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?

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.