In this article, we look at Privacy Policies for personal sites, including when to use one, how to write one, and what you need to include in it.
At Step 1, select the Website option or App option or both.
Answer some questions about your website or app.
Answer some questions about your business.
- 1.1. What is Personal Data?
- 2.3. Reassure Users You Handle Their Information Responsibly
- 3.1. Types of Data You Collect and How You Collect Them
- 3.2. How You Use the Data You Collect
- 3.3. Whether You Sell or Share Personal Information
- 3.4. Your Data Storage and Retention Policies
- 5. Summary
What is Personal Data?
Personal data is any information that could be used to identify an individual.
Examples of personal data include but aren't limited to the following:
- Contact details, including email address
- Date of birth or age
- Credit card details
- The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The UK's Data Protection Act (DPA)
- The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), amended by the CPRA
- The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
Personal or small websites usually collect analytics or some basic personal information from users, such as an email address for newsletter subscribers.
Keep in mind that the applicable data protection legislation depends on the location of your users, not your business. If your website is based in the UK and has European, UK, and Australian-based users, then you need to comply with the data protection legislation of these three countries.
Failure to comply with applicable data protection laws may result in fines.
Reassure Users You Handle Their Information Responsibly
Online privacy is important to users. They have a right to know if their personal data is being collected so they can make an informed choice about whether to continue using a website or service.
- The types of data you collect and how you collect them
- How you use the data you collect
- Whether you sell or share the data
- Your data storage and retention policy
Types of Data You Collect and How You Collect Them
This section should clearly set out the categories of data you collect so users can decide whether to share it with your site. It should also explain how your site collects this information. For example, you may collect some data automatically or based on the information users provide to you themselves.
For a blog or personal website, the type of data collected may be more narrow in scope than a large commercial website. You can present this information in a list, table, or paragraph format, as long as it is easy for users to read and understand.
How You Use the Data You Collect
If a potential use includes selling or sharing your users' personal information, you should address this separately.
Whether You Sell or Share Personal Information
When explaining how you use the data, it's crucial to disclose whether you sell or share users' personal information with third parties.
This point is so important that you should also specifically mention if you don't sell or share users' personal data.
While you can present this information in a variety of ways, it must be clear enough for users to quickly and easily understand whether or not you share or sell their personal information.
Your Data Storage and Retention Policies
Data breaches are a growing concern for users. Explaining your data storage and retention processes reassures users that their personal information is kept safe.
It also provides a contact in the event users have any questions or concerns about their data. This transparent approach goes a long way in building user trust in your personal site.
For example, Desiree Adaway's site, The Adaway Group, clearly states it doesn't collect cookies:
By explicitly stating it, there can be no doubt in your users' minds about your site's use (or not) of cookies.
Learn more about how to get consent with the clickwrap checkbox method in our article: "I Agree" Checkboxes.