Should I add a privacy policy to my website?

It is good practice to add a privacy policy to your website. You could include details, such as:

  • Why do you use “cookies” to track visitors (see below)?
  • How do you use and store data collected through your contact forms?
  • Who provides the service for any newsletter / mailing list subscribe boxes on your site?

We recommend adding a link to your privacy policy on every page of your website. Most websites put this link in the footer area of their website.

What is an “analytics cookie”?

If you have a visitor stats/analytics system running on your website, the service will place a “cookie” on every visitor’s computer or device. A cookie is simply a tiny file, comprising of a few letters and numbers.

Doing this means the analytics tool can distinguish each individual visitor and record details about their browsing session, whilst they are on your website. For example, this allows the service to:

  • Count the number of pages viewed by each individual visitor
  • Produce a tally of how many separate users came to your website on a given day, regardless of how many pages they each viewed
  • Detect how long they stayed on your website
  • And more…

The data collected does not, by itself, personally identify the individual user. The data can help you understand how visitors use your website and help you improve it.

If you use our recommended visitor stats system, it is provided by a company called StatCounter. You can view their privacy policy and technical details about their cookies. StatCounter cookies are normally stored on a visitor’s computer for up to two years.

Are any other cookies used in my website?

If your visitors have the ability to login to your website (e.g. if you have a membership website), they will have a cookie placed on their computer, which will keep them logged-in during their visits.

Also, if visitors are able to leave comments on your blog posts, a cookie saves their name and email address for their convenience, so they don’t have to re-type their details again when leaving future comments.

This list is not exhaustive, but you can conduct your own cookie audit using free or paid online tools.

Where can I get help creating a privacy policy?

In terms of writing legal statements for your website, unfortunately this is not something Primary Image can do for you, because it’s normally best these sorts of documents are drafted by a solicitor or legal professional. Therefore, we would strongly recommend you seek your own professional legal advice.

If you are looking to create a privacy policy for free, some people search online for privacy policy generators, which are tools that generate a standard template, and you may decide this is suitable for your website. Alternatively, some people may take inspiration from looking at other website’s privacy policies and adapting these for their own use. However, please bear in mind that both options come with some risks, so you should be careful that your privacy policy is relevant to your own website. We particularly recommend ensuring your privacy statement is relevant for a UK-based website, as we’ve seen a lot of websites inadvertently use US-based terms and conditions!

We cannot, unfortunately, create a privacy policy for you, or recommend a template, or be asked to check your own legal documents. But once you have created a privacy policy, you can send it to us and instruct Primary Image to add it to your website.

Where can I read more?

in Visitor StatsWeb Design

Related Articles