voice actor website cookies and privacy

Cookies and Privacy – make your voice website legally compliant

Yes, I know – what an amazingly dull read for a blog. Who wants to read about cookies and privacy law? Voiceovers are a creative bunch and understandably this topic probably isn’t going to inspire you. Unfortunately, as boring as this is, it’s an often-missed legal requirement and as a voice actor you need to ensure you know what the requirements are, and how to ensure you are compliant.

It’s dull. It’s not at all sexy or fun. It’s also quite technical, so I’ll do my best to summarise the key bits for you and give you some how-to guides to get your website compliant. I’ll cover the main website platforms – WordPress, WIX and Squarespace.

Do I need a Privacy Policy and cookies banner on my voiceover website?

The quick answer is YES. You need both.

Every single website collects data in some shape or form, and if you are based in the European Economic Area (EEA), the United Kingdom or Switzerland you need to comply to the GDPR laws.

I’m in no way a legal professional, so this is where you can read the full GDPR policy here,

But I’m based outside the EU, do I need a cookie popup and privacy policy too?

That depends. You need a cookie banner if you collect data from visitors with the EEA, UK or Switzerland. If you actively market your services to people or businesses based there, then yes, you also need to have a GDPR compliant cookie banner and privacy policy. And it’s something that is often missed.

For those of us in the UK, we don’t yet know the changes Brexit will make to our data protection laws, but for now we need to comply.

I hired someone to build my site and I’m worried it doesn’t comply

Professional web designers and developers should know the laws for regions they offer services in. If you’ve hired a web designer or developer to build your website they should have already added these features to your website if they are needed.

A good way to check if you have the cookie banner is look at your website in ‘incognito mode’ from your browser. Does a cookie banner pop-up or not?

If you’re not sure or think it’s missing, get in touch with me or send your developer/designer a friendly worded email asking for their help to check and get your website legally GDPR compliant. It’s usually a 10 minute job and I’m sure most businesses will be happy to help you free of charge. It is a legal requirement after all.

What are cookies? Does my website even use them?

Every single website uses cookies, but there are a few different types – ones that are essential for your website to run, ones that are only active while your browser is open, and others that collect data – either for analytics or function. These are known as either Duration, Provenance or Purpose cookies.

Some cookies are temporary and expire as soon as the browser is closed. Others stay on your hard drive until you erase them. Some are used by the site you visit, some by third-party apps (like an embedded YouTube player).

Some cookies are essential – your website simply wouldn’t work without them. Some allow certain features to work, some collect analytics data, others track online activity to help advertisers send what they term ‘relevant’ marketing directly to you.

Not every website has every type of cookie, but there are always some active.

And don’t forget – if you are asking visitors to contact you, you’ll also be collecting their personal data in the form of email addresses. Yes, you need to do this, but you also need to state how you store that information.

If you want to know more – this is a link to the GDPR website.

What is a privacy policy and how do I write one?

I mentioned earlier – I’m not a legal professional, so please do seek legal advice if you so wish. However, I use a website privacy policy from Net Lawman. It’s a free-to-use template covering a standard UK privacy policy. You can download the template, follow their guide to make it relevant for your website and then upload to your site. There is the option to pay for a legal review if you want, but you can download and use the template for free.

This is a link to the Net Lawman website where you can get the download.

Once you have your privacy policy, you can add your cookie banner.

How to add a cookies popup banner for…

WordPress sites

The plugin I use is GDPR Cookie Consent by WebToffee.

Not all cookie banner plugins available through WordPress are GDPR compliant – this one is. And with 900,000+ installs you can be confident it won’t have negative impacts on most other plugins/areas of your site.

A feature I particularly like is you can set it to only show to new visitors or again on the 3rd or 4th visit so it’s not every single time.

This is how to add it:
  1. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Go to plugins > add new and search for ‘GDPR Cookie Consent’ by WebToffee
  3. Click ‘install and activate
  4. Go to ‘GDPR Cookie Consent’ tab and click on ‘general settings’. Here you can:
    1. Enable the cookie bar
    1. Select the type of law (GDPR, CCPA or both)
    1. Set auto-hide settings
  5. On the ‘customise cookie bar’ tab you can change the displayed message, set the banner and text colours and font and link to your Privacy Policy page. You can also decide where and how your banner displays.

There are other settings too and they differ between the free and paid version. You can also access help guides from the settings tab too.

Squarespace sites

Squarespace has a built-in cookie banner. This is how to activate it:

  1. In your ‘home menu’ click ‘settings’ and then click ‘Cookies & Visitor Data’.
  2. Select ‘Enable Cookie Banner’.
  3. You can use the default message, or add your own.
  4. Next you can style your banner – there are a few options to set how your banner displays, where it is positioned on the page and style settings. When you are done, click ‘save’ (you’ll get the option to preview how it looks)
  5. You can also link to your privacy policy and restrict/disable Squarespace analytics cookies here too.

For a more detailed guide, visit Squarespace Support here.

WIX sites

WIX has a built-in option to add a cookie banner. All you have to do is enable it – simple!

Step 1 – enable WIX cookie banner
  1. Go to Privacy & Cookies in your site’s settings.
  2. Click Edit Cookie Banner.
  3. Click the Display Cookie Banner on Site toggle.
  4. Click Save & Publish to display the default banner on your site.
Step 2 – Customise how your banner looks

Under ‘Text & Display Settings’, you can customise your banner colours, button and fonts.

Make sure your cookie banner links to your privacy policy too (you can do this at step 3).

Step 3 – link the banner to your privacy policy

If you’re using the free Privacy Policy download I’ve mentioned above, you’ll need to add this to a page on your website, then link to it from the drop down menu.

Step 4 – review the requirements

You’ll need to tick the checkbox saying you’ve read and understood WIX’s Ts&Cs.

Step 5 – Advanced settings

There is default text in the cookie banner, but you can customise that here.

Step 6 – Save and Publish

Once you click ‘save and publish’ your cookie banner will activate on your website.

For more details about WIX cookie banners and how to customise the banner, go to this help page.

If you’re not using any of these and don’t have a friendly web person to help you, then make sure you search for GDPR compliant when you look for other how-to guides. Or ask me and I’ll lend a helping hand.

If you need any additional help, remember Helen offers one-off or ongoing website and design support from £50 per hour* – contact Helen to find out more.

*prices correct as of November 2020.

Cover photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

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