As a website owner or developer, you’ve probably heard of cookies. But are you fully informed on how huge a role they play for your website or business?
From enhancing user experience to improving your website’s security, cookies can help your website and business thrive in this competitive digital world.
By using cookies to personalize content, your business can gain a competitive edge. After all, research shows that 76% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide offers and recommendations relevant to them.
In this article, we’ll dive into five reasons why cookies are useful for your website and how you can use them to your advantage.
When someone visits your website you can send small files called cookies to their device. This helps you understand the user’s behavior and remember things about them, like what they added to their shopping cart, login information, or language preference.
Many are irritated and annoyed by cookies, but the truth is that everyone appreciates a good website experience. However, you should always be transparent, provide clear options, and allow users to manage their cookies preferences, as some users might be concerned about their privacy and the use of their personal data.
To put it in a nutshell, cookies are beneficial for both users and websites. They can enhance the browsing experience of a user and at the same time help you track user behavior, which can later inform marketing and business strategies.
Different types of cookies
There are various types of website cookies based on their serving purpose and level of privacy. Here are some of the most common types:
- First-party cookies. These types of cookies are set directly by the website the user is visiting. They allow you to collect analytics data such as page views and click-through rates and remember language preference.
- Third-party cookies. These are created by the domains that are not directly visited by the user. For example, advertisers looking to direct their product or service to the right audience might find them beneficial, as they can help them collect info about a user’s browsing behavior such as which websites and products they’re frequently looking at.
- Session cookies. Also referred to as ‘’temporary cookies’’, session cookies help you to track a user’s behavior in a given session. Once the session is over and the web browser is closed, the cookies are immediately deleted.
- Permanent cookies. They’re also known as ‘’persistent cookies’’, as they continue operating even after the user has closed their browser. You can use permanent cookies to remember the user’s login information, so they don’t have to log in every time they visit your website.
- HttpOnly cookies. These types of cookies are only accessible through HTTP or HTTPS protocols, which makes them more secure against cross-site scripting attacks.
5 reasons why cookies are useful for your website
Even though cookies have received some negative attention due to privacy concerns, they can be incredibly useful for website owners. That said, let’s take a look at five reasons why cookies are useful for your website’s performance.
Personalized user experience
Personalization is a commonly used strategy among marketers, as it allows them to tailor their messaging and offerings based on customers’ preferences. Cookies help you to store information about a user’s preference and past activity on your website.
By doing so, you can create marketing campaigns and website content relevant to your users. Let’s say someone visits your website and browses through the women’s jeans section, but didn’t make a purchase. Next time they’ll visit your website you can greet them with this personalized message:
‘’Welcome back, Erika! We noticed you were recently interested in our women’s jeans collection. Here are some new arrivals that might fit your interest.’’
Tracking user behavior
In addition to personalization, cookies can be used to track the user’s behavior. This includes their actions while interacting with specific products, services, or platforms such as the time they spent on your website or app, search history, purchases made, etc.
Tracking users’ behavior helps you to better understand their interests and needs, so you can continuously improve products and services, streamline the user experience and drive business growth.
Seamless shopping cart experience
Storing information about a user’s shopping cart is far more important than you might think. For example, when a user navigates through your website and adds some items to their shopping cart you can use a cookie to remember what they added. That way, even if the user leaves your website shortly, their shopping cart items won’t be lost.
E-commerce websites usually combine both session cookies and persistent cookies in order to make online shopping more convenient and achieve a seamless shopping cart experience.
Cookies are one of the ways marketers manage to create advertisements that appeal to their target audience. Guess what – you can do the same!
By closely following the websites and products your users are looking at, you can create targeted ads relevant to their interests. Not only that, but cookies can help to limit the number of times a user sees a particular ad, as well as track their purchases in order to check the success of a campaign and optimize it if needed.
Even as a website owner, you know the struggle of having to repeatedly enter login credentials when accessing a website. This is when cookies come into the picture, allowing you to stay logged in across multiple websites without the need of re-entering your login information.
When a user logs in to your website, a cookie with a special ID will be created. That way, every time they come back, their browser sends that cookie back to the server and immediately knows it’s them. So, basically, cookies help your website remember its users and store their login information.
Cookie policies and GDPR
Most importantly, a website should collect only personal data from users that they have given explicit consent. Additionally, all websites must comply with the following GDPR cookies requirements:
- Users must have the option for customizing, meaning they should be able to choose which cookies they allow and which they don’t
- The user’s consent must be freely given
- Users must be allowed to easily withdraw consent
- Websites must keep a record of user consent for using cookies
- Websites must renew user’s consent at least once a year
Best website cookies practices
In order to ensure your users that your website is transparent and respects their privacy, you must follow cookie practices. These refer to the methods and guidelines your website follows when using cookies. Below listed are some of the best website cookie practices.
- You must always provide clear information about how and what cookies are being used, as well as what their purpose is.
- As a website owner, you must always obtain freely given consent before placing cookies on a user’s device.
- It’s important to make it easy for users to manage their cookies preferences, as well as withdraw their consent if they change their minds.
By following the above-listed cookie practices you’re complying with legal requirements, protecting users’ privacy, and building trust with users.
Exploring the advantages of cookies for your website
While there are some negative sides to using cookies in terms of privacy, their benefits for your website’s performance and business growth cannot be denied. All in all, cookies are a great way to update your marketing game, but you should carefully consider and balance their use.
Makedonka Micajkova is a freelance content writer and translator, always bringing creativity and originality to the table. Being multilingual with professional proficiency in English, German and Spanish, it’s needless to say that languages are her biggest passion in life. She is also a skilled communicator, as a result of having three years of experience as a sales representative. You can find her on Linkedin.