More and more people are using blogs and websites as credible sources--which means that sometimes, they’ll take the advice of the blog without seeking medical or professional help. In our sue-happy society, it’s important to make it clear that the information you provide is for informational and entertainment purposes only and when in doubt, readers should seek help from a professional in the field in question. That’s why it’s important to not only write a blog disclaimer, but to post it on your blog and link in via the footer or sidebar so that it is accessible from every page.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Domain name
- Web host
Copyright policy. This is where you explain that, unless otherwise noted, you are the legal copyright holder of the material on your blog and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without your written contest.
Hold harmless. This is where you explain that the information you provide is for entertainment purposes only and that you are not providing medical, legal or other professional advice. This is where you explain, once again, that your readers are reading and/or using any of the information they glean from your blog at their own risk.
Privacy statement. This is where you tell your readers that you will not put them on spam lists. This is where you tell your readers that you will not sell their contact information to another company. This is where you explain that you are not responsible for the privacy practices of your advertisers or blog commenters.
Advertisers and sponsors. This is where you explain that you are not responsible for the actions of your advertisers or sponsors. If your reader purchases a product or service based upon a link from your blog, your reader must take action with that company to resolve the issue, not you.
Letters to the editor. This is where you state your policy on using letters or e-mails that have been written directly to you. Will you be sharing those letters and e-mails with your blogging audience, or will you keep them confidential? Will you claim ownership of those letters or e-mails to later be used in an up-and-coming book or column, or will you allow the writer to keep ownership?
Tips and warnings
- Don’t be afraid to be thorough. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Read through your disclaimer to make sure it makes sense and is easy to understand.
- When in doubt, hire a lawyer to write your disclaimer page.