Write a Personal Disclosure Policy for Your Blog or Website (and Why You Need One)

Not all aspects of running a blog or running a website are sexy. Some tasks are downright boring. One of the least exciting blogging and webmaster tasks is writing the disclosure policy. Writing and posting a disclosure policy isn’t just something that bloggers and website owners do to look important — it’s actually the law.

If you are making money from your blog or website — even if it’s only a few cents for the entire year — the FTC requires you to disclose that fact to your visitors. This doesn’t apply if your website, e-commerce site is clearly a commercial venture. But if your blog or website appears as if is informational only (as most blogs and ‘review’ websites are) you need a disclosure statement that you are making some money off those affiliate banners and links to various merchants. If you don’t, you could face fines or other penalties. (And when your blog falls into that few cents a year category, those are fines you just can’t afford to face.)

blogging adviceHere’s how you can write an awesome disclosure policy for your blog or website so you can live up to your legal obligations but still ensure that EVERY piece of content on your blog is personal and amazing:

Be Yourself

You can plug in a generic disclosure policy that has all the information you need from sites like disclosurepolicy.org, but you’ll be wasting valuable blog space with a dull, dry document that most of your readers won’t even both to read. Instead, write your own policy (or tweak one that you pulled from the template site) by using your own creative writing skills. Spice it up with your personality.

When you write in a casual and personal tone, you not only draw your readers in with more engaging content, but you also earn their trust. You are telling them you are not working for free, after all, very few blog or website owners are.

Be Honest

Don’t feel like you need to hide the fact that you make money from your blog or that you may write a good review or promotional post because you got paid or got a free gift. Very few blogs are written just for the love of them. Most are written out of a love for the subject and a desire to make a few extra bones for the effort.

Be totally honest about how you will make money from your blog and how that might influence the content of your blog. You’ll win over your readers’ trust, and you’ll keep yourself out of legal hot water.

Be Thorough

Make sure that you include everything that you are required to include. This includes disclosing who writes your posts, whether you are compensated for those posts, whether your posts are influenced by that compensation, and whether you will tell people when your posts are influenced by the compensation you receive.

Again, it’s about not just about CYA — you’ll also build your readers’ trust. Inspiring confidence in your readers is the best way to earn their loyalty and their business.

Blame The Disclosure Policy On the Man

Writing a disclosure policy can start to feel a little confessional — like you’re apologizing in advance for something. You can take some of the edge off by pointing out that you are required to write the disclosure policy by the FTC. Readers will then understand why you are being so thorough in your disclosure, and you will feel better laying everything on the table. Rules are rules, after all.

Writing a disclosure policy can be tedious business, but if you’re making money on your blog (or plan to), it’s something you have to do. Follow these tips to write an awesome disclosure policy that inspires readers’ confidence, covers you against liability, and doesn’t bore the pants off everyone who reads it.

If you want some help making your blog a success, check out Fast Easy Blogging

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