Me: You know, that legal language in pop-ups from companies like Apple? Where you have to say you’ve read and agreed to them before you can continue?
Client: Oh, those things! But I don’t really need that for my small business, right?
Me: Well . . . .
And so the conversation goes.
I know, the average person won’t take the time to read privacy policies. And lots of businesses don’t have one. But when it comes to the law, privacy policies are required.
Let’s get into it.
Is it really necessary?
But what if I’m not collecting any personal information?
At this point, you might be thinking “Okay, but my website doesn’t collect any personal information.” Are you absolutely sure about that? Consider these questions:
- Do you have a contact page where a visitor can fill out their name and email to send you a message?
- Does your website allow a visitor to pay you for something?
- Do you have any opt-in boxes on your website to sign up for a newsletter or a free download?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're collecting personal information. And even if you answered no, you don’t want to limit your business from adding these features in the future.
Even basic business websites collect personal information. And they should. From a business and marketing perspective, collecting personal information allows you to better serve your audience.
Option 1: Do it on your own (not recommended).
If you decide not to get an attorney, you can go down two paths:
Option 2: Get help from an attorney (highly recommended).
But deciding that you'll use an attorney is only part of the equation. You want to make sure that you choose the right attorney. Here are 6 tips to help you out:
- Find an attorney that charges flat fees. Attorneys traditionally charge by the hour, but flat fees are becoming more popular. Clients tend to prefer flat fees so they know exactly what they’re paying for. Flat fees force attorneys to consider how long it will take them to complete a project. If it takes the attorney longer, then it’s the lawyer who eats that cost and not the client.
- Find an attorney with transparent pricing. Flat fees are great, but you should have some sense of what an attorney charges before you even reach out. Look, it’s no secret that lawyers have a bad rep for being slimy and untrustworthy. In reality, most of us are not that bad. But even well-respected firms send client invoices that have raised eyebrows and heart rates. If a law firm has taken the time to promote fixed pricing options on its website, that’s a pretty good indicator that you won’t be dealing with lawyers who give the profession a bad name. Also, fixed pricing shows that the attorney is so experienced in that issue that he knows how long that project will take.
- Don’t limit yourself to attorneys in your state. This one might sound strange. In many cases, it’s best to find an attorney who practices in your area. This is because lots of states have their own laws, and it’s often better—even required—to have an attorney that’s licensed to practice in that state. But privacy policies don’t require a deep understanding of state-specific issues. So, in this situation, there’s no need to narrow your search to attorneys in your area.