How to Write a Privacy Policy for Greater Customer Trust and Engagement

If you’re operating an online business or e-commerce website – it might be necessary for you to collect some data from users and visitors. In order to both meet regulatory privacy laws and to foster an environment of transparency and honesty between your users and your business, you’ll need to know how to write a privacy policy. 

Setting up a privacy policy can be complex, so it’s important to take things slow and start with the most critical steps.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a document that sets out how you deal with personal user information. This includes what information you collect, what you do with it, and how you store it. It should be a document that clearly and transparently explains this important information, while being in line with your local jurisdiction’s laws and regulations.

Privacy policies typically contain sections covering:

  • What information is collected from users
  • What purposes and uses you have for the data
  • Any third parties that you share the data with
  • Any third parties who can also collect data through your website
  • How you keep the data safe and secure
  • How users can opt-out of data collection

Why is it Important for your Online Business?

Knowing how to write a privacy policy that’s clear is important for a number of reasons. Having one is vital for complying with many laws and regulations, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, and the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) in the US.

It also helps to build trust with your customers and allows them to feel comfortable using your product or service.

With numerous large companies and businesses facing privacy scandals, such as Facebook throughout 2017 and 2018, and Google in 2019, having a transparent privacy policy is vital. Consumer trust is relatively low at the moment, and consumers want to know that their data is being used and handled appropriately.

Setting out an easy-to-read privacy policy can go a long way towards showing customers that you’re doing more than simply meeting legal requirements. Before diving deep into the critical first steps of how to write a privacy policy, make sure you avoid writing your policy in legalese; hard to understand legal jargon. 

Instead, make sure each section is simple enough to be read and understood by anyone. Use short sentences and remove complicated wording.

Critical First Steps On How to Write a Privacy Policy

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The most important first step to take is to make sure that you’re aware of which privacy laws and restrictions apply to your business and jurisdiction.

1. Jurisdiction and Industry Awareness

First, look at the laws that apply directly in your jurisdiction and industry. Then consider whether you have any customers in other jurisdictions that may be captured by other privacy laws. For example, even if your business is not based in the EU, if you have customers or use customer data from the EU, you will still need to comply with the GDPR.

Once you know your local jurisdiction privacy laws, think carefully about industry-specific rules. 

For instance, if your business deals with health or medical information, you’ll need to comply with laws that are specific to medical data, which are often more comprehensive and strict.

If your business deals with children’s data in the US you’ll also need to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

2. Think About What You Collect

Before you set up your privacy policy you need to know exactly what personal data you collect from users, how you collect it, and what you do with it. 

These requirements are vital for complying with privacy laws, and will also ensure that customers know what they are agreeing to when they agree to your policy.

3. Getting An Agreement to Your Policy
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Finally, think about how you want to display your privacy policy and intend to get consent from your customers. It’s ineffective to have a policy set up for your online business if nobody ever sees it.

Make sure that you display a link to your privacy policy in a clear, easy-to-find place on your website. If you display a user customer-sign-up page or form at any point, include a check-box for users to click to show that they agree. Also include a link to your policy in any emails you send.

Key Takeaways On How to Write a Privacy Policy

Writing a privacy policy for your online business can appear daunting and complex, but by following the most important first steps you will be well on your way to building customer trust and complying with the law.

Ensure you’re aware of what laws apply to you, think about what data you’re collecting, and ensure your customers can read and agree to your policy.

By completing these things, your privacy policy will be well-equipped to meet the needs of both your online business and your customers.

Terry Say

Written By Terry Say

Terry's an editor and SEO strategist for Advesa. There’s nothing content and SEO he won’t get involved in. We tried, he just always finds a way to put his hands on things! Aside from work, Terry calls himself a ‘stand-up comedy connoisseur’, and enjoys watching intense tournaments in the world of E-sports.