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Today, we're talking alllll about Privacy Policies and why your website legally has to have one.
I'll also be sharing a few tips and recommendations on other policies you should have on your site, depending on what industry you're in.
And of course, I will provide you with some resources so you can get these policies on your website asap.
Before we begin...I do need to state that I am not a lawyer and nothing in this post should be construed as legal advice. Legal requirements for these policies vary by country, state, and city and you're responsible for knowing which laws pertain to your online business. As always, if you're unsure about any of this - please consult with a licensed attorney.
Information that is gathered can be anything from email address, credit card information, IP address, demographic information, and web browsing habits (cookies).
So if you have a way for visitors to sign up for your email list, you're processing store orders, or you even have Google Analytics or a Facebook Pixel linked to your website - you are collecting personal information.
If you're doing business with anyone from another country, especially the EU, you'll also want to make sure you are complying with the GDPR.
What is the GDPR?
It is also recommended you add a double opt-in process for email subscribers that are in the EU. I use Convertkit, which automatically knows based off of a persons IP if they're located in the EU. So it will only give the double opt-in to them. Many email service providers including Mailchimp offer a GDPR feature. They all work a little different so do some digging on the platform you use.
If you want to read more into the governing laws for each country and more on the GDPR check out this article from PrivacyPolicies.com
Where Do I Put It on My Website?
It looks like this:
When they click that link it takes them to the hidden page that looks like this:
1. Draft it yourself (I don't recommend this)
2. Get a free one online (I don't recommend this either)
3. Have an attorney draft it for you
As you can see, there are many ways to go about it, I certainly wouldn't recommend the first two options. I only listed them to let you know they're out there - but wouldn't recommend that route.
You can certainly have an attorney draft one for you, this would be probably the most expensive option. But if you're just getting started and you want an attorney on retainer, or you need some other docs drafted up like filing an LLC or creating a contract, you could go this route.
The one I recommend the most would be option 4, which is to purchase a template online - from a trusted source. My personal favorite for online legal templates is The Contract Shop.
The second reason I prefer the legal template route is it's much less expensive than hiring an attorney. And you still get the protection and proper documentation on your website that you need!
What Other Legal Policies Do I Need On My Website?
Terms & Conditions
Website Terms & Conditions outline what the site user, member, or visitor agrees to and understands while interacting with your website. This is also where your copyright language lives.
With this policy, you can tell people what they can and can't do with the content on your site. This is especially helpful with blog, membership and eCommerce websites. You disclose a limited liability for use of the site and lay out the terms and conditions on how they can use their membership and the content on the site.
This policy is not required by law, but I highly encourage you to have one. This policy can also help you limit your liability if someone decided to sue you - this document will be heavily referenced.
Shipping & Returns Policy
If you have an online store, I'd highly recommend having a separate policy for Shipping & Returns. You can also reference this in your Terms and Conditions, but it's nice having a separate page just for Shipping and Returns.
There's a lot to sort through in the Terms & Conditions, so help your site visitors out by providing them with a separate Shipping & Returns Policy page.
I know that was a lot to take in, but don't wait to take action on this. It is soooo easy to put this off and while chances are it probably won't come back on you - I wouldn't be the one to take that chance.
PS - The Contract Shop has an entire library of legal templates apart from the policies I talked about here. Check out the entire library :)
Until next time...Hang Loose! 🤙🏻
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