How to Protect Your Website Privacy Policy with WordPress

Keeping your personal and business information private is of paramount importance. While some may wish to share their most intimate details with the world, the reality is that people are often more interested in gossip and other meaningless details. This being said, what is a privacy policy anyway?

A privacy policy is a document that details what kind of information the company or website you’re working with collects about you. The policy may also include instructions on how to opt-out of these collections. In most cases, a privacy policy is not a legal requirement but rather a gesture of good faith towards the users of a website or app. If a user knows exactly what information the company is gathering, then they have the opportunity to decide if they want to continue using the service or product.

The Purpose Of A Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is most often used to inform users about a company’s or individual’s intentions with respect to customer data. The fact that you’re reading this article means that you either believe that something went wrong or that you want to go over this information with the company.

In some instances, a privacy policy can be quite lengthy and in-depth. However, for the most part, a privacy policy doesn’t need to be a detailed documentation of every bit of data that a company or individual collects about you. Keeping the information concise and easily digestible is key when crafting a privacy policy.

The Difference Between A Privacy Policy And A Terms Of Service

It’s important to note here that a privacy policy and a terms of service are not the same thing. A privacy policy is a document that is attached to a website that informs users of that website about the kinds of information that the website may collect about them. A terms of service is a legal document that often accompanies a purchase of some sort (e.g., software, website hosting, etc.).

The terms of service document details the specific rules and regulations that pertain to the use of the product or service in question. Additionally, terms of service can often include information about a website’s or company’s privacy policy. For example, if a website’s terms of service explicitly state that personal information will be collected and stored, then this fact should be disclosed in the privacy policy.

What To Include In Your Privacy Policy

Like any other important document, your privacy policy should be a living, breathing thing. To that end, it should be updated whenever necessary. More importantly, you should include the following details in your privacy policy.

  • A short description of the company or individual you represent
  • The kind of information that you collect
  • How this information is used
  • When this information is collected
  • How to opt-out of these collections
  • Your contact information
  • A link to your privacy policy, if you have one
  • A disclaimer
  • Security information
  • Terms and Conditions
  • A cookie policy
  • A search engine optimization policy
  • A copyright policy

The Living, Breathing Document That It Is

Unlike most other documents, the privacy policy is not something that you draft and then submit to be reviewed. Rather, the privacy policy is something that you continually update and improve as new information becomes available.

If you’re using WordPress to power the website that you’re building, then you have the option to integrate a quick form on your homepage that allows users to contact you directly through email about topics such as opting out of data collections or reporting problems. Doing this through a quick opt-in box on your homepage is a good way to ensure that you receive updates about important information related to your website.

Opt-out Choices

One of the primary purposes of a privacy policy is to inform users about the kinds of information that a company or individual may collect about them. To that end, the policy should disclose details about how users may opt-out of these collections. Below is a list of some of the more common opt-out choices that you may include in your policy.

  • You may choose to obtain the consumer’s voluntary consent before collecting or using their personal information. For example, if a company posts on their behalf, then they have effectively opted-in to this type of collection. However, users can withdraw their consent at any time through another method of contacting the company.
  • You may decide to collect only the minimum amount of information necessary for the company to provide the service or product you are using.
  • You may use a third-party service to remove personal information from companies’ or individuals’ databases. For example, you may decide to use a cloud service such as Google Cloud to store and process your data. While this may save you money in the short term, it also means that you lose control over your data.
  • The user may contact the company or individual they provided personal information to and request that their information be removed. Most companies and individuals will respect this request and remove the data.

Security Information

Keeping your personal information secure is of paramount importance. To that end, it’s important that you include some security information in your privacy policy. Below is a list of some of the more common security information that you may include in your policy.

  • A statement confirming that the company or individual you’re dealing with is reputable
  • Contact information for the company’s or individual’s security department
  • How to contact the company or individual if you experience problems
  • A statement concerning customer data being stored in a secure location
  • A description of the security measures that the company or individual uses to keep personal information secure
  • Treatment of consumer data at rest and in transit
  • How long personal information is retained
  • A statement confirming that your privacy policy complies with all legal and regulatory requirements
  • Your contact information

How To Opt Out

Once you have properly included all the necessary details in your privacy policy, how do you inform users about these details? One option is to simply post a note on your website. Another is to create a dedicated opt-out page where users can find all the necessary information.

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to state clearly that by opting-out, users are not preventing the company or individual from collecting or using their personal information. Additionally, be sure to state the amount of time that the data will be retained for. If this is an issue that you’re facing, then you should decide how much time you can afford to wait before removing the data. Some data, such as that collected through cookies, may be necessary for the company or individual to provide a functional service so it’s not always easy to determine how long this information should be kept for.

Update, Update, Update

Just as with any other important document, it’s critical to keep your website’s privacy policy updated. This ensures that users know that the information they provide is protected and that their privacy is respected.

If you’re using WordPress, then you have the option to create a privacy policy using the platform’s built-in privacy policy editor. In this case, you don’t need to do anything else other than publish your policy and ensure that it gets distributed to the right people.

Final Takeaway

There are a variety of tactics that you can use to keep your website’s privacy policy updated and in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements. If you’re using WordPress, then integrating a privacy policy editor into your platform is one such option. In addition to this, you can also take advantage of WordPress’s built-in privacy policy features to create and manage your policy on your own.

While crafting a privacy policy, be sure to keep your customer in mind. More so than any other document, a privacy policy is a living, breathing thing that you need to update and improve as your customer base evolves.