How to Protect Your Blog with Legal Pages
Blogging isn’t all just fun and games. You have to remember that your blog is a business and you will need to learn how to protect your blog with legal pages to ensure that you’ve got your legal bases covered.
Hi guys! I’m Amira from ASelfGuru.com. Thank you, Alex and Lauren for giving me the opportunity to write this guest post on a very important topic that every blogger needs to know about but most new bloggers probably don’t understand completely: How to Protect Your Blog with Legal Pages
Let me begin by first telling you a bit about myself and how I got into blogging while working full-time as a lawyer.
Lawyer, Business Coach, and Now a Blogger Too
I’ve been practicing law for more than 8 years but have been teaching business and legal skills for 10 years to entrepreneurs.
I’ve always had some side hustles ever since I was a teenager, including modeling, teaching, coaching, freelance work, etc).
I knew eventually I was going to be my own boss, but the question was how?
I didn’t want to pursue the traditional route of opening up my own law firm or any other brick and mortar business because my ultimate dream was to be able to work from anywhere in the world.
This is not feasible with any brick and mortar type of business because it wouldn’t give me the full autonomy and freedom I desired.
I also wanted to combine all my professional experiences (legal, business, coaching and teaching) in a creative manner that would allow me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others while keeping my products and services affordable.
So, one day when I stumbled upon a video from Create and Go’s YouTube channel, it felt like I could actually fulfill my dream to work from anywhere through blogging and use my years of business and legal expertise to start a blog!
I didn’t waste time to purchase Alex and Lauren’s Pro Blogger Bundle to begin my blogging journey right away because “time is money.” I know – lawyer mentality – but also very true!
Because I still work full-time as a lawyer, I wanted to use my time wisely and learn from the BEST and Alex and Lauren have truly been my blogging gurus!
Here’s the Proof:
- Because of their fabulous Launch Your Blog course, I was able to launch my blog within 7 days while working full-time and without having any technical background. Imagine all the hours, stress and headache I saved!
- Because of their Making Money Blogging for Beginners course, I started making money during my first month of blogging through affiliate marketing!
- Because of their awesome Six Figure Blogger course, I was able to create my own digital products (4 of them!) within 2 weeks after launching my blog.
With Create and Go’s courses, I’ve made more than $3,320 with only 13 blog posts published, 55 subscribers at the time and $0 spent on advertising my products – in just 2 months!
One of the most important lessons I learned from the Pro Blogger Bundle was how to identify my target audience and their pain points, so I could provide valuable solutions to them.
As I was working on setting up my own blog, I noticed A LOT of bloggers in various Facebook groups struggling with how to write the legal pages for their websites.
This came as no surprise to me because most of us are not lawyers, so how on earth would you know what specific language to include in your legal pages?
Most bloggers don’t even know where to start and trying to sift through the legalese without a formal legal education is overwhelming and confusing.
That’s why I’m writing this post to help you! So let’s get started!
[Disclaimer: Although I am a lawyer by profession, I am not YOUR lawyer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish any kind of attorney-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information. The information on this page is also subject to the disclaimers of this website.]
Why Do You Need Legal Pages on Your Blog?
The first question you should be asking yourself is: why do you even need legal pages?
The short and simple answer is to avoid long expensive lawsuits.
Lawsuits are scary, intimidating, time-consuming and very costly. Nobody wants these kinds of headaches and stress in their life.
You need legal pages on your blog to…
Comply with the Law
Many bloggers make the mistake of assuming that legal pages are optional on their blog.
I have seen some new bloggers procrastinating and neglecting this aspect of their blog. Don’t make this mistake because just like any other violation of law, you could face hefty fines and lawsuits for not abiding by the legal requirements.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for protecting the rights of consumers.
They are known to regularly conduct investigations and sue companies for violating the law.
See examples of such lawsuits here.
Having legal pages on your website can easily protect you from violating these rules and regulations, so you don’t lose your sleep (and your money) down the road.
Protect Your Intellectual Property Rights
All content on your website, including your text, posts, logos, products, designs, branding, etc is your intellectual property, meaning you own it, and it is protected by copyright, trademark and other intellectual property and unfair competition laws.
But what if someone copies, distributes or reproduces all that content you worked so hard to create and use it on their website?
Sadly, this happens a lot more frequently than you might imagine.
I’ve had it happen to my clients.
While having legal pages on your blog or website cannot prevent copyright infringement from happening, it will protect you when it does happen.
You can take proper action against these offenders by filing what is known as a DCMA takedown notice. DCMA stands for Digital Millenium Copyright Act and it is a U.S. Copyright law that protects your intellectual property.
When someone copies your intellectual property, you can file a DCMA takedown notice with their hosting company, a social media company, or wherever else the copyright infringement has taken place.
- For example, if someone copies your blog content on their own website, you would file a DCMA with that person’s hosting company (you can find out who their host provider is through a domain lookup site).
- If someone copies your YouTube video, you would file the DCMA with YouTube.
The right legal pages will outline your intellectual property rights and let others know that your content cannot be stolen, misused, or reproduced in any way.
Disclaim Personal Liability
The legal pages on your website are necessary to deny personal liability in cases where someone relies on the information published on your website and expects the same results.
Bottom Line: You don’t want to be held responsible for what people choose to do with the information that you provide.
You also have to remember that people can do some pretty dumb things sometimes…
Also, what if the content on your blog is inaccurate or has errors or omissions? You don’t want to be legally responsible for those either.
It’s important to make it abundantly clear that all information on your website is for “educational and informational” basis, so people can’t construe it as actual advice, rely on it, and later sue you for damages.
These are often referred to as General Disclaimers, but you can also take them a step further by including Medical Disclaimers and others – depending on what niche you are in.
- For example, let’s say you have a health and fitness blog and sell a weight loss program about dieting and exercise. Without the right legal jargon on your website, someone can sue you if they take your advice and have some nasty, negative side effects from dieting or get injured from your workouts.
- Let’s talk about finance. If you’re giving advice on how to make money online, you have to make it clear that your information is for ‘educational and informational purposes only’ so that people can’t sue you because they implemented your advice on investments and lost a bunch of money.
Doesn’t seem quite fair, right? Well, it is if you don’t have the right legal pages on your blog.
This can happen to any blogger in any niche!
I like to believe that 99% of the people in this world would never take legal action like this and try to collect money on it, but it’s the 1% you have to watch out for.
The more success you have, the more you will become a target for fraud and malicious intent, and the greater the need for solid legal pages on your blog.
Having a proper Disclaimer page on your website is crucial to shield you from such lawsuits. See my legal disclaimer above as another example.
Disclose Your Affiliate Relationships
As part of protecting consumer rights, the FTC requires you to disclose your affiliate relationships for any third party links you publish on your website to gain any financial rewards, commissions, and incentives when someone clicks on your affiliate link to make a purchase.
This is required to ensure transparency, honesty and to prevent misleading advertising – ultimately to protect the consumer.
You can read more about the FTC endorsement guidelines here.
In order to properly disclose your affiliate relationships in any cases of affiliate marketing, you will need another type of disclaimer – an Affiliate Disclaimer.
Explain Your Website Rules
Another reason you need legal pages is to explain your website rules to your visitors.
You need to be clear about what is permitted on your website and what is not as well as what the consumer should expect when visiting your website.
This is important so that you can take appropriate legal action if someone breaks those rules AND so that no one can sue you because the intentions of the information on your website weren’t clear.
Some examples of the terms and conditions that you can set include:
- Prohibit the abusive use of your website (i.e. spamming, posting obscene or defamatory content, etc.)
- Set an intended age for the use of the information on your website (i.e. intended for those over the age of 18)
This type of information is generally found on a Terms and Conditions page.
Protect User Privacy
This part gets a little more complicated, but I’ll try to summarize it the best I can.
Basically, when a user visits your website, information is collected on that user through methods like cookies and pixels – both by your website and other third-party software that is on your website (think email opt-ins, sales pages, etc.).
You must define what type of information is collected from your website, how it is stored, and how that information is used.
The consumer has the right to be informed about these processes and what their rights are regarding those processes upon visiting your website.
What Legal Pages Do You Need on Your Blog?
Every blog needs at least the following three legal pages and no, you CAN’T COPY anyone else’s legal pages under the law unless you want to be sued for copyright infringement (and you definitely don’t!).
- email addresses through your email opt-in forms,
- credit card information sales pages,
- comments and cookies on your website,
- Google Analytics,
- Other personal data collected any time someone makes a purchase from your website,
Think about it… If I supply my name and email address to you, I have the right to know what you will do with that information, how it will be used and in what circumstances will you disclose my personal information to third parties.
- Children’s privacy
- Cookies and comment policies
- Third party links and use
- Email marketing
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) visitor rights, etc.
The second legal page you need on your blog is a Disclaimer.
A Disclaimer limiting your liability by informing users that the information on your site is “as is,” and doesn’t constitute advice of any kind.
You should always tailor your disclaimer to your specific blog niche to prevent lawsuits arising from someone relying on any information from your website.
If there’s a potential lawsuit in the future, the disclaimer can be used to remind the users of your website that they were solely responsible for any actions they took from the information published on your website.
Another example of when this can come in handy is if you were to publish some information on your blog that it is not completely accurate or up to date and that incorrect information ends up harming someone.
You could be potentially held liable in court for this unless you had an appropriate disclaimer on your website to protect you.
Your Disclaimer can be general in nature or also be more specific – depending on your niche on content on your blog – and can cover some or all of these topics:
- Informing visitors that your content should not be construed as or substituted for professional advice
- Disclosing your affiliate and third-party relationships under the FTC (or whatever similar laws govern your country)
- Denying responsibility for third party links on your website (i.e. Ads, affiliate links, etc),
- Earnings disclaimer so others don’t expect the same financial results that you advertise
- Product reviews and testimonials disclaimer (must disclose when you receive products for free in exchange for reviews)
- Sponsored posts disclaimer, etc
Make sure to take a good hard look at what your content is about to make sure that you have ALL necessary disclaimers on your blog.
Terms and Conditions
Think of these as your website rules.
The Terms and Conditions serve as a binding legal contract between you and the users of your website and can later be enforced in court to resolve a legal dispute.
The Terms and Conditions page often covers topics like:
- The lawful use of your website such as no spamming or distribution of abusive content
- Your intellectual property rights
- Intended age of your users
- Your right to terminate anyone’s use of your website
- Your refund/exchange policies for the products or services you offer
- How and where you will resolve legal disputes
- Permission to use certain materials on your website, etc.
Having a comprehensive Terms and Conditions on your website legitimizes your business and protects you from all kinds of potential legal issues down the road.
How to Create Legal Pages for Your Blog
There are three main ways you can create the legal pages for your website.
Hire a Lawyer
The first option is to hire a lawyer to professionally custom write the legal pages for your blog. You will have the peace of mind knowing your legal pages cover all bases and are in compliance with all the applicable laws.
But I don’t have to tell you that this is not the most cost-effective option because not everyone can afford to hire a lawyer when they are just starting their blog and have not made any money yet.
Free Legal Templates
Your second option is to try acting like a lawyer and grab some free legal templates available online – and hope and pray that you know what you are doing and are legally protected!
The problem with FREE stuff is that you get what you pay for.
In this case, you get a very basic, generic template that generally does not cover all your bases.
You don’t even know whether these free templates are actually drafted by a lawyer. Plus, how do you know what important legal language is missing in these free templates?
The answer: You don’t.
I recently conducted a legal audit for a friend who had used free templates on her blog, and I found so many holes in them that were subjecting her to legal liability.
I’m a blogger myself, so I know how hard we work day and night to create and build our businesses. I also know what language must be included in these legal pages to protect myself.
Even if I wasn’t a lawyer, I still wouldn’t feel comfortable trusting these basic templates and putting my business at risk because at best, these free templates just serve as a reference guide.
Paid Legal Templates
Your third and best option is to purchase the legal templates actually drafted by a lawyer.
Paid legal templates offer you the benefit (and the peace of mind) of professionally written legal pages by an actual lawyer yet at a fraction of the cost for having to hire a lawyer personally.
This is where I can help!
I sell ALL of the legal pages you need at a very affordable price so you don’t have to worry about not being able to afford a lawyer or resort to the free templates.
I have personally taken the time to draft each template myself based on my experiences as both a lawyer and a blogger.
My legal templates are super easy to customize and most bloggers have them completed within minutes!
I know the legal side of blogging can be quite overwhelming and intimidating, so you are also welcome to join my FREE Facebook group where you can easily reach me with questions, connect with other bloggers and receive ongoing feedback in your blogging journey.
I know this was A LOT of information, so let’s do a recap of what legal pages you need to protect your blog:
I also have a discounted Legal Bundle that includes all 3 templates above along with additional bonuses!
The Legal Bundle is the best deal because it comes with a huge discount, saving you tons of time, money and headaches!
Plus you get done with ALL your legal pages in one shot, so you can focus on the more important and time-intensive tasks of growing your business like driving traffic and monetization!
Hopefully, after reading this post and knowing how important legal pages are for your blog, you won’t procrastinate and get done with all your legal pages BEFORE you launch your blog!
Please comment below to let me know if you are done with all your legal pages or if you need my help! I’d love to hear from you!
About the Author:
Amira is a lawyer, blogger and business coach from Florida. She blogs at ASelfGuru.com where she teaches business and legal skills to online entrepreneurs and helps you become your own boss!