The Legal Side To Blogging

AD – This Post Contains Affiliate Links

Blogging can be an amazing hobby. It is one that a lot of people take up, whether that be to earn money or not. What you may not know is the legal requirements for blogging. It is easy to forget your research and skip past the legal factors. There are actually a lot of things you need to consider, declare and do when blogging. Some of these are easy fixes while others take a little bit more time to work on. Here are 5 legal things you MUST have on your blog!

Declaring Specific Posts

It is frustrating to see people not declaring their collaborations correctly. If you have a gifted item, have included affiliate links or are being paid to write a post, you MUST declare that, even on a social media post. At the top of your blog post, you need to mention “AD” and the type of collaboration. For example, you may want to say “AD/Gifted – This post contains gifted PR samples, but all opinions are my own”. I also include a little disclaimer at the bottom of my blog posts with a link to my disclaimers page. You must clearly disclose all endorsements. There are lots of ways you can do this, and there are different ways you can do it depending on the platform you’re using.

You can read more about the guidelines on the FTC website. Here are some of the terms you can use alongside “AD” to help disclose your collaborations:

  • Gifted 
  • PR sample
  • Advertisement
  • Sponsored Post
  • Partnered With Brand X

 

This goes for social media posts too. If you’re promoting an affiliate link, you must mention that it’s an affiliate link. For example, if I was endorsing my favourite Pinterest eBook, I would add “(aff)” to the end of the link. If it was on Instagram, I would start my caption with “AD -Affiliate”, before continuing my caption.

Privacy Policies

If you collect any sort of data on your blog, you need to have a privacy policy to declare what you’ll be doing with the stored data. Even if you’re just collecting an email for a newsletter, you need to have a privacy policy. A privacy policy states how you will be collecting data, what you’ll be using it for and how you’ll store/protect it. You must cover all of the ways you’re collecting data. Here are some common ways you could be collecting personal data:

  • Through the comments section (names, emails, websites etc.)
  • Blog newsletter
  • Cookies
  • Pinterest “pin it” buttons
  • Google Analytics
  • Giveaways (you collect social media accounts, names, addresses of winners etc.)
  • Certain plug-ins track users and have cookies

 

 

Copyright

Your digital content is automatically protected by copyright laws as you’re the owner of your content. The copyright law protects your videos, images, writing, books and other content you’ve created yourself. If someone uses your work without permission, you have the right to take action and get compensation for any losses. Although you don’t need to register to be protected or have the copyright symbol on your blog, it is a good idea to mention your copyright statement. If you’ve written an eBook, have a course or other sellable item, it is worth putting copyright symbols, the publication date and your name somewhere. It should look like this “© 2020 Love, Em Blog. All rights reserved”. It gives your work extra protection. If your content has been used without permission, you can ask for payment or for them to take it down. If they refuse, take it further.

 

Blogging Terms & Conditions

There are lots of terms and conditions that you should include on your blog. For example, if you run a giveaway, you would need to state all of the terms for the giveaway. Stating terms is like a safety net in case anything goes wrong. You don’t have to include terms and conditions, but it is really helpful to have. It also sets out the rules of your blog for others to understand. If someone were to steal your content or have an issue, you can refer to your terms. There are a few things you may want to mention:

  • All the content is your own unless stated 
  • That you will fully declare all collaborations and sponsorships
  • A disclaimer that you’re not responsible for complains of a product you recommended 
  • You will remove links should they be harmful, broken or affects your reputation
  • Your copyright notice to state what the ownership rights are
  • Permissions to use your website; what you can and can’t use, modify, download etc.
  • Third-party agreements if you link to external sites. Mention that you’re not responsible for the actions of these sites

 

Registering As Self-Employed

If you make any money from blogging, you need to register as self-employed. It doesn’t matter if you’re making £5 or £5,000, you need to declare it. The good news is you won’t be paying tax if you’re under your personal allowance. This will be different in other countries, so make sure you read up on your government’s guidelines for more information. 

You must register for self-employment because you’re essentially running your blog as a business. If your blog isn’t your main job, you can call HMRC to adjust your tax code. This will mean that you “PAYE” (pay as you earn), and your income will be taxed through your main employment. If you’re doing this as your sole job, you will definitely need to register. You should register as a sole trader within 3 months of earning your first pennies. Registering is really important, especially if you’re looking to grow your blog and make it a full-time job one day!

There are lots of legal things you need to consider when you start a blog. The most important ones would be declaring your collaborations and privacy policies, especially with all of the issues that have occurred lately. Make sure you read up on specifics for your country because every government has different rules and regulations. Have you forgotten any of these legal requirements? Make sure you go back and change things if they’re incorrect. Don’t forget to update your policies! Let me know what other legal requirements I have missed from this list!

About the Guest Writer!

Em is a UK blogger focusing on blogging, business & sustainability on her blog “Love, Em“. With 4 years of experience in the blogging world, she is keen to share her knowledge and experiences. Emily is passionate about helping others, and since leaving college, has decided to put her passions into writing. You can find her over on social media!

Blog – https://www.loveemblog.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LoveEm_blog

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/loveem.blog/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LoveEmBlogger/

Post may contain affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase I will receive a commission percentage of the Sale. I only promote what I believe in and have used myself. 

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