Why Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy

website privacy policy

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You know that an issue is hot if the Presidential candidates are talking about it – privacy and the role of companies in protecting that privacy is definitely up there in terms of popularity. It seems like every other day there is a new Senate hearing on the subject. But what does that have to do with your company? As a small business owner, it may be easy to think that you’re small and thus no one will care about your privacy practices. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of wishful thinking. If your business’ website collects any personal information (e.g. name and e-mail on your “contact us” page), you need a Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policies are Required by Law

Currently, Privacy Policies are required by the General Data Protection Regulation (relevant to you if you collect the private information of citizens of the European Union) and the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (relevant to you if you have any visitors to your website who are from California). Fines can range from $2,500 per visitor to your website to millions of dollars. There are also a total of seventeen bills that are currently proposed across the United States that will change your obligations regarding the privacy of visitors to your website and that will change how your Privacy Policy needs to be written. The fact is that even if those laws are not coming from your state, they protect the citizens of that particular state, meaning that they will most likely affect all businesses across the U.S., including yours. This means that you need a Privacy Policy to comply with all of those laws and avoid lawsuits and fines.

Customers Want to See Privacy Policies

A couple of years ago, if you asked a thousand people to raise their hands if they’ve ever read a Privacy Policy, you’d get a few lawyers and literally no one else. Right now, so many people are looking up the Privacy Policies of who they buy from that there are even apps that provide synopses and readability analyses. Why? People want to know that your business can be trusted with their personal information because they have been burned before and want to make sure that they are more diligent this time around (see Facebook or the hundreds of other privacy scandals). If your business does not have one, that will increase your sales cycle and will make it less likely that people will buy your goods or services. Not having a Privacy Policy is a bad reason to lose sales.

You Need it to Use Google Analytics

Most businesses that have a beautiful new website built for them want to know how well that new website is working – how many people are visiting it, what pages they go on and how long they spend on those pages before they buy. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for gathering and analyzing all of this information, providing you with invaluable insights. Did you know that Google Analytics requires you to have a Privacy Policy? Now you do! Make sure to have your Privacy Policy ready if you want to use Google Analytics on your website.

Where to Get a Privacy Policy

At this point, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed – yes, you need a Privacy Policy, but where do you get one? You’re not a lawyer so you don’t want to write one yourself but you also may not have $2,000 to drop on one either. I’m a bit biased on this one but I hope that you choose Termageddon – we have generated thousands of policies for small businesses in almost every industry and come recommended by the good folks at JVM Design. The best part is that our policies update automatically, so you do not have to worry about those seventeen new laws coming down the pipe. Check us out at https://termageddon.com/ or let us know if you have any questions about the best way to get you and your business protected!

Donata Kalnenaite
Termageddon, LLC

About the Author

Donata is the President of Termageddon and the engineer behind the policy questions and text. She is a licensed attorney and a certified information privacy professional. She often volunteers at the Illinois State Bar Association holding courses on the General Data Protection Regulation where she teaches other attorneys on the importance of privacy and what Privacy Policies should contain. In her free time, Donata enjoys bee keeping, hunting for morel mushrooms and walks with her fiancé and two dogs.

Disclaimers and Disclosures: This post should not be taken as legal advice. JVM does utilize Termageddon to help some of their clients obtain a privacy policy for their website.

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