Upgrading from Blogger to Entrepreneur with These 4 Tips

Anyone can have a blog and some people might even be fairly successful bloggers, whether “success” is defined by the amount of subscribers they have or how much money they make from their content. But there is a huge leap between being a blogger and blogging for a living. It’s not just about the number of hours you put into your business. If your website is gaining a lot of interest and you feel confident about taking the next step, here are a four tips to help you upgrade from casual blogger, to entrepreneur.

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Sort out your finances

Even if you’re not quite ready to quit your day job just yet, it’s a good idea to check on your financial situation before you attempt to become a full-time blogger. If your position is not so secure that you can afford to be without a guaranteed income for a while, it’s best to make a slow transition to your new career.

However, if you have a big enough safety net to get you through a few months, you’re confident that you can increase your blogging income fairly quickly, and you’re happy to take that leap of faith, then go ahead and take the plunge. Neither one of these options is better than the other; it’s more about what’s the right move for you.

Check your hosting platform

When you first started blogging, you might have been content to have a functioning hosting platform free of charge. But if you want to seem more professional, it might be time to pay for a website that doesn’t end in “wordpress.com”.

To get your research off to the right start, you need to read MangoMatter’s managed WP hosting page reviews. This will give you a better idea of which platforms offer the best support, cost, bandwidth, disk space, and are more popular with users. Don’t be afraid to go for a hosting platform that offers better templates and layouts; you might have done well with a simple blog before, but now it’s time to step up your game.

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Increase your presence

You’ve already established your brand, and you’ve generated enough interest to consider doing this full-time. Most of the hard work is already complete, you just need to appeal to a larger audience. Reach out to other bloggers and ask if you can collaborate on a project, or get in touch with retailers an offer to promote some of their merchandise through affiliate marketing.

Create a page on Facebook, and separate profiles on Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else that might be relevant. You’re no longer promoting your hobby on your own social media pages, you’re promoting a business that needs its own platform.

Improve your content

Content is king; it’s what got your readers interested in your blog, and it’s what got you into your current position. Now it’s time to step up your research, style, and topics for a fresh audience. The more successful you get, the more your content has to improve.

How to Get Your Business Trending On and Offline

You want people to be talking about your business; it means that people know you exist and that they’re interested in what you’re selling. But how can you start the conversation surrounding your as-yet unknown business? Having a business website only works if you get enough people to promote your posts, and visit your site in the first place. Fortunately, if you’re creative enough, you can gently turn your business into the main topic of conversation with these simple solutions.

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Get involved in the community

If you’re planning on opening a local business, then you need to get the locals talking about your new startup. The best way to do this is find out whether there are any upcoming events where you can hire some booth space. This is perfect solution if you’re offering food or physical products. You have a chance to give the public a taste of your services, and offer them a discount when they come into your establishment.

Alternatively, you could do some fundraising for a local charity and get your customers to support you by buying your products. Anything that gets your business involved in the community will let the locals know you exist, will establish you as a new contributor to local events, and it will indulge their curiosity about your startup.

Kickstart conversation on your website

A website is not just a place to host your business online; if you use it correctly, your website can get people talking about your business and services. If, for example, you’re using your site to establish yourself as a health and beauty expert for your new beauty salon then you might be writing blogs to give your customers self-care tips for healthy nails, or advice for easy daily exercise.

You could write engaging blog posts every day, but to get people talking about them you need to kickstart the conversation. To do this, you can hire someone to write forum posts or blog comments on your website, and hopefully this will encourage customer interaction and some friendly debate.

Furthermore, you can also take the discussion to your business’ social media page to include a wider audience. The more people you have talking about your services, the more likely you are to get a new customer to buy what you’re selling.

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Run promotions

Everyone loves bargains and giveaways. If you’re offering services to your customers, such as coaching sessions, or beauty treatments, then offer limited time discounts, or a free session if they recommend a friend.

Once you’ve peaked their interest at local events, you can start a loyalty scheme for your small shop by creating membership cards and offering special discounts for cardholders. You can also get people interested in your products by offering 2-for-1 discounts, limited edition products, or other exclusive offers.

But the best way to encourage people to talk about your business is by offering further discounts if they recommend your services to a friend.

Any way you can keep the conversation going is beneficial for your business.

Tax Doesn’t Have to Be Taxing When It Comes to Your Blog!

You know you’ve landed on your feet when you find a hobby that also earns you money. Something you genuinely enjoy doing but also pays — sometimes so well you can turn it into a full-time job! If you started blogging as a way to share your knowledge, improve your writing and connect with others, you might have landed yourself in this very position. Companies pay very well to be featured on blogs because they’re aware of how much influence they have.

Even if you didn’t set up your blog with this intention when companies start contacting you and are interested in paying you to feature their links and information it does change things a little. Once you’re earning money, it means you have to declare your income and complete a tax return (even if you have nothing to pay, the tax office will still want to know about it).

In fact, the Internal Revenue Code states that all income is taxable unless it is specifically exempted. The IRS states if you work as a blogger it means you run your own business, which is covered by the same tax laws that apply to most other kinds of jobs. So what do you have to bear in mind when it comes to paying tax?

Please bear in mind, this might not be applicable to all countries.

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At what point is my blog classed as a business?

If your blog is a hobby and you’ve not earned any money from it yet, but you want to in the future- this can be a bit of a gray area. The IRS says that you need to be actively engaged in trying to make a profit and this must be for at least three out of the last five years. So if you’re in this position but are yet to earn money, you should be able to set up as a business.

If you’re earning money from your blog regardless of how small, you are most likely to be classed as a business. This can be useful as you are able to claim any losses for your business on your tax return. This can be anything from furniture, equipment, insurance, even utility bills if they relate to your business.

Things like domains and hosting could also be deducted, this is something that can be quite pricey for bloggers especially when you’re not earning any money yet. The problem with cheap WordPress hosting is that it often lacks in support which can be problematic when you’re new to the game. So it can make sense to spend a little more here.

What is self employment tax?

People who work for themselves will pay self-employment tax, this is a social security and Medicare tax. When you pay this, it provides you with a range of benefits, for example, retirement, disability and hospital insurance benefits.

Once your blog earnings exceed $400 you will liable to pay this, and even if you work as an employee and pay tax on that — your blogging income will still count as self-employment income. Even if it’s just on a part time or casual basis.

So it’s something that will still have to be paid, regardless of whether you owe any federal income tax. If you withhold your tax payments or only pay based on an estimate, you will most likely have to pay a penalty. If you run into any legal or tax issues, speak to a lawyer who specializes in the field.

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What is estimated tax?

Something that traditional employees of a company don’t have to worry about but which you will face as a self-employed blogger are estimated taxes. As you don’t have an employer to pay these for you (since you are essentially your own boss), you will need to pay a quarter of your estimated taxes to the IRS.

These will need to be filled out if you estimate that your tax bill will be one thousand dollars or more. Estimated tax is used to pay towards things like income tax, as well as your self-employment tax and alternative minimum tax. Again it’s worth mentioning that even if you have a full-time job and blogging is a part time or casual thing for you this will still need to be paid.

It’s separate from your main employment, so the payments made won’t count towards your blogging income. If you get stuck, you could always just hire an accountant to deal with things for you!

Have you had to deal with tax as a blogger yet? How easy or complicated did you find it?

Small Business SEO Hacks: Are You Missing a Trick?

Did you know that Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second? Every year, this search engine completes 1.2 trillion searches. The figures are staggering, and that’s just for one site. If you run a business, the scope to make money from advertising your company online is enormous, but how do you tap into this gold mine? If you’re not an SEO expert, you may be missing a trick. These helpful hacks should prove handy.

Running a blog

If you don’t already have a blog on your website, it’s worth considering adding this feature. You can use your blog to provide customers with useful information, as well as optimising the pages to improve your search ranking. If you’ve never written a blog before, you may assume that it’s relatively straightforward.

On the contrary, that’s not always the case, especially when you’re trying to forge a path into the world of SEO.

To make your blog successful, you need to focus on producing great quality content that’s relevant to your business. You also need to make sure that you have fresh and original ideas and that your content is easy to find.

Include anchor texts, backlinks, and keywords to make your blogs more SEO-friendly, but avoid anything that looks unnatural. If you put a paragraph of text together and stuff in some popular search terms, this doesn’t constitute a blog post. There’s even a chance you might end up getting penalised by Google.

If you’re not a talented writer or you’re new to SEO then outsource. It’ll be worth hiring a freelance blogger or working with an SEO agency.

Understanding the market

To design an effective SEO strategy, you need to understand the market.

Who are you trying to attract and how are you going to go about luring them in and beating off the competition? To ensure that your campaign is relevant, it’s wise to do some research into the habits and online activity of your audience.

Which search engines do they use? What terms and words are most popular? Which social media platforms does the demographic use? What kind of content are your customers interested in and how long do they spend reading articles or blogs online?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll find it much easier to tailor your content and streamline your digital marketing campaign.

Move with the times

If you’re a fan of fashion or technology, you’ll know all too well that trends change and evolve continuously, and the same is true of SEO trends. What was popular a year ago is not necessarily going to cut the mustard today.

Be prepared to adjust and adapt your campaign in line with new trends and patterns. Use analytics to judge how effective your strategy is and identify what other brands and companies are doing. Read blogs and books about SEO trends and listen out for nuggets of wisdom from leading entrepreneurs and marketing experts.

If you can stay one step ahead, this will help you outshine the competition.

Are you a small business owner? If you’re not familiar with SEO yet or you’re keen to boost your online profile, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful.

Blogging 101: Safety and Security

Everyday, hackers go onto the Web and look for loopholes to exploit. When they find them, they seize their opportunity and install malware and other nasty software. You’re probably thinking: ‘how does this affect me?’ Well, you’re a blogger, aren’t you? As a blogger, you can’t afford random thieves to access your pride and joy and flood your site remotely. Sadly, far too many people with websites and blogs don’t take its safety and security seriously. After all, they only target big enterprises, right?

For the bloggers who aren’t secure enough, this is your lucky day. Underneath are the tips and tricks that transform your site into a digital Fort Knox minus the gold.

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Change Your Login Details

Firstly, platforms like WordPress have default settings for new users. Hackers know this, too, which is why the login details need personalising as soon as possible. A tip is to use a different password than normal and to include capital letters, signs, and numbers.

Besides this, you should also change your password on a regular basis. Pass codes which stay the same are easier to hack because it gives the thief fewer combinations to guess. Lastly, use Captcha to prevent programs from entering the site with brute force.

Update Plugins

Bloggers love to use widgets because they add to the user experience. Anyway, you need to share content, and social media is the quickest and most accessible way to hit the brief. Unfortunately, the features that you think are your friend can, in fact, turn into an enemy.

Plugins and software programs have bugs and glitches – it’s an occupational hazard. As a result, there are weak spots for hackers to target as a means to access the site. Updating these features makes them more secure as the upgrades contain fixes.

Invest In Quality Antivirus Software

The best way to secure your blog is to install antivirus software. But, how do you know what is good and what isn’t? The answer lies in the price. Any program that is free or cheaper than the competition isn’t comprehensive enough. This is especially true if they have a free and a paid version because they will hold features back.

Also, consider unbiased sources and what they have to say about the software. If someone you trust believes manufacturers make the best malware removal programs for PC, don’t take the advice lightly. As long as they have experience and expertise, their counsel is important.

Back Up Data

It is worth saying that backing up your data won’t prevent an attack. Still, sometimes a hacker isn’t easy to stop. Quite simply, hacks are inevitable at some point of another. The sooner you understand this, the better because you can begin to pick up the pieces.

By backing up your data, for example, you can reset the blog to the last saved point. Hopefully, this will prevent you from losing any important or sensitive data.

As the saying goes, the best do the basics well.

The Brilliance of Blogging: Is Your Business Missing Out?

Most businesses are looking for ways to establish an online presence and improve their SEO ranking. While social media can be incredibly influential, this is not the only way to go about getting your name out there on the web. If your business doesn’t already have a blog, you could be missing out. Blogging can be a brilliant means of reaching out to your target market and optimizing pages that promote your business and will hopefully drive sales. Here are some benefits of blogging and some tips to help you find the best bloggers out there.

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The benefits of having a blog

If you have a website for your business and you’re keen to drive traffic and get more people talking about your company, it’s almost certain that you could benefit from running a blog. Blogging is an effective component of a content marketing strategy, and it can help you to bridge the gap between the company and clients, give you more presence online and improve your SEO ranking.

By posting articles on a regular basis, you can provide your target market with important information about your company or the products you sell, you can interact with existing and new customers, and you can set yourself apart from your competitors.

Finding the best bloggers

Writing blogs is not as simple as putting some thoughts down on paper and hoping for the best. If you’re not blessed with writing talents, it’s wise to look for people who are. The good news is that there are thousands of bloggers out there who would probably be keen to appear on your blog. When you’re on the lookout for guest bloggers, don’t be afraid to be picky.

The people who are trying to secure your business should be aware of the competition, and they should make a great pitch to garner your interest. You don’t want somebody who tells you their name and just asks if you want to feature their posts on your website. You want a blogger who looks like they’re read an article about how to write the perfect guest post pitch and has experience and expertise in your field, enthusiasm, and ideas that match your expectations.

Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of titles they’d like to put forward or read some previous submissions. Quality content makes all the difference, so take your time to find the best people for the job.

Blogging basics

If you’re new to the concept of blogging, there are some simple rules. Make sure you update your blog with fresh, engaging content on a regular basis, but avoid bombarding readers. Make sure the topics are relevant and share your posts on social media. Optimize the content and encourage interaction. Always remember that quality is more important than quantity.

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If you own a business and you’re not au fait with blogging yet, it’s time to make some changes and get with the program. Blogging is a great way of connecting with a wider audience and putting your company on the map. If you don’t want to blog yourself, look for others who can do a brilliant job for you. Focus on posting quality content, keep the blog fresh, and make sure you spread the word when your posts are up and ready to read.