As you grow an online presence for your art business through your blog, it can be easy to fall into a false sense of security. Don’t forget that strangers still read your blog and that cyber-criminals scan the web for information they can use to steal your identity, or cause harm to your family.
Below are 8 tips for making sure that you stay safe while blogging.
1. Avoid lawsuits
Whenever you post information about another person or company, it’s important to remember that what you say can hurt you. Libel and slander lawsuits exist as much on the web as they do in real life, so choose your words wisely.
If you must say something negative about a person and/or company, choose to speak in general terms without naming names or giving detailed specifics. Always stick to the facts; don’t allow your personal feelings to obscure the truth.
2. Don’t share confidential information
Whether it’s the personal life of a close friend, or the inner workings of company you’ve partnered with, make sure you get the okay to share information that would otherwise be deemed private and/or confidential.
3. Keep some things private
Once you get in the habit of sharing more than just your art, it can be easy to forget that some things should remain private. Before you post anything of a personal nature, ask a close friend or spouse to do a read through.
4. Don’t suggest your readers do something illegal
Copyright laws exist for a reason. Don’t suggest that your readers make copies of someone else’s work (photographs or art) to use in their own artwork without going through the proper channels. Instead, encourage your readers to take their own photographs or use royalty free images and/or clipart.
5. Follow FTC disclosure regulations
If you receive monetary compensation for something you wrote about, fess up. If you were given a sample of a product to test and it was used in your tutorial, let your readers know.
All it takes is a statement at the end of your post to avoid trouble with the Federal Trade Commission. To learn more about FTC disclosure statements, take a look at their website.
A sample disclaimer could be something as simple as: FTC Disclosure—The reviewer received a complimentary copy of the DVD. Another example: The craft thread used in this tutorial was provided, free of charge, by Company Name.
6. Only post your business contact information
Avoid sharing your home address or phone number online. If you work out of your home, get a post office box. If you can’t afford a separate business line, consider using an affordable toll free number. (Kall8.com offers toll free numbers for as low as 6.9 cents per minute and $2 per month.)
7. Don’t announce when you’re home will be empty
Sure you want your readers to know when you’ll be teaching a workshop and where your next art exhibit will be, but don’t announce when your entire family will be vacationing away from home. Instead, share your vacation stories when you return from your vacation. That way, there’s no chance of an unlawful entry while you’re away.
8. Don’t share the layout of your home
As an artist it is only natural to want to share how your art expands beyond your sculptures and paintings into your personal space. It’s okay to share that artwork, but do so with your personal safety in mind.
If possible, section off part of the home with your artwork and avoid photographing priceless heirlooms as you showcase the art. There’s no reason to give potential robbers easy access to your home.