Website Privacy Policies & Cookie Consent – Easily add them into your WordPress website

Mar 29, 2023 | WordPress Wednesday

Understand how to help your clients get website privacy policies and cookie consent forms on their websites. Kori Ashton interviewed Hans Skillrud the VP of Termageddon to learn about Privacy Policies, Terms of Service, Cookie notifications, and more. NOTE: This is not considered legal advice. Please connect with a lawyer for legal help. This video is for the purpose of helping you understand Termageddon’s policy generator plugin and some basic terminology.

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– Whether you like it or not, privacy laws are coming.

– [Announcer] Freelancers and agency owners get access to two free Termageddon licenses and other free resources for crafting your privacy policies, terms of use statement, cookie policies and more in this short video.

– Does every website actually even need a privacy policy?

– What I want agencies to do more than anything is not copy legal documents for their clients from my competitor sites or non-compliant templates.

– So Hans, as freelancers or an agency owner why should I encourage all of my clients to have a privacy policy on their website?

– Websites collect things like names and emails through contact forms. They collect things like IP address through security and analytics tools. So when you’re building these websites for clients that are collecting people’s personal information, those website owners now may need to comply with a multitude of privacy laws and may be required by multiple laws to make very specific disclosures in their privacy policy. So, and I don’t know about you but when I was running my agency, none of my clients had that type of knowledge. So like who’s gonna be the one to tell ’em if it’s not the person building their website? And it’s not like you have to get a law degree to say it, it’s just like, “Hey, you know, you should look into getting policies so that they can make a decision if they wanna comply with laws or not.”

– So what is a privacy policy?

– A privacy policy on your website explains to users what information that you’re collecting from them, whether it be behind the scenes through security and analytics tools or things they’re submitting directly on your website through like contact forms. It explains who you share that data with. And a lot of website owners think, “oh, I don’t share any data,” but sharing data is a little bit more common than I think the average website owner realizes. A good example is when someone submits an inquiry, do you receive an email in your inbox with that person’s contact details? That’s an excellent example of sharing data with your email service provider, which is very common. It’s just that privacy laws require you to disclose things like that. A privacy policy will disclose the exact disclosures you’re required to make under the privacy laws that apply specifically to you. So to get a proper privacy policy set up for your business, you first need to identify the laws that apply to you because only then can you identify the disclosures you specifically are required to make.

– Well, so most of my clients are really small business like startups, and I have a weird array of industries from restaurants to small home-based businesses. Does every website actually even need a privacy policy?

– Great question. And you know, please note everything I share in this video is not legal advice. It’s being provided for informational purposes only. Always speak to your attorney before making any legal decisions. So a privacy policy is only required if privacy laws apply to you. Privacy laws start applying to website owners the moment they start collecting the personal information of their visitors. So with that all said, not all websites need a privacy policy. The moment you start collecting personally identifiable information is when you need to consider if privacy laws apply to you. So it’s important to understand, you know, not only do forms help people collect personal information like names and emails, but behind the scenes things like IP addresses are often collected both for analytics and security purposes. So just keep in mind what you may be collecting both in front and behind the scenes with your website.

– So in the fine print of websites, we typically see the link, you know, for copyright stuff and then the link to privacy policy. And then there’s typically this terms of use or terms of service link as well. What is that?

– Yeah, so I actually didn’t know this one either. So turns out a terms of use, terms of service, terms and conditions, terms, those are all pretty much interchangeable words. And a terms is designed to limit your liability as a website owner by stating basic rules to using the website. Copyright infringement is such an excellent example that one little disclosure can not only protect your own personal intellectual property but also can create what’s called a DMCA notice which I’m getting into the weeds now. But a DMCA notice can help reduce your chances of being sued for any potential copyright infringement that you’re infringing upon. It’s certainly not a get outta jail free card but it has prevented businesses from being sued for copyright infringement. And I like a terms of service for virtually any website because you can have disclosures in there like saying, “Hey, we offer links to third party sites. We’re not responsible when you click on one of those links. So if you click on that link and that site gets hacked and you get hacked, you can’t come back and sue us.” And that’s why I like a terms of service for virtually any modern website in this day and age. And obviously a terms can also, it’s also requirement if you take payments through your website as well, so that can help explain rules to using the website like your refunds and cancellation policies while also limiting your liability as a website owner.

– So help me with some language that I can feel empowered to educate my clients with when I’m talking about cookies.

– Oh, okay, cookies. Yeah, so cookies are one of those items that comes up that everyone kind of is just like “I have absolutely no idea what to do about it.” So cookie is a little packet of data that goes onto the browser of your website visitor. There’s nothing wrong with cookies. Cookies are a wonderful thing. They help ensure that, you know, language settings are set correctly so they can see the website in the language that they understand. But there’s also the use of cookies for non-essential purposes, such as utilizing for analytics tools or for advertising purposes. And those types of cookies are protected and regulated under certain privacy laws like GDPR which protects residents of the EU and the UK Data Protection Act which protects residents of the UK. Those visitors coming from those areas, you have a legal obligation to first get consent prior to letting those scripts fire and put non-essential cookies on their browsers. So that was kind of eye-opening to me is like, oh, by default I can’t put these things on these people, these website visitors’ browsers, I have to get their consent first. And a properly built cookie consent solution will help do that.

– You provide several tools for us as freelancers and agency owners. You even provide this PDF file that is a sales pitch on how to educate our clients and approach them from an education perspective versus a sales pitch. But you equip us with some really cool language and I wanna highlight that here. I’m gonna put the link in the description box below so that other freelancers and agency owners can pick this up and start to utilize this in their sales team or in their own conversations with their clients. Thank you for that awesome resource.

– Absolutely, yeah, please enjoy it. And that’s why we provide assets like our website policies waiver. It’s free. You don’t even have to recommend Termageddon. I’m a big advocate for just getting that documentation in place that tells your clients, “Hey, I just built a website for you that potentially could collect regulated data like names and emails. That does not mean I’m responsible for your website policies. It is your responsibility to comply with laws” and our waiver gives your clients a choice. You know, you can send me the policies that your attorney creates, you can use a generator like Termageddon or you can choose to do nothing. But the reason why I love that educational material is because it puts the responsibility into the right hands. It is not the agency’s responsibility for the client to comply with laws. And a document like that just helps ensure that everyone understands the relationship and you know, again, you don’t even have to recommend Termageddon. Like take it, use it, like, enjoy it. I hope it protects you at the very least. And hopefully clients take a turn and also make some decisions on whether they wanna comply with laws or not.

– Okay, Hans. So how can Termageddon actually help protect me as a freelancer or an agency owner from a potential lawsuit?

– Well, I think it’s important to understand that Termageddon is a technology. So we’re not a legal service provider. And that’s why more than anything we always tell agencies to recommend to clients. You know, nothing beats hiring an attorney but if you don’t have the funds or you’re not ready to invest that type of money, Termageddon can be a great alternative but it’s not a legal service provider. But with that being said, obviously you know, our goal is to create the most comprehensive policies in the world. Our business hinges on that plan. And so I would say the very first step a website agency can do is set up policies for their own website, that will explain to your prospects your privacy practices and help limit your liability as a website owner. It also, in my opinion, demonstrates professionalism to prospects considering wanting to work with you. In addition to that, we do provide that waiver we were talking about earlier where you can educate your clients on these potential requirements. And the call to action that your clients have to sign is their acknowledgement that no matter what they choose to do, whether it’s to use Termageddon or use an attorney or choose to do nothing, they sign off acknowledging that it is not your responsibility for them to comply with privacy laws. And in my opinion, that’s a wonderful way to protect an agency because well, clients may downplay it like, “oh, I don’t really need it.” So they sign off saying they don’t want it, that’s great, that is their decision. But if they end up getting fined or sued in the future because of new privacy law changes or just something they were not doing correctly with their website, they can’t come back to you and be like, “Hey, you never told me about this.” ‘Cause you can actually literally hold up. “You remember when you signed this document?” So that’s why I like that asset so much. And again, you don’t need to recommend Termageddon to utilize it, it’s just putting education and documentation in place because we are in a regulated industry and I feel like I have to scream that from the mountaintop. Like we have to accept it, everyone, we’re in a industry that is getting regulated and there will be agencies that embrace it and there’s gonna be agencies that keep pretending it doesn’t exist and like, “oh, my clients don’t need it.” Like, well you’re kind of making legal decisions for your client at that point. I would recommend embracing it and just ensuring your client understands you’re not their legal representative and that’s whether or not you recommend Termageddon. That’s a general statement for this industry.

– So if I have two clients, 10 clients, 200 clients, is Termageddon scalable and how would I get started with you guys?

– Yeah, so as an agency owner, I knew that investing my own time and resources into like learning about policies would be enough of a struggle. So that’s why we give agencies a free license forever, no questions asked, it’s free for you. I think we’ll also be talking about a promotion where we’re gonna actually give agencies two free licenses at Termageddon. Usually we give agencies one free license to try us out. But since Kori and I have known each other for quite a while now, we decided we’ll throw in an extra one for anyone who decides to apply today. And what happens then is that we actually review these applications. We’ll send you a personalized welcome email if we approve you or we’ll ask you for additional information if we can’t verify your agency status just yet. So once you receive that email, you’ll be set up, you’ll have agency access. And because we manually approved you we are able to not only set you up with like a promo code and affiliate link if you wanna have clients pay us directly and you receive recurring commissions. But also if you’re wanting to resell Termageddon, you have the ability to buy licenses, one at a time at wholesale rates. And you know, if you have like a ton of clients that you’re already servicing and you’re wanting to educate them about the growing importance of privacy, we even have bulk plans that you can buy that save you even additional money.

– That’s incredible. So they can visit, I’ll again, put that link in the description box below so you can go get in on that deal where you’re gonna get two licenses. So that’s two different websites that can be running the Termageddon WordPress plugin. And that plugin does what specifically for us?

– Yeah, so Termageddon actually you generate embed codes and you copy and paste those embed codes into your policy pages. Now when you go through our questionnaire, the very first step we walk you through is to figure out what privacy laws you need to make disclosures for. Based on that, we’ll let you know if you do need a cookie consent solution or not. And if you do, we offer a plug-in that not only ensures the cookie consent gets pasted as high up in your header as possible which is necessary for proper consent solutions to manage scripts that are non-essential to get consent first. It helps ensure it goes to the very tippy top of it but you can also utilize the plugin for like geolocation features like where to display the consent tool to or who not to show it to, for example.

– So let’s visit and go get two free licenses as an agency owner. Thank you so much, Hans.

– Bye, Kori.

– Bye.