People often think of a blog in a different way to a more traditional business but that’s dangerous. You might not realize it but you have to adhere to a lot of the same laws that other businesses do. Once you start making money out of your blog, you’re technically a business and you need to act as such in a legal sense. This is particularly important if you’re selling products or services through your blog. Regardless of how much or how little you’re making, you still have to deal with these legal hurdles.
If you start a blog on the side while you’re still working, you might think that any money you make out of it can go straight in your back pocket, but that’s not the case. You need to register as self employed and start declaring the money you’re making and paying taxes on it. If you aren’t paying any tax on your earnings and you get caught out, you’re going to be hit with a massive fine on top of the money you already owe.
Registering Your Company
You don’t need to register your blog as a company right away because you can operate as a sole trader but if you’re starting to make a decent amount of money out of it, you should think about incorporating it as a company. Once you’re registered as a proper company, you’ll be able to separate your business assets from your personal ones which affords you protection if you hit hard times. It also makes you look more legitimate in the eyes of customers which can help you boost your readership even more than you already have. You’ll get tax advantages as well and you’ll also be able to protect your brand so nobody else can start up a blog using the same name. Find a Company Formation Services provider and they can register the company for you for a small fee. You can also get packages that include a registered domain name for yourself if you haven’t got one already.
If a company is paying you to endorse one of your products on their blog, you need to be careful how you present the post. If you don’t declare that it’s a paid endorsement and you just present it as a review that you’ve done off your own back, that can be considered illegal. Make sure that you label the post clearly as an endorsement and don’t pretend to be an impartial third party if you aren’t. If you’re constantly posting endorsements under the guise of a normal post, you could land yourself in some hot water.
When you’re creating awesome content for your blog all the time, there’s always the chance that somebody is going to steal it and post it as their own. Sometimes people do this by accident because they think that it’s ok if they credit you and they don’t need to ask first. Other times, they’re just straight up stealing it from you and trying to pass it off as their own original work. The first thing to do if you see your content on somebody else’s site is send them a friendly email and tell them that they need to take it down. If they don’t take it down, your only option is to take legal action against them. The thing is, you need to weigh up whether it’s worth it. It’s going to cost you a lot of money to go through the whole court process and if it’s just one or two posts, you might just have to take the hit and leave it alone. But if somebody is taking loads of stuff from your site and posting it on their own, it’s worth taking them to court over it. It’s not an ideal situation but sometimes the cost of paying for court outweighs the benefits of getting your post back and you just have to leave it.
The best way to stop this from happening is to include a copyright symbol on all of your posts, that way it’s harder for somebody to easily copy your post onto their site without anybody realize it’s been stolen.
You’ve got to be careful with the images that you use in your posts as well because if they’re owned by somebody else who hasn’t given permission for them to be used, you’re breaking the law. Always make sure that you’re using copyright free images and crediting the source. If you do want to use an image that belongs to somebody else, make sure you get their permission first.
You might not realize that you need to jump these legal hurdles but if you don’t, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.