Internet Privacy and Security Issues

What your visitors want to know about your site - your Site Policy

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Studies by IBM and others find that internet users want and need assurance that their privacy and security is being addressed. Not only that, your visitor, according to these studies, will not necessarily understand that a Privacy link has to do with both privacy and security. Since internet users are scanning for information, they want and require easily identifiable links. Let me give you a few reasons why you should address internet privacy and security issues:


1) Privacy and Security Build Trust

If you sell a product on your site, ask for someones email address or otherwise take personal details from your visitor, a Site Policy, (either including Privacy and security statements or separate) builds trust. If you say in black and white that you do not sell the email addresses, then the public can (and should) hold you to that.


2) Clear Statements Stop Misunderstandings Dead

Some users will leave a Web site if they can't find the answer to an important question like whether their credit card data is properly safeguarded (and only a small minority of users is aware of the security icon in the browser). The issue here is that they do not necessarily understand the security safeguards build in. Unless you offer those security statements in links your visitor can find quickly, some folk will leave your site.


3) Ease of use

It may be more work for you to add links which you think are already easy to understand, but remember visitors are truly 'surfing' you pages or scanning. If you have a contact form or payment form, it is wise to add a privacy and/or security link close to the actual form itself. (Links at the bottom of a page are often ignored.)


4) Security or Privacy or both

Visitors have different issues and questions. They may want to see a statement about privacy when giving away their email address but they may also need to see a statement about Security before they reach for their credit card on your payment or donation page. Consider creating both a Security (usually in the Site Policy) and a Privacy link.


5) Internet Privacy and Security Summary

The more trust you can build in the few moments your visitor is with you the better. Take their privacy and security seriously and offer them the simplest methods to understand what you offer.

PS. I also take your privacy seriously and thus, when you email me, I promise (in writing) not to spam or abuse the priviledge of communicating with you.