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Six tips for better cookie management on your website

  • By 3chillies

Website teams have a variety of different task and activities they need to carry out to properly deploy and manage a website. If you’re a small team this can mean you end up having to familiarise yourself with a number of different topics and practices, including areas that perhaps seem unfamiliar.

Cookie management is critical from a compliance and user perspective, but for some it remains a bit of a dark art. It’s not always straightforward and can be a specialist area, but overall there are approaches that can help, such as letting a cookie management solution do much of the heavy lifting around cookies.

In this post we’re going to explore what cookie management is, why it is important and seven tips for better cookie management. Unfortunately there isn’t space in this article to cover the basics of all you need to know about cookies, but thankfully there are lots of useful resources on the web, including this helpful overview from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).  

What are cookies and cookie management?

Cookies are small pieces of information that are sent to a browser (and therefore on a user’s computer or device) when they visit a website. This information is used to store information between different visits to improve their experience, for example so a user can log in again or the website remembers their preferences. Cookies are also used by website teams to track analytics and user behaviour.

Cookie management can be considered to be all the aspects of cookies that need to be managed by the website team including managing user consent to allow the use of cookies, any text to display to users relating to the use of cookies, and so on.

Why is cookie management important?

There are a number of different reasons why cookie management is important.

Meet compliance requirements around consent

The most obvious area why cookie management is important is to meet compliance requirements around consent. Legislation in the UK, the EU and beyond effectively means a website must ask a user for consent for cookie usage.

In the UK, consent is mainly required by the Privacy and Electronic Regulations (PECR) meaning websites need to list the cookies used, what different cookies do and also obtain consent for their usage.  

Meet visitor expectations

Website visitors have expectations about privacy and the safeguarding of their data. While not everyone cares about cookies and would probably prefer they didn’t have to be asked about them, there is now an expectation from visitors that a corporate website would ask for cookie consent.

Keep on top of an ever-changing situation

Data protection, privacy and cookies remain fluid topics where regulations and approaches are likely to evolve. Web teams need to keep on top of events, and actively managing your cookies means that you are also more likely to stay informed about what’s happening with cookies.

Six tips for better cookie management

Here are six tips to better manage cookies on your website.

1. Use a dedicated cookie management solution

Many web teams now choose to use a dedicated cookie management solution that can handle user consent and the related process, and then also apply any user preferences. Better solutions also automate reporting on cookie management and can even automatically detect cookies. Most solutions are SaaS-based, easy to implement and not expensive. Here at 3Chillies we implement Cookiebot with our clients; this one of the most popular solutions that will effectively do the majority of heavy lifting around cookie management for you and help ensure compliance.

2. Get your head around the cookie basics

Cookie management can get a little technical but at the same time it’s not rocket science. To successfully manage cookies for your website you don’t necessarily need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge. However, it does help to get your head around the basics and understand the different types of cookies, as well as the related ins and outs of consent and requirements of the legislation.

With a working knowledge of cookie management you can stay up to date with changes, make informed decisions and more effectively manage any dedicated cookie solution like Cookiebot.

3. Have clear roles and responsibilities

Cookie management is one of those areas where responsibilities across the wider digital team are not always clear, which can lead to a cookie management solution not being updated, for example.  Always ensure there are clear roles and responsibilities about different aspects of cookie management – with someone overall accountable for your approach, a person responsible for a solution like Cookiebot, somebody who reviews the text for any messaging that is provided for visitors relating to cookies and so on.

4. Take a user-centric view around cookie management

Teams try to take a user-centric view when managing their website. This should also extend to cookie management that puts the user in control. Actions that web teams might want to consider is:

  • Having an effective cookie management solution that allows the user to opt out of particular groups of cookies, putting the user in a position of control.
  • Limiting the use of cookies where possible, for example particularly those that are non-essential, or do not contribute to improving the user experience in some way.
  • Using clear and inclusive language in describing what cookies are, the reasons they are used, and the options for users.


5. Balance control vs convenience

Different visitors to your website will have different views of cookies. Some will find the whole practice of having to opt out of cookies an unnecessary click that is ultimately a waste of time. Others will believe that is it very important they have the option to give consent and opt out of the use of some cookies.

Cookie management solutions should effectively be able be able to balance control and convenience and offer options for those who want to control their cookie usage in detail, but also offer those a quick solution to accept all cookies, or perhaps just those that are absolutely necessary. For example, we use Cookiebot on the 3Chillies website and users can accept all cookies or all essential cookies with just one click, or they can select individual cookies or categories of cookies to accept.

6. Have a clear review and change process

Sometimes there will be a change to your website or the regulatory landscape that might require a change to your cookie management text or process. If and when there is a change, make sure you have a clear review and change process with named people, for example to draft and approve any cookie message text.

We work with law firms who sometimes advise their clients on matters such as data privacy and even cookie management. If the advice they give changes, that might also trigger a review of your own approach to ensure there is alignment between the way the law firm manages its cookies and advice given to clients.

Managing cookies on your website

Managing cookies is an important activity for web and digital teams. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of cookie management or how Cookiebot might help, then get in touch!

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