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How To Write Your Company's Online Privacy Policy

Your online business web site is also your accountability and not just an opportunity. Everytime a visitor visits your site and make a transaction even if they don't buy anything; it is in your company's responsibility to be clear, transparent and frank on how you are collecting their information. You really need to have a privacy policy if you are collecting some information about your visitors to protect yourself and to also let your visitors know about its potential use.

Why not just copy a standard 2000-word Privacy Policy from another web site?

Don't copy a legal document and use it without consulting a lawyer or making sure that you understand what you're committing to. Also, many web sites use a boiler plate Privacy Policy that may be filled with legal jargon, but this is not the sole way to go.

In the case of e-commerce websites with a large user base, such legal and formal privacy policies can be essential. However, most small business web sites neither need nor benefit from long documents that readers cannot make sense of. Lots of small business web sites use third-party processors like Paypal or e-junkie, so the threat of on-site exposure is already minimized.

Your privacy policy is for your readers, so it's valuable to write it in a language that your average visitor can understand. Significantly, a policy document's main purpose is to decrease your own liability. So, more than your visitors, you need to understand your site's privacy policy so that you can monitor your site's strategies and reduce your exposure to potential problems.

* What is User Information?

Your website's visitors can possibly leave a lot of personal data on your web site that can be used for the purposes of identification, marketing and interaction. Some of these include:

IP address

Email address

Contact information (in a form)

Comments (on a blog)

Credit card information (for purchases)

Social media information


* What Should Your Privacy Policy Document Include?

Making a privacy policy is in fact very easy, and most web sites need to attend to only a few main questions about User Information, and primarily to highlight that user information is not misused, used to identify individuals, or passed on to third parties without their consent. So in your privacy policy, don't forget to address the following concerns about your users' information:

* Collecting: What and How

What information do you collect about your visitors, and how do you collect it?

Using Information

How do you use the collected information?

User Protection

Do you protect your users' information so that it is not passed on or available to third parties?

User Control

What kind of rights do your users have over their personal information? How can they get in touch with you with such control?

* By answering these simple questions you can cover your bases to a great degree. If you are not an e-commerce vendor, think about making a Privacy Policy document that not only relates clearly with your readers but also sets you different from your competition.

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