Are you new to blogging and can’t seem to understand all of the ins and outs of blogging etiquette? There are soooo many unwritten (and real legal) questions we all have when we first start out that it can be challenging to know what to do in certain instances. Some rules are laws and others are common courtesy in blog etiquette.
Getting the blogging rules and etiquette straight can be very overwhelming but following the rules correctly will not only save you from a future lawsuit but also set you up for blogging success.
New to blogging and want a quick reference for blogging terms? Check out this A-Z glossary here.
Please note that I am not a lawyer and any info about the legality of an action is merely a recommendation from one blogger to another.
Is It Legal To Copy Blog Posts?
Not only is this bad blogging tactics, but it is actually illegal. Copying and pasting an entire blog post or article from another site onto your own breaks copyright laws.
You will get sued!
This is also true for legal pages! Due to copyright, never copy and paste legal language from one site onto your own.
See below about citing quotes from other blog posts.
Want to find templates for your legal pages? See this post.
How To Cite Quotes Or Sources In Your Blog Posts
While you never want to copy and paste an entire article from another site on your blog (this breaks copyright rules), you are welcome to grab a sentence or two from an article so long as you provide a link back to the source.
Legally, you are encouraged to ask permission to use a quote. But, so long as you link back to the source most bloggers would welcome the exposure and backlink.
Do I Own My Blog Content?
This is a common question that comes up for new bloggers – the only full-proof way to ensure you own all of the content you write on your blog is to go with a self-hosted blog (with a purchased domain name/URL).
If you decide to go with a free service like Blogger or WordPress.com, check out the Terms of Service before signing up to ensure that you own your own content.
Can I Use Images From Other Websites On My Blog?
Without express permission from another blogger, you can not use an image found on another site on your own.
This is also true for any product images or brand photographs for blog posts like product reviews.
Want to do a round up post or use images from another blogger or brand? Send an email or message the person or company directly to ask for permission.
If you do receive permission, make sure to save the email or other communication for future reference in case of a dispute.
To make sure you are legally covered to use images that you do not personally own, check out the Media Agreement Template (that I personally own and use) here.
See ways you can get ahold of images for your blog here.
Can I Use Images Of My Children Online?
This is a highly personal decision. Here is an (unbiased) look at what you should consider.
Can I Link To Other Websites Without Permission?
Yes! Linking to other sites can be very beneficial for you AND for the other website.
You do NOT need permission to share a link on your blog.
Whether or not you use a “follow link” or “no-follow link” depends on the link you are using. Learn more about the “follow” rules here.
Can I Repurpose My Blog Posts On Other Sites As a Guest Blogger?
While you CAN use repurpose the same blog post you have written and published on your own blog on other websites for guest posting, Google and other search engines will recognize duplicate content on the web. For SEO purposes, you do NOT want to duplicate your work anywhere.
You are more than welcome to quote yourself but never just copy and paste an entire article elsewhere on the internet.
The answer to this question depends on the group. Check the rules of each group or community you belong to before posting a link.
You may see this called “self promo”. Some groups allow it at any time, others only on certain days, and others not at all. It all depends on the group.
Do I Need To Worry About GDPR and CCPA On My Blog?
The short answer for most bloggers is “yes”. Unless you have a location-based website that does not target EU or California State residents, everyone will need to comply with both.
While you may have a location-based website, you will want to do your research to ensure you don’t need to comply with these laws.
For those who are lost just reading this question, GDPR is a privacy regulation from the European Union (EU) and CCPA is a privacy regulation from California State (USA).
Blog posts coming soon on both these topics!
Do I Need To Form A Business (LLC Or Other) As A Blogger?
This also depends, but you should talk to your tax adviser to see if it’s the right move for you.
A blog post with recommendations coming soon from a lawyer!
Am I missing anything? Ask your question below in the comments!