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I want to start accepting ads on my blog, but I'm kind of clueless as to how to go about doing it. My main questions are:
1. How do you accept payment? I've heard PayPal is good, and I have a personal account already. Do I need to set up a merchant account or just get paid through my personal one? And how exactly do I go about doing that?
2. How much do you charge? Does anyone have a sample media kit I could take a look at?
3. Do you claim your earnings on your taxes? Again, how do you go about doing that?
Thanks so much for any advice or suggestions you can give me!
I'm currently working on setting up ad options and everyone is going to be different as to what they charge. It's going to depend on a lot of variables which I am still learning about.
As for accepting payment, if you are running business you should have a Paypal business account not a personal one. And yes if you are making money via your blog you must claim it on your taxes. You should definitely go to the IRS website and research starting a business and you'll find your answers there or hire someone to do your taxes.
You don't need to change your PayPal to a Merchant Account unless you are doing tons of transactions (for example, if you were selling merchandise or having a very active eBay store). But you can rebrand your personal account with your blog's email address if you want. I think you may be able to change the name on it, too, but not 100% sure.
What you charge depends on traffic. For a newer blog with lower traffic (under 1000 page views a day) $20-25 a month is a good starting place.
Yes, you have to claim ANYTHING you are making on your taxes. Find a CPA in your area who works with small business people like freelance writers, graphic designers, computer programmers, etc. They are a little more savvy to your particular business deductions (internet, computers, mileage, etc.) that someone who works with other small business people.
The nice thing about starting to earn an income is that you can now deduct a lot of expenses, like your PayPal fees! However, you have to show a profit after 3 years, so discuss this with your CPA to make sure you want to pursue blogging as a business vs. a hobby. Even if it's a hobby, you still need to claim any money you make.
Just want to add that I'm not a professional tax person or accountant. I'm just someone who's been working on some sort of small business (freelance writing, eBay, Usborne Books) for a long time.