Hey Boss, welcome to the Blogger Breakthrough Podcast, I’m your host, Liz Stapleton from ElizabethStapleton.com and founder of the Blogger Breakthrough Summit. In today’s episode we’re going to do a quick check to make sure you’re blogging legally and protecting your blog.
This episode is brought to you by the Website Legal Templates Bundle, which includes all the essential templates you need to make sure your protecting your blog and complying with the law. Learn more about elizabethstapleton.com/WLTB
Okay, so in case you didn’t know, before I became a blogger, I was a lawyer, long story short my passions collided and I’ve since helped hundreds of bloggers figure out the legal stuff. Because while the legal stuff is super important it doesn’t have to be scary or hard.
But before we dive in, I do need to say that while I am an attorney, I’m not your attorney, this information is for informational and education purposes only, I don’t know the specifics of your situation so this is not legal advice. Now let’s dive in…..
Complying with the Law
Whether you know it or not, there are a lot of laws out there that apply to bloggers. Some of the more well known ones are:
The general data protection act aka GDPR
California Consumer Protection Act aka CCPA
The CanSpam Act
And of course, affiliate disclosure requirements from the Federal Trade Commission
These are just some of the federal and international laws that can apply to bloggers.
If you don’t know what i’m talking about I have a free guide that walks you through all these things which you can find at elizabethstapleton.com/legalguide
But let me quickly touch on each of these just to give you an idea of what you should be doing.
GDPR came out of the EU after a number of companies had breaches with customer data and they just didn’t tell them, until years later. It was pretty terrible of those companies, so GDPR was enacted to help those individuals located in the European Union more control over their personal data.
CCPA is along the same lines as GDPR but is out of California, so it’s giving California residents more control over their data.
The CanSpam act is the reason you need to be using an email marketing service, like Convertkit rather than your personal gmail to be emailing your list. People have to opt in to get your emails and have the ability to opt-out.
Finally, the Federal Trade Commission aka the FTC requires that you disclose financial relationships you have with companies you promote. Even if you don’t think the affiliate commission or freebie you got to review will influence you or make you bias, you have to give the reader the opportunity to judge that for themselves by disclosing that you received some form of compensation.
Okay so that was a quick rundown of some of the laws it’s important that bloggers know about, now lets talk about making sure you have things in place to protect your blog should something go wrong.
Protecting Your Blog
One of the questions I see asked most is if you have to be a registered company to protect your blog. The reality is that becoming a business entity such as a LLC really does more to protect your personal assets.
So for example, if your blog gets sued they can’t go after you for your house.
So whether you want to register as a business entity with your state is really up to you, again I have a guide that can help you learn a bit more, with an entire section on LLCS.
Regardless of if you are a business entity or not you need to make sure you’re covering your assets with the appropriate disclaimers and disclosures, and just by following the rules.
For example, if you’re in the personal finance niche, you should not be giving investment advice if you are not properly licensed.
You also need to recognize that you’re not perfect, a disclaimer that the site may include errors as well as an explanation of any expertise you do or don’t have, helps readers understand what they get from you.
If you’re selling products or services you also need to make sure your bases are covered there, do you have a refund policy? If you’re using testimonials to help sell do you have a disclaimer that everyone might not get the same results?
These are just a few of the things to think about when it comes to protecting your blog. The bottom line is that most of the rules are simply a requirement that you be super upfront and honest about what people can expect from you and your site.
But if you want to dig a bit deeper than the time we spent here, then I do recommend you go check out the Guide I have for you that talks all about the legal side of blogging, again you can access that at elizabethstapleton.com/legalguide
And if hearing all this has your head spinning and you just want to make things easy on yourself you can grab the Website Legal Templates Bundle which will cover all the basics for you. Go to elizabethstapleton.com/WLTB to learn more.
Thanks for joining me today, I hope this episode helped you figure out what you need to do to protect your blog. Join me next week when I’ll be talking about how blogging courses can actually save you time. Catch ya then!