Does Your website Have a Privacy Policy?

Privacy Policy for websites

Right now you are probably answering that question with “Why would my website need a privacy policy – all I do is write articles and publish them.”

That might be true and ten years ago my response would have been – you’re probably right. However, we live in a different time now – in several major ways… but back to the Privacy Policy.

What is a Website Privacy Policy?

In general, a website privacy policy tells your website visitors what data about them that you collect, how it is being collected, what you are doing with their data, how you are protecting it and how they can control it.

Back to your statement about just publishing articles. Just two instances. Do you let readers comment on your articles? You are collecting their email address and probably their IP address. Do you have Google Analytics code on your site? You are collecting all sorts of data thee, data that you use to make your website more efficient and popular.

If you have an eCommerce site or a Membership system you know the types of personal data you are collecting.

Is a Privacy Policy Required by Law”

The answer to that is yes, it might be depending upon where your website visitors are located. Remember this: a privacy policy applies to your website visitors and where they are located, not where you live or where your website is hosted.

One regulation that you may have heard about is the GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation. It is the European Union’s take on protecting an individual’s data. If any individual who is a resident in the European Union uses your website, your website must comply with the GDPR requirements for data collection and protection.

In the United States, the state of California has passed what they call COPPA, the California Consumer Privacy Act and CalOPPA, the California Online Privacy Protection Act. California is the first state to pass a data protection law but several other states have similar laws passing through their legislatures.

For those websites with international visitors, the country of Brazil has their own data protection regulation similar to the GDPR which applies to the citizens of Brazil

You’re Convinced Me – What Do I Do Next?

The bottom line, as a minimum, generate a Privacy Policy for your website. If you do eCommerce and/or have a membership site with international members you may have to have additional legal pages in place.

WordPress now has a built-in Privacy page (since version 4.9.6) that was partially generated when WordPress was updated. You can find it through the left-column dashboard menu under Settings/Privacy. That setting permits you to select the WordPress-generated page or select a new page that you have generated.

If you select Use This Page to select the WordPress-supplied page you will have to then edit the page to meet your website’s needs. Much of the page is filled out for you but several paragraphs have only a heading for which you will have to supply the details.

This is a very basic solution to the Privacy Policy page requirement and will not be enough for more complex websites. Nor is it a set-and-forget solution. As has been mentioned, several states have data protection laws in progress that will have to be addressed and laws/regulations have a tendency to occasionally change.

Here is an article on Privacy Policies from the folks at WPKube that you might find interesting.

This Website’s Solution

I looked at several different options for the data protection compliance challenge including using a free template and filling in details myself. I also spent some time looking at a the two services mentioned in the article above. In the end I settled on using the Termageddon’s privacy policy service.

After answering some questions about your website and its visitors, Termageddon’s service generates a Privacy Page with an embed code for your website’s Privacy Policy page. You insert the embed code and the Termageddon service keeps that page up to date with all of the applicable privacy laws even when they change.

The Termageddon link above is an affiliate link. I signed on with them because I believe their service is the best solution for your website. The article above mentions another similar service but after looking at it and comparing subscriptions with the same offerings I chose Termageddon. For making it this far use the Promo Code SIERRA for 10% off of your first year’s service with Termageddon.