When building your business website, it is important to make your customers feel safe at all times. It is not just protecting your company's integrity but also getting your clients to trust you and your ability to safeguard all the personal information that they submit on your site.

With this concern in mind, it is now time to create your website's privacy policy. What is an online privacy policy? It is a document that provides details on how your business and your website can protect the information provided by your clients. It also explicates the methods by which you will gather, store, protect and share any personal or sensitive detail that each of your customers may have submitted online.

Now, a website's privacy policy is divided into 5 major sections and these are:

Section 1. Introduction. The introduction gives a brief description of your company's background, products and services. Some websites have specific policies for website visitors under the age of 16, if this applies to you, do not hesitate to include them on the introduction section of the privacy policy.

Section 2. Explain the information that you collect. Every person visiting or accessing your website should know the types of information that you will collect for them to take advantage of your products or services. This is also the part where you need to explain the reasons for gathering specific details such as their contact numbers, email addresses, Social security number and even their credit card information.

Section 3. Explain your methods of gathering data. Although it is quite obvious that you will be using online forms that they need to fill out, it is important to state this concept on the policy as well. Let your customers know if you will be using an automated system to validate and gather data, or if you will be also using third party collectors to gather the necessary information from them. You should also declare the options that your clients can choose from when it comes to the amount of information they provide.

Section 4. Explain your methods of storing data. Customers will not willingly provide sensitive information about themselves if they are not aware of the ways by which you will be protecting them. You have to clearly state how every piece of information will be stored. May it be using a high-tech data base, heavy duty servers, or if you have acquired the services of a third party online data management system. 

Section 5. Provide your contact information. It is important for clients to have an idea on how to contact you in case they have questions about your policies. Do not forget to provide your contact details to make it easier for them to reach you.

Aside from these 5 major sections, there are still other things that you need to include in your website's policy.

Affiliate websites – a major component of an online privacy policy is the information regarding any affiliate companies or websites which you may or may not share customer information with. Customers would like to know if you are working with other websites to provide them specific services. If you own a shopping site, you certainly have to work with other companies such as a courier service to ship and deliver products. This means that you will be sharing certain customer information with them as well. Let your customers know the actual details that you will be sharing with the courier service.

Indicate that policies may be changed or updated anytime. This is also important because any change in the policy will affect your customers in one way or the other. Letting them know that there is a possibility that the document can be edited will give them an idea on what to expect.

Policies for sharing information. Even though your customers have given you the information that you need, you still have to include the different types of information that you need to share with affiliates. You also have to explain that you will not share any information without your consent.

Having a properly constructed privacy policy is indicative of a well designed website. You can consult with your web designers as to how you can make this an integral part of your business and how you can construct it in a way that your customers would easily understand.

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