If you are a newbie blogger, you have probably seen a few comments floating around about how great the community is. The amount of support you get is indeed phenomenal, granted you do your part to contribute. If you’re a team player, you will learn from your peers, and they will help you grow. But what I hope you haven’t heard much about is the dark side of blogging. Not only can it become very toxic, but it can also be very scary if you do not know how to protect your blog.
Recently, I witnessed plagiarism of fellow bloggers’ content. Not just the concept of the posts, but an acutal copy and paste of their content which was passed on without credit. On top of that, the offender proceeded to ‘stalk’ the bloggers on other sites by shadowing comments. While the goal isn’t to shame any bloggers as we are all learning, we do need to stay on high alert.
Sometimes, good people do bad things. It’s not for us to judge who is bad or good based on their actions – none of us are God. But what we can do is be vigilant and ensure that we take all the necessary steps to protect our own content.
Here are some simple things you
can should put in place today, to protect your blog and its content.
Related: The frustrating side of blogging
Protect your blog through the DMCA
With so many people creating blogs every day, the internet has become saturated with content. So much so, that it makes coming up with original content feel like ‘mission impossible. Here’s the thing though – no matter how hard it is, plagiarism is never acceptable. You know that, I know that, and most fifth graders know that too… And yet it still happens. So if you have not yet heard about the DMCA, stop what you are doing and visit their site today. This is basically your not-so-friendly neighbourhood watch – but for the internet.
Registering your site on the DMCA website is fairly easy. You simply need to fill out a form, verify your blog and receive a badge that you will place on your site. Once your site is protected, they will be your first point of contact when you identify content theft. Once reported, they will ensure that the offender’s version of your work is removed from the net, saving you time and energy.
While there are paid options that cover much more, the free protection is a great place to start. You don’t need to splurge to be safe. I would know, I’m on the free plan!
Install copy protection plug-ins
If you are on a free, personal, or premium WordPress plan, unfortunately, this might not be an option for you. For anyone on the business plan, or self-hosted, stop what you are doing and download a copy protection plug-in now!
With such a plug-in, readers cannot highlight and copy the text on your blog. If you aren’t exactly sure what I mean, try to highlight any part of the text on this blog post to paste as a draft somewhere. If you managed, comment below and let me know! I would love to personally commend you on your magician skills.
If you were unable to do so, that is the effect of a plug-in called ‘WP Content Protection Plugin‘. Like everything, there is a free and a paid version of this plug-in, but as my blog is still a toddler, the free plan covers what I need. If you choose to download this or any similar plug-ins, make sure to do your research. This way, you will ensure that the plug-in covers your needs.
Ensure you have disclaimers
When I first started my blog, I was not aware that disclaimers were a must. After all, I planned to write original content and share it with the world – what harm could that be? After checking out many blogs and reading up on blogging 101, I soon came to realise that it is essential to have disclaimers in place.
If you are unfamiliar with disclaimers, they basically safeguard you from any legal action taken against you if someone uses your content as medical, legal advice, etc. They also provide clarity on your qualifications in related fields, the source of the images you use, and the legal rights you have on your content. While disclaimers are not just there to protect your content, they are essential for this purpose.
So you have disclaimers on your page and your content is suddenly free from plagiarism, right? Wrong! Having disclaimers in place is only part of the full equation. What purpose they serve is a whole different story. Luckily, I am married to a lawyer and am not afraid to enforce my legal rights if needed. But if that isn’t the case for you – though it would be a weird coincidence – don’t be afraid to enforce your legal rights.
I’d love to help out any bloggers that need more information, so feel free to drop me an email using my contact form.