Getting Legal- A Checklist for Bloggers

Jul 21, 2020

Ok, you’ve started a business. You know you need a website, a blog, some social media accounts, and you have your product/service. Whew. That’s great! Don’t have one or more of those yet? Check out these posts here and here for what you need to get started with an online business. The next step in building your website/blog is getting legal. Here is a checklist for bloggers with everything you need to know to get your blog and website legal. 

Why is getting legal important?

It might not seem like a big deal to have things like terms and conditions and a privacy policy on your website. And you know what? It may never even be an issue. But, if you are going to be a real business and you want to set yourself up for long term success, you need to be sure you are following all applicable laws. Believe me, you don’t want to put your business on the line for a simple mistake. 

I’ve been working with my good friend, Brittany Ratelle, for years to make sure my website and businesses are all legal. She is a lawyer who specializes in helping creative entrepreneurs in getting legal. In this post, I’ll be linking to some of her amazing legal templates that she sells on her website, Creative Contracts Co. And, you can use code michelle10 at checkout to get 10% off any of her templates!

So what are the 3 legal documents you need to have on your website when you are getting legal? 

Michelle Gifford's 3 Documents Your Website Needs for getting legal. www.IamMichelleGifford.com

Let’s go through what each of these are and why they are important in getting legal on your website/blog.

Disclaimer- All links for legal templates are affiliate links which means I earn a small commission when you purchase through the link. 

1.Terms & Conditions

What are terms and conditions on your website? Terms and conditions or ‘terms of use’/’terms of service’ are where you spell out what your rights are with the contents of your website, what you are willing to do for someone that purchases your products, and any other rights that you want spelled out. 

If you are selling products directly from your website, you’ll want your buyers to accept your terms and conditions to protect both you and them. If you’ve ever sold anything, you know that it’s inevitable that a customer will want a refund at some point. By spelling out what you are and aren’t willing to do on your website, you are protecting yourself and your business. And you are making it clear to your customers that you take your business seriously. In the event that someone does decide to bring a lawsuit against your business, having clear terms and conditions laid out will help you to resolve it quickly. To get your own terms and conditions template, click here. Don’t forget to use code michelle10 at checkout for 10% off.

2.Privacy Policy

Did you know you are legally required to have a privacy policy on your website? If you don’t have one, you could be opening yourself up for trouble. When you are getting legal in your business, you definitely want to make sure you have a solid privacy policy.

 A good privacy policy will cover a few important points. Your site visitors should know what personal information you collect, how you will use that information, any third party links on your site, changes to your privacy policy, your email marketing practices, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policies, and more. 

Curious about what the GDPR actually is? Here’s a site where you can find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about it. 

Privacy policies are a big deal. Even facebook and google have been sued in the past for not having solid privacy policies. Now, I know you’re not at the global level of those companies. Yet. Still, you need to have a privacy policy in place to protect yourself. You may not get sued for millions of dollars, but when you are a small business even being sued for $10,000 can cripple your business!

I’ve seen free privacy policies floating around the interwebs from time to time. This may be tempting. It’s free, and you just need something basic, right? Please spend a little time doing your research and invest in your business by purchasing a legit privacy policy. I get mine from here, use code michelle10 for 10% off.

3.Disclosures/Disclaimers

The FTC requires that you have a disclosure on your site when you are using affiliate links. You have probably noticed the disclosures on sites that you’ve visited in the past. The FTC has put this rule in place so that consumers are aware of when they are seeing an advertisement or being sold something. When affiliate links first started being used by Influencers/Bloggers, it was hard to tell whether they actually loved the products/services they were sharing, or whether they were just selling you something. With this rule in place, that is no longer a problem. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. 

Now, did you know you also need to have disclaimers on your site? If you are talking about how much money you or your business has earned, you need to have a disclaimer on your site that states that you are not responsible for anyone else’s income results. You’ve seen it before on weight loss commercials, right? “Results not typical.” This is a pretty generic way of saying, “You may or may not earn the same amount of money as I have even if you follow my exact steps for building a business.”

If you don’t have a disclaimer on your site, you need to think seriously about getting one. There are different disclaimers depending on what products/services you provide your customers. It can be tricky to figure out which one you need.

Lucky for you, Brittany Ratelle has done some of the hard work for you. Find what you need here, and use code michelle10 for 10% off at checkout!

 

My favorite templates for getting legal from Brittany Ratelle

I love that Brittany has put together these amazing legal templates for creative entrepreneurs like me. I don’t have to try and hire an expensive lawyer to get my small business legal and legit. Brittany’s templates have been a lifesaver for me and for many other entrepreneurs like myself. 

Are you a photographer? Click here for Brittany’s templates.

If you’re a Blogger, I recommend these templates, here.

Podcaster? Here are some awesome templates just for you!

* Don’t forget to use michelle10 at checkout for 10% off!

Getting legal in your business may seem like a daunting task, but it is one task that is very worth it! You will thank yourself later when something comes up and you are already protected. You never know what the future will hold, so it’s always good to be prepared. Protect yourself and your business by getting legal.

For more business tips, coaching, and content creation advice, follow me on Instagram! Find me there @IamMichelleGifford.

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