- A Disclosure: Do you accept products for review? Do you carry advertising on your site or are you a member of any affiliate programs? A disclosure tells readers "the purpose and interests of a blogger in his/her published posts: written, audio or video," in the words of Disclosure.org.
- A User Agreement or Terms of Service Document: A user agreement or terms of service agreement tells readers what they're agreeing to when they visit and make use of your blog. It tells them, for example, that you're free to repost any comment they make to the form or any tip they send you without compensation. Perhaps most importantly, it tells them that they use the site at their own risk and that they shouldn't hope to hold you responsible for any damages that occur as a result of using your site (within the limitations of law, of course).
Got five minutes? Here are the sites. Just fill in the blanks or check the boxes as applicable. Then copy and paste:
- Disclosure Generator
The more successful you are, the more likely you are to be targeted legally, so at some point you may want to seek an attorney's advice for your specific situation. At the very least, you'll probably want to incorporate to limit the scope of your liability, but you'll have to do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if you make (or will make) enough income to make the expense worthwhile. For most bloggers, it's probably enough to think of the policies from a reader's perspective: Ask yourself, what would I want to know? And then give that to your readers.
- to build trust with your readers; and
- to protect yourself from liability.
Readers: Do you have any or all of these three documents on your blog? Have you used the generators for your own sites? And if you're an attorney, feel free to offer your own informed opinion on these generators.
And speaking of disclaimers: I'm not a lawyer. The advice in this post shouldn't be construed as legal advice.