Choosing a hosting provider and a domain name and setting up a WordPress website is the foundation of your blog and online business. But after that, you need to take care of a few elements on your site that are a big part of your brand and can help you do everything legally and be taken seriously in your niche.
Why You Need Legal Policies on Your Blog
1. Privacy policies are mandatory by law.
To begin with, you’d want to start your online business legally even if you haven’t registered a company and made any money yet. There are some basic rules to follow as a website owner even though there is plenty of freedom in the digital world.
Different privacy laws apply to different countries. If your business operates globally, you might need to abide more rules and regulations.
2. It’s the right thing to do.
As a blogger, website owner or aspiring entrepreneur, you need to respect the game.
Even though you can start with no initial capital or experience and begin making money online from your platform pretty soon, you still need to respect the process. That means not hiding your intentions from readers or potential clients but being authentic.
One such step to take is to have a disclaimer on your website where you can share your terms and conditions, personalize it based on the content you publish, the monetization strategies you use and the type of information you expect users to share.
3. Third-parties you may be using require a disclaimer too.
Most digital entrepreneurs use many third-party services to do their work and grow their digital business. Oftentimes, these websites require you to use privacy policies on your website. Which means if you aren’t doing it, you aren’t following their rules and they might remove you from their networks or not allow you to use their services on your website anymore.
One such common example is Google Analytics. If you’re using this software to collect data from your website, you should notify your website visitors that their information is used for analytical purposes.
Another example is the EU Cookie law. To follow its requirements, you need to let users know their information is collected and might be used online. Together with that, you need to give them a choice, which is why many sites ask you to accept cookies before you see the whole page.
A similar thing happens if you’re doing affiliate marketing. Your readers need to know that some of the links you’re using in reviews, your newsletter or even in regular posts, are affiliate.
Even though they don’t pay more, you can earn a commission from each purchase. While most often disclosing this in your Terms of Service might be enough, some networks or companies might want you to add a paragraph on each page including one of their links.
4. You gain trust.
Having separate pages on your website where you disclose how you use data, how you protect the privacy of each user, whether you give refunds or display ads, and what rules website visitors must follow once on your platform, is a big trust signal for both Google and people landing there for the first time.
Now that you know the 4 main reasons why policies matter in the blogging world, let’s see what the different types are.
What Policies to Add to Your Blog
According to Wiki, that’s “a statement or a legal document (in privacy law) that discloses some or all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client’s data. It fulfills a legal requirement to protect a customer or client’s privacy.”
Terms and Conditions
The next type of policy you can add to your website is called ‘Terms and Conditions’ or ‘Terms of Service’ and outlines the rules anyone on your website should know and agree with before using your platform or product in any way.
You need a disclaimer to state what you’re not legally responsible for.
That is the case with people blogging about Health, for instance, but who aren’t medical experts. Or companies that sell products which don’t want to take the blame for certain actions related to them that buyers might take.
At the end of the day, each reader of a blog can misinterpret the information you’re sharing and use it wrongly. There’s rarely something you can do about it. But a disclaimer is a must if you’re discussing serious topics, selling something, or else.
If you’re in eCommerce, you need this page for your online store. With so many scams out there, customers are often looking for that and don’t trust websites that don’t offer it.
But every seller has a different policy for this. Use this page on your website to outline the exact rules and requirements for returning products and claiming money back.
Next, it’s time to create these pages on your website. Luckily, there’s a tool to do that for you.
Getting Started with WebsitePolicies
Once you use their service, you can create any of the most important legal pages on your website in no time. Each will be drafted by attorneys but also personalized and easy to use. Let’s see how that happens.
Create your profile and choose the policy you want to generate first.
Once you sign up and have an account, click the green button in the top right corner saying ‘New Policy. You’ll see this:
That’s recommended to get as even if you aren’t selling anything yet, you might do pretty soon once you grow your traffic and set new business goals.
Here’s how my filled form looks like: