You’re probably collecting data without knowing it.
Even if you think your website doesn’t take data, it’s more than likely the server your website is hosted on does. By default, websites hosted with cPanel and Apache log every single connection to your server and by extension, your website. Although you may not look at these logs – they will still be collected and stored and since you might not look at them, it’s likely that they’ll stay on your server for a very long time.
What’s The Basics?
Privacy Policies are often completely overcomplicated, with more information than you really need to read. Unless you’re a company like Google that takes any data you give it and turns it into a magic unicorn 🦄 or something along those lines… You really do not need to make a complicated privacy page.
- What data you collect
- Why you need their data
- How you process the data you collect
- What you do with their data
- (and in some cases) Links to other websites
Other Topics to Include
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to include contact information at the bottom of the page and if you’re a registered business, this is a great place to put your company number, registered address and anything that people need to find out more about the business.
What Do I Write?
You only need to write what you legally need to tell your customers/visitors and what they should (morally) know. Under each heading, write a paragraph that explains what you’re collecting, how it’s used, making sure that you reassure your visitors that their data is being handled securely. If it isn’t, then your new priority is website security, which I’ve also written an article on which I suggest you read!
The way I’ve found best to show what data you collect is through creating a table that mentions any technologies you use (like analytics programs), submission forms, etc.
|Google Analytics||Provides me with real-time tracking information about the device you are using, your IP address and how you are using the website so I can make appropriate changes to enhance your experience. This cookie contains tracking code to tell if you are a returning or new visitor.|
|Google reCAPTCHA||To prevent misuse and spam attempts on our submission forms, we operate reCAPTCHA v3 by Google. This is a clickable box that takes steps to verify you are a human and not attempting to maliciously submit forms.|
Once you’ve gone through each header and you feel that you’ve covered each header in enough detail to satisfy your visitors, save your page and make sure that it’s linked on your website – a good place being your footer! It doesn’t have to be front and centre, but if it’s at the bottom of a page, it’ll be noticed by those who want to find it.
Lots of websites are available to automatically generate privacy policies, which are good but sometimes include some not so friendly language for your customers. At the end of the day, it’s important that you choose the way to address your visitors/customers and make sure that they trust you to do their business with.