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Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Four: The Legal Aspects of Blogging

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Employer Blogging Policy

One of the first things you need to do if you are employed is to refer to your employers blogging policy. You’ll be surprised to find that the majority of businesses have a policy in place for blogging and online communications of their employees. If you are planning on creating custom applications or work for your blog, you also might be angered to find that some employers have a clause that grants them ownership of anything you invent during your employment contract. There are some loopholes that you can explore, such as using a friend/spouse as a dummy “owner” and blogging for them, wink wink. Whatever you do, just be sure that you are fully aware of the legal implications of blogging from your employer.

Full Disclosure / Conflicts of Interest

Another area of potential liability is having a conflict of interest. One of the most important things you’ll need is be successful is transparency and integrity. Your readers have to be able to believe in you, because without credibility you have nothing. Let’s say you work for AIG and blog about the economy and the stock market. It would be your responsibility to let your visitors know that you work for AIG. because it could effect your views and coverage on them. If you are providing expert advice about the market, and mislead your readers because of your allegiance to your employer, you could be opening yourself up for liability.
It could even lead to legal trouble for your employer! Be very careful about your content by being objective and offering full disclosures when applicable.

FEIN (Tax ID)

In order to sign up for affiliate programs, reseller programs, pay taxes or do business online you need a FEIN – Federal Employee Identification Number often called a Tax ID. You have to go to IRS.Gov, and fill out a step by step form to receive your Tax ID in minutes! You can also file by phone or mail, which you can get more information about from the irs.gov website. There are many benefits to having a Tax ID besides the fact that it allows you to legally transact business and pay taxes that you owe. You can open business accounts, open a business paypal account and more. After obtaining your Tax ID, you then need to organize your business under the right legal structure.

Business Structure

After obtaining your Tax ID, you need to organize your blog as a “business entity” if you plan to treat it as a business and earn an income from it. Some of your options are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLP and Corporation to name a few. Most people choose LLC because it offers you the most protection while offering the most flexible tax structure. I don’t want to tell you what business structure to choose, or bog you down with too many details. i recommend reading up on the topic to see what’s best for you, by researching from google and reading the free advice that sites like legal zoom offer. I personally chose the LLC structure:) You’ll also need to open a business banking account to cash those checks!

Filing Taxes

Another area of agony or neglect is paying your business taxes. If your collecting affiliate network checks, money from design jobs, adsense checks, you need to be paying your taxes. Depending on your business structure, you may have to pay quarterly or annually. Consult the IRS website or call them for your tax schedule to determine your payout schedule. A little known benefit of paying business taxes is that it builds your businesses credit allowing you to obtain business loans to grow your business!

Hope you found this information useful. Tommorrow i’ll be covering Traffic and SEO!

About the Author Mike Wayne

Mike Wayne (me!) is a Serial Entrepreneur residing in New York City. I created this blog to provide tools, advice and tips to help Entrepreneurs understand the world of Online Business. I’m also the Founder & Lead Developer at MediaCraft Marketing, a New York Based Internet Marketing Firm that reeks of Awesomeness =)

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