Managing Director

Will Kaye

6 Reasons Your Website Needs a Solid Privacy Policy [Free Website Template]

When you’re caught up in the excitement of launching a shiny new website, it’s unlikely that the privacy policy page will be the source of your pride. However, this unassuming and frankly unexciting piece of text is an absolute prerequisite for any serious online business.

Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t overlook putting a rigorous privacy policy in place on any site you’re involved with. Be sure to read until the end of the article for a free privacy policy website template.

Legal Uncertainty

In most jurisdictions, a privacy policy is a legal requirement for sites which collect personal information. Unfortunately, the definition of this activity remains vague – it’s yet to be finally determined, for example, whether the default logging of IP addresses is covered, so it’s better to err on the side of caution and put a policy in place.

Protection from Legal Action

You can do almost anything you want with the information you collect from your visitors – but only if you’re upfront about your intentions. If you use personal data in an unexpected way, you leave yourself open to lawsuits from disgruntled customers. Just as seriously, official bodies such as the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner also take a strong legal interest in any misuse of data, but a privacy policy which makes your actions crystal clear offers strong protection.

Customer Trust

Not every website visitor will seek out a privacy policy before making a transaction, but a sizeable proportion of your users will take their privacy very seriously. If they can’t find a satisfactory policy, the chances of them giving you their custom are slim. What’s more, privacy-conscious visitors are only going to become more common as media concern grows over the collection of “big data” by giants such as Google and Facebook.

Third Party Issues

Scrutiny of Google and other social media sites means they’re paying extremely close attention to the legal issues surrounding privacy, and this extends to their interaction with other companies. If you want to work with major online players in any way, whether by advertising on their platform or by using services such as Google Analytics, they’ll insist that you have a comprehensive privacy policy as part of the deal.

SEO Impact

As with many topics that fall within the field of search engine optimisation, the effect that a privacy policy has on ranking is subject to much debate. A site without a policy will suffer in ranking terms, even if the effect is minor. What can’t be disputed, however, is that Google prefers to reward legitimate sites that provide a good user experience. It’s fair to assume that the presence or absence of a privacy policy is one signal they’ll take into account.

Technological Issues

Lastly, the nature of the internet means that sharing information is almost impossible to avoid. If you use cloud services to back up data or host your website on servers operated by a third party host, then you’ll be sharing data on a continual basis, even if no one ever looks at it. A privacy policy needs to make this clear to cover your business from legal troublemakers.

A privacy policy is never going to set pulses racing, but you shouldn’t underestimate its importance. As with any legal or important company policy document, we do advise that you seek legal advice to ensure your privacy policy covers your business’s unique situation. However, we understand that this isn’t practical for every business.

It’s easy to find a free or paid privacy policy website template online. The small amount of time it takes to write a privacy policy could save you huge amounts of money and heartache if your site collects and processes personal information of any kind. To get you started, OKMG has developed its own privacy policy website template, which can be downloaded here.

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