We’ve all seen that “privacy policy” link at the bottom of websites. If you’re like many people, you never click on it. You may not even know what it is. However, your use of the web is protected by privacy laws, and a privacy policy tells you exactly what a business is doing with your data. If you run your own business, you should provide a privacy policy for your visitors. Here’s why you need one — and what it should cover.

The Importance of Data Privacy

Wherever you go on the web, someone is collecting information from you. This includes everything from your behavior on websites to your browser details to where in the world you are. Consumer advocates were rightfully concerned about what could be done with this data. Most users don’t even realize how much of their personal information is revealed as they browse the web, making data privacy all the more crucial.

Several key pieces of legislation have established the importance of data privacy. Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Online Privacy Protection Act instruct organizations on how to (a) handle and protect user data and (b) inform the consumer how their information is collected and used. A privacy policy is an essential tool for the latter.

What’s in a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy has two purposes. First, it informs your users that you’re collecting their data, explaining what you’re getting, how you get it, what you’re doing with it, and how long you’ll keep it.

Most functions of a standard website trigger the need for data privacy. If you use cookies on your website, track your visitors’ location and behavior through Google Analytics, or retarget your audience through Facebook ads, you collect user data. A privacy policy should make all this transparent to your customers.

Second, a privacy policy gives your users their options as a consumer. Depending on which country you’re in and where your users are, you must meet specific requirements. For example, the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) allows users to request and review any personally identifiable information that a business collected from them. Your privacy policy should acknowledge these opportunities and tell people how to take advantage of everything.

At a minimum, privacy policies should include the above disclosures along with a clear explanation of the site’s owner (your business). You should also explain how you’ll implement, change, and update the policy. However, we do NOT recommend that you stick to the minimum, simply because you may be subject to various regulations depending on your business and customers. Read on to learn more.

Understanding Privacy Requirements

It’s a common misconception that your business is only subject to the laws and regulations of your country or state. In fact, your users determine which privacy requirements apply to your business. CalOPPA comes into effect for any business with a consumer residing in California who access their website. That means that even if most of your customers are in the U.K., a single California customer requires your business to comply with CalOPPA requirements.

Similarly, the GDPR protects all users located in the European Union. Given the size of this region, it’s a safe bet that your website will be accessed there, which means that your data privacy plan should comply with the GDPR. This regulation also requires that you disclose any third parties who access the data you collect. Any app, widget, or social media integration falls under this category.

In many situations, GDPR requires organizations to obtain consent before collecting any personally identifiable information. This is why you often see website pop-ups asking you to accept cookies.

If you are found to be non-compliant, you may face hefty fines, legal action, or exclusion from certain tools (e.g., Google Ads requires your site to comply). When you take all these regulations together, there are quite a few points to check.

Do You Really Need a Privacy Policy?

As a small business owner, you may be wondering if a privacy policy is worth all the fuss if you don’t collect a lot of data. However, data privacy laws do not care how many or how few customers you have. A single user is enough to invoke these regulations, and it is your responsibility to protect their privacy.

It’s worth noting that even mega-companies such as Facebook have been fined for failing to disclose how they used their customers’ data. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission takes consumer protection very seriously. No one is immune to these regulations.

Keep in mind that the mere existence of a privacy policy is not enough. Data privacy laws provide guidance for how your policy should be published and formatted. Your privacy policy needs to be clearly accessible and written in understandable language. Under CalOPPA, you need to meet specific typeface and color requirements. Be certain that any user can find your policy and that you’re using cookie opt-ins, form disclosures, and other methods to obtain content.


Don’t skimp on your business’s privacy policy. While there are dozens of free templates online, you should invest the time and energy into fully customizing yours. You may need to consult with a lawyer to ensure that you are compliant with all international, federal, and state regulations. Remember, a single violation can lead to a lot of trouble, so it’s worth the cost to get your privacy policy right.

If you’d like help in setting up a Privacy Policy, get in touch today.

CyberOptik‘s web design services can help you optimize your WordPress website for success. Whether you are looking for a high-performing ecommerce store or a trust-building lead generation site, we have the expertise needed to show the unique value of your business to your audience. For expert guidance on cookie opt-ins, compliant privacy policy links, and other key data privacy protection measures for your website, reach out to CyberOptik.