If you spend any time on the internet (which I know you do), chances are you've come across a disclaimer.
But why are they absolutely everywhere? And if everyone else has them, does that mean you need one for your blog, too?
Check out this video to learn the top 3 reasons you might need a disclaimer on your blog:
Not in the mood for video? Here's the gist.
You should have a disclaimer on your blog if:
- You give advice that could be interpreted as professional advice
- You use testimonials or case studies, including about your own success
- You use affiliate links or receive compensation for promoting someone else's product or service
1. You give advice that could be interpreted as professional advice
If you give any kind of advice, guidance, tips, or educational content on topics that would usually come from a licensed professional or would be better if you knew the person's individual situation, you should have a disclaimer on your blog.
The disclaimer lets the reader know that while you believe in your advice, it might not work for everyone, and they should go see a professional about their own situation.
This usually applies to people who talk about tax, financial, or accounting issues, legal concerns, and health and fitness topics. You need your audience to know that you aren't a CPA, lawyer, or doctor, or even if you are, that the reader isn't your client.
The disclaimer lets them know that you're offering general advice, but it's always a good idea to see their own professional about their specific situation.
You don't want a reader to skip their annual physical because they thought your advice was a substitute!
2. You use testimonials or case studies, including about your own success
If you use testimonials or case studies showing the results of your clients, students, or people who followed your advice, you should have a disclaimer to let your audience know that those results aren't guaranteed for everyone.
A disclaimer makes it clear you aren't promising any particular results just by giving some examples of results other people have achieved.
The same is true if you talk about your own success.
3. You use affiliate links or receive compensation for promoting someone else's product or service
If you do any kind of affiliate marketing, hopefully, you already know that you need to use disclaimers in your posts. Not only is it a good practice to build trust with your audience, but it's also required by the Federal Trade Commission.
Any time you receive compensation for talking about someone else's product or service, whether that's through a flat fee, free stuff, a discount, or a percent of the revenue, you have to let your audience know that you're getting paid to tell them about the product or service.
Just remember that with affiliate marketing, a little disclaimer link at the bottom of your blog is not good enough!
You need to declare loud and proud at the top of your blog posts that you get a commission or compensation for talking about a product in your post, and point it out again every time you mention the product throughout your post. And that goes for every post that you include affiliate links or promotions in.
Now that you know the top three reasons you might need a disclaimer, I have a little disclaimer of my own for you:
Using a disclaimer does not give you permission to lie to your audience!
Disclaimers only work if you're using them in good faith, meaning you're being genuine. Disclaimers will protect you if you honestly believe you're giving good information, but it just might not work for everyone 100% of the time. They prevent misunderstandings, but they don't protect you from a straight-up lie.
And since you're here, you might as well make sure you have your disclaimers on point by picking up my disclaimer template here.
If you want to try writing your own, check out this post on how to write disclaimers.