Cookies are files stored on your computer by websites you visit. This happens automatically and, in the background, so it’s not like downloading a file in the conventional sense. You are bombarded by intrusive ‘Accept cookies’ pop ups across the web everyday. And if you are considering having a website built, may need to consider cookies you will require from your visitors.
What does a cookie file store?
These files store information about your visit to the website. The duration of your visit, the links you click on, any options you select, if you log into an account and similar details. One example is when you add items to a basked using an online store – how does the site remember this next time you visit? This is what cookies do.
Why should I care?
It’s important that you know what information is being stored about you and by whom, and for what purpose. Though the above bits of data are common and necessary, some websites store much more data about you to build a profile – typically for advertising purposes. Because of the ever increasing and invasive ways that companies and websites are collecting about people, the EU introduced its GDPR law in 2018 to force companies to ask for permission before collecting this data. This is why it is now mandatory on most websites to clearly accept the terms surrounding cookie usage during your site visit.
What if I don’t want to accept this?
You always have the choice to decline and deny cookies. Some websites give you the option to only enable essential cookies. After all, they do have a useful and necessary technical function to deliver a good experience. But typically, you can opt out of marketing and tracking cookies when you first load a website. Some websites will refuse to allow you to visit unless you accept – a somewhat bullying tactic, I recommend in this case finding a better alternative website for what you are seeking. Most reputable companies and sites will still let you use their websites with limited cookies and will explain it clearly.
How can I remove cookies?
You can clear your browsing history. This will remove all cookies and related files, including of course your browsing history. You might notice that your baskets have been cleared on recently visited shopping sites, and that you must log in again to sites that previously remember your log in each time. This illustrates an important fact, that cookies can be useful. You benefit from these files in the form of convenience. Clearing your history regularly and wiping these files gives you a refresh. A little audit of which sites you actually wish to allow to store cookies.
Do I need to warn about cookies on my website?
It’s likely that if you run your own website then you should have a cookie warning on your site for visitors to accept. It’s a best practice that keeps you on the right side of the law. Thankfully, it’s easy. The WordPress platform and SiteGround hosting used on all of my websites already come with powerful and simple ways to remove data and handle visitors requests securely and within the law. Of course, if you conduct serious business on your site such as an online store then you’ll already have terms and conditions. Having your solicitor advise on appropriate clauses in relation to GDPR and privacy laws is always a good idea I recommend you act on.
Need further help on Cookies?
Get in touch with Shane today if you’re an existing client with queries on cookies or any other aspect of running your website. Support may incur an additional charge. If you’re still thinking of building a website, then take a look at the Website Packages on offer today. You can contact Shane Bunting to discuss your needs today and get your project started.