Legalise it! 5 rules for your blog

Hey, how you doing? Clare from Her Digital here!

So, if you’re blog bloggy blogging away right now, there’s probably a few things you need to be aware of that keep your blog legitimate, legal and on the straight and narrow.

If, like us, you have been putting all your energy into creating interesting and well-written content for your website, there are some keys things that you should be doing to stay on the right side of the law.

Privacy statement

A privacy statement is a legal statement that tells your readers what information you are collecting (emails, cookies etc), how you are collecting it and how you intend to use it.

Personal data is now viewed as the “crown jewels” of everything and there must be policy behind the collection of that data that is visible and open to the visitors of your website or blog.

Here is the best example of a privacy policy displayed and written on the Gov.UK website https://www.gov.uk/help/privacy-policy.

Disclaimer

So you’re a big fan of imparting your worldly wisdom to the masses via your blog (we know we are!), but you wouldn’t want to get sued if someone followed your blog to the letter and they didn’t make a million, get a partner or ended up burning their hair off.

Visitors to your blog need to be informed that the views that they are reading are for informational or entertainment purposes. What goes onto your blog does not necessarily constitute “professional advice” even if you are a professional –  hence why you need a disclaimer that protects you when/ if someone follows your word and it doesn’t work out for the best.

Remember every person’s situation is different and if you are purporting to give advice, this may not work for everyone. Always suggest they speak directly to a professional if they are unsure.

Terms of Use

These are basically the commandments of your blog/ website, what conduct is not tolerated etc. These can be rules of any kind and can be used in different ways – to state protection of your intellectual property, prevention of abusive behaviour etc.

Although it’s not a legal requirement to have on your site, it’s recommended to have some governance about the types of behaviour you expect from your users.

Sponsored Content

Some bloggers are paid to promote the products and services of others, which is straight up advertising.  If you are doing this, you should always tell your readers (perhaps at the top or bottom of the blog article) that this is promoted or sponsored content.

Using other people’s stuff

Be careful when using other people’s stuff i.e. if you are referring to content from another website or blog, make sure you reference it.

Put a link to the source from where you took that information from and credit the person who wrote the original article. Here is a great article from Corey Wainwright at Hubspot who lays out the different scenarios in which you may have to cite information on the internet. How To Cite Sources & Not Steal Content On The Internet

Images

Another area which is important to note is the use of images. Pretty much any image found on the internet is downloadable and re-usable but this not the legal and appropriate way to use imagery.

If you are using images on your blog that don’t belong to you, you could ask the owner of the content for permission, or best of all use a site where photographers imply consent by uploading their images to a site like

If you are using images on your blog that don’t belong to you, you could ask the owner of the content for permission, or best of all use a site where photographers imply consent by uploading their images to a site like Unsplash  

If you can think of any more ways to stay on the right side of the law when it comes to your blog…please share them in the comments.