I’m guessing privacy and data collection are important to you, since you’re here. It’s important to me, too. So in the spirit of full disclosure, let’s review the things I track about site visitors, why I do it, and how to opt out if you so choose.
What I collect
In an effort to understand whether the content I share is of value to the folks I’m trying to reach, I track some specific details when you visit this site.
When you sign up for my newsletter, book a call through Calendly, or fill out a form on my site, I ask you for some personal information. I use this info for managing my communications with you and providing you with the relevant service. I do not and will not sell, give away, or otherwise share your personal information with anyone. I do use third-party vendors to manage this data: Calendly holds information necessary for managing your appointment, Campaign Monitor manages my email newsletter list, and I use AirTable for my address book. All of the data housed in these apps is subject to the terms of the respective vendors.
I currently use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, which sends a cookie to your web browser to mark you as a visitor when you arrive. Your visit gets aggregated with everyone else’s, and I track how visitors as a group navigate the site and what you do while you’re here (to the extent I can; GA simply isn’t as accurate as everyone would like to believe). This information helps me understand if certain pages are more interesting to you than others. I’m also testing out FullStory, which allows me to view user clicks and other interactions.
When you receive my email newsletter, Campaign Monitor tracks when you open an email and/or click a link. I use this information to understand if you care about the content I send you, and adjust my emails accordingly. If you follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media channels, I occasionally look at engagement statistics—but let’s face it: I really don’t do this with any rigor.
What I do with this info and why
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t dive very deeply into the data collected through the previously-mentioned services. I might, as an example, run a report to understand whether most people visit jessicasand.com on a desktop computer or on their mobile phone. The resulting info helps me decide how much to prioritize responsive content. FullStory tracking allows me to see individual clicks, scrolls, and interactions, so I can gauge where content or design may be causing friction for visitors.
The simplest and surest way to opt out of any of this is to not visit the site, not volunteer any personal info, and/or unfollow me on social media. Of course, then you miss out on all my helpful content, and what kind of a solution is that?
To opt out of Google tracking, you’ll need to prohibit cookies for this site in your web browser (here are some basic instructions).
To unsubscribe from my email update, click the “Unsubscribe” link in the email you received (if you no longer have the email, send me a note). Alternatively, I can completely obliterate you from my email database and address book; just send a request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (no, it won’t hurt my feelings). Keep in mind that ultimate destruction means that if you ever share your info with me again, I’ll have no way to know if you’ve requested no contact already and you may start receiving communications from me again.
Presumably, that’s a good thing.
Since you’re clearly an astute internet citizen who values your privacy and data, you may be interested in a few of my favorite resources about the subject:
I updated this page on Feb. 3, 2020.