Do we need a “Cookie Policy” on our website?

Do we need a “Cookie Policy” on our website?

Whether or not your organization is subject to the GDPR or other privacy regulations, if you have a website, you should be providing a concise and comprehensive privacy policy for your site visitors. An essential part of that policy is a description of how, where and why your site uses cookies.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small text file that websites and other online applications save on our computers. Their purpose is to store information to help to recognize a user during subsequent visits. For the site owners, cookies help them measure traffic, target user segments and better understand how their sites are being used. And for end users, cookies can save time and make browsing easier by logging them into applications automatically or otherwise pre-loading preferences when a site is visited.

How do I determine what cookies are being used on my website?

Even if you think your website isn’t using cookies, chances are that it is. For instance, if you’re running a content management system, security software or traffic analytics application, those tools typically use cookies.

To see the cookies being utilized on your website (or any website) or to see what cookies are stored on your device, try using these resources:

  • Cookiebot.com
    This site offers a free scan and cookie inventory of any website. It also can provide an ongoing service for managing your cookies and helping with your compliance needs.
  • Whatarecookies.com
    This site has a list of instructions on how to find the cookie information that is stored on your computer or device

Notifying your visitors

Typically a cookie policy will be inserted into a larger privacy policy. That policy should be accessible from the footer of your website, making it available to your visitors from any page on the site. The privacy policy link is usually placed alongside the copyright notice and links to the ever exciting ‘disclaimer’ and ‘site map’ pages.

However, with the advent of GDPR (and even with its predecessor, the Data Protection Directive) it is considered a best practice to use a ‘pop-up’ style’ alert to notify site visitors about your use of cookies. Visit our homepage and look in the bottom right hand corner for an example of what we’re talking about.

To add your own pop-up alert to your website, visit Silktide’s cookie consent generator. This resource provides an easy-to-use form for generating the code for a cookie alert pop-up. The tool offers a number of different options that allow you to customize the language, link and formatting of the pop-up. After you select your configuration options you can copy a snippet of javascript that gets placed just before the </head> tag on your website.

Don’t wait

As end user’s privacy concerns continue to increase and stricter privacy policies become law, having a cookie policy on your site will be the expected standard. Getting ahead of the issue and showing your visitors that you take their privacy seriously sets a first impression that can go a long way towards engaging visitors and turning them into clients or customers. And for your visitors who are already clients, a clear, concise cookie policy will assure them that their privacy is a priority to your organization.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions regarding implementing a cookie policy for your website.

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