What is a Privacy Policy and Why Do You Need One on Your Website?

A Privacy Policy is an agreement on your website that specifies what information you collect, who you share that information with, and what you do with that information. The link to this page on your website is typically found in the footer, which is a global element and should be the same on every page of your site.

A good rule of thumb is this: if your website collects a name, email, or phone number on a contact form, you are collecting personally identifiable information and therefore need a privacy policy. There are currently several laws in place in the United States, and many more around the world, that require you specifically state what you do with the information you capture in your forms. What does this mean? We don’t want to scare you, but the reality is that you could get sued if you do not provide this information.

Regardless of the legal requirement, here are several more reasons why a Privacy Policy is good for your business’ website:

  1. The Trust Factor

    A small business is a labor of love and commitment, and as a small business owner, you pour your heart and soul into your business in order to do your best to provide good services or products and that the customer always comes first. With so many privacy lawsuits and concerns making front-page headlines, consumers now want to know that their data is secure and protected. Your customers don’t want their information sold to a third party service who will then start sending them offers they never asked for. Not having a documented Privacy Policy shows your customers that you do not take the privacy of your customers seriously and are unwilling to take the extra time to reassure them that yes, their data is safe with you. The lack of that reassurance can obliterate the trust factor and push the consumer to your competition, or even worse a big box brand.

  2. The Legal Liability Factor

    Currently, there are several proposed bills across the country that impose requirements on businesses, such as requiring a business that collects personal information to have a Privacy Policy. Most of the proposed bills also allow consumers and their lawyers to sue businesses directly. While the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney Generals have very limited time and resources, plaintiff’s lawyers have nothing but time when it comes to finding who to sue. These attorneys are not shy about starting dozens of lawsuits at any given time and do not limit their scope to the biggest companies out there. As a small business, a lawsuit over privacy can take you out of business. The truth is that protecting yourself costs a lot less and will save you a lot of money and headache in the future.

  3. The Reputation Factor

    This is a great time to become a leader in your industry and to distinguish yourself from your competition as a privacy-focused business. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you care about them and their privacy, even if you are a small company. Furthermore, they will appreciate the fact that you are willing to consider their concerns and respect their privacy.

So what does this mean for you? Ultimately, what you decide to do with this information is up to you. But Cadence Studios wants to ensure that all the businesses we work with, whether through our main business, or the vendors of the Texoma Bride Guide are informed in regard to what the legal requirements are for their website. Every website project we do includes a complementary lawyer-written privacy policy to help our clients meet this legal requirement.

Having a Privacy Policy will help you build and retain the trust of your customers, help you avoid liability and will work wonders for your reputation. As a small business, you take care of your customers and strive to be better every day – why not do so by providing your customers with peace of mind regarding their privacy.