If you’re new to blogging or you’re just launching your blog, you may not be aware of various blogging laws or other crucial things every new blogger needs to know.

But how would you know? It’s not like there’s a blogger’s handbook that’s handed out to every person who decides to start a blog

So the responsibility rests solely on you to ensure you do your research so that you’re running your blog legally.

Not knowing these essentials can prove disastrous.

I’ve compiled this list to save you from making damaging mistakes that could cost you your blog, business, reputation, and your bank account.

Ignorance just isn’t an option when it comes to running a business.

And unless you’re a hobby blogger who doesn’t earn a cent  (or plan to), then your blog is a business. So you must treat it as such.

Heads up: The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be legal advice of any kind. I’m not a legal professional.

image-5-things-every-new-blogger-needs-to-know

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. That means, at no cost to you I will receive a small compensation if you purchase something through one of these affiliate links.  I only promote products and services that I fully trust, love, and use myself. For more info click here to see my full disclaimer

 

1)You must have your address present in emails to your subscribers

The Canadian and United States laws are quite similar and extremely clear when it comes to sending emails to your subscribers.

In the United States, this law is called the CAN-SPAM Act.

And In Canada, it’s called the CASL.

When you send your readers an email, you MUST have your REAL address at the bottom of each email, or face a $16,000 fine, PER email.

Scary, huh?

Note: If you are a blogger who doesn’t live in Canada or The United States, you most likely also have an anti-spam legislation, so you should always do your research for your country!

This means at the bottom of every email, to every subscriber on your email list, your address must be present. The only way around this is to purchase a P.O Box and use that address.

They’re not expensive and will save you a ton of money down the road. Just call your local Post Office to inquire. 

The same goes for giving your readers a way to ‘’opt-out’’ of your newsletter. You must have one of those ‘’unsubscribe’’ buttons somewhere on every email.

It’s  non-negotiable.  

Luckily, most email marketing programs like MailChimp and Mailerlite have this already built in. Neat, huh?  But always check, to make sure before you send out an email. 

Out of all the things every blogger needs to know, this is one of the most vital.

Just remember… $16,000 PER EMAIL. 

 

Sidenote regarding email providers:

MailChimp is great for newbies, but the thing is it’s very limited.

I was only able to house one freebie, and for someone who’s going to launch e-courses, e-books,  free email courses, and sales funnels  – MailChimp just didn’t cut it anymore.

That’s why I switched to Mailerlite (well, right now I’m in the process of changing out all my opt in forms and getting it all set it up). But I couldn’t be happier with all the options that Mailerlite offers!

In fact, Mailerlite offers 10 more features than Convertkit even does!

And that’s saying something. Convertkit is one of the best options around. That is, until Mailerlite got popular and started coming out with all these new features to show up Convertkit.

If you know a little about email marketing, you know that Convertkit is almost every blogger and biz owner’s email service provider.

But the problem with Convertkit?

The price. It is extremely pricey once you start accumulating some subscribers.

Mailerlite has MORE feature and is quite robust, but it comes at a fraction of the price ( even when you get way up there and have 50,000-100,000 subscribers).

So, if you’re trying to decide on a email prodivder, Mailerlite is the way to go. Plus, if you sign up through his link, you automatically get $20 in your Mailerlite account (and so will I if you opt for their paid plan ever – in all transparency).

5-things-every-new-blogger-needs-to-know-email-subscribers

 

2) you can only use certain images on your blog

This was a big shocker for me.

When I was a new blogger, I could not wrap my brain around the fact that I could not grab a picture off of Google and paste it on my website.

Why may you ask?

This is a significant copyright infringement.

When you’re using images on your blog and blog posts (and I highly suggest that you do), you need to be very careful and abide by the law. If you haven’t  gotten direct permission to use the photo, then you are breaking the law, majorly.

It doesn’t matter if:
  • It was an accident, and you didn’t do this knowingly.
  • You immediately take the photo down after receiving a DMCA notice (of course you should remove it if you receive a DMCA takedown notice, but this doesn’t change a thing; a lawsuit can still be filed.)
  • The image was resized, altered, or changed in some way. 
  • You haven’t made a cent from your blog yet.
  • You have a disclaimer on your blog, or ‘’gave credit’’ on your blog post to the photographer. 

None of that makes it okay, you are still liable and could face a lawsuit! Not worth it, girl.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places to find free stock photos

So where can you obtain copyright-free stock photos?

If you’re looking for free stock photos perfect for girl bosses and mompreneurs, I have a giant list fill of the BEST free feminine stock photos you can get here.

Your other option is to purchase stock photos. You may be bootstrapping it as a new blogger, so the most cost-effective option to purchase stock photos is buying a membership.

My favorite places to get paid stock photos are Ivory Mix and The Posh Stock Library. They’re both super affordable and my favorite place to score gorgeous, feminine stock photos.

Ivory Mix is $10 per month and you immediately get access to over 1000 vibrant and beautiful images for every niche you could imagine. And you also get 100 new images every month with bonuses during holidays.  I’m just in love with Kayla’s collection that she offers in her Ivory Mix Stock Photo Membership.

Yami from the Posh Stock Library has such gorgeous, feminine images –  you’ll be in love instantly.  She offers access to her collection right away as well, with new photos every month. You can browse her gorgeous collections here.

Wherever you get your stock photos for your blog or website, just make sure you pay attention to whether they require attribution or not – because some do.

I like to use stock photo sites that I’m familiar with so there are no surprises – like Ivory Mix, Posh Stock Library, and the dozens of free stock photos sites I mention in this post.

Stock photos all have different rules, but usually, they fall under the Creative Common Licence.

There are also what’s known as ‘’Public Domain’’ photos. Thich means the creator of the images has waived all rights, and the pictures are free for anyone to use.

 Never, ever search for images for your blog off of Google or ”borrow” them from another website.

 This is a colossal mistake that new bloggers make, one you certainly want to avoid unless getting sued is on your bucket list!

things-every-new-blogger-needs-to-know-copyrightfree-images

3) You must disclose if you are being compensated in any way

Not disclosing when you are working with a company or doing affiliate marketing is another appalling mistake you want to avoid at all costs.

When you’re engaged in affiliate marketing or sponsored posts on your blog, you absolutely must state this in a clear manner for your readers to see.

Otherwise, you’re breaking the law and putting your business on the line in more ways than you would think. 

There’s some misconception about how this works. Which leads to confused new bloggers not disclosing properly and getting into heaps of trouble. 

Affiliate marketing and sponsored posts are the two main ways most bloggers make money blogging.

How to Disclose Correctly With Affiliate Marketing:
  • You must state that there are affiliate links in your post, at the beginning of every post – no exceptions.
  • Tell your readers what that means. Many people don’t know what affiliate links are.
  • A Disclaimer Page is mandatory on your blog. This is my Disclaimer Page for example.

For example, I usually write:

”This post contains affiliate links. This means at no cost to you; I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of these links. For more about my disclaimer, click HERE(and you would have a link back to your full disclaimer page.)

Disclosing Correctly With Sponsored Posts:

With sponsored posts, it’s the same – you must make it abundantly clear that it’s a sponsored post.

You can write something like this at the beginning of the post: ” This is a sponsored post, but the opinions and views are all my own.”

On Instagram, you can just use a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored. However, something like #spon is not sufficient, as it’s not clear and some people may not understand it.

Make it apparent that you’re working with a company or brand, and have integrity by only working with brands and corporations that you use or trust.

Your audience will see you as someone whose money-grubbing if you’re not transparent and make your disclosures crystal-clear.

Not only would it desecrate your relationship and trust with your readers and tarnish your reputation as a blogger and/or business owner, you could face serious legal trouble. 

Don’t risk it.

 

4) Your blog is a business and should be treated as such

I’m sure you know that when you’re self-employed, you still need to file taxes. But I bet you weren’t aware that the government considers you a sole proprietor the SECOND you start bringing in any money with your blog.

So what does that mean?

It differs from country to country,  but it means after you start earning money, you will have to claim that money at tax time, and you should be putting 20-30% of it away (depending on your location) to pay your taxes.

But that isn’t bad news.

Because as a business owner, you can write off loads of things when doing your taxes. So always keep your invoices and receipts.

So when you’re paying for web hosting,  editing software like Grammarly, Canva or Photoshop, office supplies, and more; you can write off as expenses!

I would recommend keeping track of all your expenses from the get-go. Print off all your receipts for stock photos, e-courses, web hosting, Canva, scheduling tools, etc.

The bottom line? Treat your blog like a business from day one.

 

5)Not having the proper legal pages on your blog

This is something that would more than likely be the last thing on your mind, as a new blogger.

We’ve covered your Disclaimer Page –  well that is one of the legal pages you require. But that is just a start.

Remember when I said the government looks as you as a business owner? Well, if you think of any company (big or small) who has a website, you’ll notice at the bottom of every page on their website, they have a set of legal pages.

What Legal Pages Are You Required to Have On Your Blog?

  • A Disclaimer (we talked about)
  • Privacy Statement or Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
Privacy Policy

If you have a blog or website, you need a privacy statement/policy. You may not think you collect any personal information, but even your opt-in forms all over your blog to collect emails is considered personal information. Therefore, you absolutely require a privacy policy.

How can you make one?

There are countless Privacy Policy templates out there, both paid and free options. Just Google ” Free Privacy Policy Templates” and you’ll get a whole slew of useful templates to make creating one easy-peasy. Or you can use the one I used. You can also create your own Privacy Policy, from scratch, but trust me – it’s much easier to just use a free template.

Terms and Conditions

Like the Privacy Policy, you can create your own from scratch, or you can use one of the many templates out there.  But I suggest using a free Terms & Conditions generator to make your life easier.

Here are a few websites to create Terms & Condition pages for your blog:

  1. http://termsandconditionstemplate.com/generate/
  2. http://www.termsgenerator.net/website-terms-and-conditions-generator/
  3. https://termsfeed.com/terms-service/generator/

They’re simple to use and will give you an extremely professional looking Terms & Conditions page. Then you just create a new page on your blog and copy and paste it in.

This is an example of my Terms and Conditions page – where I basically just talk about a lot of legal mumble-jumble. Mainly it talks about what’s allowed on my website, what’s not allowed, my copyright, limitations of liability, and

 

It’s imperative that you have the proper legal pages on your blog. This not only protects you, but it makes you look more professional.

 

Being a new blogger can be exhausting and even frightening.

But it’s also the beginning of an era.

An exciting time.

You don’t want to have to worry about looming fines or lawsuits.

So make it a priority to set up your blog properly and set the foundation for success!

If you haven’t started your blog yet, no worries. I have a step-by-step tutorial showing you how to start a money-making blog.

Until next time,

XO, Alee

related posts:

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “5 Crucial Things Every New Blogger Needs To Know

  1. This was an interesting article, and in fact the second article that I’ve read this week about the topics of what Not to do when blogging. I had no idea about having to use an actual mailing address and wil be fixing my this right away.

    Posted on December 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm
    1. Thank you for this.

      Posted on December 23, 2016 at 9:08 pm
    2. I’m so glad you found this article helpful! There are loads of legal things about blogging that most new bloggers don’t know, so hoping to spread the knowledge. I had no idea about these when I began blogging either.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Alee

      Posted on December 23, 2016 at 10:48 pm