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Privacy Statement: Should You Have One and What Should It Include


Although there is no federal law that regulates such practices, you should always include a privacy statement on your website. Creating the simple document is a very important step in the process. A properly written policy will disclose all or some of the ways you plan to use gathered information about site visitors. It should include an outline of how you store data and manage gathered information in plain language that is easy for users to understand.

The Basics of Creating a Privacy Statement

A solid privacy statement will offer complete disclosure leaving readers at ease, and instill confidence. It will also protect you from having to deal with multiple liability concerns.

  • Craft a privacy policy that is both user-friendly and reader-friendly. Write the statement in plain language and the same writing style that you employ throughout your site.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Viewers won’t take the time to read a lengthy privacy statement. If you want users to read it, as the most discerning web users do, keep the policy thorough, yet brief. However, avoid abbreviating the necessary content so much, that you end up omitting vital information. The goal is to disclose all the important information so your readers understand their privacy rights and that they are respected and handled in an agreeable way.
  • Post your privacy statement in a location that is easily accessible and type in a very readable font. Don’t bury it away in a hard to reach the area of your website. If it is too hard to find, and the print impossible to read, viewers become suspicious. You don’t have to make your privacy policy the focal point on a web page, but site visitors do need to locate it and absorb the message easily. For example, a good design approach is to place a tab at the top of your landing page which includes a link to your privacy statement. The top tab should contain clear and concise content. Some suggestions include:
  • How We Protect Your Privacy
  • Our Privacy Policy
  • Privacy and Security
  • Your Privacy is Important to Us



What Should be Included in a Privacy Statement

  1. Develop a privacy policy that covers all the bases regarding the use of your web site. Every privacy statement must be very specific and tailored to the site at hand, but disclosures and web policies should be set in further detail for e-commerce The more gathered user information and the more other businesses have access to the same data, the more extensive your privacy statement must be. Online users aren’t willing to dish out their private, financial information if they don’t know for sure that it will be protected. Therefore, your policy must answer any possible consumer questions or concerns a visitor may have about buying from you. Review your business with a fine- toothed comb and add any issues that may come up with your customers. Consider including the following assurances:
  • What type of visitor demographic or buyer’s personal information is collected: It is good practice to include a detailed explanation of reasons why you collect specific information up front. For instance, you may need it for customer communication or to ship goods.
  • How is all of this gathered information is securely stored: Include the name and location of the outside of provider being You might state something like, we use 123 Top of the Line Software to protect our customer information by keeping their data securely stored.
  • How is all or any portion of the gathered data shared: Let your customers know that from time to time, you may offer their information to third parties, and inform them they do have the right to opt out. If they choose not to share their personal data, you will no longer have any control over who else receives their information without the customer’s consent.
  • Third-party marketers on your website and links to their web pages: Give your followers a good explanation as to why you share information with third-party advertisers. It may be that the ones you choose need your customer data to complete orders or to compile marketing lists or send out an email confirmation. Your customers will be a lot more accommodating if about sharing information if they know exactly how you plan to use it, and understand it is beneficial to them.
  1. Add a statement about cookies. This doesn’t refer to the sweet, baked crumbly dessert. A cookie is a small string of information generated by a website and stored on a user’s computer. The visitor’s web browser pulls up the website data every time the person goes back to the site. It is not difficult to understand what a computer cookie is, but there is a lot of misinformation and confusion about these data strings in regard to privacy. Learn more about how to develop a privacy policy for web site cookies to avoid any consumer apprehension or concerns.

  2. Be sure to Include a limitation of liability clause. This is a contractual clause or basic restatement of the common law principle that restricts or specifies the number of damages a site visitor can recover.

It may also be a good idea to add some sort of provision about business transfers. Also referred to as a business transaction clause, this will be useful in the event you sell your e-commerce business, gathered customer data would be included as part of the sales transaction.

The more straightforward you make your privacy statement, the more likely you will thwart any potential visitor concerns. When it comes to online privacy, there is never too much detail, there is only not enough.

Boost the trustworthiness of your website by applying for a symbol of credibility, a credentials seal. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) or some other internet privacy certification company can help you with this process. This valuable seal shows visitors that you are a reputable company recognized for handling confidential information with care.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and tips for privacy policies that has helped you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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