What is a Privacy Policy?

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2022

What is a privacy policy? Why do you need one on your website? What should even be in it? 

These are some of the questions I get all the time from my clients, and a proper understanding of privacy policies can be very valuable. Through this blog, I’ll cover the answers to these three questions, and hopefully, you can get a better understanding of how this policy operates. Let’s get right to it.

What is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is a legal document included on a website that informs users what is being done with their information. You might be thinking, “We don’t collect anyone’s information, we don’t even ask for e-mail addresses.” If that’s the case, first, you might want to reconsider whether your practices are up to date with how businesses are run in the 21st century, and second, the truth is that you actually are, without even knowing it. Your website naturally collects users’ IP addresses, which country they’re from, how long they’re using the site, etc., so aside from the fact that it’s legally required, ethically, you should be letting users know that this is happening. 

What are the Benefits of Having a Privacy Policy on your Website?

Since a privacy policy is a legal requirement, a lot of people just think that it’s one more rule you have to obey and nothing more. And while it’s true that it’s a legal requirement, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be an opportunity to show off your business. Simply having a visible privacy policy can make your business appear more trustworthy. Think of it like this. If a company has a page full of testimonials of people singing the praises of their product or service, the fact is that the vast majority of people aren’t going to fully read every single one. Most people will see an ocean of positive reviews, maybe read through one or two, then skim the rest, if they check them at all. Even though they don’t read the rest of these testimonials, the fact that they’re there gives the impression to the customer that this company provides a great service and can be trusted. With a privacy policy, it’s the same way. Simply including one makes the customer believe that the site they’re using can be trusted. This isn’t just me making things up, years of marketing research have proven that the mere existence of positive information about the company can be more important than the actual content inside. Another reason to include a privacy policy is that all major advertising companies require privacy policies to be in place on websites they provide ads for, so if you don’t include one, you’re shooting yourself in the foot in a major way. Privacy policies don’t have to just be a hoop you have to jump through. They can be an important tool. 

What should be in a Privacy Policy?

This question is by far the most difficult of the three I’m covering today since you want to make sure your website is behaving legally in as many places as possible. Different countries and even different states within the U.S. have different laws regarding what must be included in a privacy policy, and since you don’t know where a user is coming from, you should try your best to make sure to follow the regulations of as many places as possible to maximize your outreach. Even if you don’t operate in a place with strict privacy laws, you are required to follow the regulations of the countries your users are from, otherwise, you risk negative repercussions. Here are some examples of some questions that should be answered by your privacy policy to make sure it follows the laws of most areas. Keep in mind that this is far from exhaustive. 

  • What information do you collect from people? 
  • How do you collect it?
  • Why are you collecting it? 
  • What are you doing with it? 
  • How are you using it? 
  • Are you selling it to third parties or just using it for marketing or research? 
  • If you do share it, how so? 
  • What can users do to control what’s done with the information?

These are just a few of the many questions your privacy policy should answer. Now you might be thinking, “Wow, that seems like a lot of work, can I just take another site’s policy instead of making my own?” This is not a good idea at all. Aside from the possibility that doing so may constitute theft, taking a random privacy policy lacks the value of one that’s specifically created for your business. When using a random policy, you can’t be sure whether you’re operating legally or not, but creating your own allows you to rest easy. That’s not to say that you have to write it completely from scratch. Templates for privacy policies exist and are extremely useful. Lawyers use them all the time to save both time and money. Here at Functional Lawyer, we even have templates made specifically for you to use that have been written by attorneys in collaboration with another law firm. These templates have a good privacy policy that conforms with all of those regulations mentioned before, and you can customize to best suit your practice. I'll put a link down below where you can get your privacy policy template. In addition to a privacy policy, I also recommend including a terms and conditions page and a website disclaimer. Using these templates saves you time that you could then use on other parts of your business. My recommendation is to grab your template here from Functional Lawyer. 


Those are some of the most common questions I get regarding privacy policies. If you have any more, please make sure to reach out to FunctionalLawyer.com, where we have many resources dedicated to helping you with your various legal inquiries.

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