You see them on almost every website you visit. Click throughs to accept cookies and read privacy policies.
The short answer is yes.
But with as is the case with almost everything else in website design, it gets more complicated than that quickly. So, here’s a longer answer.
Certain places, such as the European Union (GDPR), United Kingdom (DPA), Canada (PIPEDA), Australia, and some states in the United States, have laws that require privacy policies and notifications if you collect certain types of information on your website. Other countries and locations are adding regulations all the time.
As a rule of thumb, if you adhere to the strictest privacy guidelines, you should be safe. Since the nature of the web is worldwide, that can be a safe way to think about where to start.
- Help boost search rankings. It’s an indirect impact, but It does exist. More visitors and more engagement can boost search; a more comprehensive website that engages visitors for a longer period of time does tell search engines that your website is more valuable.
Most privacy policies contain the following:
- The website URL, owner, and contact information (such as an email address)
- What information or data you collect on your website (such as asking for email signups or payment information)
- If that information or data is retained (for example, payment information is not generally stored on websites; usernames or account information might be)
- What do you do with any information or data you collect
- If anyone else, such as a third-party app or vendor, has access to that information
- Clauses or information from any third-party apps that are required as part of your usage agreement with them
The laws surrounding consumer rights and internet privacy seem to be shifting all the time. Stay on top of legislative changes where you live and update your policy if you see new regulations go into effect.
Read through the policy for things that might have changed, third-party services you are no longer using or new third-party tools you’ve added. Clean up language that’s confusing.
But there are some templates, tools and guidelines that can be a solid starting point. When looking for one of these tools, opt from something that comes from an official source (such as a reputable business advocate or organization) over a template from a reseller.
- Sample Privacy Statement from UC Berkeley https://security.berkeley.edu/how-write-effective-website-privacy-statement
- Privacy and Security from the U.S. FTC https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/privacy-and-security
- Privacy Notice template from GDPR.eu https://gdpr.eu/privacy-notice/
In some countries, there are privacy and online regulations in place. This guide is not meant as a legal document and you should always consult an attorney if you have questions about specific rules.