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If you're a blogger, then you might be asking yourself if you should form a business entity for your blog. And if you run two blogs, then you probably have even more questions, from "How do I merge two blogs?" to "Should I turn my second blog into a DBA, subsidiary or LLC?"
To clear things up, we've laid out everything you need to know. So whether you're unsure of whether to form a business at all or you're considering creating a subsidiary for your blog's existing entity, the answers you're looking for are here.
Do You Need to Form a Business for Your Blog?
First thing's first — do you even need to create a legal entity for your blog? To answer this question, you'll need to determine whether your blog is profitable and, if so, to what extent.
In short, if your blog generates money and you intend to continue growing it, then you should consider it a business and treat it as such. This means keeping track of your finances and taxes just like you would with any other small company and perhaps creating a blog business plan so you can set and meet goals.
You can make your blog profitable in a variety of ways, such as:
- Placing pay-per-click ads on your site: These are the banner ads displayed at the top or side of a website. If you choose to use them, you'll be paid based on how many clicks they get.
- Affiliate marketing: This works by forming a partnership with a company (such as Amazon) and promoting their goods or services on your website. Sales you generate are tracked using a unique affiliate link, and you receive a payment each time you net a sign-up or sale for that company.
- Sponsored content: This is when you and another company agree to create a sponsored blog post. You may get paid a flat rate one-time fee, or you could get paid based on views or clicks. Sponsored content may also include a social media campaign or simply sharing the posts on your social media platforms.
- Selling products and services: You can also make money by selling goods and services related to the content you write. If you run a cooking blog, for instance, you could sell a cookbook or meal prep service.
No matter how your blog makes money, though, the bottom line is that if it turns a profit, then you could very well benefit from turning it into a bona fide business.
Besides, if you make more than $400 per calendar year from your blog, then you'll be subject to self-employment taxes anyway. In that case, you'll likely want to form a business entity for your blog in order to simplify tax season for yourself.
And to do that, you'll need to pick the right type of business entity for you.
Choosing a Legal Entity for a Blog
Since blogs come in practically infinite shapes and sizes, it comes as no surprise that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all blog business entity.
So when evaluating business entities for a blog, you'll be able to choose between several viable options. For most bloggers, these options boil down to three main contenders:
- A sole proprietorship, in which you simply continue to run your blogging business under your own name without completing any formal setup (or gaining any legal liability protection).
- A Limited Liability Company (LLC), in which you register your blog as its own business and retain complete control of it while protecting your personal assets.
- An S Corporation, in which you can register your blog as its own corporation and protect your personal assets as long as you have 100 or fewer shareholders.
Which is best for you? You'll likely be happy with a sole proprietorship if you:
- Are willing to put your personal assets on the line
- Run your business entirely on your own
- Don't want to fill out any paperwork
- Don't want to commit to officially forming a business entity
On the other hand, you may want to turn your blog into an LLC if you:
- Want legal liability protection
- Want to gain credibility in the eyes of any potential customers or partners
- Run your business either alone or with partners
- Are looking to separate your personal assets from your business's
- Don't have or anticipate having any shareholders
Finally, an S corporation could be the right choice if you want to register your blog as an LLC but do have or anticipate having shareholders.
In general, an LLC can be a top choice for a blogger since it provides protection against your assets and doesn't require a lot of paperwork.
How Do I Merge Two Blogs Under One Business Entity?
It's not uncommon for bloggers to have multiple blogs, just as it's not uncommon for YouTubers to have more than one YouTube channel. If that's the case for you, you might find yourself wondering what happens if you want to combine two blogs under the same business entity.
The easiest course of action is to simply form one LLC for your primary blog, and operate your secondary blog under that LLC as a DBA (doing business as). Depending on who you ask, a DBA may instead be referred to as a:
- Fictitious name
- Trade name
- Assumed name
If you choose to go this route, you'll be able to run two blogs as legitimate businesses without the hassle of handling paperwork and fees for two different legal entities.
As such, you also won't gain any additional tax benefits (or experience any drawbacks). Instead, the business entity it's operating under will simply be taxed as usual.
What Are My Other Options?
While it's simple and easy to combine two blogs under the same business entity by using a DBA, there are certain circumstances in which you may benefit from running each one as its own independent entity.
For example, perhaps you want to share ownership of your secondary blog with another person or company. Or, you may want to protect your primary blog's assets from any debts your secondary blog may incur.
In those cases, you can separate your two blogs by either:
- Turning the secondary blog into a subsidiary; or
- Forming an entirely separate business entity, such as an LLC, for each blog.
Whether you choose to make your other blog into a subsidiary or separate business altogether, doing so will make your taxes more complex than if you simply create a DBA.
In both scenarios, your secondary blog will be considered independent of your primary one and will thus be taxed separately. As such, you'll need to pay taxes for two businesses rather than just one.
Ultimately, the best strategy for you and your blogs will depend on your individual wants, needs, resources and plans.
As long as you do your due diligence and thoroughly research each option, you're sure to make a decision that will allow your blogs (and your bottom line) to thrive.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.
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