In recent years, many consumers have become wary of conducting business online due to hacking schemes, fraud, identity theft, spamming, and more. In order to attract business from hesitant online users, you must get them to trust that your website is secure and safe for transactions. One of the most important steps in gaining such trust is by having a quality privacy policy for your business website. Such a privacy policy should be prominently displayed in conspicuous locations on your website, often on multiple pages and especially on any pages on which customers must enter any information.

What to include in your privacy policy

Not only should you have a privacy policy, but you should include certain information in that policy that fits the needs of your specific business. Some information that should always be addressed in a privacy policy includes the following:

  • What type of information do you collect? Such information can include names, credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and more.
  • How do you collect their information? Some businesses may collect information when customers enter information directly into a checkout page, via credit applications or account registrations, when they sign up for newsletters or promotions, via cookies installed on their computer, or other methods.
  • How will you use their information? Assure users that their information will be used solely for purposes of the transaction, inform them if any information is shared with third parties in order to complete the transaction, and that they must consent to any further distribution of that data.
  • Contact information for your company. Give customers a straightforward, easily accessible way to contact you if they have any privacy concerns or complaints.
  • Issues regarding COPPA or HIPPAA. If you collect any information from children under 13 or anything regarding health matters, you must comply with both the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPAA).
  • Do you use cookies? Cookies are often used by businesses to store contents of online shopping carts or track the activities and preferences of users. You should explain clearly in your privacy policy if and how you use cookies.
  • How can customers opt-out of future communications? You should provide clear procedures for customers to opt-out of certain or all email communications such as newsletters, offers, and more.

These are only some of the most important topics that should be addressed in your small business’s website privacy policy. You may also want to obtain a seal of approval from a commercial privacy service company to gain further trust from your customers.

An experienced small business attorney can assist you in drafting a privacy policy that suits your business. If you have any legal business matters, call Kalia Law P.C. for help today.

- Claire Kalia

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