How to Comply with the EU Cookie Law

how to comply with the cookie consent law

Last week the EU’s ‘cookie consent‘ law came into force. This means all websites must now inform visitors whether they use cookies and, if so, how they can be switched off.

If this is the first you’ve heard of it, you’re not alone. Most EU websites are probably breaking the law right now, but taking solace in the ignorance of crowds is never a good idea, particularly with a hefty £500,000 fine for those that make no effort to comply.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small files a website stores on a visitor’s computer to provide a smoother experience. This could include details on what’s in their shopping basket, login info and purchase history. All sounds innocent enough. The problem is that cookies are now also being stored on browsing history so that advertisers can deliver more targeted offers. This has big brother syndrome written all over it and has people worried, hence the new legislation.

If your website features social bookmarking, a login box or third party advertising then it probably uses cookies. If you’d like to double check, Cookieq offers free auditing for up to 100 pages.

How can I ensure I’m compliant? 

To inform visitors whether you collect cookies, you could use a popup or a headline banner. Another option is to add a button to your sidebar or header (which you can also get from Cookieq) or if you’re a fellow WordPress user then you could install the Cookie Control plugin. This inserts a small call out box in the bottom left corner of the screen and a link to your privacy policy for more information. You can see the plugin in action on my home page and feel free to copy and amend my privacy policy, which I copied from Automattic on a Creative Commons license.

Predictably, the new cookie law seems to be getting a lot of flack for being rather confusing and difficult to impose. However, you could treat it as a marketing opportunity to promote your ethical, professional approach to business.

Bonus plugin tip 

Last year my website got hacked, which at the time felt like doomsday had arrived and Google was about to release the guillotine on my page one ranking at any time.

Thankfully, I was able to recover without too much damage (although my RSS feed went haywire for a while) because I had backups of my files. Just in case the hackers should return, I’ve now installed the Online Backup  plugin which automatically creates weekly backups of all my website files and saves them remotely (or you can have them emailed to you, if you prefer).

WordPress is a very secure CMS, but hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to break in and cause havoc. So if you currently dont have any automated backup plans in place, Id recommend getting the Online Backup plugin installed asap.

 

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