Whether your website or blog is a money-making endeavor or just a way to drum up business for your real-world business, a detailed privacy policy is a must. No business website or blog is complete without a good privacy policy. If yours does not have one, you still have some work to do.

Why Privacy Policies Are Important

Privacy policies are important or a number of reasons. Chief among them is the protection of the people who visit your pages. Web surfers have the right to know exactly how their personal information is being used, and they have come to expect that kind of disclosure from the companies they do business with.

If your website or blog does not have a prominently displayed privacy policy, visitors are likely to click away before they even have a chance to explore your site and see what your firm has to offer. The lack of a privacy policy could be costing you money in ways you can only guess at.

Disclosure Of Intent

Disclosure of your intent is another important reason to set up a privacy policy today. Your customers have the right to now what your intentions are and how you plan to carry them out, and that information should be clearly spelled out and prominently displayed on every website and blog you maintain.

If you plan to harvest email addresses and share that information with similar companies, your privacy policy needs to clearly spell that out. If you are building a list of physical addresses for a future marketing campaign, your visitors deserve to know that. If you plan to track IP addresses and use the information to analyze web traffic, your privacy policy should include that information.

Use Privacy Policies To Your Advantage

Last but not least, your privacy policy gives you a chance to brag about what you are not doing. If you do not share personal information with anyone else, be sure to let your visitors know. In today’s privacy-challenged world, a policy like that could win you new friends and drive customers through your virtual doors.

As you can see, a comprehensive privacy policy is a must for any website or blog, but it is not the only addition you should consider making. Adding a disclaimer to your websites and blogs can provide important legal protections and give your customers additional information about how you use personal information and the steps you are taking to keep their personal information safe.

The exact wording will vary from case to case, and if you plan to use one it is a good idea to gather examples and tailor the disclaimer to your own needs. A disclaimer generally states that you, and everyone else who posts on your page, will be held harmless and cannot be held legally liable for the information posted on the site. A blog owner may use a disclaimer to protect themselves and their guest bloggers, while a business owner could use a disclaimer to reduce the risk of a frivolous lawsuit.

Even if you do not think your website or blog needs a disclaimer, adding it will not cost you anything and it could provide important legal protection and even prevent future prosecution.

Placement Of Your Disclaimer

The placement of the disclaimer is up to you, but it is a good idea to make the disclaimer visible to casual viewers. Some bloggers place their disclaimers at the bottom of the site near the comments section, so visitors who plan to leave a comment will see it and understand its implications.

Website owners can also place their disclaimers in a header or footer via clickable link. Visitors who are interested in learning more can click on the link and read the entire policy for themselves. If you use this technique for your disclaimer, make sure it is in a format most people can read, like a PDF document.

If you run a blog for personal reasons and make little or no money off of it, you can probably write your own disclaimer and privacy policy using examples found on the web. Look at the websites you visit, read their privacy policies and legal disclaimers and use that information as your guide. Some bloggers get pretty creative with their disclaimers, often adding a touch of self-deprecating humor along the way. Others stick strictly to business, making their disclaimers as straightforward as possible. Either approach is fine. The most important thing is adding the disclaimer to your page.

Things are a little bit more complicated if your operate a blog for commercial purposes or use a website to promote your firm. If you have a business, it is a good idea to run any disclaimers and privacy policies past your legal counsel. A good lawyer will be able to provide the guidance you need and tailor your statements to the specific needs of your company. An attorney will also be able to make sure your disclaimer provides all the legal protections you need to stay out of trouble and avoid legal issues.