Posted on February 16, 2017

How to blog legally

blog tips

How to blog legally

There’s a lot more to blogging than just writing a few words in a post and hitting publish. When you get into blogging and realise the opportunities it can bring you, things get a bit serious.

It’s hard to believe that the things you do online could land you in court or with a fine, that’s why it’s so important to educate yourself. Most people land themselves in trouble because they’re ignorant around the laws and guidelines that surround blogging.

Here are some things you need to make sure you’re clued up on, whether you’re a new blogger or not.

How to blog legally

Cookie consent:

European Union (EU) laws require you to give EU visitors information about cookies used on your blog. The Cookie Law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires your blog to get consent from your visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer, smartphone or tablet. This is to protect online privacy and to make users aware of how information about them is collected and used online. It also gives them a choice to allow it or not.

If you don’t comply with the Cookie Law, you could face action from enforcement officers and even face a fine.

If you are using Blogger, the cookie alert pop-up will automatically show up to users within the EU.

If you are using WordPress, you will need to download a plugin such as EU Cookie Law.

Making money on your blog:

Before you start making money on your blog, you need to register as self-employed with HMRC.

This is even if you only make £1 and covers both money exchanged for blog posts/advertising/services as well as gifts or vouchers you’ve been given in exchange for a post.

You must register within 3 months from the first point of making money.

You fill in a self-assessment tax return a year behind, so make sure you keep the following information:

  • P60 from employer – the form will ask you earnings/tax paid.
  • Any income for the tax year.
  • Any expenses for the tax year.

Hayley from TeaPartyBeauty has a great spreadsheet you can download to track your income and expenses.

Disclosing sponsored posts.

You have to tell your readers about any incentive for a blog post.

If you are being paid or being given something for free and are being told what to write, then you need to make your readers aware of this before the post.

If you are being paid or given a free item without being told what to write, then you don’t have to disclose under CAP code, but in order to comply with consumer protection legislation, CMA would expect brands and vloggers to tell consumers if an item was given on the condition that it is talked about.

In this case, you would have to still disclose but it doesn’t have to be in the first few words of the post or the title. It can be in the footer.

You can read more detail around this here: How to disclose partnerships.

No follow vs do follow links.

No-follow and do-follow link compliance is Google guideline – not law. Google can remove your website from search if they believe you are not complying with their guideline.

Google state:

Bloggers should use the nofollow tag on all such links because these links didn’t come about organically (i.e., the links wouldn’t exist if the company hadn’t offered to provide a free good or service in exchange for a link). Companies, or the marketing firms they’re working with, can do their part by reminding bloggers to use nofollow on these links.

Basically – if you buy and review something yourself, do-follow is fine. If you are sent something – even if it’s just for consideration of a blog post and you have complete control over the content – you still need to no-follow the link.

You can see more information in this post: Do follow and no follow links.

Images online.

You cannot right click, save any photo and use it on your website.

Images in Google images are not fair game. They are photos from websites just like mine and yours.

Crediting the original source of the image with a link is not acceptable. You cannot put a disclaimer next to an image taken without consent.

Many people don’t understand this and sadly, many people take advantage of this. There are people out there make money by searching out copyright infringement and land you with a hefty fine. I know bloggers that have had this happen to them – an e-mail out of the blue from a post they wrote 3 years ago.

Unless you are sure you are able to use the images for free (stock sites like Pixabay, for example), then you are better off taking your own.

Read more about it here: Are you legally using photos on your blog?

So there you have it. The legalities behind blogging. If there are any more you think I should add to the list, please leave a comment letting me know!

12 Comments

  • Reply Anca February 16, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    It’s amazing that some bloggers have no idea about all these aspects. The one that I find the most puzzling is about photos. I don’t think anybody would be happy to have their work used without their consent, so why use something found online.
    Anca recently posted…CoventryMy Profile

  • Reply KizzyDoll February 17, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Brilliant post x
    KizzyDoll recently posted…| Friday Feeling: Four Lovely Things |My Profile

  • Reply Matea February 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Your blogging posts are always the most helpful ones, you should totally write a whole book about it! xx
    Matea recently posted…One Outfit Post That Changed EverythingMy Profile

  • Reply Shireen L. Platt February 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I know all but about the registration part! I’m not sure how is the law for us in Canada but damn, I best find out.
    Shireen L. Platt recently posted…Second Glance: The Ones I Changed My Mind OnMy Profile

  • Reply Tania Michele February 18, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    The money making part is all new to me still, so will look into this! I live for free stock image sites, but always take my own where possible! 🙂 Tania Michele xx
    Tania Michele recently posted…Wishlist 30My Profile

  • Reply Tereza February 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Good points, especially about the Cookies. Another point worth mentioning is buying black hat SEO links to boost DA of your blog. I genuinely thought that we left that in 2013 but bloggers apparently still do it – yet it’s so easy to see who’s doing it! Good old Google sees through all these tricks though – especially after the recent update so will knock them down a notch soon.
    Tereza x

  • Reply Erin February 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Keeping up with it all is stressful, and so confusing when you first start blogging!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  • Reply Lucy February 20, 2017 at 8:36 am

    When you first start blogging its hard to keep up with what you legally should be doing. This is a great post for anyone setting out blogging Lucy x
    Lucy recently posted…Lush Valentines Haul 2017My Profile

  • Reply Aimee Cottle February 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    This is such a helpful post Corinne! I didn’t know until recently that sponsored posts needed to have a disclaimer right at the start. Before, I was putting all disclaimers, products sent in exchange for a review or sponsored posts, in the footer. I’ve since gone back over old posts, and new ones, and changed this. I may have to do the same with images, as I am sure that when I first started blogging I used a few images off google. Now I use Pexels, or other stock image sites.
    Aimee Cottle recently posted…What’s Inside My Makeup Bag!My Profile

  • Reply Imogen February 21, 2017 at 3:08 am

    This is a very informative post. After years of blogging there is still so much I don’t know. The last point is relevant to me at the moment. I just wrote about it on my blog. So often I’m finding my blog pictures used on another people’s ebay adds. I’m so frustrated when the seller uses the excuse it was found in google images. That doesn’t seem like a justification to me.
    Imogen recently posted…OutfitMy Profile

  • Reply Shannon February 22, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you so much for all the help! I have just started out blogging and I can’t believe all of the th inhs we have to be aware of. Brilliant post, so informative and has made me love your blog! Shannon xx

  • Reply Holly Shannon February 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Brilliant post, luckily I follow all of this but I’m okay, but I see so many people writing posts without disclosing they’ve been paid!! It’s ridiculous!! x
    Holly Shannon recently posted…My Favourite Pancake RecipesMy Profile

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