Why Every Blog Needs a Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms and Conditions

Today’s article is a guest post by Amira from ASelfGuru.com She’s a lawyer, blogger, and business coach…and she’s here sharing her expertise on the legal side of blogging. 

Take it away, Amira!

Every blog needs a privacy policy, disclosure, and terms and conditions on your site from day one. Here's why!
This post may contain affiliate links. I will make a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. 

Hi guys! I’m Amira from ASelfGuru.com. Thank you, Cate for affording me the opportunity to write this guest post on a crucial topic that every blogger and online entrepreneur needs to understand in order to protect their business legally.

Today, we are going to discuss why every blog needs a Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions.

Before I get started, here’s my fun legal Disclaimer:

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. 

Now let’s begin – before I became a lawyer, I was a teacher, so I always like to start with the basics first.

WHAT IS A PRIVACY POLICY?

The short and simple purpose of a Privacy Policy is to inform your website visitors WHAT personal information you are collecting from them and HOW you are going to use that information.

Examples of this personal information include your name, email address, credit card information, phone number, etc. It’s anything you input on someone else’s website which can be used to identify you.

It also includes the automatic cookies and Google Analytics you use on your website to track certain data and information of your visitors.

Every website NEEDS a Privacy Policy and it is required by law. So, don’t make the mistake of procrastinating on this because you don’t want to break any laws and get into legal trouble.

Privacy Policy for Bloggers

WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR PRIVACY POLICY

Now I gave you a simple definition of a Privacy Policy, but the laws require you to cover a lot of significant things in your Privacy Policy such as:

  • Children’s Privacy – you have to make it clear that you are NOT collecting information from anyone under the age of 13. Even if you do accidentally, then you need to specify how you will delete that information.
  • Personal information– you need to elaborate on what personal information is collected, how it is collected and for what purpose. For example, if I sign up for your freebie through the email opt-in form on your website, I have the right to know how my personal information (name and email address in this case) will be used. Similarly, if I purchase a product from you and supply my name and credit card information to you, I’ve the right to know how my personal information will be used and under what circumstances will you disclose that information to third parties.
  • Cookie policy– All websites use cookies to collect information like your IP address, geographic location, date and time of visitors, etc and the law requires you to inform your visitors about this in your Privacy Policy. You could have a separate Cookie policy on your website in addition to your Privacy Policy but most of the time, this is covered as part of your Privacy Policy.
  • Email Marketing – you must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 by informing your visitors their right to opt out or “unsubscribe” from your email list and how they can do that.
  • Third party Privacy Policies– almost every website is going to post some third party links on their site to offer or advertise third party products or services. For example, the affiliate links on your website and Google Adsense ads. But your Privacy Policy should dismiss liability for these third party websites.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provisions- under the GDPR, you are required to disclose certain rights and information in your Privacy Policy. These are important legal provisions that must be included in your Privacy Policy. Otherwise you risk facing huge fines and penalties. Read more about fines and penalties under the GDPR here.

This list above is not at all inclusive – meaning, these are just some of the basic provisions to think about including in your Privacy Policy.

I wanted to share these to give you an idea of how important your Privacy Policy is and how you should NOT rely on your sole expertise (unless you are a lawyer and know what language to include specifically) or some free legal templates available to write this.

Web Hosting

WHAT IS A DISCLAIMER

Every blog needs a disclaimer because you don’t want to be legally held responsible for anything you publish on your blog.

Simply put, a disclaimer protects you from lawsuits. By having a disclaimer, you “disclaim” or “deny” liability for the content you publish on your blog. For example, my legal disclaimer above which makes it clear that none of this information can be construed as legal advice or that I’m not liable for how you use this information.

You have to tailor your disclaimer to your specific niche and business. Let’s say you are a health coach – you don’t want anything on your website to be construed as medical or health advice. If someone relies on this information as advice and follows it but doesn’t get the same results as you did, then that person can sue you for their damages.

Similarly, let’s say you provide financial information on your website and someone relies on this as financial advice and follows your strategies expecting the same financial gains. But instead they lose their investment after relying and following the information presented on your blog. Now they are obviously upset and angry and want to sue you for damages.

In such scenarios, if you have a proper disclaimer on your blog then that can help protect you from these lawsuits and save a lot of stress down the road.

Not only this, a Disclaimer also protects you from other issues such as the accuracy and completeness of the content you publish. Not everything you publish will be up to date or accurate at all times. Information changes rapidly and you don’t want to be responsible for any inaccuracies found in the content of your blog.

Disclaimer for Bloggers

DISCLAIMER V. DISCLOSURE

Some people confuse a “disclaimer” with a “disclosure”. That’s because typically, all your affiliate disclosures are included as part of your Disclaimer.

But a disclosure is where you reveal all the necessary information to your visitors regarding a product or service, so they can make a well-informed decision. This includes your affiliate relationships under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) where you are required to disclose to your visitors any financial rewards or commissions that you will receive if someone clicks on your affiliate link to make a purchase.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR DISCLAIMER

Just to give you an idea, here are some of the basic things you should include in your disclaimer:

  • No advice – it should be clear that you are not offering any kind of professional advice on your blog. This needs to be tailored to your niche. But it should be clear that you encourage your visitors to consult a professional in the specific area.
  • Limitation of Liability – you should have appropriate provisions in place to protect you from all kinds of legal liabilities arising from your content and also from any third party links that you publish on your website.
  • Additional Disclaimers – these could be earnings disclaimers, product review disclaimers, sponsored posts disclaimer, etc. Basically any additional disclaimers that are needed based on the type of content you publish on your blog.
  • Affiliate Disclosures – as mentioned above, a Disclaimer usually includes all your affiliate disclosures as needed under the FTC. You are required to comply with the FTC regulations and you can read more about them here.

In the United States, the FTC takes consumer rights very seriously. They regularly conduct investigations and bring lawsuits against companies for not following the rules. See some examples here.

That’s why you should always ensure you have a proper disclaimer on your blog to comply with the rules.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

The last legal policy every blog needs is your Terms and Conditions. These are also referred to as the “Terms of Use” and “Terms of Service.”

These are your website rules. Most bloggers think they are optional and don’t include these on their blog. This is a mistake because your terms and conditions serve multiple purposes.

First, they explain all your website rules such as what is permitted on your site and what is prohibited. Second, they form a legal binding contract between you and your website user, incorporating your Privacy Policy and Disclaimer, which can later be used in court to enforce your rights and settle any legal disputes.

Terms and Conditions for Bloggers

WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Here are some of the things you should think about including in your Terms and Conditions:

  • Intellectual Property rights – you want to be able to safeguard your content by protecting it from being copied, stolen or misused.
  • Lawful use of your website– this is where you explain what is considered lawful content and use of your website (such as no spamming, profane or abusive content being uploaded to your site).
  • Reservation of your rights – such as your right to terminate anyone’s use of your website and your right to amend your legal pages, etc.
  • Refund or exchange policies– if you sell any products or services, you want to make sure your buyers accept your terms and conditions and know what your refund or exchange policies are.
  • Governing Law provisions– where and how you will resolve legal disputes.

I can’t emphasize enough how much having comprehensive Terms and Conditions on your blog can protect you from legal liability and help resolve many disputes in the future.

HOW TO WRITE THE LEGAL PAGES FOR YOUR BLOG

Now you know WHAT legal pages you need on your blog to comply with the laws and you also know WHY you need them. It is imperative that you complete all your legal pages BEFORE you launch your blog to avoid facing long expensive lawsuits later.

I’m a lawyer, so I know how lawsuits can cause a lot of anxiety, stress and a massive drain on your finances. So, why not protect yourself and your business from the beginning?

You CANNOT copy anyone else’s legal pages because that’s a violation of law called copyright infringement.

I’ll be honest, the best protection is to hire a lawyer to help you write your legal pages, but I also understand that most of us can’t afford one.

As a great alternative, I sell all the legal templates that you need to protect your blog at a very affordable price and tons of new and experienced bloggers have already purchased my Legal Bundle for their website, as you can see from the testimonials here.

So, check out my Legal Bundle here instead of resorting to some free online templates that do not offer you the complete legal protections you absolutely need for your business.

I conducted legal audits for some bloggers recently who had used the free templates floating around online, and I showed them how deficient their legal pages were. As a result, they ended up buying my Legal Bundle.

With my Legal Bundle, you will get the peace of mind knowing each template is written by a lawyer and a blogger (like you). I’m a blogger myself so I know what kind of language needs to be included in these legal pages, and I’ve made your job easy.

The templates are drafted in such a way where you will be able to customize and get done with all your legal pages within minutes! 

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN MY LEGAL BUNDLE FOR YOUR WEBSITE?

Legal Bundle for Bloggers

The Legal Bundle includes all three templates below, along with awesome bonuses that come with each template, plus access to my private Facebook Support group where you can easily reach me any time with questions.

You can buy these three templates individually as well, but you will save a lot more money and time if you buy the Legal Bundle since you need all three templates for your blog:

  1. A Privacy Policy Template
  2. A Disclaimer Template
  3. Terms and Conditions Template

Lastly, with the Legal Bundle, you will get done with ALL your legal pages at once and can go back to growing your blogging business, which is much more exciting!

Remember I’m not just a lawyer, I’m your blogger friend too, so feel free to reach out any time. If you found this post helpful, please share with others so they can also learn the importance of protecting their blog legally.

I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below to let me know where you are with your blogging journey? Have you completed all your legal pages or do you need help?

 

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!

 

You can connect with her on Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter 

 

 

Every blog needs a privacy policy, disclosure, and terms and conditions on your site from day one. Here's why!

Every blog needs a privacy policy, disclosure, and terms and conditions on your site from day one. Here's why!

42 Comments

  1. Suktara

    September 6, 2018 at 4:16 am

    This is super informative post something that i need right now! I am yet to frame my disclaimer policy you provided some really good insights like I had no idea regarding the difference between disclaimer and disclosure.

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks for reading!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you, Suktara! Yes, most people confuse a disclaimer with a disclosure or vice versa so that’s why I wanted to clarify the difference! I’m so glad to hear you found the post helpful 🙂

  2. Hailey

    September 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    This is good advice! I’m currently trying to redo my privacy page and these will really help guide me!

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Yes, she’s got everything you need in her legal forms! Thanks for reading 🙂

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks, Hailey! These are just the basic requirements (I couldn’t write the entire privacy policy in a blog post lol) so if you need the complete package then you can purchase the Privacy Policy template or the Legal Bundle 🙂

  3. Rachael Hope

    September 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    This was such a helpful post. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to pin this to refer to later!

    Rach

    https://rachaelhope.co.uk

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks for pinning so that we can spread the word to help other bloggers!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      That’s awesome! Thank you so much, Rachael. Please do share the blog post in case anyone else needs help with the legal side of blogging 🙂
      -Amira

  4. Phil Cobb

    September 6, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Excellent presentation of legal information – clear and concise.

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks for reading! Amira is amazing at her job!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      That’s so great to hear, Phil! I try my best to make the complicated legal stuff as simple as possible so everyone can understand. My teaching background also helps here 🙂
      Thank you,
      Amira

  5. Candice

    September 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    This definitely left me with something to think about and a few things I need to look into. Thank you.

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Thank you, Candice. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need help!
      -Amira

  6. Kathy

    September 6, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    This is so informative! I actually plan to redo my privacy and disclosure pages after I’m back from my upcoming trip. I will be turning to Amira for this. Thank you for sharing this knowledge.

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      You won’t regret it, her legal bundle is great!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, Kathy! I look forward to hearing from you after your trip. You will love the Legal Bundle! Have a great trip!

  7. Nina

    September 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Great info thanks for sharing!

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  8. lisa

    September 6, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I bought her legal bungle and love, love, love it! Amira is awesome at what she does and is fair priced. Thank you for this interview it is well done and so helpful. thank you

    1. Cate

      September 6, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      So great to hear these reviews! Amira is amazing at her job!

    2. Amira

      September 6, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      Awww, thank you so much for your support, Lisa! This really means a lot to me. I know you purchased the Legal Bundle for two blogs! I’m so glad to have you as part of my Facebook community and to see your progress daily as a blogger 🙂
      Thanks,
      Amira

  9. Amira

    September 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks, Nina! Glad you found it helpful.
    -Amira

  10. Charlotte Manuel

    September 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Awesome of you to break down for understanding what these policies actual mean to everyone and the protection,.
    Thank you

    1. Amira

      September 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      You are welcome, Charlotte! Glad you found it helpful, that was the intent 🙂

  11. Kristina

    September 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you so much for breaking down what each legal piece is and why we need them. Definitely going to need these 🙂

    1. Amira

      September 8, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      You are welcome, Kristina! The Legal Bundle is on sale right now which ends this weekend! Hopefully you can take advantage of that 🙂 Good luck!

  12. Amanda Bradley

    September 8, 2018 at 1:55 am

    Concise and thorough information – thank you so much for posting this! There is so much information on blogging out there yet not much on the legal aspect so I truly appreciate this information!

  13. Karley Orr

    September 8, 2018 at 3:15 am

    I’m in desperate need of a proper disclaimer page and would love to buy Amira’s bundle but it’s a bit pricey at the moment. 🙁 I’ll likely have to research and do it myself. Great blog post though! Very helpful!(:

  14. Kimmy Ripley

    September 8, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for all of this valuable information! I already applied some of it!

    1. Amira

      September 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      That’s great to hear, Kimmy! You are welcome 🙂 These are just the basic provisions you need. If you want the complete protection then you can look into the Legal Bundle.

  15. Rachna

    September 9, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    This is so useful… I was not at all aware of all those facts you’ve shared… thanks for sharing… great post..

    1. Amira

      September 13, 2018 at 1:30 am

      Thank you, Rachna! I’m glad you found it helpful.

  16. Carly

    September 9, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I’m definitely guilty of using a free template. 😬 I’ll be looking into other options now. Thanks for the advice!

    1. Amira

      September 13, 2018 at 1:32 am

      Hi Carly, I’ve personally reviewed the free templates as a lawyer and have found them not to be thorough at all, so you should definitely look into a comprehensive legal policy that protects you in the long run. If you need help, just reach out!

  17. Rachael Hope

    September 15, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    This was SO helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to disclose this information in such an accessible way! I will definitely be looking into the legal bundle. Thanks again!

    Rach – https://rachaelhope.co.uk

    1. Amira

      September 19, 2018 at 5:55 pm

      You are very welcome, Rachael! So glad it helped you.

    1. Amira

      September 19, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Hina! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions 🙂

  18. Rebecca

    September 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    I did purchase her Legal Bundle last night before I even saw this post! It really helped me so much and I was done with everything I needed so quickly. I also really love her personality. Before I purchased, I messaged her and talked to her a little bit and she was so easy to talk to and provided excellent customer service. Highly recommend her product!

    1. Cate

      October 1, 2018 at 12:52 am

      Yes, she is the best!

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