Your website's privacy information and security settings can be significant hurdles when it comes to gaining trust with your visitors. Establishing trust is paramount to enticing visitors to make that final commitment, whether that be making a purchase, choosing to provide their info, or simply making initial contact with you.
Your job is to make sure your visitors feel confident that their information is kept safe and will not be used for nefarious means, or anything other than what they fully expect. While providing assurances are nice, those assurances only go so far as what actually happens. Be sure that your small print reinforces what your visitors already expect to find in regards to how their information is used.
You should have specific pages developed that address both privacy and visitor security issues. These pages should be easy to access and structured in an easy-to-read fashion.
Be sure your privacy and security pages are easy to scan. Categorize information into sections allowing visitors to easily find information that is most important to them.
With each page divided into sections, each main section should start with a short summary or introduction that then leads to more specific points outlined in greater detail.
Identify the different types of information that is collected from your visitors and explain how that information will be used. Be specific so visitors get a complete understanding of what happens to the personal info details they provide.
If cookies are used for the purpose of storing information, explain why and how long the cookie stays active on their computer.
Explain to your visitors if any information collected will be shared with other third parties and explain the circumstances and reasoning why.
Explain how user’s data will be protected and kept safe once their information is collected. Note if any SSL encryption is used, and specifically how information on minors (if applicable) will be protected.
As an additional benefit, it's a good idea to provide further information on how your visitors can protect themselves and their information on the web in general.
Footers are often the "expected" location of links to your privacy and security pages. If not already included, it's best to find a permanent place in your footer for these links.
Contextual / form links
Don't let your footer be the only place for such links. Links to your privacy and security pages should be included in all appropriate locations, such as with forms, shopping cart, etc.
If and where appropriate, use visual images to indicate to visitors they are viewing secure pages or sections of the site, or are entering information into a secure web form. These images give visual confirmation of security that helps establish additional layers of trust.
The security and privacy pages are a good place to provide additional links to sections of the site that allow users to change preferences, contact info, opt out etc.
When establishing trust and credibility it is often the littlest of things that can make the biggest difference. Shoppers simply want to feel comfortable about their purchase. The more small comforts you can provide them the more apt they will be to complete the shopping/purchase process.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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