How to Add a Privacy Policy in WordPress

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Every webmaster should protect themselves and their sites from legal penalties and potential repercussions. This piece shows you how to add a privacy policy in WordPress.

Legal documents are a tedious yet vital part of running a website, blog, or eCommerce store. Please don’t ignore them. Adding privacy policies to WordPress websites is a one-off job. The only time you may need to redo it is if there are future changes to the said policy.

Why Privacy Policies Matter

Privacy rules do vary from country to country. The US has a patchwork of state and federal laws. Some of those include the 1914 Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC). The purpose of the FTC is to regulate unfair or deceptive commercial practices. Europe currently has the best-developed privacy laws of all. Many countries outside the EU have European privacy rules at their core.

Websites hosted in—or that operate within—the EU must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This compliance is all about the protection of online privacy and transparency. Visitors have a legal right to know what data a website collects and how it’s used. They should also know how to delete that data if they so wish.

Two-Way Protection

Website owners are also site visitors and get the same protection as everyone else. Links to up-to-date legal documents look after owners, visitors, and or members. Moreover, a site that doesn’t link to a privacy policy cannot use certain third-party apps. Google services such as AdSense and Google Analytics are two examples.

What Privacy Policies Cover

The wording varies between policies, but typically covers all or some of the following:

  • Effective date of the current privacy policy
  • Name of the site owner and email contact (some countries only)
  • Name of active data-collecting apps
  • Full disclosure of third-party data access
  • How the site collects and uses data, including cookie information
  • Notification process if or when there are policy changes and or updates

How to add a Privacy Policy Page in WordPress

WordPress is a superb Content Management System (CMS) that makes everything easy. That includes adding a privacy policy and other legal papers to your blog or website. This quick tutorial walks you through this simple process from the WP Dashboard, so log in now.

Next, select Settings, then Privacy from the extended menu:

You’re now at the Privacy Settings screen. The information here is simple yet critical, so please take a moment to read it. You get to either upload an existing privacy policy or create a new one. The generic template has helpful details on how to add relevant content. Click the Check Out Our Guide link on this screen if you need help with your policy content.

Choose an existing Privacy Policy from the dropdown menu then click the Use This Page.

Or, click the Create New Page button to open a draft template:

The draft template looks something like the example below:

The link to the help guide stays near the top of the screen (yellow highlight). The template scrolls down the page with content that you can replace or edit as needed. It shouldn’t take long to produce a new, WordPress privacy policy for your website or blog. The Preview button on the top right lets you view changes before you publish the file.

Here’s how the format editor looks for each of the sections:

Point to note: No privacy policy will show on the live site until after it’s published.

You must provide a link to your published privacy policy page so that visitors can access it. Most site owners choose the footer area, but you can easily add it to a menu if you prefer.

From your Dashboard side menu, go to Appearance, then select Widgets:

Widget screens may look a little different depending on the theme, but the principle is the same. The one used to illustrate here is the Twenty Twenty Version: 1.4.

In this example, we’re going to drag the Navigation Menu from the Available Widgets (left), and drop it into the website’s Footer #1 (right):

You can position the Navigation Menu wherever you want it in the footer #1 section. For this example, we’ll place it at the bottom, directly under Meta.

Our Navigation Menu is new, so it doesn’t have any menus yet. Click the Create Some link.

Type Privacy Policy into the Menu Name box on the next screen, then click Create Menu:

Now go back to the Widgets screen.

Select Privacy Policy from the Select Menu dropdown, followed by Save.

Now, select the Privacy Policy from the Pages tab on the left and click on Add to Menu to insert that page into the menu:

With the Privacy Policy now appearing in the menu, click the Save Menu button again.

Now click Welcome then Visit Site from the Dashboard menu on the top left of the screen.

Scroll down to see the link to your newly added privacy policy in your footer area.

That’s it—a quick, straightforward way to create and link to a privacy policy in WordPress.

Legal disclaimer

I’m not a legal expert and nor do I claim to be. The advice here about online privacy policies is for general information purposes only. Consult an expert if you have doubts or concerns related to the legalities of privacy policies, terms of service, and or other formal-type disclaimers.

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