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Are you breaking the law by leaving this off your website?

You’ve got the content nailed down, the shiny new pages laid out, and your fun new social media graphics picked out… you’re almost ready to announce the launch of your brand spankin’ new website! But have you posted your Privacy Policies and Terms of Conditions on your site yet?

There’s no need to get freaked out, these two bits of legal-ese aren’t hard to understand and use, but it is a good idea to have them displayed prominently on your blog. In fact, you could be violating federal law if you don’t. And now with the new GDPR regulations, you’ll probably need to be sure you’re compliant as well. So let’s talk about what they are, and what you need to do.

Privacy Policies

At their heart, Privacy Policies are intended to create transparency between users and yourself via your blog or website.

If you read blogs then you know that you leave little bits of your personal information behind when you visit. Things like your IP address, your name (or username), and email. If you make a purchase, there’s even more personal information that can be collected by the site selling you something.

A privacy policy informs your visitors what information is collected from them when they visit your site, how you use that information (ie: emails for your newsletter), and who else has access to the information (like your hosting company).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that any web page collecting information from consumers and/or that uses cookies have a privacy policy available to visitors.

Not only is it legally required, but having one builds a greater sense of trust with your readers and makes you look more professional.

Where do I get one?

Creating and implementing a privacy policy doesn’t have to be hard. You can start with an attorney-approved template, and then customize it to your situation.

You can also take note of what other companies use for their privacy policy. While I’m not recommending that you simply copy/paste, you’ll likely run across a few things you haven’t thought of, and you’ll get a sense of how a Privacy Policy can be made to represent your brand.

If you want to just get ‘er done and move on sans any worry or weird Frankenstein-ish policies you put together yourself, click here and snag your policies today.

Terms and Conditions

A basic terms and conditions policy tells people what they can and cannot do with your original content (like your photos, your content, or that cool idea you talked about in your last post.) If you also sell content, it can be extended to protect you in the event that someone wants a refund or shares your content illegally.

It’s not at all uncommon for photos and content to be shared — with or without the permission of the creator — and often without credit. If this happens to you, what recourse do you have?

This is where terms and conditions can help protect your interests. If you’ve clearly spelled out that you need to be asked for permission before your content is shared, then you’re on firmer ground if you need send a cease and desist letter or claim copyright infringement.

Just like the Privacy Policy, having a Terms and Conditions puts you on the level with your readers and consumers, lets them know that you’ve given thought (and care!) to what you’re doing and creating, and gives them clear instructions on how they can interact with your content.

Where do I get one?

Here again, you can start with a solid, attorney-approved terms & conditions template and customize it to your needs which should cover everything you need and some things you might not have thought of.

Now you’re ready to rumble!

I want to mention a couple other things before I wrap this up.

First, make sure that both the Privacy Policies and Terms and Conditions are posted and there’s a direct link (prominently posted) on your blog footer somewhere.

Second, don’t stress too much about making sure your policies cover every tiny thing. You can always update them as you go along. (It’s a nice thing for your visitors if you include a “last updated on” date, and make sure you mention that the policies can be updated at any time.)

Third, and finally, if you have visitors from the European Union, you should check out this article to make sure you have that extra step covered.

The moral of the story?

Privacy Policies and Terms of Conditions are important. Don’t ride the range without one! (Or launch a blog… you know what I mean. 😉 )

This post was done in collaboration with Christina Scalera and may contain affiliate links.

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