What to do if your website home page now say’s ‘The Site Ahead Contains Malware’

If you get to a website and you see the warning “Site Ahead Contains Malware”, you need to act fast.

If it’s not your site, you need to turn around because there could be malware on the website you are trying to access.

If the site ahead happens to be your own site, you need to act fast to fix the situation. This message indicates that your website is either infected with malware and/or has been hacked. Google crawls websites regularly to add new or updated content to the search index. These crawlers also can detect if your site has a malware infection.

If Google or other search crawlers find malware on your site, they immediately flag your site and display this warning to protect users from accessing the web site. This warning has detrimental effects on SEO, site traffic, and your credibility. It can also lead to your web host suspending your hosting account.

Why did your WordPress website get hacked?

Websites get hacked for the following reasons:

  • economic gain
  • drive-by downloads – malware injections
  • black hat SEO
  • system resources
  • hacktivism

How did your WordPress website get hacked?

Malware can infect your site in a number of ways:

  1. Plugins – An infection could have come through the plugins installed on your website. This can happen for several different reasons – a) old plugins without recent updates are prone to vulnerabilities; b) pirate software is free but often contains malware; c) you may have installed a plugin from an untrusted source.
  2. Your Computer Might Have Malware – Often when a computer is infected with malware, uploading a file to a website can lead to a website infected with malware.
  3. Brute-force attacks by hackers – Hackers can use a brute-force attack to guess your username and password and break into your website.

What do you do if your site now say’s “The Site Ahead Contains Malware”?

It’s important that you act fast. You will have to remove the malware from the website and then submit your website to Google for review. Google’s safe browsing policies that you need to follow before you submit your site for review are:

  • You need to log into Google Search Console and prove you are the owner of your website.
  • You need to make sure that your website is clean and free of any malware infections or backdoors.
  • You need to fix the vulnerability that led to the hack. We recommend installing the premium version of Wordfence.
  • If your host has suspended you for malware, you need to contact them and request they remove the suspension. Your website needs to be back online prior to submitting it to Google for review.
  • Call Connect4 Consulting at 202-236-2968 so we can help you with these steps.

How do you prevent “The Site Ahead Contains Malware” from happening again in the future?

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of finding yourself in this situation, it is imperative that you do everything possible to prevent it from happening again. To do that, implement the following procedures:

  • Make sure someone is actively managing the hosting of your website. That means you need to make sure that all plugins and WordPress are updated as soon as updates are available. You can’t just rely on hosting alone.
  • Install Wordfence or Wordfence Premium to protect your website.
  • Update WordPress regularly.
  • Only use trusted themes and plugins – stay away from free plugins or themes – particularly if there have been no updates in the last 3 months or more.
  • Remove inactive themes and plugins – the more elements you have on your website, the greater the opportunities a hacker has to break into your website.
  • Update website passwords, remove inactive users, limit login attempts, install an SSL Certificate.




Top Website Development Trends for 2020

Each year new trends and technologies are adopted by website owners and developers. Some of these trends have more to do with advances and changes in design and others have more to do with advances in technology. Over the past few years, the dominant website trends have been WordPress, static sites, mobile responsiveness, video content, and chatbots.

If you have a website or manage a website, you may want to think about either incorporating some of these concepts in your own site now or thinking about it now for a redesign in the future.

Responsive Design and the Rise of Mobile Users

In 2020, responsive design is a must-have. In 2015, 35% of website traffic was attributed to mobile devices. In 2016 that figure rose to 43%. In 2019 that increased to nearly 53%.

In 2019 mobile-first indexing arrives. Search Engine Watch describes this as:

Currently, Google looks at the desktop version of a site and then bases how it will rank the mobile site according to that information. Once this update rolls out, the opposite of that will happen. Google will begin looking at your mobile site and from that, will rank the desktop site.

This means that mobile websites are officially the most important aspect in terms of search results. This also means that you better have a responsive site. If not, your search results and ranking will be negatively affected.

Voice User Interface

Thanks to Voice User Interfaces (VUI), a movement is slowly starting to capture a similar experience on a website that we have with Alexa, Siri, or Google Home. A VUI makes spoken human interaction with computers possible. It uses speech recognition to understand spoken commands and answer questions, and typically text-to-speech to play a reply.

While voice control is becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives, the technology still can’t completely control our web experience. That’s why the big five tech companies (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple) have all recently invested billions in developing and improving their AI assistants.

Let this sink in. Voice will power 50% of all searches by 2020. In fact, some people think that the need for keyboards will be gone in five years because of voice control. (Though I don’t share this opinion.)

Video Content

The power of video as website content is not going away. Businesses should continue to put video at the forefront of their brand and engagement. However, don’t just put a video in your hero or request a demo section and call it a day. You need to think about the user experience and how video throughout will help answer the visitor’s questions and fulfill their needs.

Consider trying the following:

  • Walk people through very specific questions on products or services. If you have 10 FAQs, create 10 videos to answer each.
  • Don’t just talk about your company culture, create videos the show it in action
  • Create a product video. Just seeing a photo of a product is no longer the norm. People want to see what it looks like in real-world situations.
  • Have a video on your careers section with interviews of employees and all that your company has to offer.
  • Once visitors get to thank you pages after filling out forms, have a thank you video!

Transparent Pricing

People visit websites to have their questions answered and the biggest question for many customers is “What’s the price?!?”

Showing your price is a sign you are trustworthy. You’re not trying to mislead people or waste anyone’s time.

AI and Chatbots

People expect to be able to get in contact with a company 24/7. Chatbots can field questions at all times of the day that live chat can’t and guide people to specific pages to complete desired actions.

Large B2C companies already use the technology to service their customers. A bot could be integrated into progressive web apps, business websites, professional or household equipment, and any internet-connected app developed by a commercial company. The most important advantages of AI-based bots are 24/7 problem-solving potential, human-like experience, and consumer behavior analytics.

Ten Things Your Website Should Have in 2020

If you own or manage a website or are planning to develop a new website, there are ten things that your website should have in 2020. The website is the fastest and (often) least expensive way to build and boost credibility. If you already have a website, take a look at it from outside eyes and take note whether it adequately reflects your products and services, your value-added, your knowledge, opinion, perspective, etc. If it doesn’t reflect these things, then it’s time to review and possibly redesign your website.

Implement these tips and tricks to generate more leads from your online presence and your website in 2020.

1. Responsive/Mobile-Design

There is no excuse for a website that is not responsive. The average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone and picks the thing up nearly 60 times a day! If they happen to look at your website, it must be responsive and fit to the screen.

2. Fast Page Speed

If it takes ages for the website content to load, visitors might leave your site for a better website. Google also now takes page speed into consideration as a ranking factor.

3. Clear Calls to Action

Be sure that the goal of your website is obvious to your users. If you sell products, encourage users to browse and check out. If you offer services, ensure users can browse your offerings and contact you when they are ready to engage.

4. Backlinks

One often-overlooked search engine ranking factor is the number and quality of other sites linking back to you. This is usually overlooked because either people don’t understand its importance, or they don’t have time to do anything about it. While both are valid reasons, consider this. While Google takes into consideration everything on your own site when determining where to rank you, it also considers what other sites think about you. One of the best ways for them to determine that is if lots of high-quality sites have linked to your site. It can take time to identify sites that might link to yours and to contact each of them individually, but the payoff can be huge.

5. Reviews

Word-of-mouth is a timeless technique for driving customers to your business. And one of the best ways to do that is by getting reviews online. Having a large number of positive reviews signals to potential customers that your business/products/services are good. This social proof can convince someone who’s on the fence to take a chance on you. Depending on the nature of your organization, you might seek reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, and/or Yelp. Other niche sites could also work, but don’t spread yourself too thin! It’s better to aim for a high number of positive reviews rather than a scattergun approach of a few reviews all over the place. Be sure to display any particularly good testimonials on your website and make it easy for people to read all your reviews by linking to the site(s) (e.g. Google My Business) where you have the most reviews.

6. Security

One of the most important components of internet presence is creating a trusted environment where potential customers or clients feel confident about making purchases or providing you with personal information. SSL certificates create a foundation of trust by establishing a secure connection. To assure visitors their connection is secure, browsers provide special visual cues – anything from a green padlock to a branded URL bar. Websites with an SSL certificate have https:// instead of http:// before their domain name.

7. Privacy Policy

Remember all the GDPR hubbub last year? Well, that’s not going away anytime soon and it’s not just for Europe anymore. California is already adopting similar privacy and data protection regulations, and other states will surely follow soon. It’s important to keep up with the trends and make sure your site is compliant. A good starting point is to get a privacy policy on your website. It should use clear language and outline all the ways in which you use and store your customers’ information. It should be linked from the bottom of each page of your site so that no matter what page a user lands on, they can access the information.

8. No Flash

Adobe Flash is finally going away this year and will no longer be supported so you want to replace any Flash animations on your site with something more up to date. If you were previously using a Flash intro to load your site, consider removing it. Use a visitor’s time wisely.

9. Email Signup

People may complain about spam, but spam only refers to emails you don’t want in your inbox. Think about the emails you do like to receive: a weekly deals email from your favorite store, a daily email with the latest news, a community newsletter updating you on events in your area. As long as the content is right for you, you’ll look forward to getting those emails. Which means your website’s audience is likely looking forward to emails from you. Make it easy for them to sign up on your website (you’ll only want to email people that you have explicit permission to contact), let them know what they can expect to receive from you and how often, then deliver on that promise by providing quality, timely content via email.

10. 508 Compliance

508 Compliance is shorthand for a law (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) that requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 doesn’t only apply to federal agencies. It also impacts any company that does business with a federal agency. This includes private contractors, the financial industry, healthcare, many legal organizations, and others. Web designers and developers play a critical role in ensuring websites and digital tools are accessible, and conform to the Revised 508 Standards and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.


2020 is Here. Are Websites Still Relevant?

The average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone. Millennials spend slightly more time on their phones (5.7 hours). Most people check their phones 58 times a day!

In 2018, people spent 20% more time using Apps than browsing the web through browsers from their phones. These numbers reveal major challenges for 2020 and pose the question: do websites still matter, or will Apps control the mobile world?

Websites are still very important because:

  • Google doesn’t search the content of an App. When you search on Google, you see results related to search terms “read” by Google on the content of websites, not Apps
  • Apps require download, authentication, login and not everyone is willing to do it
  • 77% of time spent on Apps by users is spent on market giants like Facebook and Instagram

Websites with relevant content attract visitors, promote actions, and turn visitors into satisfied customers who can become your best promoters.

Three Reasons Why Websites Are Here to Stay

1. Tell Your Story the Way You Want It to Be Told

Websites allow complete control over how your story is narrated through elements such as words, icons, drawings, photos, and videos. These elements contribute to creating a platform that is identifiably and functionally your own. No social media site completely allows for this since your brand will always be one of many.

2. Make the Most of Your Marketing Spend

Websites allow you to track the movement of your guests. What platforms are visitors coming from? What do they want? Where do they live? With this analytical gold mine, you can hone in on your marketing strategy and convert more for less.

3. Get Found Online

More than 80,000 Google searches are submitted every second. Ranking highly on Google is no easy task, especially if your only weapon is on social media accounts. With a website in the mix, you are giving yourself a fighting chance. Just remember that getting someone to click on your website is only the first step. You and your landing page have just 7 seconds to convince them they should stay. Make sure your content and call to action are relevant.


The takeaway here is that websites are still relevant in 2020 and will continue to be relevant for years to come. There is no other communication medium that gives you as much control over your content and message as a website. While apps and social media might work for niche groups or price-points, the relatively small investment in your own website pays off immediately.

10 Mistakes Websites Still Make in 2019 – You Need To Fix These Now!

It’s 2019 and many websites are still making the kinds of mistakes that have had a huge negative impact on internet presence, search results, authority, brand image, and the bottom line.

These mistakes directly lead to lost business opportunities and money.

Thankfully, these are all things that can be fixed. Some take more time than others, but if your website has any of these mistakes, you should hire someone to fix these as soon as possible.

Mistake #1: Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, this results in a horrible user experience. You’ve probably experienced this yourself – having to do pinch and zoom to read text or trying to tap on tiny links. Usually this just annoys visitors – and almost always ends in someone leaving a website unsatisfied.

If your website is frustrating to use on mobile phones, people will leave your site and you will lose business.

In 2015 Google announced that websites that aren’t mobile friendly would be penalized in the search results. If you website isn’t mobile friendly you need to speak to a web designer about responsive design. With responsive design, your website will resize and adjust to whatever screen size it’s being viewed on. Responsive design offers the visitor the best possible user experience on both desktops and mobile devices.

Mistake #2: Your Website Takes Too Long to Load

The speed at which your website loads is incredibly important.

It’s important for both user experience as well as SEO.

According to Kissmetrics:

  • 47% of consumers expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • A one second delay decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%

A slow website is frustrating for users and Google has also said load speed is a factor in website ranking.

Fortunately there are many ways we can help you improve your website loading time.

Mistake #3: Your Website is not user friendly

Too many websites in 2019 are still confusing to use. Take a look at your website now and ask the following questions:

  • Can people easily find what you want them to look for?
  • Do your visitors know what to do after visiting your home page?
  • Is it easy for people to find your contact information?

Each page of your website should be as simple to use as possible. There should be clear calls-to-action explaining exactly what you want your visitors to do.

Mistake #4: You still use pop-ups

Pop-ups are annoying – always.

A much better option is to use a slide-in that appears only when a user scrolls to the bottom of the page.

If a pop-up is absolutely critical, make sure that it:

  • is relevant and you don’t use the same message for every visitor
  • only appears once and not immediately
  • uses pleasant language
  • is easy to close
  • you can track them to see that they work and who uses them

Mistake #5: Audio that plays automatically

It’s hard to believe there are still websites that play music automatically. If someone visits a website and audio starts playing immediately they’ll leave. If you have to have some sort of media that plays automatically, make sure that the audio is muted and it’s obvious how to turn the sound on if you want it.

Mistake #6: Plastering Keywords All Over Your Website

Stuffing your website with keywords may have been something that worked 20 years ago but Google is far more sophisticated now. It’s critical that your website text be written for humans. Keywords within copy are still important, but writing a paragraph about how you serve a city and throwing in keywords for every single community in that city is something that actually hurts your SEO now.

Mistake #7: Not including social sharing buttons

If you have a blog, it’s critical that you make it easy for your visitors to easily share that content. Getting shares means more people will see your content, visit your site, hire you, buy your product, etc. Make sure that when someone reads your blog, the buttons are there at the bottom so they can easily share it while it’s still top of mind.

Mistake #8: Not making your website the central hub of your marketing strategy

Your website is the most important part of your marketing strategy. All of your advertising, social media work, networking, lead generation is designed to get people to come back to your website where they will see what it is you do.

Mistake #9: No SSL Certificate

Not having an SSL Certificate wasn’t a big problem a few years ago, but today, it is like telling search engines “just go ahead and ignore me”. It does not matter if you are asking for personal information, or selling products on your website. Google and several other search engines rank you lower if you do not use an SSL Certificate. Even worse, they may pop-up the dreaded “The site you are to trying reach is not secure” message. Using an SSL Certificate is essential.

Mistake #10: Your website doesn’t have contact information that is easy to find or access

Once on a company’s homepage, 64 percent of visitors want to see the company’s contact information, and 44 percent of visitors will leave if there’s no contact information or phone number available. The end goal of the user experience on your website should be to create a conversion by having a user get in touch with you. If they cannot find your phone number, address, contact form, contact page, email or other forms of contact, they will become frustrated and a lost opportunity.

When choosing your web design partner, be sure it’s someone with a proven track record of success in your industry or for your size of company. Look for case studies that document the success. Read testimonials of past clients. And above all, choose a partner that bases all creatives they do on hard data.

10 Reasons Why Websites Still Matter in 2019

In the age of Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and Google Business, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that maybe you don’t need a website anymore. As a business owner, you have may be thinking that the website is a waste of money and time and it makes more sense to focus efforts exclusively on social media. However, there are still many reasons why websites still matter in 2019.

1) A website gives you instant authority. A well-designed, user-friendly, website with informative, quality content goes a long way towards establishing trust. A website demonstrates that expertise, authority, and permancence. While social media sites come and go, your website should be the central focal point of your online presence that connects everything.

2) Your social media pages aren’t really yours. If you rely exclusively on social media sites, what happens when your entire audience hinges on a social media network and that network starts making decisions that negatively affect you, your customers’ experience, your brand image or identity, or all of the above? Social media sites change algorithms without warning, create new rules that may restrict your ability to communicate with your customers, or even disappear altogether. Anyone remember MySpace or Friendster? When you drive traffic to your own website, you are and will always be in control of these factors.

3) Your Local SEO depends on your website. If you want good search results, you need a solid internet presence. A website is a fundamental part of that internet presence. You need your own domain and your own unique content. While it isn’t impossible, it’s far more difficult to rank in the local pack listings without your own website.

4) You get a huge return on your marketing investment. Consider the cost of printed marketing materials and then think about the cost of designing a website. It almost always makes sense to invest in a website.

5) A website is the home base that connects all of your other marketing efforts. Your website is the true hub of your online presence. You can display products, provide educational or informational materials, and demonstrate your industry expertise.

6) Consumers expect it. While people are increasingly able to find the information they need and take action directly from search results, most consumers expect a local business to have a website. In The Digital Consumer Study, the Local Search Association found that 63% of consumers used the website to find a local business or interact with it.

7) Websites are important for link building. Links are essential for SEO but they are even more important for referrals. A business website has greater authority and of greater use when it comes to promoting your brand.

8) Websites are essential for building your brand. It’s impossible to create a professional image for your brand without a website. Anything short of a website looks cheap and unprofessional.

9) Websites are great tools for customer service. Modern customers look to social media for customer service, but that isn’t always practical or efficient. Having your own website allows you to take control of your customer service process and direct customers to up-to-date FAQ pages or customer service contact info simply by sharing a link.

10) Your competitors have one. If you don’t have a website, then you need a fully SEO optimized responsive website.

If you don’t know where to start, we can help you build a fully SEO optimized, mobile responsive website and get you ranking in local search results on Google, help you run ads, build and boost credibility online, and get more business.

10 Reasons Your Site Should Be HTTPS

If you have a website that is still HTTP, you should seriously consider upgrading to HTTPS. While it’s true that historically HTTPS websites were limited to e-commerce websites, HTTPS is now the standard. This post will explain what HTTPS is and give you 10 reasons to make sure that you upgrade to HTTPS as soon as possible.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a way to encrypt information that is sent between a browser and a web server. This protects users of your website from man in the middle attacks, where someone steals information that is being sent to a website, like credit card information or logins.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a set of data files that you add to your server to secure an encrypted connection between a browser and your server. When installed, a green padlock will display in when users visit your site to indicate that the site is secure.

Are SSL and HTTPS the same thing?

These terms are two sides of the same process of creating an encrypted website. An SSL certificate is the product that is needed and HTTPS is the result of having that certificate on your server. You cannot have one without the other.

If your website isn’t secure yet, it definitely should be. 

Reasons why you should upgrade to HTTPS immediately:

  1. Improved Google Rankings
  2. HTTPS alerts by Google Search Console
  3. Browsers Increasing Alerts for Non-secure Sites
  4. Better Security
  5. Visible Security Signals for Visitors
  6. Increased Conversions
  7. Increase in Average Transaction Value
  8. Boost in Customer Confidence
  9. Required for any type of e-commerce transaction
  10. There Is No Reason Not To Have One

Improved Google Rankings/strong>

Google wants to ensure that its customers have the best online user experience. Understandably, Google doesn’t want browsers to search insecure websites. Because of that, Google’s ranking algorithm now favors HTTPS sites. If your website isn’t secure, it could be getting outranked by your competitors that are secure.

HTTPS alerts by Google Search Console

Google has been sending notices to webmasters via the Google Search Console if a login page or any page collecting any password is not secured over HTTPS. Anything in Google Search Console should be considered important in the eyes of Google and their algorithms.

Browsers Increasing Alerts for Non-secure Sites

Since January 2017, Google provides security warnings in Google Chrome for users if there is no valid SSL certificate on a web page. Google marks these sites as non-secure. Other browsers are following Google Chrome’s lead on this.

Better Security

This is an obvious benefit for everyone. HTTPS protects user information from potential hackers. Better security is a better experience for all.

Visible Security Signals for Visitors

Security is one of the biggest concerns visitors have, preventing many of them from shopping or providing their information online. One of the key benefits of having an SSL certificate is the sign that you can display on your website indicating it is secure.

Increased Conversions

This is another relatively straightforward benefit of having a secure website. The more secure your site is, the more people will feel comfortable interacting with the site. Those interactions may be filling out contact forms, registering for events, signing up to be notified about something in the future, becoming a member, or buying something online.

Increase in Average Transaction Value

There is often also an increase in the average transaction value on an ecommerce site once a site is more secure. With online purchases, part of the concern that users have with security has to do with the impact on the amount being paid. The higher the transaction amount, the greater the fear of being scammed.

Boost in Customer Confidence

A secure connection gives website visitors peace of mind that your website can be trusted and their information is safe. This is particularly important in fields where trust is paramount – lawyers, doctors, financial services, insurance, real estate.

Required for Any Type of E-Commerce Transaction

If you sell anything online, you have to have HTTPS. Most credit card processors won’t even let you sell anything online without it. But if you own a website and you sell anything online, and you don’t have HTTPS, make sure you upgrade immediately.

There Is No Reason Not To Have One

The only issues experienced with SSL certificates occur when they expire or when implementation is incorrect. To that end, be sure to keep your subscriptions active and be sure to update the primary domain for your website to force the https version. That is, whether www or non-www (pick your preference), all other versions should both 301-redirect to and point to the https version with any canonical tags.

How Do You Switch Your Site To HTTPS?

If you’re reading this article and your website is hosted by Connect4 Consulting, contact us and we can easily fix this for you.


Important Pages Every Business Website Should Have

If you are designing or redesigning your business website, you may be wondering what are the most important pages, aside from the home page.

About Page

This is a must-have for nearly every website. This can be named “About Us” or “About”. You can use this page to tell visitors about the people behind the website. This is where your purpose, vision, mission, values should be. The About Page helps build trust and convey that there are real people behind the scenes. You could also use this as an opportunity to showcase popular content or testimonials.

About Us page from Connect4 Consulting website

Contact Page

The Contact Page is another must-have page for any business website. The contact page allows visitors to quickly and easily send you a message or learn how to connect with you via phone or email. Your site should have a contact form, email address, location map, and social media profiles.

contact page example from Connect4 Consulting website

Disclaimer Page

If you make money online from your website, then you must have a disclaimer page. The disclaimer page lets users know how you make money from your website. For example, if you display banner ads or promote affiliate products, then you can inform visitors that this is how your content is monetized.

Privacy Policy Page

The privacy policy page is increasingly important. This page informs users about the data you collect and the way you use it. Even if you are not collecting any user data, third-party tools on your website like Google Analytics can still set cookies.

Terms of Service Page

Not all websites need this page but if you are running an online store or offering services through your website, then it is important. The terms of service page should be written by a legal professional. The terms of service page allows you to limit your liability in the case of misuse of information and services provided on your website. It can also be used to inform visitors about their responsibilities regarding copyright and trademark, and how they can use your website.

Custom 404 Page

WordPress automatically displays a 404 error page when it can’t find a specific piece of content. This can happen, for example, if you link to a page and then delete the page and forget to fix the link. Normally, the 404 page is very plain and not user-friendly.

You can replace that plain page with a custom 404 error page and give your visitors more opportunities to discover content and continue browsing.


Privacy Policy? Why Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy

If you have a website, blog, or mobile app, you need a privacy policy. Privacy policies explain what data you collect from your users or visitors, how you use that information, and what steps you take to protect that information.

Reasons Why Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy

Federal Law

In the United States, there is no single comprehensive federal law regulating the collection and use of personal data. The U.S. has a patchwork system of federal and state laws and regulations that sometimes overlap and sometimes even contradict each other. In addition, there are also many guidelines or “best practices” created by various agencies and industry groups that are not enforced, but are considered self-regulatory frameworks.

Some of the most prominent federal privacy laws include:

If you collect, store, or share personal data like emails, names, or payment information, you need to explain what you plan to do with your visitors’ and/or customers’ personal data.

State Laws

There are many laws at the state level that regulate the collection and use of personal data. Most states have enacted some form of privacy legislation. California leads the way in the privacy arena, with multiple privacy laws, some of which have national reach.

Build Trust

Privacy policies can build trust. To build trust even faster, make your privacy policy comply with the new EU GDPR requirements. Create a privacy policy that is obvious, transparent, and clearly written.

Provide Peace of Mind

Privacy policies should provide peace of mind because they explain clearly what you plan on doing with their personally identifiable information.

Improve Credibility

Adding a privacy policy link in the footer of every page of your website adds credibility and professionalism. Conversely, NOT having a privacy policy may raise a red flag and chase potential customers away. Now that privacy policies are required by EU’s GDPR, this is more important than ever.

Fulfill Third-Party Requirements

Many third-party programs that are part of websites – Google Analytics, Ad Networks, CRM systems, ECommerce Tools – actually already require users to display a privacy policy. As an example, read section 7. Privacy of Google Analytics Terms of Service.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The European Union’s new GDPR regulation – in full enforcement on May 25, 2018 – safeguards the personal data of individuals in the EU. What is interesting about this regulation is that even though it’s EU-based, it applies broadly to any online entity that may have, either now or in the future, a visitor from the European Union.


What is GDPR?

The GDPR Explained. What is it? Who does it apply to?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is the European Union’s new regulation – in full enforcement on May 25, 2018 – that safeguards the personal data of individuals in the EU. What is interesting about this regulation is that even though it’s EU-based, it applies broadly to any online entity that may have, either now or in the future, a visitor from the European Union.

The GDPR defines ‘personal data’ as “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.

GDPR was created to protect the privacy of EU citizens, provide new digital rights and transparency to consumers, and to create clear consequences for the misuse of sensitive information.

Why is the GDPR Necessary?

The current EU privacy law (pre-GDPR) has been in place for more than 15 years. Technology has changed considerably in that time span and massively impacts our lives. 15 years ago most of us didn’t rely on some part of the internet to achieve everyday tasks. More than 1 billion people actively use social media every day. Banking, renewing drivers licenses, going to school, and even dating is now done online. Think about all the personal data that’s involved. Not a week goes by these days without hearing about a major data breach.

How does the GDPR Affect Individuals?

The implementation of the GDPR will mean that you have more control over your personal data. There will be more transparency when it comes to what businesses do with your information. And you should be able to opt out of services that keep track of your personal information. It’s important to note, however, that opting out might also mean not using the technology that we’ve grown so accustomed to using.

If I have a website in the U.S., do I have to follow the GDPR?

Strictly speaking, the answer is yes. A privacy policy is good business practice. And the GDPR’s penalties are severe. That’s why every major company has recently updated their privacy policy and asked you to provide consent.

A privacy policy is an agreement where you need to specify what personal data you collect from your users. That data can be extremely extensive – like the case of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Whole Foods, etc. – or minor – like the contact form on your website, or content on your site that appears only for repeat visitors.

Creating a privacy policy on your own is challenging – you need to understand the inner workings of your website and your policy needs to change when your website changes. New functionality on your site may necessitate updates to the privacy policy language. And then you need to post that privacy policy so that new visitors to your site see the policy and provide consent.

The good news is that I can help you. Contact me for more information.