Is your blog legal? Follow these 7 easy steps to make sure
When you’re new to blogging there is so much to learn that you most likely haven’t had the time to worry if your blog is legal or not.
And legal stuff is sooo boring, I know…
It’s not exactly exiting to learn all about disclosures, legal pages, GDPR and other legal terms that you’ve probably never heard of.
Ugh what a headache right…
But blogging legally is so important. For your own peace of mind and to protect yourself from lawsuits you need to make sure that you’ve taken all necessary steps to make your blog legal.
Luckily it’s not even that hard, just follow along with these 7 easy steps.
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I may earn a small commission for affiliate links in this post at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
Please keep in mind that this blog post should not be taken as legal advice but rather as legal information. For more detailed info please contact your lawyer or take this free legal course.
If you haven’t started your blog yet and you would like some help setting it up correctly, enrol in my free course: Kickstart Your Money Making Blog. In this 7 day email course I cover everything you need to know to set up your blog the right way, so you can make money with your blog in no time.
Why is it important to blog legally?
You put a lot of time and effort into your blog so it’s important to blog legally and not get yourself in any trouble. Not only do you want to protect your own content, you also want to protect yourself from lawsuits or fines.
Complying with the law
In certain states and countries you are required by law to have legal pages on your blog. If a resident from one of these countries visits your blog, your blog has to be compliant with these laws, even if you don’t live there.
Complying with third party rules
Your site visitors are used to seeing privacy policies, disclaimers and terms & conditions on blogs. If your blog doesn’t have these pages you might lose credibility in their eyes. Having all required legal pages on your blog will increase credibility and trust within your readers.
Okay, so now we’ve discussed why you should protect your blog legally, let’s have a look at how you can achieve this.
7 Steps to make your blog legal
- Add legal pages to your blog
- Create original content
- Use fonts that are licensed for commercial use
- Only use photos that can be used commercially
- Add affiliate disclosures
- Know if you need to be GDPR compliant
- Find out if your blog needs to be CCPA compliant
1. Add legal pages to your blog
Another page that is not legally required but definitely strongly recommended is a Terms & Conditions page. Let’s have a look at what each of these legal pages are for.
Your PrivacyPolicy is a legal document that informs your website visitors about any personal data you collect on your blog and how you use this data.
- Types of data collected
(like names, email addresses, location data, IP addresses etc.)
- Methods of data collection
(contact forms, email list sign up, Google Analytics, Cookies etc.)
- Why you collect data
(for email marketing purposes, e-Commerce to understand your audience better etc.)
- Who you share the data with and why
(if you use a third-party payment gateway on your site, you’ll be sharing your clients’ personal information to be able to process the payment.)
Your disclaimer lets your site visitors know that you don’t take legal responsibility for anything you publish on your blog. You need a disclaimer to protect yourself from lawsuits.
For example: You write a post about how you invested in Bitcoin and tripled your money in 2 weeks. If your reader follows your advice and invests all their money in Bitcoin, and then loses all their money, they can’t hold you liable if you have a disclaimer on your blog.
A bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea…
Your disclaimer lets your readers know that you share information rather than professional advice and if they follow your advice, you can’t be held liable for the outcome.
Your Disclaimer should include:
- Your blog content is not to be taken as professional advice
- You accept no liability for your blog content or third party links
- There are no guarantees for success if someone follows your advice
- An affiliate disclosure (if you use affiliate links on your blog)
or check out this Legal Bundle with all required pages for bloggers.
- Your intellectual property rights
- An explanation of your site visitors rights & obligations
- Your right to make changes to your site or to terminate anyone’s use of your site
- A limitation of liability
Where to get legal pages for your blog
Because your legal pages have to be drawn up by a lawyer, you’d probably expect them to cost you a months worth of wages and a small pony. Ha, and they probably would if it wasn’t for this awesome legal bundle I discovered recently.
I shopped around for legal pages and this was by far the best deal I could find!
The bundle even comes with an easy-to-follow legal course and instructions how to implement these pages into your blog.
You can get the Legal Bundle Value Pack here.
2. Create original content
This might seem very obvious but still… when blogging you have to create your own original content. Fresh content that hasn’t been published online before.
This can be hard if your blog topic falls into a crowded niche and it seems like every possible topic has already been written about.
The best way to tackle this problem is to write in your own voice and let your readers experience the topic from your point of view. This way, your audience will relate to you and your content will be unique to you.
Giving your personal opinion in your posts is also a great way to make your content unique.
Whatever you do, never copy and paste other blog posts from the web and publish them as your own. Everyone’s blog content is protected under copyright law, so stealing someone else’s content is illegal.
How can you legally use other people’s content:
- You can link to someone else’s content. This is not just legal, it also will be appreciated by the other blogger as it adds a backlink to their site.
- You can use other blog posts for research and then combine the information of several other posts together with your own experience, knowledge and perspective and create a new post.
- You can quote other bloggers, and include their name
- You can accept guest bloggers to post on your site
What if someone steals my content?
If you find out that someone is using your content on their website you should send a Copyright Infringement Notice to the owner of that website. In this Notice you will need to identify the Copyrighted material and will demand that the person stops using your content by a certain date. If the person does not comply with your request then you may take further action.
3. Use fonts that are licensed for commercial use
When finding free fonts online, you have to make sure that they are free for commercial use. A lot of websites offer both fonts that are free for personal use and free for commercial use, so make sure to read the small type and only download fonts that you can use commercially.
Most WordPress themes come with an extensive font library that you can use on your website. For your Pinterest pins you can use the free fonts in Canva and if you upgrade to Canva Pro you get choice of over 500 fonts for only $9.95 per month.
4. Only use photos that can be used commercially
All photos on your blog and for your social media should be your own photos or photos from a stock photo library. Never copy photos from the internet to use on your blog, all photos are protected by copyright and you don’t want to risk getting sued.
Always read the stock photo library agreement as well, because even if you paid for these photos, there can be still limitations on what you can do with them.
If you are looking for stock photo sites with gorgeous feminine photos and lots of freebies up for grabs, check out:
5. Use Affiliate Disclosures
If you are monetising your blog through affiliate marketing, you need to add an affiliate disclosure to every blog post. Your affiliate disclosure should appear at the top of your page before you mention any affiliate links. It should also include a link to your full affiliate disclosure on your disclaimer or disclosure page.
This disclosure comes with a bonus checklist of Amazon associates DON’T’s, so if you’re an Amazon affiliate this should help you to stay compliant with their affiliate rules.
It also comes with a bonus module that teaches you how to make your affiliate links no-follow, a new rule by Google requires all affiliate links to be no-follow. A no-follow link won’t count as a back link to the affiliate site.
6. Know if you need to be GDPR compliant
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and is a new regulation put in place to protect online privacy and personal data of EU users.
Most blogs process personal data in the form of:
- Contact forms
- Email list sign ups
- Google Analytics
- Membership logins
and much more. To be able to process this personal data you need to be GDPR compliant.
Does the GDPR only apply to bloggers in the EU?
No, the GDPR applies to all bloggers who:
- are based in the EU
- offer products or services to people in the EU
- tracks or monitors behaviours of people in the EU
If you’re not sure if your blog needs to be GDPR compliant, you can take this free legal course that goes deeper into the GDPR.
If you know your blog needs to be GDPR compliant, I’d recommend this GDPR Compliant Blog Course, that shows you exactly all the steps you need to take to make your blog GDPR compliant.
7. Find out if your blog needs to be CCPA compliant
CCPA stands for California Consumer Privacy Act, and is basically the American version of the GDPR.
Don’t think that the CCPA only applies to bloggers from California. You can live anywhere in the world but still get blog visitors from California. Check your Google Analytics to see if you get visitors from California.
However, your blog traffic changes every day and when your blog traffic grows, so are the chances that you get traffic from California and you’ll need to be CCPA compliant. So my advice is to be safe rather than sorry.
You can take this CCPA for Bloggers Masterclass for only $27.
These are the 7 steps to make your blog legal
I hope this post has helped you understand the legal side of blogging more. If you want more information about blogging legally you can take this free legal course for bloggers.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you’re new to blogging make sure to sign up for my free course: Kickstart Your Money Making Blog or grab my free Ultimate Blog Planner Workbook below.