Are you in the process of starting a blog?
There are many different reasons to get into blogging, from keeping family and friends informed about your personal life, to updating business clients about a company’s evolving product and service offerings.
One question we consistently hear from prospective bloggers is whether they should form a limited liability company (LLC) for their blogs. In general, the answer varies depending on what you’re looking to do with your blog, as well as who you’re trying to reach, and whether you want to use your blog to generate income.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not you need to form an LLC for your blog. The answer isn’t necessarily as cut and dried as it might seem, so let’s get to the bottom of this surprisingly nuanced question.
First off, let’s quickly outline what an LLC is. A limited liability company mixes elements of sole proprietorships, general partnerships, and corporations, essentially giving entrepreneurs the best of these worlds. LLCs are typically taxed similarly to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, in that the owners include any company profits or losses into their personal returns — the LLC itself does not owe income taxes. An LLC may also elect to be taxed like a corporation, although this is not a very common option.
There are similarities to corporations too, especially when it comes to financial responsibilities. In an LLC, the owners or members are not usually personally accountable for the financial status of the business. This means that if someone sues your LLC, your personal assets are not at risk.
In short, LLCs are so popular because they provide a variety of legal protections for your blog, while also enhancing its credibility. But is it really necessary for a blogger to form an LLC?
If you’re simply starting a blog for fun, and you have no plans to monetize it in any way, you can almost certainly get away with not forming an LLC. If you’re not bringing in any money, there’s really no reason to waste the time, effort, and money to form an LLC. After all, if you’re not operating a business, you don’t need to form a business structure for your blog.
However, beyond the simple “friends and family” type of blog, or perhaps one that you’re only writing for your own enjoyment, it gets a bit trickier. For forming an LLC to make sense for your blog, you’ll need to monetize it in some way. Here are a few of the most common ways of doing just that:
1) Adding advertisements to your page: One common way to monetize a blog is to introduce advertising to your site. These ads are usually of the pay-per-click variety, and you can get them from programs like Google AdSense. With a setup like this, you can add banner and sidebar ads to your blog that target users who pursue the same type of content you write about on your blog. While this doesn’t typically generate much money right away, you might be surprised at how much it can add up over time.
2) Affiliate links: In many different industries, affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize your blog. In the interest of full disclosure, that’s the main way we’ve monetized this site! By partnering with businesses in fields related to your blog topics, you can earn money when readers click through and make purchases on the affiliated website. We can tell you from first-hand experience that this is a solid technique if you’re in the right field.
3) Selling products: If the content of your blog is easily translated into products or services, this can be a great way to generate some extra cash. Depending on the nature of your posts, this could even be a relatively simple way to start a multifaceted business. For example, if you run a blog about knitting, perhaps you could start selling your own handmade goods.
4) Sponsorships: This typically isn’t going to be something that happens right out of the gates, but once your blog starts gaining some traction, you could be able to get a company to agree to sponsor a blog post. This is when you write a blog specifically tailored to attract customers for that company, and in return, they provide you with either a share of their profits or a flat fee.
If you decide to pursue any of these monetization techniques, you’re entering a situation where it would definitely be advisable to form an LLC. To be honest, we strongly advise forming an LLC before you ever start monetizing your blog. This is because if you wait until after you’ve already started transacting business, your initial transactions won’t be covered by personal asset protection.
Operating a business entity without a corporate veil protecting your assets is almost never advisable, unless you write about a topic that doesn’t present you with any liability whatsoever. Even then, it’s still a safer bet to protect yourself using the limited liability offered by the LLC.
For many bloggers, it simply isn’t necessary to form an LLC, because you’re not generating any income with it. However, if you’re even considering monetization, it’s probably time to look into creating a formal business entity to protect yourself and your business.
We hope this article helped you enhance your understanding of whether or not your blog needs an LLC, and we wish you the best of luck!
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
We think you should start an LLC before you begin conducting business. While it is entirely legally acceptable to operate your business as a sole proprietorship or general partnership before forming an LLC, doing so subjects you to a number of risks that LLCs don’t have to worry about.
For example, informal business structures don’t have limited liability protection, so any lawsuit filed against the business can include the owner’s personal assets as well as the business assets.
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be formed by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option for many entrepreneurs.
Using an online LLC service removes much of the hassle from the business formation process. With these services, all you need to do is provide them with the name, location, and industry your business operates in, along with some info about yourself and your registered agent.
The service then creates your articles of organization and files them with your state to create your new LLC.
Absolutely. There are quite a few reputable companies offering LLC formation services these days, including the three best LLC services we discussed earlier.
In fact, while we certainly have our opinions about which ones offer the best pricing and features, every one of the incorporation services we discuss on this website is entirely legitimate and trustworthy.
In some ways, using an LLC service does protect your privacy, especially if you choose to also have that company serve as your registered agent.
This is due to the fact that, if you serve as your own registered agent, your personal address will often become part of the public record. Using a registered agent service not only provides the privacy of using the agent’s business address as your own, but it also significantly cuts down on junk mail.
This is why we’re such big fans of companies like Northwest Registered Agent that include a year of registered agent service with their LLC formation packages.
This is an impossible question to answer in an across-the-board manner, as each business type has its own advantages and disadvantages. That said, the LLC is typically the more suitable option for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, while the corporation is usually a better fit for large companies. For more info, speak with an attorney or check out our complete comparison guide between LLCs and corporations.
Start an LLC in Your State
When it comes to compliance, costs, and other factors, these are popular states for forming an LLC.
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