Blogging and social media platforms have blown up tremendously over the last 10 years. Millions of people are forgoing traditional income (i.e. teacher, doctor, etc;) and are using the world wide web to make money; and they are making tons of it.
Anyone can jump into the blogging game. It takes hard work, dedication, and of course if you want to stand out, you need to offer something that your competition (everyone else in your niche) doesn’t offer. This can be difficult for some people, as they would rather take the easy way out and just copy and paste other people’s post. Well, I hate to tell you (although you should already know), that is highly illegal.
In order to keep your blog legal, I am going to detail seven ways that you can ensure that your ducks are in a row before you even publish your first post. If you are already an established blogger, it’s not too late to add these things to your blog to make sure you are complying with any regulations.
Believe it or not, you can get in MAJOR trouble and nobody wants that.
The Money Game
I will be flat out honest with you, I got into blogging to make money. It allows me to work from home on my schedule and be with my kids. So it’s a win/win.
It doesn’t matter if you make $100 a month or $10,000 a month blogging, you need to make sure you are keeping track of EVERY SINGLE dime you bring in. I have seen many bloggers openly admit they don’t pay taxes on their earnings. This is a big no-no. If you don’t know what to do, get an accountant. Any items you receive from companies you need to know their monetary value because they can be counted as income as well (this includes trips).
Pay your taxes or you’ll be blogging from prison.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been cracking down a lot lately on ensuring that bloggers and social media influencers disclose which posts they are being paid for. Influencers such as Kylie Jenner and others have gotten into major trouble for not letting their followers know that their post is paid. It is the FTC’s job to protect consumers from deceptive marketing techniques and advertising, and ones that are unfair. If an SMI (social media influencer) or blogger is being paid to promote a post, they must always disclose whether they have a”vested” interest in a brand or product.
When disclosing if a post is paid, it needs to be “clear and conspicuous” and preferably at the start of the ad or post. Something as simple as #ad or #sponsored is all that is needed for places like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Bloggers will need to place a disclaimer at the beginning of the post. And for those using Snapchat or YouTube, they must verbally state at the beginning of their video that it is paid content.
As previously stated I have been battling my own copy cat over the last few days. It can be very frustrating as a blogger to have someone steal your work and not bother to give you credit for it. Copyrights in the United States are in place to protect creative works.
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for the original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”
Whenever you write a blog post or other published work, you automatically create a copyrighted work. Any blog content, photos or graphics, are automatically protected in the United States without you have to formally file nor placing the “c” on your works.
While registering your works are not necessary, you will not have grounds to sue someone for copyright infringement unless you do so. It is good practice to make sure you have a copyright notice on EVERY page of your blog. This will lessen the possibility of someone saying “I didn’t know” when you address them about it. Be sure to include your name or business name and the copyright symbol and the years of publication. Also, include a longer copyright statement and link back to it either at the beginning or end of every post. If you don’t mind people freely using your work, then you can include a Creative Commons License, however, if you are like me and require written permission, be sure to include it in the statement.
Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions statements don’t have to be long and drawn out. They are simply where you state what is and is not acceptable from people who frequent your blog. Think of it as the house rules.
This is a must have for every blogger, yet so many do not include one on their site. If you have an email list or collect any type of personal information from readers then you must include a privacy statement. This simply lets your readers know what you do collect and what you will do with the info.
What should be common sense isn’t always. If you do nothing else in life, please put a disclaimer on your blog. A disclaimer is another way of saying “I am not a professional, and no advice is given on this blog such be misconstrued as such”. It states that you are not liable and thus shall not be held responsible if someone decides to try something they see on your blog and things don’t go as planned.
If you are promoting your blog through social media, email or contest, it is important to be sure you are following the law. Email marketing is a big one. Don’t spam people and only email people who have willingly given you their email.
Join my EXCLUSIVE blogging email list!
Do you want to start making thousands every month just by blogging and being active on social media? Let me show you how!