As the blogging industry grows, it is become more scrutinized than ever. Not only are people making a complete living off of their blog, but the internet basically keeps everything forever! As a content creator, I often wonder if I am legally blogging. As someone who has studied business (and decided to pursue it further), it is time to talk about what we need to do as bloggers so that we don’t get sued!
Disclose, Disclose, Disclose
I am hoping by now that we all know when we should be disclosing infromation, and when it is not required. When it comes to legally blogging, this is something that has gotten a lot of people in trouble in recent news. If you’re doing sponsosred content of any kind, not disclosing could lead you into some serious issues. It doesn’t matter if it is paid or gifted, you still need to ad #ad, #sponsored, or #gifted to your blog posts, Instagram posts, whatever! Something else that all blogger’s need is a disclaimer for your entire blog. If you’re ever wondering, you can find mine at the bottom of the page!
Know about copyrights, seriously.
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts over on Twitter about other bloggers taking content. This leads me into copyrighting and just basically doing honest work. It’s important to remember that the idea of your content is not something that can be copyrighted, but how you write about it is copyrighted. Anything that you create on your blog, for your blog, about your blog is protected as intellectual property. In the USA at least, we are protected as soon as we hit publish. If you’re outside of the country, then I highly suggest taking the time to check and see if you’re legally blogging, and protecting your content as well!
Omg, the dreaded images
Speaking of something that keeps many people from legally blogging, images are the quickest way to get into some serious problems. This technically falls under copyright, but I think it is important enough to warrant it’s own paragraph! The easiest way to avoid this issue is to use your own photos. You don’t have to have a fancy camera, and it will go a lot further for your blog. Here are some blogging photo tips right here!
Another alternative is using free stock images. There are a ton of websites that allow you to use the images without any sort of legal reprocussions. If you’re just starting out, I think these are great ways to dip your toes into the world of blogging. Here are a few of my faves: Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay
Something else that is a great choice is to purchase royalty-free photos. These are created by some amazing photographers, and when you become a member of the site, or pay a fee, you are able to use the photos anywhere that you want to. Make sure you read the terms and conditions! Here are a few of my faves: Styled Stock, Ivory Mix, Kate Max Stock
Protect your readers!
I’m going to focus on protecting the privacy of the people who take the time to actually visit your blog. With the GDPR that took effect in 2018, it is more imporant than ever to be aware of the law in the blogosphere. You should have a manual opt-in that the user has to actually press in order to have consent to their inbox. If you use Mailerlite for your blog newsletter like I do, then you can also have an opt-in sent to the email of the user before your email hits their inbox. You are also now required to feature an unsubscribe button at the end of every email you send.
Lastly, DO NOT sell your email list to another blogger, or company. That user did not give their consent for you to do that, so you are breaking the GDPR, and that isn’t a cute look sis.