How to Legally Protect Your Blog

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I know, I know, you’re probably thinking you clicked into another blog post about how to blog legally that probably won’t tell you anything that resonates with you. Trust me, I've been there. But I hope you find yourself delightfully surprised by the end of it.

I’ve been on the other side of this article, I know how hard it is to feel comfortable with the information you have or don’t have in front of you when it comes to the law.

In fact, before I launched, I read blog post after blog post about how to blog legally because it was what made me most nervous. After a while, it seemed like every post I read said in order to blog legally I needed to buy templates and I just kept thinking, “Well, yeah, obviously you’re going to tell me to use what you did, you’re probably making money if I click on your link to buy it”.

This did not jive well with me in the beginning. I wanted an honest and upfront answer about what I needed to blog legally; and I did not want anyone to be influenced about what they were telling me.

So I started searching even further and I found data that said all I legally needed to have on my site was a privacy policy... Initially, this made me very frustrated with all my favorite bloggers who were saying differently, but not telling me why. But I got over it, and got to work. I started reading privacy policy after privacy policy to find out what I needed to include because by golly, I was going to write it all on my own. I didn’t need to pay someone else to do it for me. Well, that lasted all of a few minutes. I think I got to around the fourth sentence of the introductory paragraph explaining who is referred to as what before I decided the headache and the time it was going to take just wasn’t worth it. I mean really, you can’t copy anyone else’s policy word for word (unless you pay for it or are given express permission), and there are what seem like a million different policies out there, so how can you be both original and legal without pulling your hair out?

I couldn't, so I had to move on and in doing so I discovered the free template generators. I found two, and after emailing another blogger I admired, she sent me to another one. Boy was I excited. No headache and the legal template I needed? Sign me up! I went to the first site and it seemed pretty legit, but it was a lot shorter than all the policies I’d seen previously, so I knew it had to be missing some stuff. I skipped it. The next site I went to looked pretty good and matched the quality and tone of most of the other policies I’d seen, all except for the fact that in order to get the GDPR section that’s required and a few other extras, I would have to pay meaning it was no longer free. I moved on. The last one I went to was the one the other blogger recommended. It was free, and it looked well drafted from what I could tell… up until the point where it didn’t include the GDPR compliance that is now necessary for this policy. After realizing this, I decided to see if the blogger used the policy herself and was a little shocked to see that she did. Especially since she’s not a small blogger, she makes a pretty decent living blogging, and she just copied and pasted the template word for word as her own policy without even changing site names within the text. So I started wondering, if I, someone with no legal background whatsoever noticed this and realized it was wrong, imagine how easy it would be for a lawyer to slap a lawsuit her way. The idea of this scared me pretty bad. How could one of my favorite bloggers be comfortable being negligent? I couldn’t let my blog be the same way. So what was I left with?

I decided it was time to reach out to lawyers in my area to see what they had to say. I wasn’t going to use the only person all the other bloggers had recommended. I was going to be differ