How to Write a Privacy Policy for your Website

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Why do you need a privacy policy for your website? It's important to tell your users up front what types of information you might collect about them. Do you ever wonder how telemarketers get their hands on your private cell phone number? Well, there are a lot of websites out there that have no problem with collecting your personal information and selling it to telemarketers. By posting a privacy policy on your website and either assuring your visitors that you will not collect their information, or allowing them to opt out, you improve the credibility of your website immensely. Follow these simple steps to write a privacy policy for your website.

Things You'll Need

  • Information on what types of information your website will collect
  • Information on what your company will do with this information
    1. Decide what types of information you might need to collect from your visitors. Will you keep their name, address, phone number, and e-mail address when they fill out a survey, register for your website or sign up for your newsletter? If they place an order on your website, will you need to collect their credit card number and/or social security number? All of this information must be included in your privacy policy.
    1. Decide what you might use this information for. Will it be used to personalize your visitors' experience? Improve your website and customer service? Will the visitor's information be used to administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature? And, perhaps most importantly, will you use a visitor's information to process transactions or send them mail or e-mail periodically? This is all very important information that must be contained within your privacy policy. If you will use a visitor's information to send e-mail to them, you must provide specific, detailed instructions on how to unsubscribe from your mailings, or they will be considered spam.
    1. Choose an appropriate format for your privacy policy. In many cases, it is as simple as checking out your competition and seeing what they are doing. However, do not plagiarize their information. Instead, just use their privacy policies to get ideas, and then customize them to your own use. There are also various free templates and sample privacy policies all over the internet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do your research. Laws vary from state to state, country to country. Be sure your privacy policy meets all state, federal and local regulations in your area.
  • This eHow is for educational purposes only. The author is not a lawyer and does not give legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer for additional information.
  • Photo Credit http://lapetlawyer.typepad.com/louisiana_estate_planning/checklist.jpg, http://www.old.bellmicro.eu/be/uploadfolder/Customer%20information.jpg, http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/2104700/gu
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