No matter where in the world you are located, chances are that you see privacy policies all over the place. In the past, privacy policies were a large corporation issue. The little guys really didn't need to concern themselves with it - at least that's what we thought.

You'll notice more and more websites have links to their privacy policies and you're probably wondering - do I need a Privacy Policy?

It almost feels strange not to have one on your website. They are also showing in places like contact forms, signups, notifications and even just in the footer of a website.

There are 2 reasons why we are seeing privacy policies on website.

First, privacy laws from around the world state that policies are required most websites and not having one can lead to privacy-related fines, and in some cases, lawsuits.

Secondly, people who shop online are becoming very concerned about sharing their information with companies. Not having a Privacy Policy will make them feel even more leery of visiting your site or giving you their information. This can cause you to lose sales.

I will break down for you the reasons why a Privacy Policy is a good practice for your business, and why so many companies have one.

What Is A Website Privacy Policy?

A Privacy Policy is a digital 'document' or declaration on a website that informs your visitors of a your company’s privacy practices. This includes how they collect information from their visitors, how that information is used, and how and if they disclose Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

PII is any piece of information that could be used to identify an individual. PII commonly collected by websites include:

PII is protected by many privacy laws worldwide that require some websites to have a Privacy Policy that specifies what information the site takes, and what is done with it.

Why do companies set up a Privacy Policy? Legal Requirement

One of the main reasons that a company would set up a Privacy Policy is because it is a legal requirement to have one.

Here is a list of laws that require websites to have a Privacy Policy – and they can burden you with major fines if you don’t have any in place:

These laws are unique in the respect that they protect the visitors to your website and not your business. This can apply to businesses that do not function or are located in the state or country where the laws are passed.

This means, your business could be located in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada - but if you are reaching visitors in California, the CalOPPA applies to you if you collect information from California residents.

Nevada's laws for privacy applies to any business that has customers in Nevada, also regardless of where your business is actually stationed.

When you are figuring out what privacy laws pertain to you, you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Where do I do business?
  2. Where are my customers living?
  3. Who am I marketing my products or services to?
  4. Who am I tracking online through cookies or other various types of analytics?

If any of the privacy laws apply to your business, then you are required by law to have a Privacy Policy that discloses what information is collected, why, and what it's used for.

Most companies choose to have a Privacy Policy and follow these laws since not complying can be very expensive. Fines can be anywhere from $2,500 to 20,000,000 or more per violation. This means that each visitor to your website whose privacy you 'infringe' on is a violation. Fines can add up extremely quickly, even if your website has only a few visitors per month.

With dozens of proposed bills on privacy in the USA and countries like Canada and Australia proposing reviews and updates to their laws, the Privacy Policy requirement is only going to get more strict and won't be going away.

With some of the bills proposing a private right of action where consumers would be given permission to sue a business directly for collecting their personal information without a proper policy, it is becoming extremely important to make sure that your website not only has a privacy policy, but that you have an effective and efficient way to keep your policy up-to-date with all the changing laws.

Consumers Prefer Companies Who Take Privacy Seriously

Another answer to the question of why businesses have a Privacy Policy is because customers expect a business to actually have one. Even though this is a more recent trend, over the past few years, customers are more worried about sharing their information online and are actively choosing to stop doing business with some specific companies because of privacy concerns.

These studies show the importance of privacy to customers online:

This information shows 2 important issues as to why your business should have a clear, detailed Privacy Policy.

Caring about your visitor’s privacy and showing that by having a policy in place can give you an advantage over your competition.  Now that potential customers are starting to make their buying decisions based on privacy, you can actually increase your business by demonstrating that you can about their online safety and privacy as much as your visitors do.

It's no longer enough to just state that their information will not be sold or shared.

As consumers start pressuring their governments to make and pass privacy laws, the Privacy Policy requirement is going to increase in the future. Having something in place now can future-proof your business - and making sure they stay updated no matter what laws are passed is crucial.

Click here for more information on how to properly set up your Privacy Policies, and how they can be automatically updated with every new law that is brought in.

I can help to make sure you have the best policies set up for your requirements, and that you never need to research privacy laws to make sure you are always compliant.

I Have Social Media - Why Do I Need A Website?

I get it. You have a Facebook page, and that's free right? Well, sort of.

You get clients through Instagram.

They can send messages through social media.

It's been working great, so why do I need a website? After all, engagement through social media has worked extremely well and you can have all your information there.

I have come across a number of businesses that only focus on LinkedIn or Facebook Pages and feel they are doing great, no issues, no website needed.

There are some very important reasons why you should have a website, even with all of the social presence you currently have.  Here are a few reasons why having a great website still matters today, and your business needs its' own online home.

1. What Would Happen To Your Marketing if Social Media Went Down?

If social media went down, marketing for many businesses would be turned upside down.

For small business owners, medium business owners, coaches, authors, artists and other creatives, social media is a key part of our marketing strategy. It's how we connect with our audience, build relationships, and sell our products and services.

There would be a lot of panic and confusion among many business owners.

If this was your only presence online, it would take a huge toll on your business.

2. A Website Builds Credibility and Legitimacy

Many people see a good functioning website as good sign a business is stable and credible. After all, many fly-by-night and start-ups either don't have a website, or don't have a very good functioning one. Many of your competitors have websites. If you don't believe me, do a quick search on google with words that your potential new customers or clients might use to find you online, and see what pops up.

A great way to show that you are legitimate and trustworthy is to have a solid website with the right information, so people feel more comfortable working with you or buying your products. They feel that you be around longer as well and not disappear into the internet abyss.

It also allows them to easily see testimonials, portfolios, and other pieces of information that can get lost in social media feeds.

3. Constant Presence

Even if you feel that your social media pages or your profile is 'always on', the truth of the matter is, social media functions on time and popularity. You need to consistently post and get engagements on your post to stay at the top of the algorithm. To get more eyes on your information, you need to consistently be plugged in and working your social media to get any headway - and if you take a break, you are working to amp it up again.

It works great to reach new people and share information with the masses, but if you need a day off it can slow down your reach and efforts.

Does this mean you should stop social marketing? Absolutely not! But wouldn't it make sense to diversify your efforts? We are always told to not keep all of our eggs in one basket, and if the last couple of years haven't helped us to see that, nothing will.

Having a website will provide another avenue to reach new people - and it stays 'on' even if you are taking a small break from interacting in social marketing.  Did you know that a repertoire of well executed articles on your website can bring in traffic from people you have never met? This is housed on your website.

True Story!

I have a client whose website is what we call 'dormant'. They haven't been actively adding information for over 2 years (which is a no-no, but we talk about that in a different article). But a single, well executed article from a couple years ago STILL gets consistent traffic from Google into her website each and every month.

Did you know?

70% of website traffic comes from organic google searches
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before completing a sale

4. Gets Your Visitors Away From the Crowds

Having your own website to direct people to allows them to learn about you and your business without the buzz and constant bombardment of all of the other social media interruptions, notifications, and squirrels.

You know the squirrel situation? You're checking one thing, and something else pops up, and takes your attention away?

On your website, they are provide with information solely on how you can help them get to where they want to go. People are always looking for ways to achieve what they want, and you have something specific to get them to the outcome they want.

5. Autopilot

I love autopilot. Some tasks we want to deal with, hands-on. We want the control of the situation or the information - but in every business there are some repetitive tasks that can easily be automated without taking away from your customer's experience.

Things like booking an appointment, selling items, signing up for a course, signing up for coaching packages, the list can be endless depending on what you are offering your visitors.

6. A Website Allows You To Gather Critical Business Intel

It sounds like we're spying, and that's not wrong - but in an ethical anonymous way.

Your website can work like a PI for your business and give you information that your social media account won't give.

Some of these pieces of critical information are how they find you, what link brought them to you, what information is most important to the people to come to you. It can also give you an idea of what's working and what's not.

A client of mine was wondering why nothing was happening, why they weren't getting more clients or visitors to their location. We found that once people reached their website, they were so overwhelmed that they just left without doing anything. The current site they had wasn't working for them, so we arranged to re-design their site. After the re-design the site went from 100% traffic leaving within 5 seconds, to only 1% leaving. It made a big impact.

7. Branding

Your website is a canvas to brand your business. Create a culture. Provide a feeling. This all connects with people and gives them an idea if you are who they want to work with or buy from.

It also makes you stand out from the rest of the marketplace. Are you a plumber? Or are you a trustworthy professional who fixes a possible critical situation reliably and ethically?

Your website can show the difference between you and 100's of other people in your profession. It allows you to become a recognized brand and not just another commodity.

You don't want to be the person that drives a Ferrari but parks it in a lean-to. Your website should reflect your Ferrari of services. It's your cornerstone of your digital presence that everything else branches out from. It's the roots and trunk of your tree.

It shows who you are, what you're all about - and most importantly - how YOU can help your ideal client.

In conclusion

There are many other reasons why a website is so important - especially now in the digital age. Things like SEO (search engines), people expect it, showcasing your expertise, but what it comes down to is:  your website is a Living Breathing Extension of your business that's always 'on'. It will be there for your customers, clients, and new connections 24/7.

If you would like to get started, we have a proven system to get you up and running in the quickest amount of time. Click Here for more information.

Over the last 20 or more years, websites have gone through many transitions – and I have seen most of them. Working in the industry since the mid ‘90’s, I have seen so many changes that it would make your head spin.

Websites used to be a static couple of pages that emulated an elaborate brochure.

Not much was expected from a website except to provide information.

Website are very different now. They have a life of their own. They are a living breathing extension of your business, working for you 24 hours of the day. Connecting with your clients and prospects for you when you aren’t available to connect with them.

Your website is critical to your business. It generates revenue, clients, and produces leads. It’s a way that your suppliers, clients, and potential partners will find you and learn about you and connect with you.

Errors on your site or your site disappearing from the internet (no matter how brief) can be costly.
Even the giants in online technology - Facebook, Google and Amazon - aren’t immune to the dangers of website glitches. In 2020, Google’s services were down for 1 hour which reportedly cost them a colossal $1.73 million.

Downtime is only one of the risks online. Did you know that 30,000 websites are hacked every day? That’s 1,250 sites every hour. 20 Sites every minute. Unfortunately, most websites are an easy target. More and more sites are getting attacked by web predators, including the big guys like Twitter and Facebook.
Your website works hard for you. Just like your car works hard to get you from place to place. Or like your home, works hard to protect you from the elements; keeps you warm when it’s cold outside; provides you shelter when it’s hot.

You wouldn’t have a reliable vehicle if you didn’t take care of it. Your home would not protect you or give you comfort if it fell to disrepair.

The same thing applies to your website. Your website should be cared for, just like your most valuable team player. When it’s taken care of like a true investment, it will always be alive and ready for visitors – presenting your business in the best possible light.

The Truth About Your Website Investment

In the past, a website would be set up, and it could just be left. That is no longer the case. If there is no care given to your website monthly, you could be flushing money down the toilet.

Did you know that you have seconds to retain a visitor on your website? If they arrive and they are frustrated, or something isn’t working properly, they will leave and find a different service provider or supplier. Choices are made very quickly online.

Most business owners don’t check their website on a regular basis to make sure everything is working properly and will wait until someone tells them that there is a problem. By that point they may have missed out on a lot of potential customers or clients. Not everyone will reach out to let you know there is a problem.

Why Care For Your Website

Why care for your car? When you care for your car, it is much more reliable, and you can get more travel out of it – giving you much more value for your investment.

If it's not maintained, it'll fall apart. If it's not secured someone will break in and steal it while you're sleeping.

Most business owners don’t realize the amazing benefits of regular care of your website.

The performance of your website, how fast it loads, uptime (being live online), receiving orders, delivering digital purchases, are all reliant on the software of your website.

Not only does regular care keep things running smoothly – but it also shows search engines that it can be trusted and it is always relevant.

The growth of your living site, fresh new content, analytics monitoring and changes, are all dependent on having someone making sure that all of your updates are done smoothly without errors.

How Website Maintenance Gets You More Clients

Most people don’t realize the benefits of tapping into website maintenance.

  1. It Build Trust. A quick-loading, error-free site will offer a great experience to visitors, which will help to build trust in your brand.
  2. It Improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A properly maintained website that loads quickly is the core for successful SEO strategies. Google ranks page speed and performance as key markers to decide how high up the list your website is.
  3. Protection. All software is vulnerable, and websites are built on software. Most websites have multiple different software or programs running the cart, blog, serving pages. Each of these areas have new versions with security updates to provide protection against hackers.
  4. Keeps Information Accurate. When your website content is continuously kept up-to-date, you keep answer and information in front of your potential clients – reducing the stress on customer support answering questions on common items. You can also increase your search engine performance and bring in more potential customers when information is added or updated regularly.
  5. An Advantage Over Your Competition. When there is a system in place to continuously improve your site and take care of errors quickly, it gives you and advantage over your competitors that don’t keep their site updated.

Keeping Your Site Alive and Accessible

Using a proven system that works is key to effective website care.

At Breathe Web Solutions, we have a specific process that we have developed to make sure your website is always accessible and available to search engines and your visitors.

We take care to first make sure your website is fully backed up. Updates are regularly performed to be sure that everything is running smoothly and that there are no problems with the updates. We keep a record of everything we update so if there are any problems, we can fix it right away.

We also provide reports on any care and scans that are performed on your site, so you know exactly what has been done and how your site is working.

If we ever find an issue, we will create a support ticket and take care of it – usually before you even know there’s an issue.

The Difference Between DFY and DIY Care

Taking care of your website yourself, or through your assistant, could cost you more than you think.

I have known many website owners who have updated their website from within the back end. Sometimes there are conflicts or something doesn’t quite update right. When that happens, sometimes it’s not known the full extent for a while. When they finally see the issue, it could be days or weeks of errors, and to fix it could require restoring a much older version of your website, causing you to lose content, changes, sales, you name it.

The Cost of Fixing Your Website Instead of Caring For It

If we keep along the lines of the vehicle analogy – if you don’t care for it, like changing the oil, it can result in much more expensive fixes later on.

Your website is no different. Inexperience or neglect can damage the function or look of your website. When that happens, you have two choices.

  1. You attempt to fix it yourself, which sometimes can cause more damage.
  2. You can pay an experienced professional to fix it – which can be very costly and time consuming.

Regular website care keeps your website running smoothly at all times. You will get much more mileage out of your website, and it will remove the stress that results from a broken or missing website.

Ditch the Tech-Rage

Why leave yourself open to anxiety caused by your site. Would you attempt to fight a court battle without a lawyer? Then why take a stab at maintaining your own website if you’re not a web professional?

We maintain several sites, ensuring they are running smoothly – making search engines happy, visitors content, and you relaxed in the knowledge that your investment is working for you.

If you are interested in knowing more about our stress-free care plans, visit our Site Care Packages and contact us so we can work with you to grow.

If you're like most people, you probably get a lot of email. And if you're like most people, you probably don't want to whitelist everyone who sends you an email. That's where Outlook comes in! With a few simple steps, you can easily whitelist people in Outlook so that their emails always go to your inbox.

The versions of Outlook this should easily work for:

Outlook for MS 365
Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010
Outlook for Mac 2016,2011

How to build your Safe Senders List Easily in Outlook

You can simply add email address and domains to the Safe Senders list in Outlook, but Outlook makes it even easier. This program can automatically add everyone that you send an email to - and the people in your contact list - to the Safe Sender list.

  1. Open your Outlook Program.
  2. In the upper left corner, click on HOME if you aren't already there.
    Safe List Outlook
  3. Find the DELETE group, and click on Junk
  4. If you do not see the DELETE group, click on the small down arrow at the far right of the panel.
  5. After you are at Junk - click on Junk E-mail Options
  6. A new window will open - select the second upper tab called 'SAFE SENDERS'
  7. If the box "Automatically add people I email to the Safe Senders List" isn't check, click to check the box.
  8. Click on "OK" to save your settings and close the window.
  9. Now when you send an email to someone, Outlook will automatically add that email address to your Safe Senders list.


What if I don't send emails to them?

If you are receiving notices that you do not typically respond to, but you would like to whitelist them (notifications from your website ie: sales, contact forms etc) you may not be actively sending to them.

To whitelist these types of emails:

  1. right click on the email you want to whitelist.
  2. mouse down to 'junk' and mouse over the word.
  3. In the popup you will see options. Choose 'never block sender' or 'never block senders domain' to keep those emails from going into the junk folder.

Why Do I Need A Safe Senders List In Outlook?

Outlook includes tools built into the software that filter spam from your Inbox, but it sometimes keeps junk and tosses legitimate messages. To make sure you are receiving all the right emails and they aren't lost in the junk or spam folder, Outlook provides a Safe Senders list. Messages from these emails are never treated like junk mail. The list also allows the program to automatically download remote images in messages since those senders are considered safe. Usually remote images are not automatically downloaded due to privacy and security concerns.



Are you struggling to get noticed online? You're not alone. With so much noise out there, it can be tough to cut through the clutter and get seen by your ideal customers.

But don't despair! There are some simple steps you can take to make sure you're visible where it counts. The key is to get a plan in place and keep at it.

Follow these four easy steps and you'll be on your way to online success.

1. Write a Post

Relevant content is huge for your online presence, and your blog is one of the best places to set up this content.

A group of useful posts on your site is a plus for your business. It increases your website's visibility in search engines and gives you a catalog of information you can send your clients to when they need information about a specific topic, and the articles gives you the position of an expert within your field of expertise.

Some top ideas are:

2. Send a Message to your Email List

Sending emails is still one of the most effective ways to marketing your website and business. Send updates to your subscribers regularly and make sure to always add something that they would find valuable. Don't just go for the sale.

Some top ideas are:

3. Connect on Social Media

There are mixed feelings about social media. Some feel it's a little trivial posting about what your cat did, or where you are going. But social media really is about connecting with others and engaging in a conversation.

Connect with your ideal clients, build your audience and grow a following by using content that they are looking for or will find useful. Connect with them by asking questions and contribute to the conversation. Public Relations is very important to grow your sales and onboard new clients. It informs the public including your potential new clients and business partners.

Some top ideas are:

4. Always Focus on Value First

When you are sharing information with your audience, continuously think about what hey would like to read or what would be useful to them.

It's terrific to share what's happening in your life and your business, but the best conversations and impact comes from useful, engaging, and graphically visual content that your contacts are honestly interested in.

When you don't know what to share, look at others in your niche to see what works for them. What are they posting? What are they sharing that receives the most likes and comments?

Doing these things can get you moving in the right direction to a simple and effective marketing plan.

What are you currently doing to connect with your ideal clients? Are you coming across any roadblocks? Connect with me and let me know.


*Some links may be affiliate links where I would receive a small commission if you choose to use their service.

Google has changes happening all the time to the algorithms.  Usually it’s nothing much to bat an eye at.  It happens so often and people make such a fuss, get upset, then settle down and carry on with life.

Usually I just let the changes float right past me and don’t give them much of a thought as they usually have a much smaller impact than everyone believes.

However, this time it's different.  It is so important to know if your site will stay in search engine rankings with these new changes.

Want to cut to the chase? Click here for the information in a Nut Shell

What’s Changing?

SSL Certificate is a Must

First up – Google is becoming even more focused on security.  It is important that now your site incorporates an SSL Certificate. It used to be important only for those who process payments on their website, but now Google will actually put in the words “Not Secure” before your website URL in the address bar, which never looks good and may keep visitors away.

The other thing to think about is that your competitors may get ranked higher up than you if they have an SSL Certificate for their website.

Mobile-First Indexing

The other thing that is going to make a huge difference in the indexing of your website is what they call ‘Mobile-First’.

What this means is that Google will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, however their results will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages – and if it’s not mobile friendly and easy to use in mobile mode – you will not rank. Or you will rank poorly.

Now many of us have changed to what we call a mobile-responsive website, so we are half way there. This is really awesome. A mobile-responsive site is one that automatically adapts to whatever screen size people are viewing the website from.

But there are a few items that should be checked to make sure your site complies with everything Google will check for.

Make Sure Your Site Is Ready for the Google Changes Here

Mobile Friendly

First will be HOW mobile friendly your site is.  It should be tested and if any issues come up they should be corrected to give your site the best possible chance for ranking well.


Next is speed. They are getting pretty critical here.  Where once a 9 second load time for a website was great – now they want to push it down to 3.  This can take some creative maneuvering. Testing for this is the second step – and all items fixed or optimized.


Next is the Data Structure. This name alone sounds scary.  Really what it means is the information on our website that tells search engines what the page is about, who it’s authored by, and what type of content is on the page. Google uses this information when giving results to people who are searching. You want to make sure your mobile version of your site is getting all of this information to Google.

In A Nut Shell

So in a nut shell, it’s very important to make sure your site is ready. Google is already starting to roll out the new algorithms for the Mobile-First initiative.

The primary focus is on Security (SSL Certificate), Mobile Readiness, Speed, and Data. We have found that just because your site works on a mobile device, does not mean it will be automatically ranked well in the new Google paradigm, the other factors matter as well.

If you would like to know if your site is ready – we can take the guessing out of the game and complete tests to see how well your site stacks up and if it’s ready for Googlegeddon.

If you would like to schedule your in-depth analysis of your site, please click the button below and we will set up to analyze your site and let you know what needs to be adjusted or changed to fit with Googles changes.


This acronym has been floating around for a little while now, and it brings with it a lot of confusion and worry.

The fact that you can have up to 20Million Euros in fines is enough to make you faint!

I have taken some time to do some research and I have to say that every piece of information I find has been overwhelming and confusing, not to mention dry.  The original is very very long.

Want to cut to the chase? Click here for the information in a Nut Shell

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but this is how I understand it and translate the information. If you want to take a stab at reading the actual bill that was voted in during 2016, then you will be reading through legalese that is 11 chapters and 99 articles long.  Feel free to check it out here if you want all of the information.

For me, I don’t have the time, nor the attention span, to go through all of that – which would end up just making my eyes water and my head spin.

Here are the facts that everyone agrees to:

  1. If you collect or keep any personal data (even just a name) of someone in the UE, your business falls under the GDPR and you must comply to all 9 chapters of their regulations.
  2. There are strict guidelines to consent given to put anyone from the EU on your email list, in your database and your membership, or learning areas. They must give explicit consent to have their information taken and kept. Data can only be used for the reason given at the time of collection and is securely deleted after it’s no longer needed.  If they signed up for a download – their information can only be used to send the download. From what I have seen you can not even follow up with them to check in on how they are doing with that freebie unless they have provided the appropriate consent.  The only way around this is to include a box specificly giving express permission for you to email them about other information or offers. A little by-line and/or information in the privacy policy does not suffice anymore.
  3. If you keep information on them for memberships, learning platforms, shopping carts, analytics, etc., then you need to be sure that you have that information all spelled out in your privacy policies and agreements.
  4. SSL Certificates are no longer a ‘good idea’, they are a must. If you are having anything to do with information from others – you must have this in place to protect the transmission of the information - even if it's just a contact form.
  5. A checkbox must be present on contact forms, comment boxes in your blog, or any other forms (surveys, quizzes, etc.) stating specifically that they give you permission to take and store that information. Even if the contact us form does not keep the information – your email program does.
  6. Right to be forgotten. This means that anyone from the EU can ask that they be completely forgotten from your system as if they never existed in it. So if you are asked to do this – you need to make sure that every instance of any personal information has been completely removed from your databases. Your email lists, your memberships, your courses etc. There seems to be some confusion among professionals on how far that goes. After all – some information is required for accounting and tax purposes and business reports. So how this will all pan out is anyone’s guess.
  7. Make sure all personal information is properly protected. This is a no-brainer for any business regardless if you are working with people in the EU. All your data should be protected.  Your site should be protected as well. If your site is not updated regularly, backed up and protected from hacking, then you should seriously consider this.
  8. If data is lost or stolen or accessed without permission – the authorities MUST be notified within 72 hours along with your clients or contacts in your lists whose information was accessed.
  9. Right to access. This means that if they come to you requesting the information that you have on them – you have to give them EVERYTHING you have collected. If you have information on your website, or in your email list, or your accounting platform – you need to be able to give them everything you have in an easily readable format.

Additional information that I have read:

  1. Some people feel that compliance is not a huge deal – and that it can be accomplished very easily. But there are also others on the other side questioning some of the compliance issues and some companies who are just dropping marketing and selling to people in the EU whose business is not stationed there.
  2. There seems to be some confusion regarding the data management when people ask to have them completely removed and the fines involved.
  3. You need to be able to adequately explain why you have the information you do. If you require all the information you have because they are taking a course with you – you need to be able to explain why you need each part.
Please Audit My Site for GDPR Compliance

Do you need to worry about it?

Here are a few reasons you may want to look in to this further and work to change your website and data practices:

  1. Do you have a WordPress community site that collects personal information for each user profile?
  2. Do you have a shop that has customers sign up for accounts to purchase anything from your site?
  3. Do you have a site where you ask people to sign up for your newsletter? Or do you have a free offering that people sign up for in exchange for their email to market to?
  4. Do you have analytic software on your website?
  5. Do you have comments turned on for your blog posts or your pages on your website?
  6. Do you have an existing email list (or more) that may have contacts that you market to?

If you have people from the EU visiting and interacting with you on your site - or with you, you will want to do something about complying.

How they will police it – I have no idea. That is a lot of companies in a lot of countries that could not be complying, but personally, I wouldn't want to take the chance.

These are recommendations for getting compliant:

  1. Review your processes and workflow regarding any data you collect.
  2. Update all of your legal documents to cover every single aspect of data collection and what it’s used for. If you don't have any privacy policies in place - now is the time to do it.
  3. Make sure your data is portable if it’s needed.
  4. Install an SSL Certificate for your website.
  5. Check your website, themes, plugins, services and API’s and see what data they collect and store. (contact form plugins, comment plugins, marketing plugins like Mail Chimp and AWeber, Analytics, Tracking, Remarketing, eCommerce solutions, payment processors, community plugins (BuddyPress, LearnDash etc.), and third party API’s. They are stating that even Google Fonts may need to be considered and documented.)
  6. It is recommended to even appoint one person who is responsible for your data compliance and data protection.
  7. Put in place a process for notifying the correct authorities should your data ever be breached or compromised. You have a 72 hour window to give notice to the authorities and to the people whose data was compromised.
  8. Don't fall for the 'One-Size-Fits-All' WordPress plugins that state they will make you 100% compliant. They most likely don't know what they are talking about. Each website is different and has different requirements. No one plugin will be able to cover all areas for all websites.
  9. Add in disclaimers regarding cookies and what they are used for on your website and what information is stored or used.
  10. Contact everyone in your lists and have them express consent to have marketing sent to them.
  11. Hire a lawyer – A lawyer can provide you with legal advice specifically tailored to your situation – providing they know everything regarding this new regulation.
I don't want to worry about this, please check it out for me.

What am I doing about the GDPR?

In all reality – a tighter reign on data is a very good thing. I find for me specifically that I will choose to implement most, if not all, of these items.  However, for the small amount of business I currently do in the EU, I will not actively market or sell to people in the European Union.

With the confusion regarding the right to be forgotten, I don’t want to get caught up in loopholes while the EU figures out the fine tuning, or the lawyers finish understanding the entire document of regulations.

So I will be implementing items on this website to discourage signups and block my cart from purchases from Europe, for the time being. May sound a little extreme, but it is just not financially feasible for me since 99% of my clientele is in North America. I am not the only company that is doing this.

I have heard that actually shut down because they were not GDPR compliant. If Microsoft can’t or won’t figure this out – how are solopreneurs and entrepreneurs supposed to get all their ducks in a row and be safe from a penalty?  Later Microsoft changed the reason to it was retired in favor of new tools.

I will update our privacy policies, and remove old contacts from my databases that I no longer need, and I will update the way I add people to my lists.

All of this havoc can be a good thing as we, as a community online, we all move to a more secure environment of data protection. This may be extreme and feel a bit binding, but overall with the breaches I have seen over the last couple of years – it was definitely due.

We don’t know when North America will follow suit, so complying to some degree and adapting some of the things listed here could be a very good thing to do.

In A Nut Shell

  1. New regulations for dealing with the EU.
  2. If you collect ANY data from people in the EU you must be compliant to protect yourself and your business from up to a 20 Million Euro fine and possible jail time.
  3. Data means any personal data collected in an email list, membership site, online community, training portal etc.
  4. You can only use the data for exactly what you had them sign up for. If they sign up for a free download, you can only use that information for the free download. If you want to use it for your newsletter you must add a consent check box they need to check to show active confirmation that they are giving consent to have their information use exactly how you state.
  5. If you use a contact form, you must also have a check box allowing the submitter to agree to have their information sent and possibly stored in your business.
  6. Decided if you want to do business with people in the European Union or not.
  7. If you choose not to – put in place measures to keep people from the EU from signing up for any of your materials or purchasing your products.
  8. If you choose to continue to market and/or do business with people in the EU then get compliant to protect yourself. This plugin will assist you WP GDPR Compliance
    1. Install an SSL Certificate on your site
    2. Scan your site to see what elements on your site are collecting data and what type. You can use this program WP Security Audit Log or ask us to scan and give you a report of what programs are accessing.
    3. Update all of your privacy policies and terms of use to include everything you site uses and how it is used and why
    4. Make sure your data is portable. If someone asks to have all the data you have on them, you need to be able to supply it.
    5. Have procedures in place to delete people from your entire business should they ask to ‘be forgotten’
    6. Appoint someone to be your Data Protection Office (DPO) if you deal with a lot of data.
    7. Delete all old data
    8. Set up information on cookies that are used on your site and why.
    9. Add checkboxes providing explicit consent for any forms on your site (survey, contact form, comment form, etc.)
    10. Consult an attorney

Are you already GDPR compliant? The team over at Mailjet created a handy GDPR quiz. I also recommend checking out The GDPR Checklist.

Would you like some help with getting compliant?  Click the button below. I can lend a hand. I am offering a site audit to check all known areas that are needed for compliance and provide a report, checklist, and recommended changes.

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