Does My Website Need a Privacy Policy?

As a small business owner, having a privacy policy on your website is probably the last thing that you need to worry about. Truth be told, you’ll probably never have to ever reference it and no one will probably ever read it. But …

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. While there are no federal or state laws that require you to have one, there are a number of scenarios and situations in which you would need one. That’s why it’s better to have one tucked away on your website than to not have one. After all, the FTC has been known to enforce privacy claims from all the way at the top with businesses like Facebook and Google to small mom-and-pop businesses like yours. 

So what is a privacy policy? It’s your statement to your customers and clients on how you collect their data, what you do with it, where you store it, how long you store it for and how you plan to protect it. Yours may differ a little. Basically, if your website involves the use of personal data, you need a privacy policy. 

What kind of data are we talking about? Any time you collect someone’s email address, name or phone number for example, you have access to personal information. If you’re using Google Analytics to track visitor information (such as location, IP address, browser, etc.) then you need to have a privacy policy. Do you have Facebook’s Pixel installed to help target ads? Better have a privacy policy. Collecting cookies? Privacy policy. Forms? Chats? Yep. In other words, there are few instances where a website wouldn’t need a privacy policy. It’s best to have one regardless. 

Where do you get a privacy policy? The good news is that they’re pretty easy to create. The Better Business Bureau has a sample along with some great tips on how to write one. The FTC’s website is another great resource for creating your own policy. There are also a number of privacy policy generators out there that walk you through the process, step-by-step with your business information to create a custom privacy policy, for a small fee. is a good example where a basic policy is free with the possibility of a few additional add-ons, depending on your business. You can also find a few good templates out there that you can modify accordingly. 

Where does your privacy policy go? Generally speaking, it’s just another page on your website. Nothing fancy. Most small businesses will have a simple link at the bottom of each page where visitors can find your policy. 

… and while we’re dealing with legalities here, keep in mind that this article is just general information and shouldn’t be regarded as legal advice nor as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular legal understanding.

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