Example: “Last updated: January 1, 2023. We’ve updated our privacy policy to include information about our new survey feature, which collects additional data about your preferences and interests.”
  6. Make Your Policy Easy to Find: Place a link to your privacy policy in a visible location on your site, like the footer or main navigation menu. Example: Add a “Privacy Policy” link in the footer of your site, next to other important links like “Terms of Service” and “Contact Us.”

How to Create a Privacy Policy Page in WordPress

With 43% of all websites using WordPress, the WordPress community has made creating a privacy policy easy. If you have a WordPress website, this article explains not only the benefits of adopting a privacy policy page and the two most common ways to add it to your WordPress website. 

How to Add a Privacy Policy to Your WordPress Site 

One of the easiest ways to add a privacy policy to your site is by using the template provided by WordPress. Here’s how:

  1. Find and edit the privacy template in your WordPress admin under the Privacy tab.
  2. Create a new privacy policy page or select an existing one.
  3. Edit the pre-filled sections to fit your needs.
  4. Publish your privacy policy and add it to your site’s menu.
privacy policies for wordpress

Keep Those Acorns Stashed

Privacy policies are a must-have for any website that collects personal information from its visitors. By being transparent, keeping things simple, and regularly updating your policy, you’ll show your visitors that you respect their privacy and are serious about protecting their data. Not sure where to begin? Reach out to our team of web developers and acorn stashers to help elevate your website’s ability to collect, store and manage user data for positive outcomes.

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