There’s this nasty little rumor out there that you only have to “worry” about someone suing you or your business running into legal trouble from a paying client.
At least in the U.S., this isn’t true at all.
Yes, we have to “worry” (<– I put that in quotes because what I really mean is that you have to be aware, but with the right legal protection — my goal is for you not to have to worry anymore) about paying clients and customers, but we also can get in trouble for stuff we say or write.
We can get sued for something we write on our website or suggest in a blog post.
For example, if you have a blog about anything from health to money to career to legal to business stuff — you absolutely want to have a disclaimer for what you’re writing about.
So what’s a disclaimer and what kind of disclaimers do you need for your blog in order to blog legally? Luckily, when it comes to the legal side of running your online business, I’ve got you covered.
Let’s get into it!
What Legal Disclaimers Are Needed for My Blog
Your website needs a disclaimer to disclaim the content found on your site. Basically, you’re telling people:
“I do my best to present the best and most accurate information here, but here’s what I am — a [doctor, lawyer, coach, money expert]. I’m not a [doctor, lawyer, nurse, PT, CPA, etc.] so use your best judgment when implementing my information.”
A lot of people get website disclaimers (or disclaimers in general) confused with the whole “check with your doctor first” language. But that’s just a small part of your website disclaimer, not the whole enchilada. Plus, you only need that language if you do something in the health/wellness industry. If you don’t, you don’t need the “doctor first” section 😉
Overall, a good website disclaimer lets people know who you are, what you do, and what you don’t. It advises them to check with whatever professional they need to check with to get personalized advice (financial advice, legal advice, medical advice, etc.), since you’re not giving them that. And it asks them to use their best judgment before implementing your suggestions.
In other words, you ask people to take personal responsibility and for you not to be held responsible for something they implement from your site. You’re sharing your personal opinion or experience on something, not necessarily giving professional advice of any sort.
Because of how important website disclaimers are for online business owners, I don’t suggest you write one yourself. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered with my website disclaimer template (or get it as part of the Ultimate Bundle!).
Even with a website disclaimer on your website’s footer, you can still use a blog post disclaimer at the bottom of your posts when needed. Typically, I suggest using a post disclaimer when your post is “content heavy.”
If I wrote a post about what I did that weekend and all the amazing food I cooked, I probably wouldn’t use a disclaimer on the post.
If I wrote a post teaching you how to cook something or how to use a skateboard, I would.
Basically, if you’re giving someone information that they could go implement (like I am in this post) or suggesting some product or services, use a post disclaimer. (See the example I include below!)
If you sell products directly, you need a products liability disclaimer both on your site and with the product packaging, too.
If you recommend products, drop affiliate links, review products or share affiliate links to third-party websites (i.e., Amazon, Nordstrom) to recommend products for people to try, you’ll want to make sure there’s a products liability disclaimer and third-party link disclaimer in your website disclaimer policy.
If you talk about either your own earnings from your blog or business, or your clients’ financial results from working with you or purchasing your products, you’re required to include an earnings disclaimer on your website.
An earnings disclaimer basically tells people that the earnings or financial results you talk about on your website or in your posts are just examples of what’s possible, but not necessarily probable, for them.
You don’t want people thinking that just because your client achieved X result with your product, that this potential or future customer could, too. That would be akin to a guarantee or warranty of a certain outcome, and you definitely don’t want to do that.
Given how dependent success and financial outcomes are on SO many factors (an individual’s effort, knowledge, skill, audience size, access, privilege, etc.), we don’t want to accidentally make the claim that someone will definitely experience the same result as one of our clients or ourselves.
Without an earnings disclaimer, someone could either:
- Request a refund if they don’t achieve the result you advertised on your website, or… worse:
- Sue you if they don’t achieve the result you advertised on your website, because they felt like you guaranteed or promised a certain result.
I have an earnings disclaimer section built-in to my website disclaimer template for you.
Affiliate Links Disclaimer
When you use affiliate links to share products or services you love, you have to disclose it. There’s so much more we could talk about when it comes to the FTC’s requirements for how you disclose affiliate links, but here’s what you need to know:
Yes, you need to have a “general” statement on the post that says “this post contains affiliate links, which means…” but you also have to disclose the fact that a link is an affiliate link right next to it. So if this was an affiliate link (I’d disclose that right here by saying, affiliate link) in parentheses.
Blog Disclaimer Samples
Blog Post Disclaimer Samples
At the bottom of each what I call “content heavy” blog posts, you can include a blog or post disclaimer, similar to the one I include at the end of this post.
You can put a post disclaimer at the bottom of your post and it can read something like this (this is just a suggestion and may not be sufficient for your posts):
Important: This post is for informational and educational purposes only. This post should not be taken as [legal, financial, medical, therapy, etc.] advice or used as a substitute for such. You should always speak to your own [doctor, lawyer, CPA, therapist, nutritionist, etc.] before implementing this information on your own. Thank you!
This ^^ statement is NOT sufficient for your entire website. This is just a baby disclaimer you can pop up on individual posts for added protection. You should still have a full website disclaimer available on the footer of your website.
Website Disclaimer Samples
You’ll want to get your own website disclaimer, too. Since it’d be copyright infringement to take someone else’s disclaimer, I’m not going to include any here as samples (I feel like that’s just encouraging theft). But you also need your website disclaimer disclaimer to actually be tailored to you and your business/website.
You can get a website disclaimer from me 3 ways:
- By itself in my template shop here.
- As part of the 3 website policies bundle here.
- As 1 of the 10 DIY Legal Templates included in the Ultimate Bundle™️. (You can get the best deal plus LOADS of free bonuses on the Bundle by signing up for my free legal workshop!)
Free Legal Workshop
Want to learn more about disclaimers, what else your website needs and what kinds of contracts your business needs to be legally legit?
Watch my free legal workshop ‘5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business’ here:
In this free training, you’ll learn my 5-step strategy to legally protect & grow your online business, like how to:
- form your business the right way so you’re personally protected
- protect your website and the content on it
- deal with online copycats and easily protect your intellectual property
- send & sign contracts + use them to get paid
- shift your mindset on getting sued, so you can just focus on growing your business
Want even more info on what to do if someone steals your most important business assets? If you’ve been the victim of a copycat, check out my webinar What To Do If Copycats Steal Your Biz Content. In just over an hour, I’ll share with you all of my real-life experience and knowledge as an attorney about your rights when someone has stolen your intellectual or creative property.
Before you go, feel free to drop a comment below 👇 and let me know if you have any questions! I’m here to help.
PS. – Important: Although I’m an attorney, I’m not your attorney and therefore am not giving you legal advice. This post is for informational and educational purposes only. This post should not be taken as legal advice or used as a substitute for such. You should always speak to your own attorney before implementing this information on your own. Thank you!