This requirement isn't unique to Squarespace. Other website builders have similar requirements, so there's no way around it if you want to build a website and make it publicly accessible.
- 1. Personal Data and Privacy Laws
- 2. What is Squarespace, and How Does it Work?
- 2.1. Squarespace and Privacy Policies
- 2.3. The Data You Collect
- 2.4. Reason for Data Collection
- 2.5. Data Collection Method
- 2.6. Use of Data
- 2.7. Contact Details
- 2.8. Opt-Out Information
- 2.9. Squarespace and Third Party Information
- 5.1. Edit the Footer
- 5.2. Add Blocks
- 6. Conclusion
Personal Data and Privacy Laws
Privacy Policies are all about personal data protection. The moment a visitor lands on your website, international privacy laws regarding personal data collection come into play. The four most important pieces of legislation you should be aware of are:
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- Australian Privacy Act (APA)
These laws all set out the various rights that individuals have over who can access, store, view, and handle their personal data. They also place numerous obligations on you, the business owner, to ensure that you treat a user's personal data responsibly.
In other words, it doesn't matter how much personal data you intend to collect. You must still abide by international privacy laws. What, though, is "personal data?"
Personal data is any information that can be used to identify a person or household, be it their name, email address, employment details, bio data, etc. The list is non-exhaustive, but the definition is set out best in Art 4 of the GDPR.
What is Squarespace, and How Does it Work?
Squarespace is a platform that helps you build and run a professional-looking website or ecommerce store without knowing the ins and outs of HTML or coding. Essentially, it works by giving you some creative flexibility to set up a website that looks impressive without spending hours learning the art of web design.
For most business owners, platforms like Squarespace are ideal. All you need to do is:
- Pick a website template
- Set up a domain name
- Build your website using the Squarespace platform
- Publish it whenever you're ready
It's easy to get started, and you can even use Squarespace's suite of marketing tools to promote your site to a larger audience. The platform has a dedicated help and support area, and you can read through this section as you build your website.
So, what does Squarespace have to say about privacy?
Squarespace and Privacy Policies
So, you must:
- What data you collect (i.e. personal data)
- Why you collect this data in the first place
- How you collect the data
- What you will do with this information
- Where a user can go to find out more about their privacy rights
- How the user can opt out of personal data collection
Let's very briefly consider some examples from compliant Privacy Policies to see what these clauses look like.
The Data You Collect
You must tell visitors what kind of information you collect from them, whether it's their name, contact details, or their marketing preferences. Put simply, if you're collecting data that can be used to identify a person, you must declare it.
Here's a good example from ARCH Motorcycle. The company first defines personal data and then set out which kinds of personal data it collects:
Be as detailed and transparent here as possible. Using a list format like ARCH does here is very helpful for readability and understandability.
Reason for Data Collection
The general rule is that you should only collect as much personal data as you need to provide goods and services.
Here's an example from another Squarespace website, Pixel Fondue. This clause achieves two things. First, it tells users that the list is non-exhaustive, meaning the company may use personal data for purposes that aren't explicitly set out. Secondly, it provides a clear and concise list of reasons why the data is collected:
Data Collection Method
While you don't need to list every single specific method, you do need to be as detailed as possible here and at least mention direct and indirect/automated methods for collecting personal data.
Use of Data
You can't just collect personal data for no reason. There must be a clear purpose and a justified reason. A good rule to remember is that if you can't explain why you need the data, you shouldn't collect it.
You don't need to list all the ways that you use data, but you should be able to make justifications.
Under the Ficus> has a great clause for this. It's short and succinct, and it makes direct links between the information gathered and how it's used:
The bottom line is that if someone asks you why you need a specific piece of data, you must be able to answer them.
It's important that you make it easy for users to contact you for more information. It's also best if you leave a few contact options, for example an email address and a physical address or telephone number.
Oscar the Grouch, a Squarespace website, makes this clear. It points out that there are very few site functions that require users to submit personal information. The user is free to opt-out of sharing this information, if they wish:
Under the Ficus also has a good clause for this. In just a few lines, it explains the procedures for obtaining consent to marketing, how users can opt-out, and even how users can withdraw consent previously given:
Squarespace and Third Party Information
Here's how Under the Ficus does this in a clause about payment processors and third party services:
Note that it links to Squarespace's Terms of Service and Privacy Statement as well for readers who want to learn more about Squarespace's privacy practices.
Squarespace has analytics tools, which will collect legally-protected personal information. Include a clause that lets users know that you use Squarespace analytics, like Pixel Fondue does here:
Squarespace is mentioned elsewhere too, in the Information Collected Automatically clause, since Squarespace analytics tools will automatically be collecting data:
- Information collected automatically clause
- Third party service providers clause
- Its own Squarespace clause
- Add information about your business: your website and/or app.
- Select the country:
- Answer the questions from our wizard relating to what type of information you collect from your users.
- Adding a blank Layout Page and starting from scratch, or
- Using a pre-built Layout Page design
Layout Pages are the most versatile option and Squarespace recommends using them for "About" pages and other custom pages with a volume of text:
To start from scratch with a Blank Page, you'll do the following steps, described in detail below:
- Start a blank page from the Home Menu
- Add whatever sections you need
- Finish and save the new page
Open a Blank Page
The first thing you'll see when you sign in is your Home Menu. First, click on the "Pages" option, and then click on the little "+" sign that pops up. This gives you the option to open a blank page:
Pick a Title
Edit the Page
- Move your cursor over the "Done" button
- Click "Save" when it appears
That's it, you're all done! If you opt for a pre-built design rather than building from scratch, the only difference is that you're working on a page with pre-placed Blocks. The other steps are the same.
Squarespace footers are easily customized - it only takes a few simple steps.
Edit the Footer
To edit the footer, hover your cursor over the footer area. Once the annotation pops up, click "Edit:"
- Data collected
- Purpose of collection
- Collection method
- Use and sharing of data (including with Squarespace)
- Contact details
- Opt-out details