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Full Disclosure: How to Write a Privacy Policy for Your Website

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Full Disclosure: How to Write a Privacy Policy for Your Website

If you collect personal data on the people who visit your website, you need to know how to write a privacy policy and put one on your website.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are just two of the regulatory requirements that need you to do.

Read on to learn more.

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy explains what personal information is collected about users that visit your website.

It tells your visitors how you gather the information, how you use it, and how you store it.

It also lets them know whether you keep the information private or if you share it with third parties.

How to Write a Privacy Policy

First and foremost, web site privacy statements should be written in easy-to-read language.

You need to provide sufficient details to fully inform your website’s users as to what personal information you are gathering about them, so they can decide if they want to continue using your site or interact further with your business.

Below we’ll cover the specific areas you need to know to understand how to write a privacy policy for a website.

What Categories of Personal Information Is Collected

Personal data is any data that would allow you to identify a natural person, either directly or indirectly.

Personal data includes a person’s name, address, social security number, or identifier. It can also include other information that can help identify a person, such as, the person’s age, sex, job title, IP addresses, where they work, how wealthy they are, etc.

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Placing the types of personal information collected in a bullet list is recommended for clarity purposes.

How and When You Obtain the Personal Information

You will need to research how your website obtains information about its users and when the collection of data occurs.

For instance, upon accessing your website, you may use cookies to track your user’s location or IP address. Or you may offer your users to sign up for your newsletter where you obtain their name and email address.

However you obtain the information, you need to state it in your privacy statement.

Third Parties You Share Information With

For each category of data you collect, you need to tell your website users what third parties have access to it. Or who you sell their data to, if applicable.

If your website is hosted somewhere other than your own server, you will need to list the data your host has access to and what they do with it, if anything.

Why You Gather the Information

You need to tell your users why you are gathering their personal information.

Are you using their personal data for marketing purposes? Such as to determine who visits your site and ultimately buys your products, so you can determine what type of people are your target customers?

Do you use cookies to track their browsing history to learn more about their shopping habits?

Whatever your reasons are for gathering and obtaining your user’s personal data, explain why in your privacy policy.

Explain What Safeguards Are in Place

This is an important section of your privacy policy as it helps to gain the trust of your users, provided, of course, that you have put safeguards in place to secure their personal data.

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Tell your users all the steps you are taking to keep their personal data safe.

Some ways you may be protecting their data is by using anti-malware protections or encrypting their data.

How Will Users Be Notified of Changes

At some point, you may need to update your privacy policy.

Put a clause in your privacy policy letting users know how they will find the updated privacy policy. Such as, will they receive an email or will you simply update your privacy policy on your website.

Explain How Users Can Reach You If They Have Questions

Provide your users with your contact information. Let them know they can contact you with any questions or concerns they may have in connection with their personal data.

Try to give your users more than one way to contact you so they can use whichever is most convenient for them. If you can, provide them with a telephone number, physical address, and an email address.

Another option is to provide them with a fillable form on your website.

Review Your Privacy Policy Every Year

Make a point to review your privacy policy every year to be sure your policy remains compliant with the CCPA and GDPR.

For more information about how to make sure you are compliant under the CCPA, read this post.

Write Your Privacy Policy Today

Now that you know how to write a privacy policy, write one today and put it on your website.

It will help your website’s users trust your website and let them know you care about the security of their personal data.

For more great tips on improving your website, check out our other “Web Development” articles. You can find them under the “Technology” section.

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