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If you collect personal information from visitors to your business website or mobile app, you must have your own accessible privacy policy. The more easy-to-understand for your audience, the better.

Many countries require by law that websites and mobile apps have privacy policies to protect consumers and their personal information. However, even if they weren’t obligatory, they still add value to your product. Users can browse with peace of mind that their data will be kept safe and secure from cybercriminals. Building such a high level of trust keeps them regularly returning to your site or app.

Key takeaways:

  • Since each country and state has different laws and regulations regarding privacy policies, you will need a compliant privacy policy that best encompasses your specific business needs.
  • Free privacy policy tools are available, but more complicated situations may require the purchase of additional features and the advice of an attorney to ensure full adherence to data privacy laws.
  • Visitors to your site need to be able to read your privacy policy before turning over their personal information so they can make an informed decision about what they are and are not comfortable sharing.

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a legal statement that lets your website visitors know precisely which functional, statistical, or marketing data your website collects and how this data is protected. It also gives users details about whether their information is kept confidential, shared with specific partners, or sold to other entities.

Privacy policies are a necessity since laws like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act), or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) mandate that your website or mobile app users receive a notification when, how, and why you’re collecting their personal information.

What Should Be Included in a Privacy Policy?

Every country and state has different legislation in place, so your privacy policy should be tailored to your company, including where you operate and the type of business you run.

Depending on the complexity of your operations, you may want to consult a lawyer to help you construct your privacy policy. For example, suppose you have an e-commerce business with customers worldwide. In that case, you might benefit from legal assistance to ensure everything you need to meet each country’s guidelines is included in your privacy policy.

Standard elements of a privacy policy

There are some standard elements that all privacy policies should include, as follows:

  • Details and disclosure regarding the type of user information you collect and use, such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses
  • How and why you use the data you collect, such as addresses for shipping, contact details for customer service, user behavior for analytics, and emails for email marketing
  • How you store and maintain user data
  • The legal basis for the collection of user data ― although this relates more to the EU (European Union)-based GDPR, you still need to disclose why you’re processing personal data
  • Disclosure on whether you share user data and with who you share it with, which includes any parent companies and subsidiaries, and whether you’re required to disclose user data in compliance with certain laws
  • Which third parties have access to user data, such as social media buttons and integrations
  • The rights of the user regarding their data, which includes whether they can request to see what data you have and can request that you erase or amend their data, which is mandatory under EU law
  • How you inform users of any changes to the privacy policy

Should You Use a Privacy Policy Generator?

Privacy policy generators have become popular as a way to simplify and streamline what can be a complicated process. However, there are both pros and cons of using them that you’ll need to consider before you commit to choosing one as a solution.

Pros of using a privacy policy generator

  1. They can be a cost-effective alternative to hiring a lawyer.
  2. Privacy policy generator templates can give you a great basis to start crafting your wording before you customize it to your business.
  3. Many privacy policy generators offer free hosting for and downloads of the policy.
  4. Some privacy policy generators send you alerts when there are new laws you need to consider.

Cons of using a privacy policy generator

  1. Privacy policy generators are run by technology companies, not legal service providers.
  2. Ultimately, you’re responsible for correctly wording your privacy policy, which entails incorporating every legal requirement that applies to you. For this reason, it might often be easier to consult a legal professional.
  3. Many templates don’t cover everything you need, which means you’ll have to upgrade to a premium pricing tier.

Where Should You Put the Privacy Policy on Your Small Business Website?

While there’s no rule that determines where you need to place your privacy policy on your website, you need to ensure that users can access it quickly, and also that they can read it before they make the decision to continue using your website or service.

You have several options for where to place your privacy policy:

  • Footer links
  • Landing page
  • Sign-up forms
  • Checkout pages

Some websites place their privacy policies on pop-up notifications, but users with pop-up blockers may miss your disclosures. It’s recommended to place your privacy policy in a spot that’s easy for visitors to access rather than one that can be missed under some circumstances.

What Are Some of the Best Privacy Policy Generators?

Privacy policy generators can be useful tools when crafting a personalized privacy policy for your business’ website.

However, remember that a good privacy policy generator allows you to customize your privacy policy to suit your unique needs, and also helps you understand which privacy laws apply to your business.

Privacy policy generators are a great starting place for those who haven’t gone through the process before.

However, if you choose to use a privacy policy generator, you’ll need to make sure that you choose one with features that allow you to customize it to your business. We also recommend that you seek advice from a legal representative with experience in privacy law to make sure your business is completely covered.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating a Privacy Page For Your Website

Can you write your own privacy policy?

It’s entirely possible to write out your own privacy policy. However, it’s not advisable unless you’re extremely familiar with all the technical and legal ins and outs of what privacy policies cover. You run the risk of not complying with the different regulations out there otherwise.

Using a privacy policy generator and hiring a lawyer who knows how to pen airtight wording is the surest path toward fitting within all the privacy laws

Are privacy policies protected by copyright?

Privacy policies can be copyrighted, so you can’t copy and paste one from another website for use on yours. Since every business’ needs vary, the other company’s privacy policy you’re tempted to use may not even fit your requirements. Investing time in a personalized privacy policy generator and a lawyer can save you money and time compared to dealing with copyright lawsuits.

Do you have to have a privacy policy on your website?

Any website that collects personal data such as email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, GPS locations, and other information will need a privacy policy to do business. Otherwise, you and your company may incur steep fees for breaking the law or risk getting sued by customers.

If you set up a small website, say to simply blog your thoughts or share photos and artwork without necessitating a privacy policy. You’ll still need a notification explaining why you don’t have a privacy policy. Remember that using a third-party tool on your site, such as Google Analytics, will require a privacy policy even if you aren’t collecting any user data.

You can consult with a lawyer first if you’re unsure what you need to disclose on a non-commercial website. Many popular web hosts, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, still require a privacy policy regardless of what type of site you build.