Websites 101: Terms & Conditions, Privacy, & Cookies Policies

What Are These Policies, and Are They Required?

Every website has that one area that people hardly click or look at. It can be in the footer, and the Contact Us page or even the blog section of a site.

More often than not, the least popular parts of a site are seemingly hidden away. These parts are Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Cookies Policy.

These three areas of a website are so overlooked and taken for granted that you’ll have found yourself questioning their significance. Know this: They are required.

Whatever business you and your site are centered on, you’ll need at minimum, these three pages of disclosure. In this article, we’ll fill you in on what these parts are and why you need them.

Is a Website Terms and Conditions Page Absolutely Necessary?

Is a Website Terms and Conditions Page Absolutely Necessary - PERC
Is a Website Terms and Conditions Page Absolutely Necessary – PERC

It depends on what you mean by “necessary.” If by necessary, you mean something that your site needs to ensure its survival with conversions, then the answer is easily “no.”

After all, how many people have you heard mentioning the details of a site’s terms and conditions? We’re willing to bet that you haven’t come across many people who have done this — if any.

Despite this, you might want one for protection. Considering the contents of the Terms and Conditions section, we recommend including this section on your site.

The Terms and Conditions are a set of website policies. In particular, they contain the rules and regulations of your site as they serve your business.

The Terms and Conditions section contains guidelines and stipulations about the usage of your site. Also in this section are provisions for legally using your site’s contents. Essentially, the website Terms and Conditions page tells your user what to do and what not to do on your website.

The Website Terms and Conditions page may not be the most high-traffic, high-conversion part of your site, nor is it likely to be the most visible. Nonetheless, having it ensures that everything done on your site is compliant with the law.

Let’s face it — nothing says “legal and legit” better than an entire section that’s dedicated to logistics like these.  

What About the Privacy Policy?

What About the Privacy Policy -  PERC
What About the Privacy Policy – PERC

Having a visible Privacy Policy is a must in this day and age.

Companies and governments are resorting to different means to track people. At the risk of sounding like conspiracy theorists, we at PERC are aware that certain pieces of data are valuable, especially in marketing.

The data that is important in the realm of marketing is user data. This user data can take many forms, including:

  • The user’s IP address
  • Login times
  • Browsing patterns
  • Purchase patterns (i.e., the kinds of items users add to your shopping cart or browse)
  • Media preferences

All these pieces of data, and more, paint a picture of what a user likes and is likely to consume. This makes user data extremely valuable to digital marketers.

Nowadays, people are already aware of this. Users know that with every minute they spend online, their data is being collected.

This is where the legal ramifications kick in.

Data is collected without the knowledge of the user. At the end of the day, the user has an innate right to full disclosure about any party’s efforts to collect data.

While not many companies have been on the receiving end of lawsuits for data collection, it’s a possibility. The way to avoid trouble is to issue a sort of notice that your site collects data from the user.

This way, you avoid liabilities, shifting accountability to the user. If the user goes on your site, consumes its content, and does this knowing that you are collecting data from them, your actions will have consent.

As a result, you’re legally in the clear. This is why a Privacy Policy is necessary for every site these days.

The Cookie Policy and Why You Need One

The Cookie Policy and Why You Need One - PERC
The Cookie Policy and Why You Need One – PERC

Let’s begin with what cookies are. According to Kaspersky, cookies are files. These files are in text format and contain user-related data.

Cookies are created by the servers that house an online user’s connection. Specific for each user, the data created by servers contain information like passwords and IP addresses.

These can hardly be significant security threats. In fact, cookies can make a user’s browsing experience more streamlined. As a digital marketer, it can allow you to send ads specific to the preferences of your user.

Despite the relatively benign nature of cookies, they are still pieces of user-related data. As mentioned in the earlier section, you’re free to collect data so long as you give your user a heads up.

The same principle applies to your site’s Cookie Policy. Your Cookie Policy is a notice of your site’s data collection.

Your Cookie Policy should pop up as a visible notice to your user, informing them that your site collects data.

Depending on how you craft your pop up or page, you can allow access to the nuances of your Cookie Policy. In fact, this is even encouraged by online laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Like your privacy policy, it releases you and your company from any liability that may arise resulting from your site’s data collection.

Aren’t These the Same For All Sites?

If you’re thinking of copying and pasting the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy from other sites, you must have asked this question.

Before we weigh in on whether or not you should do this, allow us to answer the question first. Yes, for the most part, website policies don’t differ much between websites.

In fact, if you compare several sites and their policies, you’ll be surprised to see not much variation in the language of the policies.

Be that as it may, applying a cookie-cutter approach to your website policy may be something you need to think twice about. Keep in mind that while most sites are businesses, not all businesses are the same.

Because of the differences between websites, your reasons for certain activities will be slightly different from any other business. For example, if you run an e-commerce site, your cookie and privacy policy will differ from a site that has a newsletter as its main service.

With that said, there are two things you can do to come up with your unique website policies.

Creating Website Policies Unique to Your Site

There are two sure-fire ways to craft policies that will not just protect your site but allow it to perform better — especially with targeted marketing. Due to the legal nature of website policies, an obvious option is to seek the services of an attorney.

1. Consult an Attorney

Consult an Attorney - PERC
Consult an Attorney – PERC

When it comes to all things legal, no other person will be best qualified to advise you than an attorney. More specifically, you want to seek counsel from an attorney that specializes in any of the following:

  • Corporate law
  • Copyright law
  • Data privacy
  • Intellectual property

2. Hire an Online Compliance Service

Hire an Online Compliance Service - PERC
Hire an Online Compliance Service – PERC

Online compliance services are companies that draft privacy policies and other similar website policies. These companies cater to businesses with websites — businesses like the one you might have.

There are several companies that offer privacy policies. One we recommend is Privacy Policies. This is a company that has been in the game for years, creating website policies that are unique to the business under which it is contracted.

Not only are the policies of Privacy Policies unique and professional; many companies will also swear by how affordable and quick their services are. In fact, you can order your policies and have them within minutes.

Wrapping Up

In short, Website Terms and Conditions, and Privacy and Cookie Policies are a must for your website.

They may not drive the most traffic to your content, but having these will save you from a lot of trouble if a user decides to take legal action.

For policies that you can’t draft on your own, there’s help available.

If you need more assistance, you’ve got us — PERC. Our expert team can handle any of your web design needs


Xavier Berkness

Xavier Berkness is the President of PERC, a renowned Digital Marketing Company. With an impressive career spanning over two decades since 1996, Xavier has earned a reputation as a leader in the field of digital marketing. He has leveraged his deep understanding and expertise in building websites to author a highly-regarded book, 'Mastering On-Page Optimization - The Secret Sauce of an SEO System.' Xavier's impactful contributions to the industry have been recognized in a Star Tribune feature, where he was hailed as a 'Mover and Shaker.' Outside the professional realm, Xavier is a nature lover who cherishes time spent near the ocean. He continues to fuel his passion for digital marketing, relentlessly seeking new knowledge and strategies every day. His combination of professional prowess and personal charm make Xavier a trusted authority in the digital marketing industry.