How to comply with the EU cookie directive before the deadline

Are you ready for the EU Cookie Directive deadline? NO? Never fear…

26th of May 2012 is the official deadline for websites to conform with the EU Cookie Directive which requires all European websites to request permission before serving cookies to EU Cookie Directivetheir visitors. Cookies are generally used to improve the  visitors’ experience by remembering what visitors are doing and displaying differently based on that information. Most tracking software also use cookies to collect data, so without cookies on your website, tracking like Google Analytics won’t work. The reason the EU Cookie Directive exists is because cookies watch the activities of visitors, so could be seen to infringe on their privacy…I can see the point but this directive is creating way more problems than it’s solving.

In order to get permission you are forced to either stop site visitors when entering your site with a pop up and demand permission at that point, OR use a banner at the top or bottom of your website asking nicely. The first option is intrusive and may well put a lot of visitors off your website altogether. The second option risks being ignored by people who just don’t understand what they’re agreeing to.

What does that mean? Any tracking cookies won’t work – a missed opportunity to gather some useful data, potentially on a large chunk of your website’s visits. Also any cookies that help to make the visitor’s website experience more customised and enjoyable won’t work. Oh and not forgetting: if you’re running ads on your website that are highly targeted to the visitors, they also won’t work without getting cookie consent. If this is your website’s source of revenue, it’s a big problem!

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What does the EU Cookie Directive mean to you?

You can either:

  1. Ignore it (and risk hefty fines)
  2. Stop using cookies (you’re be surprised by how much of your website actually uses cookies to run)
  3. Install the ability to request permission BEFORE using cookies on your website

How can you comply with the EU Cookie Directive?

The following video will show how to install a WordPress EU Cookie Directive plugin which I have found to do the trick.

If you are a bit more comfortable with coding or have a web designer you can install some code in the header of your website, available from SilkTide which has great functionality. It’s the option I’ve opted for with my sites because I feel its more intuitive.

If you want to know how to install it in WordPress: choose your settings > copy the code > in your WordPress site you MAY have the option to edit your theme by going to Appearance > Editor. Ensure that your current theme is selected from the drop down > click on the Template file on the right hand side called ‘header’ > search for and install your code just before that. Update file and Voila!

What next?

  1. If you have WordPress install the EU Cookie Directive plugin mentioned in the video
  2. Alternatively install the code from SilkTide
  3. Consider getting your site reviewed by the experts – SilkTide offer the ability to test your compliance
  4. Do you think this EU Directive is a crock of ****?  Then join the debate on the EU Cookie Directive and sign the petition here and comment below!

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You may also enjoy this video from SilkTide (do you get the feeling that I appreciate SilkTide a little by now?) which very intelligently communicates just what this whole Cookie Directive is about!

REMEMBER: I am not a lawyer and you must make sure you understand the EU Cookie Directive fully yourself. The following sites could be very helpful and the surest way to know that you’re protected is by getting an audit or report done by an expert.

http://eucookiedirective.com

http://www.cookielaw.org

http://silktide.com

About Jessica Shailes

Hi! I'm Jess, the owner of Fluid Web Works. I love learning about new things that make small businesses thrive, and sharing with those who find it valuable. If you have a question, let me know, you won't be the only one!

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