Do you have a Blog Disclaimer?
Today, writing and publishing great content is only one of the things bloggers need to concern themselves with. As blogs become a source of income and an individual’s livelihood, it’s imperative that bloggers protect themselves and ensure they are blogging within the law. One of the best ways to do this is by including a blog disclaimer on their blog.
In this post, we break down what a blog disclaimer is and the key elements to include when developing one for your site.
Disclaimers vs. Disclosures – What’s the Difference?
While disclaimers and disclosures are both transparency tools, they are not the same thing. A disclosure statement is used to tell the reader all the necessary and relevant information they need to know to make an informed purchasing decision. If you are being compensated in some way to review a product or service, or you are receiving a commission on purchases a reader makes through your site, you need to disclose this to the reader.
The law (a.k.a. the FTC) also requires that you make your disclosures at the beginning of your post and not at the end. These rules are put in place to protect the reader and to help the you earn the trust of the reader. By acting in an ethical and transparent manner, you are showing the reader that they can trust you and your opinions.
A blog disclaimer, on the other hand, is “a legal statement to limit your liability and advise others that you cannot be held liable for information included in your blog”. No matter how well-researched your blog posts are or your level of expertise, a blog disclaimer will help protect you and will remind the reader to not take everything you say as gospel.
Why Do You Need a Blog Disclaimer?
One of the pitfalls in crafting a great blog post is that readers may see your post as advice rather than information. These readers will follow your advice without further research and may find that they had less than desirable results.One of the pitfalls in crafting a great blog post is that readers may see your post as advice rather than information. Click To Tweet
When readers take your information as advice and undesirable outcomes occur, they may try to sue in extreme cases. While your post might be well-researched and well-meaning, each reader’s individual circumstances are unique. Therefore, the information you provided may not work for all readers.
By including a blog disclaimer, you are reminding your readers to do their own research before taking your opinions as advice.
The Elements of a Blog Disclaimer
So you might be asking yourself what should be included in your blog disclaimer? While not an exhaustive list, here are some important clauses to include in your blog disclaimer.
Be up front with your readers. Disclose to your readers that while you have done your best to ensure your information is accurate, there may be omissions or mistakes. Therefore, they will be using your information of their own free will and risk.
Explain to your readers that unless otherwise noted, you are the copyright holder of your site’s content. If others fall in love with your content, they require your permission prior to them reprinting or publishing your work.
Clarify to your readers that your blog is for information or entertainment purposes only. You are not providing professional advice and they should therefore hold you harmless.
Reservation of Rights
In this clause, you need to remind your readers that you reserve the right to manage your blog. Remind your readers that you reserve the right to change your blog, whether it be its focus or the content, at any time.
Readers want to know how their information is going to be used if they give it to you. State in your privacy clause that you won’t sell your readers’ information. As you value your readers, let them know that you will do your best to protect their information. However, it should also be stated that you are not responsible for the actions of any advertisers who appear on your site.
Advertisers and Sponsors
While you do your best to only work with advertisers and sponsors that you like and respect, you should clearly state you are independent of them. You are not responsible for the actions or products of the advertisers or sponsors and any disputes your readers have with them will need to be taken up with them, not you.
Blog disclaimers are an important way to protect yourself as a blogger and to be up front about expectations for your readers. They remind the reader that while you aim to provide useful information, it should not be taken as professional advice.
Do you have a blog disclaimer? If so, what clauses to you include?
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Jolene is a strong operations, compliance, and paralegal manager. She also loves to research and write about business as well as personal topics that help others.
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