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Why do I need a privacy policy on my site?

Posted by Vikki

October 23, 2023

If you own or operate a small business website, you probably collect some customer information. This might include names, email addresses, phone numbers, and maybe even more sensitive information like credit card numbers or customers’ home addresses. Having a clearly defined privacy policy is crucial for letting customers know how you handle this data, what you do with it, and how you comply with data privacy laws.

Build customer trust

A privacy policy helps build trust and transparency with customers. It shows them you take privacy seriously and you’re committed to being clear about how you use their data. Customers are often worried about how much of their personal information websites collect. Your privacy policy assures them that you’ll handle their data ethically and securely. This can give them peace of mind to engage further with your business.

Stay legally compliant

Nearly every country and state has laws for data collection and use. When you publish your privacy policy, it shows that you’re making efforts to comply with these regulations. It also helps shield your business from potential lawsuits or penalties related to mishandling customer data. You should regularly review and update your privacy policy to ensure you stay up to date, as privacy laws change often.

Streamline internal processes

A clearly defined privacy policy doesn’t just help customers—it also benefits your business operations. By spelling out exactly how customer data can and can’t be used, a privacy policy keeps all employees on the same page. This minimizes mistakes and confusion around using customer information. It also simplifies training new hires on your data practices.

Gain a competitive edge

Privacy is a major concern for consumers today. A 2022 study by McKinsey & Company shows that 81% of consumers are more likely to trust a company that has a clear and transparent privacy policy. Having a clear policy that’s easy to find on your website can help you stand out against competitors who don’t prioritize transparency around customer data. It’s an easy way to showcase your commitment to ethical business practices.

What to include in your privacy policy

Your privacy policy should clearly explain:

  • What customer data you collect, and how you collect it (for example, forms, cookies, pixel tags, etc.)
  • Why you need this data and how it benefits your customers
  • Where you store the data you collect
  • How customer data may be used internally
  • Any third parties you share data with, and why
  • How customers can opt out of data collection or sharing
  • How you make sure the data remains secure
  • How customers can access, edit, or delete the data you store

Be as concise and straightforward as possible. Using legal jargon customers may not understand may be mistaken as “hiding something”. Clearly communicate your data practices.

Make your privacy policy easy to find

If customers can’t easily locate the privacy policy, there’s not much point in having it. The best practice is to link your privacy policy in the footer of every page on your website. It should also be findable from your website’s main menu. Don’t try to use clever names, name it simply “Privacy Policy” so users know what it is.

You may also consider condensed versions of your policy in pop-ups or banners to grab attention. But they should link to the full text.

Regularly review and update your privacy policy

Check your privacy policy at least once a year to make sure it’s current. Ask yourself:

  • Are you collecting any new types of customer data?
  • Have you adopted any new technologies like cookies or social media pixels?
  • Are you sharing data with any new third parties?

Update your policy to reflect any changes.

You should also review your policy whenever new regulations around data use and privacy come into effect. Being proactive about updates is key to maintaining compliance and customer trust.

Fines for violating privacy laws

If this sounds like a lot of work, it can be. Over the coming years, more privacy laws will be introduced. Privacy fines can range from $2,500 up to $7,500 per infringement (which could mean per website visitor).

These privacy laws don’t care where the business is located; they only want to protect their citizens. Many of these privacy laws and bills also don’t care about the size of the company. Because of this, we recommend to all of our clients that they consider not only having a privacy policy but also having a strategy to keep it up to date over time.

Termageddon to the rescue!

This is also why we provide a Termageddon license for all of our Premium Pollen plan website maintenance clients and above. Termageddon not only helps you quickly generate a privacy policy for your website, but the Termageddon team monitors privacy laws and can automatically update your policies when the laws change. They are the only privacy policy generator listed as a trusted vendor by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, an organization consisting of 60,000 privacy attorneys and professionals. We even use Termageddon on our own website.

Termageddon’s monthly license is included in your maintenance plan:

  1. Termageddon ad. Auto-updating privacy policies, terms & conditions, and more$120/year value
  2. Includes an auto-updating privacy policy, Terms & Conditions, disclaimer, and more for your website.
  3. Your policies stay up to date automatically.
  4. Receive updates directly from Termageddon when new privacy laws go into effect.
  5. Receive notifications when new questions need to be answered to ensure you are compatible with new required disclosures.
  6. Attorney friendly – Invite your attorney to review the policies and even ‘override’ sections of each policy to their liking, if they wish. Future updates will be suggested by Termageddon, but they won’t override what your attorney changed without your permission.

If you’re not a 3 Bees Care Plan customer, get 10% off your first year with Termaggedon when you use my affiliate link.

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