A Small Business Website Privacy Policy Is A Must Have

Nick Leffler

April 6, 2017 • No Comments

A small business website privacy policy is sort of like auto insurance.

You can get along without insurance but if something bad happens, it has you covered.

That also goes for telling how you use visitor’s information whether intentionally or not.

What you and your customer don’t know can indeed hurt you. That’s why a privacy policy is a must have for every small business website.

Before the why and how you can solve your lack of privacy policy issue, what is a small business website privacy policy?

What It Is

It’s a simple page on your website that is easy to find on your website. It’s usually linked at the bottom of every page or at least from the main page of your website.

It will tell visitors what you do and do not do with your website and the data collected when people visit it.

If you look in the bottom navigation of this site, you’ll see a privacy policy.

Most people will never visit the page but it still needs to be there if they’re looking for it.

Your privacy policy is like an insurance policy, hopefully you never have to use it. Click To Tweet

A small business website privacy policy can cover a lot of information but minimally should tell visitors:

  • If you use their data.
  • How you use their data.
  • If cookies are placed on their computer.
  • If information is distributed beyond your business (a 3rd party).
  • How information on your website is secured or if it is secured.
  • Contact information for when someone has further questions.

A small business website privacy policy also provided helpful information to your visitors about how you use their email address if you ask for it.

Look at the bottom of every website on the Internet and you should see a privacy policy.

So what’s a small business website privacy policy going to do for you?

Why You Need It

It’s the law in many countries.

Even if it’s not law, it does protect your from anything bad happening.

If you have a large audience in a country that requires a privacy policy, you also need it.

For example, in Europe there are strict laws to safeguard website visitors privacy.

If you do business in Europe but are based in the US, you need to be up to their standard of laws and not US laws.

You may notice many websites that have a European (or even Canadian) audience will have a bar across the bottom (or top) of a page requiring visitors to accept the privacy policy (and cookies) of a website before using it.

If you’re in the US and you collect any information (even from a contact form) you must be compliant with the CAN-SPAM act. Ignorance doesn’t mean innocence so be sure you’re at least minimally up to speed.

Protect Yourself

A privacy policy is required by law if your website has a primary audience in many European countries.

Not only is it required by law, you’ll want it to be sure you’re covered by the law.

The last thing you need is someone coming to you with a lawsuit saying you didn’t tell them you were going to be sending emails.

Just like you want to be transparent about the content you’re using and make sure you’re not violating copyright laws, you need to be transparent about your privacy policies.

Your small business website privacy policy is a free insurance policy for your business. Hopefully you’ll never have to use it to cover your butt but it’s nice to know it’s there.

A privacy policy will help protect you and create a more transparent business.

Transparency Is Trustworthy

Building trust with customers is all about being transparent with them.

Your small business website privacy policy doesn’t just protect you, it is transparency for your visitors.

People visiting your website will know exactly how you use information.

A privacy policy will give visitors transparency who you're hoping to build trust with. Click To Tweet

The more you make known about your business to consumers, the more likely they are to trust you.

With so much security and transparency that comes from a privacy policy, it must be hard to create right?

No, it’s extremely easy.

How To Create A Small Business Website Privacy Policy

There are two steps to creating a small business website privacy policy:

  1. Create the text of the privacy policy.
  2. Post your privacy policy on your website.

That’s it.

You can of course go a bit beyond just posting your privacy policy.

You can always format it to make it look pretty and more readable.

All that is optional, though. As long as you have the privacy policy, you’re doing great.

It’s easy for me to tell you to create a privacy policy but is it really that easy to do?

Yes, creating a policy is that easy to do.

There are several website out there where you can generate a free privacy policy.

The following are two of my favorite, the second option will give you the most complete small business website privacy policy.

Shopify Privacy Policy Generator

The Shopify Privacy Policy Generator is a great small business website privacy policy generator.

It’s simple and not as comprehensive as the next option but if you just want quick and easy policy with the basics, this is it.

It’s tailored to Shopify eCommerce websites but you can easily change it to fit your specific needs.

Free Privacy Policy Generator

The fittingly named free privacy policy generator is more complex than Shopify’s but it’s more comprehensive.

I recommend this one primarily because of its thoroughness.

You are required to give your email address to download it in the end but it’s well worth it.

The questionnaire to get your privacy policy is pretty excruciating. Do it, though, because the policy it generates is next to none.

After creating a privacy policy with this generator they promote a further service, one that moves beyond a privacy policy.

Beyond Privacy Policy

You may also want to go beyond a small business website privacy policy and have a terms of service agreement.

A terms of service agreement will cover your assets and not just cover you by telling visitors how you use information.

You’ll get coverage for what people using your website agree to. That means you can cement your copyrighted material as yours and have a backup if you need to take legal action.

A terms of service will help protect you even further than a privacy policy. Click To Tweet

So in short, your privacy policy protects you when someone takes legal action against you. Your terms of service protects you if you need to take legal action against someone else.

Real Online Business Presence

Your small business online presence helps define how serious you are about your business.

Customers get their first impression of your business online.

Whether they find you on a directory site or social media, their path eventually ends up crossing your website.

If you’re ready to take your small business online presence to the next level, let’s talk so we can figure out the right path for you.

It all starts with the an Online Presence Report that will give us both a good idea about how your small business will benefit from an improved online presence.

Want more to grow your small business online?

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Nick Leffler

I help people and small businesses expand their online presence with experience building websites, social media presence and more. I grow my online presence with a small budget by using inbound marketing with great content on my blog, social media and other methods such as email marketing.

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