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The legal documents you need to include on your website and blog

The legal documents you need to include on your website and blog

When we create our website or blog it is easy to overlook the steps we need to take to make our site legally compliant. It’s easy to think that we don’t need certain legal documents for our site, especially if we have a basic site and don’t even have an email sign up. However, your website definitely does track information about your visitors and it is your responsibility to let them know how you are tracking that information and where you are storing it.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a lawyer and can not offer you legal advice. Please seek the advice of a professional lawyer regarding your website legal requirements.

I am sure you have seen the terms “Cookie Banner”, “Privacy Policy”, “Terms and Conditions” etc shown on a website and may have wondered what they are all about and why they are needed.

Essentially, these are documents that protect you and your business and some of them are even required by law.

What is a privacy policy?

Privacy policies disclose how your website gathers, uses and manages a customer or client data. This document is essential in communicating to your visitors what their personal information is required for and how it will be processed.

The privacy policy is a legal binding agreement between you and your website visitors and it fulfills a legal requirements to protect your user’s privacy.

If you collect email addresses for a newsletter signup, have analytics on you site, or have a facebook pixel on your website, then these are all ways you are collecting customer information.

Why do you need a privacy policy?

There are many reasons that you need a proper privacy policy that complies with the Data Protection regulations:

  • Your visitors want to know that their personal data will be protected when they give it to you

  • It’s required by several laws – In most countries you are required by law to have a privacy policy (European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act(CCPA) and so many more.

  • How do you know if the GDPR affects you? Read this article and you will see that it does affect you regardless of where you live.

  • It protects your website from legal issues. You are at risk of getting fined if you do not have the proper measures in place. Anywhere from a few thousands of dollars to millions! Your visitors have the right to report you for violating their rights and you are liable for a lawsuit.

  • Some ad networks and affiliate programs require it

  • It establishes trust with your audience: your visitors are aware more than ever that their personal data is protected and that they need to give consent.

  • Your business will appear more professional and legit

  • To make sales, your website needs to appear professional and legally binding. If your website does not have a cookie pop up or privacy policy it will be noticeable right away to your site visitors.

You may think “But, I don’t even have an email list so I don’t need a privacy policy, do I?”. Actually you do. Email lists are not the only way that you are storing information about your website visitors.

Here are some other ways you may already be collecting information on your website visitors:

  • Email list collection

  • Google Analytics or any other built in analytics

  • Contact form

  • Cookies on your website

  • Ecommerce transactions

  • Facebook pixel

  • Ads targeting

Here is a free privacy policy that is GDPR compliant:

What about Cookie pop ups or consent banners?

As a result of GDPR we also have to make it known to our website visitors that we are collecting cookie information on our site and how it is being stored.

A cookie banner or pop up should display when visitors first come to your site. Your visitors need to give consent for your website to track their information.

It should link to your cookie policy to let visitors know how you are tracking and storing their information.

Virtually all websites use cookies so this will apply to your website!

Terms and Conditions:

Terms and Conditions for a website are rules which your visitors are asked to agree to in order to use your website. These rules protect you legally for technical problems and errors with your website, especially ones out of your control .

If you sell a service, product or offer advice on your website you will want to protect yourself by investing in a terms and conditions document.

Here is an Terms & Conditions online generator:

A special note on opt ins or freebies:

Previously we were able to add people to our emails lists whenever they downloaded one of our freebies from our website without their explicit consent. Now however, you must make sure they consent to being added to your email list. Your delivery of the freebie is no longer dependent on them consenting to be added to your list.

Any checkboxes must also not be pre-ticked on your sign up forms. Your visitors must tick the box themselves to say that they want to be on your list. Your form should also link to your privacy policy.

Although this is not the fun, or exciting part of your website, these documents are essential in allowing you to protect your business and not worry about any legal issues. Don’t take the chance of legal hassles by ensuring you are protected legally.

Article from JN

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