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Why You Must Write a Privacy Policy for Your Blog

Starting a blog has never been easier - new website builders are easy to use and no longer require any technical skills, making this a perfect platform for people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you have just gone down the blogging route yourself you might be wondering, do all blogs need a privacy policy?

The answer is most likely, especially if you operate a blog for commercial purposes, have affiliate links, ads, or collect any kind of personal information.

Expert tip: Take the hassle of writing a privacy policy for your blog away with our privacy policy generator. It will save you hours of work and possible costly legal mistakes.

What is a Blog Privacy Policy?

You might be wondering what is a privacy policy for a blog and if it differs from any regular privacy policy.

A blog privacy policy is meant to inform users of your website how you collect, use and manage their personal information. In other words, it's no different than any other privacy policy you would see on most websites.

A privacy policy for bloggers typically includes the following sections:

  • A short definition of personal information
  • The type of information that you collect
  • How you collect that information
  • The purpose of collecting that information
  • How you securely store and protect your readers’ personal information
  • The third-party services that you use and that may have access to that information
  • Your use of cookies or other similar tracking technologies
  • Your users’ rights over their data, including how they can opt-out of data collection
  • Contact information - including that of your data protection officer under the GDPR

In addition to the above, you will have to consider which privacy laws apply to you - both the GDPR and the CalOPPA have additional requirements - as well as the particularities of your blog.

A lot of bloggers tend to use affiliate links or programs - if you could make a profit from one of your readers purchasing items through clicking on one of those links, you should disclose that affiliate relationship through the use of an affiliate disclaimer but also explain that your third-party partners may process personal information under the terms of their respective policies.

There is no unique way to write a privacy policy. If you choose to write it yourself, you could use a tone of voice that fits with the one that you use on your blog. As long as the required elements are included and it is easy to find and read for your average blog reader, then you are doing the right thing.

When do Blogs Need to Have a Privacy Policy?

If you are collecting personal information from your readers, then you need to have a privacy policy.

Before coming to the conclusion that you are not collecting that kind of data, consider the following:

  • Do you send out a weekly newsletter to people that have subscribed to your mailing list?
  • Do you ever run contests, whether by yourself or in partnerships with brands or other bloggers?
  • Do you sell products or merchandise directly on your website (eBooks, templates, online courses, etc.)?
  • Do you use third-party services, such as Google Analytics?
  • Do you participate in affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates?
  • Can your readers comment on or share your posts on social media by linking their personal accounts?

If you have answered yes to any of these, then you must have a privacy policy. Personal information can take many forms, from names to email and IP addresses.

Legally Required

Many countries around the world have enacted privacy laws that require websites to have a privacy policy in place that meets their requirements.

Considering the global nature of the Internet and the chances that your readers could be located anywhere across the globe, this is something that you must take into consideration.

Here are two examples of global privacy laws:

CalOPPA

If there is a possibility that your blog may collect personal information from users residing in California, which is highly likely even if you are located abroad, you will have to take into consideration the requirements of the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA).

The CalOPPA requires that websites that collect or use personally identifiable information from their residents have an easily accessible and conspicuously placed privacy policy that meets its requirements. This notably includes explaining to your users how you respond to “do not track requests” and how you intend to inform your users of changes to your privacy policy.

To find out more about what you need to know to comply with California privacy legislation see our blog on CalOPPA.

GDPR

If your blog attracts (or could attract) readers located in the European Economic Area, then you may need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the strictest privacy regulation in the world.

This means that you will need to have a privacy policy that includes all required information under the GDPR, including addressing your use of cookies and requiring consent from your readers. Learn How to Write a GDPR Compliant Privacy Policy.

Best Practice

Even if it were not to be considered legally required should no laws to that effect apply to your blog, it is good practice to have a privacy policy when personal information is collected.

Your readers no doubt value their privacy and, if you want to build a lasting relationship with them, you should make them feel safe by being upfront about what personal information you collect and for what purpose.

Third-Party Services

Unbeknownst to many bloggers, many third-party services require that websites have a privacy policy in place.

Amazon Affiliates

Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, Amazon Associates, sets out in its Associate's Program Policies’ Participation Requirements that to be able to participate in the program a website must adequately and accurately disclose its use of cookies, pixels, and other technologies, which can be done with a privacy policy, and otherwise satisfy applicable legal requirements.

It also states that the participant is solely responsible for its website, including displaying any privacy-related content mandated by applicable laws, citing the ePrivacy Directive and the GDPR.

Therefore, if you are a blogger that earns associate commissions from your readers’ purchases, you will want to comply with those terms. Failing to do so could result in you not being able to participate in the program, which would effectively remove one of your streams of income. It’s simply not worth the risk. Click here to read Privacy Policy for Amazon Affiliates With Examples.

Google Analytics

Google is pretty clear in its terms of use when it comes to what it requires from people using its Analytics service:

Google Analytics shows its privacy policy details

In other words, if you are using Google Analytics, you need to have a privacy policy in place and comply with all applicable privacy laws and regulations. That privacy policy needs to let your readers know that you are using cookies to collect data and also disclose your use of Google Analytics and how it operates.

These two are just examples of some third-party service providers that require that their users have a privacy policy in place. Have a look at what services you are using as there may be more to comply with.

Where Should You Display Your Blog’s Privacy Policy?

Your blog’s privacy policy should be as easy to find as it is to read. You will want to create a new page on your blog to host your privacy policy and link to it in your website footer. Platforms such as WordPress make it relatively simple to achieve.

It is also good practice to remind your readers of its existence and request their consent, when applicable, each time that you collect data from them. This could be at the time of account creation when signing up to your email list, or during the checkout process, for example.

Considering all your policies as a whole is sometimes easier: this can be done by linking to your privacy policy in your terms of use and in your cookie policy and vice versa.

Blog Privacy Policy Examples

WhoWhatWear

WhoWhatWear, owned by Clique Brands Inc., is a major fashion blog, sharing the latest runway and celebrity trends with its wide international audience.

A link to its privacy policy can be found in its website footer, which appears under every single blog post, and not just on the homepage.

WhoWhatWear displays on the bottom of its page its website policies

Readers agree with WhoWhatWear’s Privacy Policy by accessing or using the website, and the company is clear that readers who disagree with its privacy practices should stop using the website and refrain from sharing any personal information.

WhatWhoWear's privacy policy

WhoWhatWear includes a very handy linkable table of contents, which makes its policy easy to read and to navigate:

WhoWhatWear shows its 'Linkable Table of Contents' for easy access privacy policy

The policy is very detailed and transparent when it comes to exactly what type of information is collected, how it is collected, and how it is used. Readers can, at a glance, have a good idea of what type of information the company gathers about them:

WhoWhatWear's privacy policy detailing "Information We Collect"

WhoWhatWear addresses its use of tracking technologies, including cookies, in its privacy policy as well as how it manages the ‘do not track signals’ from California and Delaware residents.

WhoWhatWear shows 'California/Delaware Do Not Track Disclosures' including cookies, in its privacy policy

Due to the nature of this blog, there is a section in the privacy policy that discusses publicly disclosed information: if you have a blog where user-generated content is allowed, such as in comments or forums, you may want to add a similar clause in your policy.

WhoWhatWear's Publicly Disclosed Information on its privacy policy

You will note that WhoWhatWear mentions that it may use user-generated content, which can include photos, as it pleases without attributing it to the original user. Thus it's important to inform your readers to think before they share if you intend to do the same.

Section 13 sets out the additional privacy rights and protections of European and UK users as well as mentions the legal basis for data processing under the GDPR.

WhoWhatWear's section 13 showing additional privacy rights and protections of Europe and UK users

It is also interesting to note that WhoWhatWear keeps an up-to-date list of all third parties using tracking technologies on its website, which can be accessed through the privacy policy itself - not only does it name the third parties, it includes a link to their respective policies.

WhoWhatWear's List of Third Party Tracking Vendors

As you can see from the table of contents, it has a supplemental privacy notice just for California Residents, to comply with the CCPA that came into force in 2020 - this document is also summarized in its general privacy policy.

This addresses the additional rights of users residing in the state of California under the CCPA, notably the right to request access to information, to request that their personal information be deleted, or to exercise their right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information.

The blog makes it easy for its users to manage their data and exercise their rights by having a separate page just for that purpose, accessible under the website footer, with an easy-to-fill request form:

Bolded black header 'Manage My Data' and it's descriptions on a white background from WhoWhatWear's privacy policy for California residents

WhoWhatWear refers to its privacy policy in its terms and conditions of service and has a separate affiliate disclosure statement, accessible through its website footer, to provide full transparency to its users.

WhoWhatWear's Affiliate Compensation Disclosure in its privacy policy

TechCrunch

Startup and technology news website TechCrunch, which is owned by Verizon Media, is one of the biggest blogs on the Internet. Readers can sign up for different newsletters, leave public comments under articles, share them on social media and create an account.

Users can access TechCrunch’s privacy policy during the sign-up process (as seen in the screenshot below):

TechCrunch's sign in form for its privacy policy

You may also find it in the footer:

TechCrunch's show on its bottom page all its policies, including privacy policy

The privacy policy itself is short and to-the-point.

When it comes to the type of information collected, the policy splits this into a few categories, namely: essential information to use their services, the information provided to the company, device information, location information, information from cookies and other technologies, and information from others (such as third parties and affiliates).

When referring to information collected from cookies and other technologies, it links to a separate cookie policy which provides more details in regards to their use.

Verizon Media's Information from Cookies and Other Technologies as part of its privacy policy

Verizon Media ensures its users that it has technical, administrative, and physical safeguards in place to protect user data that it collects or stores - users that want to learn more about these security practices can read through a separate document going over the specific measures taken.

Verizon Media's privacy policy snapshot of its system security

Verizon Media directly addresses in its privacy policy the legal bases under which it processes personal information, as well as links to a separate page on their website which explores each purpose and legal basis in detail.

Verizon Media's privacy policy snapshot

Here is what this page looks like:

Verizon Media's Legal Bases of its privacy policy

This way of summarizing important information and linking to a page with more detailed information is great, as it makes it digestible for readers while still providing maximum transparency.

Users can manage their privacy preferences through Verizon Media’s Privacy Dashboard.

Verizon Media show its Privacy Dashboard and Controls on its privacy policy

Here is what it looks like to a simple website visitor:

Verizon Media's Visitor privacy dashboard and controls

Minimalist Baker

The Minimalist Baker team shares simple recipes through its blog, app, Instagram account, and YouTube channel. Blog readers can leave comments and ratings under each recipe, which requires them to input their names and email addresses. They also have the option to subscribe to a newsletter.

When on the blog, it is evident that third-party advertising services are used, as readers are served with personalized ads. The website even has a “shop” section with kitchen essentials and pantry items used in the recipes. By clicking on one of the links, readers are taken to a third-party vendor, such as Amazon, to make the purchase - safe to say that these are all affiliate links.

Minimalist Baker’s privacy policy can be accessed through its website footer:

Minimalist Baker's webpage footer show all its website policies

The privacy policy itself includes a detailed cookie clause as well as a section related to interest-based advertising:

Minimalist Baker's Interest-Based Advertising

It is made clear to EEA and California residents that they have distinctive rights when it comes to the sharing of information with third-party advertising partners:

Minimalist Baker's privacy policy for its European Economic Area Residents

Additional rights of EEA residents are set out in a separate clause:

Minimalist Baker's Additional Rights of EEA (European Economic Area)Residents

Since Minimalist Baker may process payment details, it also includes a section that addresses transactional data, including contact details and credit card details, with a link to the payment services providers’ respective policies:

Minimalist Baker's Transactional Data

Like many other websites, Minimalist Baker makes it clear to its users that while it does take measures to protect the personal information that is shared with them, no exchange of information over the Internet is 100% secure and that it should not be held liable for any incident:

Minimalist Baker shows 'Security' details under its privacy policy

Minimalist Baker has also provided for the eventuality that its website and assets may be sold one day and informs its readers that their personal information may be one of the assets sold in this context:

Minimalist Baker shows its 'Sale of Business or Assets' under its privacy policy

Perez Hilton

Controversial blogger Perez Hilton runs one of the most popular entertainment and celebrity blogs on the Internet.

The famous blogger and his team share a constant stream of gossip, rumors, and celebrity sightings on which readers are invited to leave a written, video, or audio comment.

Perez HIlton's Conversation blog sharing form

Blog posts are shareable on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the click of a button, and readers are invited to share tips through a contact form on the website:

Perez HIlton's blog contact form

Perez Hilton’s privacy policy is accessible through the website footer, here is what it contains:

Perez HIlton's website policies content

It starts off by informing Californian readers of their rights to request a copy of the personal information that was disclosed to third parties for direct marketing purposes:

Perez HIlton's California Privacy Rights

It then covers what personal information is collected by the company, including from third parties such as social media networks with which the website connects:

Perez HIlton's Information from Third Parties

Last but not least, Perez Hilton informs its readers that usage of his website is subject to this Privacy Notice and to its Conditions of Use, which are both subject to modification:

Perez HIlton's Conditions of Use, Notices and Revisions of its privacy policy

Be sure to look into other examples of privacy policies in different industries to get a good sense of how others write them.

Blog Privacy Policy Generator

If you own a blog, however small it is, and collect personal information, protect your business and your readers by having a transparent blog privacy notice that covers in detail how you collect and use personal information.

While you may choose to write one yourself or to hire a lawyer to do so, know that there are simple options out there that will allow you to get an attorney-drafted blog privacy policy in just a few minutes. Our blog privacy policy generator gives you global coverage and meets most third-party requirements to give you peace of mind.

Don't waste time writing legal documents. Create an attorney-drafted privacy policy for your blog in just a few minutes with our online generator and avoid costly mistakes.