What are the guidelines for blogging and business organization? Here is everything you should know about the legalities of blogging and if you need an LLC for bloggers.
Should You Create an LLC for Your Blog? – Legal Overview for Bloggers
Should you create an LLC for your blog? Is LLC for bloggers a good option? A question bloggers often asked. Well! The answer varies from person to person.
It depends if blogging is just a hobby for you or you want to make money through your blog. The good news is that blogging is easier to do than ever before.
If you consider blogging as a hobby, you may not need to create an LLC just yet. On the other hand, if you want to monetize your blog and eventually aim to earn from it, you must think far ahead.
You can protect your assets that include your bank accounts, houses, cars, and others from any legal action if you create an LLC for your blog.
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Creating an LLC would treat your blog as a separate entity, responsible for its actions. Thus LLC for bloggers is a win-win.
What is an LLC?
LLC is short for Limited Liability Co., which is a legal entity. You can create an LLC for any business, which is the simplest yet most effective way to safeguard your assets if someone decides to sue your business due to some copyright infringement or any other issue.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a corporate structure that treats owners like partners while giving them the option to be taxed like a corporation.
This form of business allows for flexibility in ownership and management.
See Related: How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform
When is the Right Time to Register Your Blog as a Business?
The right time to register your blog as an LLC is when the running expenses for the LLC become equal as in the sole proprietorship.
When you find your income escalating, you can easily cut your on-going expenses through an LLC. As the LLC has a comparatively more lithe structure for taxation and also acts as a “pass-through” entity, thus eradicating the issue of double taxation with regular corporations.
Subject to where you are living in the US, it may lessen the burden of your tax more.
You legally get an enormous benefit from the Limited Liability Company as compared to sole proprietorship as you get the advantage of restricted liability.
In simple words, your personal properties are not in jeopardy.
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LLC for Bloggers: Do You Need it?
Similar to any prospering business, popular bloggers experience increasing troubles as they start gaining a substantial following.
Generally, success means growing too big for an email marketing provider or original hosting provider, numerous affiliates, themes, plugins, and sometimes even a workplace.
Many successful bloggers generally don’t realize while they are working hard to increase their followers and watch their revenues increase each day, that during their journey, they’ve constructed many assets that require safeguarding and protection too.
The brand, the blog, the domain, your Twitter, or YouTube account with significant followers can swiftly become tremendously valued assets. Sadly, people don’t find it a priority to set up lawful protections to safeguard their blog assets.
This is one of the biggest mistakes. We would advise you that this is the right time for you to think about the way you can lawfully guard your treasured assets and yourself.
When you are operating a blog, you often express your views about others that may offend them. Instead of picking to settle the matter on a one-on-one basis, they may choose to sue you. Or you may have to face a partner who comes up with claims that you owe them thousands of dollars in due commissions, or even by some blogger who asserts your ideas are not original.
It doesn’t matter which kind of dispute can come up; leaving yourself unprotected in such unwanted situations can cost you a lot. This is where an LLC protects your personal assets, which include your house, car, and much more.
Simply put, LLC for content creators has become extremely important with every passing day.
LLC for Website
We would recommend you to form an LLC for your website. LLC provides personal assets protection. You must consider that, no matter how much fee you pay for LLC filing, the protection of your personal assets is way more important.
You have to be ready to face numerous risks with all businesses, even if it’s only a website or a blog. Anyone can sue your website/ business for several reasons, some of which are:
- If you have an affiliate offers, it carries liability. This makes your website vulnerable.
- When writing about something or someone, they can interpret your words as slander or libel.
- If your website contains gossip, someone can consider it as defamation.
- In case you sell products or services on your website, you must remain in compliance with regulations of its specific industries. Your failure to comply can cause issues.
- If your website contains copyright material, such as videos, audios, or images, owned by others, make sure it is properly licensed; to avoid copyright infringement claims.
See Related: List of Free Traffic Sources You Need to Use
How to form an LLC for a Blog
After taking the final decision on creating an LLC for your blog, comes the big question; how can I form an LLC for my blog? Don’t worry, the process is simple.
You can do it yourself, but we would suggest you consult your attorney for this purpose. This way, you can make sure they have taken care of all the nitty-gritty.
The process of starting an LLC with the help of a professional is fairly easy, as well.
You need to register your business at the state level as an LLC. Please keep in to consideration, each state offers its own regulations, rules, and procedure to start.
It generally involves the process of identifying your company with a name, allocating a Registered Agent, and generating a document known as the Articles of Organization.
In the US, different states have different rules and regulations. The procedures may differ from one to another. However, you must consult your attorney or check thoroughly as some States Tax LLC higher compared to other business forms. Pick the business structure that best suits your interests.
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Register My Blog as a Business
If your blog is not with your name, you might be using a fictitious name of your choice for it. You’ll use the term DBA in such a case. DBA is short for “doing business as”.
When you register your blog as a business, you’ll use this fictitious name. You must make sure the name you want to use is not trademarked. If no, you can register your fictitious name (DBA) as your business name.
You need to make sure that no one else is working under your business name in that state and then register. For different states of the US, visit their government websites to follow the rules and specified procedures.
You’ll then pay some fee to register your business. Furthermore, you have to renew it each year. If you miss and get late, you may face up to hundreds of dollars in penalty fees.
Once your fictitious name/ business name is fully processed, you can apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
You can get your EIN electronically directly on the IRS website.
There is an opinion among certain entrepreneurs that online businesses are comparatively less formal and hence may not be structured in the same way as businesses with physical locations.
While in reality, online businesses should and must follow the same legal requirements as businesses with physical locations. Business license and permit requirements are intended to protect consumers and employees.
It does not matter in the eyes of the government, if your business is conducted partially, mostly or completely online.
Most of the bloggers believe they don’t need to obtain a federal license to do business. However, many states in the US require bloggers to have a general business license.
Additionally, if you are vending goods or services on your blog, you might need to get a sales tax permit or license.
Irrespective of whether or not your business activities are lead entirely online, common license, and permit requirements to include the following:
- General business license
- Professional and trade licenses
- Fictitious name registration
- Home occupation permit
- Weights and measures registration
- Health inspection certificates
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Make Money Blogging
Blogging is very promising if you intend on making money through it. All you need to do is look for the right tools, ways and niches to start.
For starters, you can apply for affiliate programs for numerous companies such as Amazon, booking.com, awin.com, and many others.
You can use coupon code strategy as well; with each sale through your code, you will get some commission.
Another popular way is using ads. With every visitor’s click on an ad, on your website, you’ll get paid. However, you need to generate a decent amount of traffic on ads for companies such as Google AdSense, etc. to pay you out.
You can check out various blogs on making money online, and learn some useful tips and techniques.
Pros and Cons of an LLC for Bloggers
Here are the quick benefits and limitations of LLC for your blog.
Pros of an LLC
- Forming a Limited Liability Company for your blog helps increase your credibility. You exhibit yourself as organized, put together, and professional.
- Registering as an LLC gives you the prospective to receive tax breaks on earnings made each year. You get these tax savings through a process, the government calls as ‘flow-through taxation’.
- LLC protects your assets. As the name suggests, you have limited liability. Forming this legal entity around your blog adds an extra layer of security and separates your assets from your business.
- There is less risk of an audit with LLC. People who file their taxes as an LLC are ten times less likely to be audited, as compared to an individual or a sole proprietor.
- When you add an ‘LLC’ to the end of your blog, it possibly will exhibit an even better professional image. You are more likely to entice and maintain an audience and a readership. Additionally, you might be taken more seriously by potential clients.
- The creation of an LLC illustrates that you take your work very seriously. It also attests how enthusiastic and devoted, you are to making your blog successful.
Cons of an LLC
- You can’t issue shares of stock, even if you are looking for funding.
- You are required to get annual filings through the Secretary of State.
See Related: Best Blogging Tools to Help You Succeed
Alternatives to an LLC
LLC for bloggers isn’t the only type of business structure available to you. S-corporation or C-corporation are also open options for you.
Bloggers usually choose to create their business structure for various reasons. However, the strongest is their need to ensure that their assets are safe and secure. Usually, these bloggers are evaluating between an S Corp and an LLC.
An LLC is a corporate structure that legally splits itself from its owner, whereas an S-corporation specifies how a business will be taxed. Unlike LLC designation, it is not a business structure.
With LLCs, you may have scarcer reporting requirements as compared to other corporations, and consequently, you’ll find it easier to manage.
Normally, when people are determining if they need to start a company, they are weighing between an LLC and a C corporation.
With C corporations, the owners have to file for a corporate tax profit, and the income they derive is either through W-2 salary or allocation.
Owners of small businesses don’t always like this; because the C-corps first get taxed at a business level and afterwards at a personal level.
Small business owners often prefer forming an LLC, as they can avoid double taxation since the flow of income is on a personal level.
You can choose between a sole proprietorship and a partnership to simplify the way you are taxed.
You must investigate well before you select the right business arrangement for your situation. Ready to start blogging? Here is how to craft a perfect about me page to help tell your story.
See Related: How to Start a Media Company
Conclusion on Blogging with an LLC
Eventually, it is your decision. You must take your time; consult your attorney, keeping in consideration your state laws, discuss every aspect in detail. So you can come up with the business structure, best suited for your interests.
We will recommend an LLC for bloggers since it requires comparatively less corporate protocols and is easier to set up.
Additionally, and most importantly, you’ll get the benefits of having limited liability with an LLC, minus all of the troubles that come with a C Corporation.
The Alpha financial perspectives will help you find new ways to make money, which are aggressive, unknown and require significant hard work. Use Personal Capital to monitor your cash flow and net worth.