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Would you like a cookie?

It's a legal requirement in the EU that if your website uses cookies, you must give your visitors information about what you're tracking and why. If you're not doing this, here's some guidance on how you can correct that right now - and a free tool that you can use to set it up.

Can I offer you a cup of tea…coffee…cookie?

Of course, you’d like a cookie – who wouldn’t? We all love cookies, right?

Of course, I’m not referring to the sweet variety, but to the small text files that are placed in your browser by websites to help them remember things about you (what language you want your information displayed in, for example). Many still believe that cookies are programs, but nope – they’re just text files (as in, they don’t ‘do’ anything).

But anyway, why are we talking about cookies – and why did I ask you if you wanted one?

Because it’s the law. Yup, if you have visitors from within the EU, you are required to tell them that if you’re using cookies on your site. If this is your first time on the Hypestar site, take a look at the bottom of the page – you’ll see a message from us letting you know that we’re tracking you. I would suggest that it’s nothing to be concerned about, we’re just letting you know.

[Tweet “Are you telling your visitors that your website uses cookies? You may be breaking the law if not!”]

Services like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel allow us to understand more about what visitors are doing on the site, where they go and for how long – that kind of stuff. We track and analyse this information (because we’re nerds) to see how we can improve our site, understand what content is working for you folks and see if there’s anything we can do to make it better.

This is especially pertinent in light of the GDPR fast heading towards us.

How do I display a cookie warning on my website?

As with most things on websites, there’s a whole bunch of solutions that you may want to look at. Many are completely free of charge, some may have a small cost.

I tend to use Shareaholic. It’s free, and has some other cool stuff it does. For the cookie control, you can simply add the text you want to display, what you want the ‘ok’ button to read and where you want to send people who want more information (we have a ‘privacy’ page).

If you’re using a WordPress CMS, you’ll have a whole bunch of plugins that can do this for you (I chose Shareaholic because it also drives our sharing buttons and a ‘follow us’ call to action), but as with all things, shop around.

What does my cookie warning have to say/include?

There are way too many variables to be able to reliably answer this, but ours reads –

Hypestar uses cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information you’ve provided to them or they’ve collected from your use of their services.

This could be a good fit for your website, but you may want to make changes to it. I mean, you’ll at least want to change the company name!

What do you do for your site? Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got something that works for you!

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