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Does Your Website Need a Privacy Policy?

November 24, 2020

You’ve visited websites that asked you for information before. And, you may have noticed a trend among them: they asked you to confirm that you’ve reviewed their privacy policy. In addition, almost every app you download requires that confirmation. In order to create an account, you aren’t able to proceed unless you check that privacy policy box. It’s a must – even if you haven’t read the policy. But, what about your business? Does your website need a privacy policy, or is that just for big apps and major brands?

The answer is … maybe.

It’s a hard question to answer definitively without getting into your specific site. However, you can count on needing a privacy policy if your website fits any of these 3 cases. Keep reading to find out if your site may need a privacy policy. We’ll deal specifically with websites based in the United States for this article.

Does Your Website Need a Privacy Policy? Yes, If You …

1. Collect Personal Information from Users

Have you ever heard of the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)? According to that law, you are legally vulnerable if you ask for any personal information. The law only seeks to protect California residents. However, because your site is on the internet, you don’t have any way of ensuring that no one from California sends their personal information to you via an online form.

If you have any forms on your site that ask for a visitor’s …

  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • GPS location
  • Any other personally-identifiable information

…  you must feature a legal privacy policy for visitors to review. In it, you must clearly state your company’s privacy practices, terms, and definitions.

So, even if all you do is ask for visitors to sign up for your newsletter or send their questions via a form, you should have a policy according to CalOPPA.

2. Use (or Plan to Use) Any Services That Require a Privacy Policy

Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, Twitter Advertising. These incredibly widespread lead generation platforms force you to place a Privacy Policy on your site before using their services. Because any ads platform uses “cookies” to serve ads more effectively, your privacy policy needs to detail exactly what cookies are stored on your visitors’ computers, and for what purpose.

Keyphrase-based ads and remarketing are the lifeblood of any long-term lead generation effort. For that reason, you’ll likely end up using one of these third-party ads platforms. And, in that case, you’ll need a privacy policy before you’re able to start advertising through them.

3: Want to Reassure Your Visitors and Maintain Goodwill

People love keeping their private business private. Even in an age of online oversharing, we want to be told that someone’s out there to protect us. Yes, we all know that no online information is ever truly “private.” But, we don’t like to admit as much. Does your website need a privacy policy simply to make people feel better?

It may. If you’re the type of company that thrives on public perception, it might be worth your effort to create a privacy policy. Even if you don’t collect personal information or advertise online. It’s a way of saying, “you can trust us to care about you.”

All you have to say is “we don’t store your personal data or use it in any way.” As always, make sure you’re legally in the clear to say so before heading that route.

So, Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy. Now What?

Does your website need a privacy policy? We can help with that. Connect with us by filling out this form or call us at (888) 623-1891. We’d love to talk with you about your options.

*This is solely an informative article and should not be relied on in place of professional legal advice. We’re not your attorneys – we just know how to build websites. For legal advice, we trust that you’ll consult a professional attorney.