As the year is coming to an end (and now that the world did not actually end), I thought it would be wise to sum up all of what happened to my ever-growing passion of blogging and what are some of the mistakes that I did and how I plan to change my focus for the upcoming new year – 2013.
I also asked this question to some of the well known bloggers out there and you can read their personal experiences down below. I hope this consolidates all our thoughts on how to move ahead with our blogs without actually repeating any of the mistakes that we did and how to continue with our blogging careers.
Mistakes I could have avoided in 2012
The very first and important mistake that I did this year was to monetize my blog without consulting my attorney!!!!!! Can you believe what I just told you? If you are a blogger and want to make money out of your blog, first and foremost you need to think is how you will receive the revenue and how you will disclose your returns on the income earned. Believe me, I have done some research on this and faced several hard facts regarding the same.
Of course this may not apply to all the bloggers, but it is always better to play it safe. To give you a summary, as most of you are aware by now, I am a citizen of India and have migrated to the US for pursuing my work career. I am here on a work visa and working for a consulting firm who runs my payroll. I get my W2 from my employer and file my taxes without fail every year through a tax consultant.
What I wasn’t aware of was that as an immigrant, I am NOT supposed to earn any sort of income other than from what my employer pays me (refer to this article on Murthy.com). Lot of my friends have opted to earn some extra money by getting themselves into blogging or even worse some of those pyramid schemes which are a strict no-no when it comes to USCIS and their immigration laws.
If you are in some sort of a similar situation, please do not waste any more time, call your immigration attorney and seek advice at the earliest, better late than never!!!! It is nice to earn a few extra bucks at the end of the day, but one has to consider “at what cost?”.
Having a Disclaimer – I never thought this would be a big deal until recently, when I read about this in a couple of articles around. What if you write about a specific food habit or recommend a restaurant for a particular dish that you liked there, and one of your readers actually tried it out and had some negative impact on the same? Is he liable to sue you for publishing the content online? What protects you from such liability?
So, having a disclaimer (something like this – DMC Disclosure) will actually protect you and limit the liability with your blog alone. That means, even if you end up in a legal tiff, your personal belongings will be safe and all that is at risk is your blog.
Email Subscription List – Recently one of my readers approached me and asked me to promote his eBook via a newsletter and was certain that I will have a good amount of subscribers to my updates.
I had to admit then and there that creating a subscription list was the last thing on my mind and asked if I could promote his book by any other means like writing a review or hosting a giveaway.
It was then that I decided to use the ‘MailChimp‘ service to see if anyone would actually like to get my subscription service…and just in a matter of a couple of months I have gained 119 subscribers in my list :-).
Also another important reason why I decided to move up the Email Subscription option on my sidebar is after I had my blog reviewed by Marya from Writing Happiness. She recommended that my existing option to subscriber to my RSS was not noticeable and asked me to move it to a prominent position on my home page.
Blog Review – Now that we are on the topic, I should say that Marya’s review of my blog was an eye-opener in several areas of improvement to my blog and I was astounded by all the loopholes she could point out with my current design and focus.
She actually summed up all my mistakes and sent me a 5-page PDF which went in detail about the various areas of my blog like content, menus, sidebars, blog vision and focus, guest articles etc which has helped me to a huge extent to re-think of how my blog is presented to my readers.
What Other Bloggers Had To Say -
Now let us see what some other bloggers had to say when I asked them
Sue Neal -
Now these are some wonderful thoughts and some interesting feedback from these bloggers. I do know many of you will have something to share on similar lines, please do leave a comment and make this post more interactive and informative to all the readers.
Have a wonderful new year ahead!!!!!