Website cookies are the small digital files that are stored on a user’s device (PC or smartphone). These text files contain small pieces of data that are used to store the name of your website and identify a user’s device when they make a return visit.
As the Cookie Law applies to all online businesses, the majority of websites use several cookies. Although some users may find them annoying, if you keep your notifications simple, informative and transparent, you can help alleviate any concerns they might have.
There is a wide range of information you can store in a cookie. For example:
- The pages people visited
- The length of time they spent on each page or the website as a whole
- The account holders who have logged in
- The links that visitors clicked
- The settings or the preferences they selected
- The items they chose/bought
The primary purpose of recording a visitor’s behaviour is to customise their user experience.
- The specific data that you are tracking
- The purpose of the collected information
- Where you intend to send people’s data
As mentioned earlier, the purpose of cookies is to improve the user experience. Unfortunately, many users have grown wary of cookies as they are concerned about their online privacy and security. In fact, these people are right in the sense that cookies do pose a potential risk. For instance, you can use these files to monitor, store and share a visitor’s every move on your website. For this reason, website owners need to obtain explicit consent from their visitors before storing or sharing their browsing information.
GDPR and Cookies
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law intended to protect a person’s private information online. GDPR rules guide businesses on how they should handle the sensitive information provided by their customers and users. Violations may result in fines and other penalties.
As cookies contain visitors’ personal information, you must tell people what you collect. You also need their express consent before you obtain and process their data. Furthermore, implied consent through disclaimers is not allowed under the GDPR.
This is why you need to include a cookie consent banner and policy page on your website. You should also provide visitors with a clear option allowing them to accept or reject the cookies.
Learn about the cookies applicable to your website
You should begin by identifying the type of cookies that a website like yours will use. This will enable you to create a specific and valid policy for your site. Besides your own cookies, don’t forget to check the ones set by third parties; you should read their cookie policies to discover what they are using on your site. You can use Cookiebot’s free tool to do this: https://www.cookiebot.com/en/
Design the cookies
Plan the content you want to incorporate in your policy
- Types of cookie used
- The data you are tracking
- The length of time your file will reside on a visitor’s browser
- Where you send the data and who you share it with
- Guidance on how to reject the cookies or change the cookie settings