Taking A Website From Good To Great - Part 1: Protecting Privacy Is Good For Profits
Consumers and governments are increasingly aware of online privacy and the implications of not taking it seriously. From the minor annoyance of spam, to ad blockers, to social media embarrassments, to increasingly frequent data breaches; people visiting your website are behaving increasingly cautious with their personal data and governments are paying more attention to regulation of user privacy.
If you have a website of any kind, you have a goal of a conversion of some kind for the end user. This could be as simple as hit counts on a blog post, or perhaps ad impressions and clicks. It could be asking for an email address to sign up for your newsletter. Perhaps you are asking for a payment for a product or service.
No matter how small or large your conversion goal is, your website is directly involved with the privacy of the end user. Legislation in many countries requires websites to comply with specific privacy protection measures. Even if you decided to block the entire known I.P. address of a particular region, you still could not ensure that users were not circumventing the block and accessing your website. As such, it is the responsibility of the website owner to be in compliance with the laws of the countries whose users will be accessing your website.
Policies To Consider
- Terms & Conditions
- Return & Refund Policy
- Copy and paste is not a suitable solution to international laws as they are updated.
- Europe has a law specific to "cookies", a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while the user is browsing that website.
- Websites are required to present a banner when the user first visits the site, notifying users that cookies are used during their use of the website.
- Websites must obtain user consent to install cookies.
Terms & Conditions
- These are the terms that a user agrees to when using a website.
- Can significantly reduce your liability by providing clarity in the case of disputes.
Return & Refund Policy
- Provides clarity as to whether or not refunds and/or returns are permitted, under which circumstances, and who pays for the return.
- Most credit card processing companies require this to be on your website before they will permit you to accept online payments.
In summary, the failure to provide clear and concise policies on your website can lead to unnecessary expenses for your you or your business as a result of litigation due to non compliance with international laws that mandate how user privacy must be handled online. Protect your profits by limiting your liability and boosting consumer confidence in your website with proper use of these policies.