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Back in the previous decade, a blogger could have gotten away with not including anything serious or basically what’s the equivalent of a fine print on a document. After all, blogging mostly just fun and games back then. Nowadays, however, blogging is a business among many things; a business needs laws to protect both it and the customers. This is where the blog privacy policy comes in.

It also can’t be helped that the latest in data-mining and user-behavior technology collects information. Such information includes their name, email address, social media and online footprint, comments, and reader actions. Your blog privacy policy can help them understand why this may be necessary for your website’s growth or their benefit even.

Of course, all those are within laws and international regulations– all of which your blog should observe. Not all of your readers and users know of this which is why it’s crucial to inform them using your blog privacy policy. Think of it as a sure way for your readers to trust you while also keeping your blog or business insulated from copyright lawsuits. Here’s a list of what you should include.

Simple English

First thing’s first, communication is key to making your audience understand what they’re getting themselves into. That is, of course, whenever they choose to go to your website. Also, you’ll have to make sure that everything in your privacy policy is written in plain English; do minimize the use of idioms and forget about ambiguous terms.

You might even want to ask a lawyer for help when writing such a document. This can ensure as little misinterpretation on the readers’ part as possible. Do tone down the legal jargon though as that can be intimidating for a lot of readers. You still want to keep it friendly to earn the trust of your audience while informing them of how your website operates.

Information collection

Now that making your blog privacy policy readable is out of the way, you can focus on the important technical bits. The primary part of that is what kind of information your website collects from the users. Does your website collect their names, addresses, or other contact or financial details? Make sure to be clear about those, particularly if said information is sensitive.

Explicitly tell your audience of this practice and maybe even explain to them why this needs to be done. Surely enough, there will be some who you’ll turn off and away because of this but it’s a lot better than lying to them. In any case, the purpose of telling them this information is transparency and trust.

Information use

It’s not enough for your users to know what information from them you’re collecting; you also have to clearly tell them what you’re using the information for. If you’re actually sharing their information with a third-party or another business or website, then that’s all the more reason to keep them updated.

After all, it’s their information your using and the fact that they agreed to it means their privacy is in your hands. More often than not, the website or sometimes even Google will use their information for algorithm adjustments. This is to personalize recommendations among other things. Your audience should be aware of this, more so if you run an eCommerce blog or website.

Relevant Laws you abide by

If your website or the area it’s available on has a specific policy or law that you’re complying with, it’s also fair to inform your website users about it. It helps whenever some users find something different on your website whenever they’re changing areas; it will certainly clear up confusion why some content might be restricted in certain countries.

Such laws exist commonly in different states in the US for example. Therefore it’s also safe to assume that each country has a different internet privacy law. Informing your users of this is a welcome courtesy especially if you’re running an international blog or website.

RELATED: Your Email, Your Privacy and Your Blog

Cookies

You’ll eventually run by cookies in your blogging career sooner or later– unless you already have. By which case, you should also be using a separate privacy policy for cookies that asks for the users’ permission to collect their cookies. That’s because cookies are a whole different breed of information that better maps user behavior and preference.

As such, how some third-party services use them can be a privacy risk, something even Google is all too familiar with. Anyway, you might have already come across websites using such methods; some even ask if you’re alright with their cookie collection the moment you punch in their URL. If you’r using services like AdSense or AdWords, as well as other similar ones from Google, then it’s mandatory you include this in your blog privacy policy.

Partnership with other websites/ads

It’s not just your partnership with Google that you have to announce to your users but also with other websites as well. Be it your business’ sister blogs or having links that promote other websites’ products or content. Your users or audience has every right to know whom you’re conducting business with.

A quick and decisive clause in your main blog privacy policy or even disclaimer page should do the trick. If the partnership is a little to complex for a clause, then make sure to allot a whole sub-section for it. Not doing so would be shady and is generally considered a bad practice.

Effective date

If it’s your first time introducing a blog privacy policy, then you owe it to your users to inform them of when it will take effect. A simple phrase mentioning when’s the effective date of the privacy policy will do wonders for the legality of your blog.

Then again, you can also add that your privacy policy will take effect sometime in the future if you want a test run first. Regardless, including the date of implementation is a requirement you don’t want to miss unless you want your users to call you out.

Updates and changes

When all has been said and done, your blog is yours alone. That means you can do what you want with it as long as it falls within the law. By that we mean you can include a form of disclaimer on your blog privacy policy regarding updates and changes.

You do have to make it crystal clear which is subject to change or not. Additionally, any changes made effective also have to have their own date of implementation so as to avoid confusion. On a final note, some users might want to opt-out of their agreement with your privacy policy, if mostly about reciprocating trust.

RELATED: Blogging for Dummies in 2019: The Only Cheat Sheet You Need

Author: Natividad Sidlangan

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