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This is a guest post by Crystallace Fenn. Crystallace is a blogger and practicing attorney that blogs over at HeyCrystallace.com

Over the past ten years, blogging has become big business. So much so, that creatives, educators, and business owners have begun utilizing it as a main source of income, and we love to see it!

However, as more people embrace this avenue of side hustling, the need to protect your site from theft and yourself from being sued should become your top priority. In this article, we will focus on the 3 essential legal pages bloggers should have on their blog and why they are so important.

3 Essential Legal Pages Bloggers Shouldn't Be Caught Without

Why Most Websites Have These 3 Essential Legal Pages

If it’s one thing that we all can agree on, it is that companies are in the business of making money and protecting their assets. They spend a lot of time, money, and resources building their businesses and brands. The last thing they want is their websites shut down for being out of compliance with federal laws or to be sued because of the information on their website.

The same goes for bloggers and content creators. Weekly, I get asked about the legal side of blogging, why a blog needs legal pages and is it really “that serious.” Honestly, these questions never get old. As a blogger and lawyer, I love helping content creators protect their work and themselves legally. So let’s jump right in!

Why a Blog Needs 3 Essential Legal Pages

The simple answer is because the law requires it. Privacy and data exchange has become a hot topic over the past few years due to technology advancements and how they are used to aggressively market to potential customers. This has led to many countries enacting specific policies to protect consumers from their personal information being collected without their knowledge and used for commercial gain.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “I don’t collect any data like that on my blog.”

Yes, you do. Whether you know it or not, nearly every plugin and app collect data, that’s how the tech is able to work. Your blog is collecting data the day you launch it.

Another example of data collection is email. If you are asking your visitors to join your email list, you are collecting their data and because you are doing so you are legally required to have a well-written privacy policy explaining what you are doing with their data.

Federal law says that websites are legally required to disclose to their visitors that their personal information is being tracked for the company’s benefit.

3 Essential Legal Pages Bloggers Shouldn't Be Caught Without

The 3 Essential Legal Pages Bloggers All Need

There are 3 essential legal pages that every blog needs.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy, by definition, is a legal document that states how a company or website collects, handles, and processes data of its customers and visitors. From a blogging perspective, it is the disclosure of how you track user activity on your site, where you store that information, and how that information is used. It is no secret that most blog sites generate revenue based on marketing and advertising strategies, but the way they obtain that income relies heavily on tracking user involvement and activity – which is where the policy comes into play. I wrote a blog post on 8 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs a Privacy Policy.

A well-written privacy policy should clearly define when, where, and how you begin tracking the user’s activity, what tools and software are used to process this data, and where the data is stored after it’s been collected. It should clearly state whether data is shared with a third party, and if so, the name of the third party and if the user can remove their data from both systems. Data protection has become such a controversial battle that in 2018 the UK enacted the Data Protection Act of 2018, which implemented stiff regulations and penalties regarding the management (and mismanagement) of data and data sharing. 

You probably will see free privacy policies available for download all over the internet. But the reality is you don’t know what they mean, who wrote them, and who they were intended for.

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3 Essential Legal Pages Bloggers Shouldn't Be Caught Without

Terms of Use

So you don’t get confused, in the legal world we use Terms of Use and Terms of Service interchangeably. A Terms of Use policy discloses the terms all site viewers must agree to in order to continue utilizing the website. You might have seen one of these whiz by you when clicking on a website or seen a Terms of Use update email in your inbox telling you that you must agree to the terms before continuing onto the platform.

The Terms of Use policy is meant to clearly define what your visitors can and cannot do on the platform and spell out user activity reporting and access revoke procedures. This policy is extremely helpful for sites with a comments or members section where users can create profiles and engage with others who also utilize the site.

This policy also outlines the repercussions of site violations and how the site handles intellectual property complaints, user disputes, and other liability waivers that need to be disclosed. A Terms of Use policy may reference the site’s Privacy Policy and Disclaimer but does not go into full detail.

3 Essential Legal Pages Bloggers Shouldn't Be Caught Without

Disclaimers

Disclaimers are important to have to tell your visitors that the information that they are reading is for educational and informational purposes only. So that you don’t get sued. People will take what you are saying on your blog and run with it, then come back and sue you because it didn’t work out for them. You don’t want this to happen to you.

You also need to disclaim your affiliate relationships. That means if you are running ads on your blog, using affiliate links, or doing sponsored posts, you need to make your visitors aware. The law aims to protect consumers against misleading and marketing, so whenever you stand to make a dollar from your blog, you have to have the appropriate legal disclaimers for your visitors.

How You Can Go About Getting These 3 Essential Legal Pages

As a lawyer and a blogger, I created the perfect solution for bloggers. I drafted these super easy-to-use legal templates for bloggers to upload to their sites and then bundled the 3 essential legal pages that bloggers need, into one Website Legal Bundle. I wrote these legal templates myself because as a blogger I know what other bloggers need. My legal templates are fully customizable to your blog’s branding, and they only take 15 minutes to complete!

Having a Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Disclaimer in place and readily available for viewing on your blog site will save you a lot of time, energy, and headaches.  

Read next: How to Monetize a Lifestyle Blog

Legal Pages Bloggers

Crystallace is a lawyer and a blogger that wants to help other bloggers and entrepreneurs by providing D.I.Y.  Legal Solutions. She has created a Legal Boutique where you can shop for simple and easy-to-use, legal templates, contracts, and agreements for your blog or other business.

You can follow her socials @heycrystallace