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4 Easy Solutions To File Your Taxes Online

Green circle with money symbolFiling taxes doesn't have to be stressful, time-consuming or rage-inducing. The digital age brought along some modern-day conveniences like filing your taxes online, but now with the mobile device boom, you can even file your taxes right from your phone.

These four sites make it incredibly easy to file your taxes. This guide goes through each of the top sites to file taxes online in 2014 and how each makes getting a correct return as simple as checking your email.





Poster Talking About Taxes


Slay Thy Taxes With Ease - TaxSlayer.com

The competition for the top online tax preparation software is pretty steep, but TaxSlayer has been very aggressive and offers some genius incentives to customer who are looking to file this 2014 tax season. TaxSlayer provides a ton of advantages like low-cost state eFiling, easy-to-use tax software and affordable filing options for all kinds of IRS forms that you might need. You can file state, federal, amended, military and prior-year returns through TaxSlayer as well. There are a three editions of TaxSlayer including a free military edition, classic edition for $9.95 and premium edition for $29.95.

Pros

- TaxSlayer provides free state and federal tax returns for active duty military personnel, and the software is only $9.95 if you're a civilian.
- The interface is simple and bright colored. It's easy to answer each question and quite fast.

Cons


- No mobile version yet.


The classic version of TaxSlayer allows you to manage parts of your tax return easily like mortgage interest, property tax, childcare credits, itemized deductions and much more. The 1040EZ filing is a quick process and is quite accurate upon testing. The software checks for all kinds of errors and covers all subjects like your home, your work, dependents and other issues that will allow for credits and deductions that you have earned. A final error check is completed before you can file to ensure that you have entered everything correctly.

If you want to take a break, you can add a placeholder and jump back later to fill in missing information. All you have to do is fill in boxes as you go through the software. The type is legible and large, and the buttons are easy. You just click "Continue" when ready to move on to the next page. You can also speed up the process by importing information from a previous return saved on TaxSlayer.

If you do need assistance,you can also contact TaxSlayer customer support by phone or email. This works even for those who are filing with a free edition. However, there is a priority support option for premium users. The company is also very active on Twitter.

By using TaxSlayer, you can get your taxes filed correctly and ensure that there aren't any errors using their final check. The customer support is always available if you have a question or need guidance on what to file.

Get 'Er Done Turbo Style - TurboTax

Intuit's TurboTax has always been one of the top online tax preparation software companies. They offer free tax return filing and tons of features for those who purchase a premium version. You can also import data, which cuts down dramatically on data entry time if you run a business or work for yourself under 1099. You can important data from ItsDeductible and Mint, which are both owned by Intuit.

Pros

- Simple-to-use from desktop or mobile device.
- Anyone can use the software whether you know tax law or not.
- Federal returns are free to tile

Cons


- You can't import data unless you pay for premium service.


TurboTax is a household name. Even your grandmother has probably talked to you about the benefits of TurboTax. It's ranked at the top of most tax preparation software lists for a reason. Upon testing the software this year, TurboTax was easier to use and even more accurate than before.

However, premium features do have a lot more to offer. By paying for premium, you can import data from W-2s and 1099 forms with ease. The software has a guided interview style that makes it easy to answer questions and see what credits or deductions are being applied as you work through your tax return claim. TurboTax also shows you what the most beneficial return can be for your tax situation as you file.

While tax preparation software is always subject to user error, TurboTax goes a step further to try and eliminate all issues with the right questions. It also can find items that you overlooked. There aren't any math calculations required either. The software will do it all for you. The interface is extremely thoughtful and simple, and you can even use it on your mobile device.

If you have issues, you can always contact Intuit's online support center, which provides tons of information like answers to commonly asked and specialized questions as well as tax law guidance and customer service numbers in case you need to speak with someone.

Get Some Tax Return Action - TaxAct.com

If you know enough about what you're doing or have a simple return that you want to get done quickly, TaxAct is a cheap and accurate alternative. State eFiling is also affordable with TaxAct. You can prepare, eFile and print federal tax returns for free with TaxAct. The only thing you have to pay for is state eFile or if you want to import data from a previous return. You also have to pay extra to speak with someone in customer support.

Pros

- Free federal eFiling is simple.
- Low cost state eFiling is cheaper than competitors.
- Audit support makes it easy for businesses to file online.

Cons


- Telephone support is not free.
- Online tax help and support could be more extensive.


There are three editions for TaxAct including a free federal edition, Deluxe edition for $9.95 and Ultimate for $17.95. If you want to state file, you'll have to pay extra for both free and Deluxe versions. Ultimate includes one state and one federal filing. You can also download and install CD software that ranges up to $21.95. You can also file prior-year returns dating back to 2000.

TaxAct guide helps filers answer questions that relate to their tax status and makes it easy with over 2,500 tax tips to ensure that users have some help while preparing their tax return online. There's also a tax glossy that includes definitions for 300 tax terms. The questions allow TaxAct to have more accuracy and users get error checking, alerts and a refund/owed meter that helps them figure out what they will receive for their tax return. All in all, it's a great tax preparation software, but you may want more assistance if you're not familiar with filing taxes on your own.

Do It Right the First Time - HRBlock.com

When it comes to filing taxes, H&R Block is another household name. However, the company has been known more for its in-office consultations rather than its online tax preparation software in the past. In 2014, it's one of the top online tax preparation software to use. With many filing options, extensive guidance and high accuracy, it's a great option for those who are just starting out with tax filing and may not know as much as they need to get a correct return.

Pros

- H&R Block helps individuals and businesses get the most accurate tax returns.
- Federal and state filing, customer service and additional tools all included in price.

Cons


- Software is not free and does have a higher price than competitors at $27.95 up to $34.95.


Taxpayers will love the wide range of services that they receive with this software. Despite the price, it's worth the money if you need professional help understanding your taxes and want to get the most accurate return possible. They also have thousands of retail offices throughout the country, which makes it easy to get help with a problem if you run into a road block.

All types of filers can receive help with H&R Block as well. Whether you are self-employer, an investor or just a single parent trying to understand childcare credits, there are a ton of ways that H&R Block spells it all out for their users and provides guidance as you answer questions to ensure that your return is as accurate as possible.

It's also easy to receive your refund with H&R Block, which provides several disbursement options including direct deposit, check or a prepaid card deposit. You can also request a state refund anticipation check for a $13 fee, which is like a loan. The support is also the best with H&R Block, and it's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Written And Published By Christopher Pontine And Cynthia Adams
Image Credit:  Christopher Pontine

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8.5 Great Investment Choices For Your Website Business

I know this article doesn't cover anything to do with a website builder for any of your ventures, but personally I found these great places to invest your profits or to hold your money too!!!! so I wanted to share these with you and give you the opportunity to open an account yourself so that you will have investment options when needed.

I think overall you will be really pleased with these sites and find them very valuable for your overall business plan either in the present or in the future of your website business.  OK, let's get going and check these out.

When you look for a top online broker, recommendations seem to be everywhere. Brokers have to have a few things to make it worth an investor's time. Different online broker firms often vary between high and low fees, different account tips, range of education features and stock research tools that make one better than the other. These are eight of the stock trading websites that investors truly love and have recommended over the years.

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1. TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has become one of the hottest online investment brokers in America. The company boasts over 5.8 million account holders and $480 billion in assets. There's a minimum initial deposit of $500 to get started, and you can find stock trades for $9.99 per trade. Options trade at $9.99 per trade with $0.75 per contract. There are also free research tools, free data features and free-to-use trading platforms.

TD Ameritrade also has a few promotions that make it great for new and seasoned investors. For instance, you can trade free for 60 days and get a $600 cash bonus. Their customer service also has received a ton of positive feedback, and they have live chat, telephone and email support for their members. Barron's has awarded TD Ameritrade with a few different accolades like #1 for long-term investing and #1 for options.

2. ShareBuilder

Stock trading fees get low at ShareBuilder with just $4 if you choose automatic investing. There's also a free trial offer, and you don't have to have an account minimum to join. The pricing and fee structure at ShareBuilder is simple enough. You can set up recurring scheduled investments to make investing easier and less time consuming. For limit, option and market trades, you'll pay just $6.95.

There are also several research tools to use on ShareBuilder including criteria based stock tools, strategy reports and watch lists. You can also look at charts that note the historic price changes of certain stocks. If you want a no-fuss type of investment platform that's made for beginners, ShareBuilder is exactly the right platform for you.

3. Scottrade

With stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and options, Scottrade offers a variety of research and data tools with excellent customer service for 30 percent less than most other online brokers. They also have physical locations to help investors who need guidance in person.

However, one drawback is that the trading platform is not as modern as others like eTrade or Sharebuiilder. That also brings down the price to $7 per trade with $1.25 addition for options trade contractors. Scottrade also has several trading tools for free that, but it's missing some of the research tools and charts that you find on TD Ameritrade or eTrade.

However, you can fully customize streaming quotes, and there are still watch lists and some charting tools that would satisfy the basic needs for most investors. If you decide to upgrade with Scottrade, you also receive a debit card, free ATM withdrawals, unlimited free checks, mobile access and 24/7 customer support.

4. eTrade

With its easy-to-use order placement features, eTrade also has options for beginners and seasoned professional traders. For instance there are complex order placement for condor, straddle, strangle and butterfly strategies. If you are an active trader, eTrade is the best. It has competitive pricing models and options-specific features that active traders will appreciate.

Stocks and options are $7.99 per contract as long as you make the minimum of 150 trades per quarter. If you don't trade that much, fees go up to $9.99, which is still relatively low. The research tools are incredible for traders on eTrade. They have comprehensive option trade tools so you can easily place spread, buy-write, butterfly, condor and basic type of orders, including iron-condor. Option charts are also extremely handy for research.

You can also develop different strategies based on your investment amount, time frame, volatility, target price and market outlook. If you have complex orders, eTrade is definitely the right place to make your trades with lots of added features and advice tips to make your trades more predictable and secure.

5. TradeKing

TradeKing offers essential tools for investors, and they are well known for attentive customer service and low costs. Currently, TradeKing offers $4.95 per trade. In addition, this online broker consistently ranks in the top for online firms. TradeKing also joined up with Zecco and now offers a ton of new research tools as part of its dashboard. You can take advantage of customizable and advanced charting. They are also visually appealing and user-friendly. Any member can use these tools for free as well.

The financial products do cost extra including forex trading. However, it has free IRAs and DRIPs, but there is one drawback. TradeKing has a $50 inactivity fee for accounts that have less than $2,500 and haven't been trading within one year. This doesn't typically apply to most active traders, but it should be noted in case you are just starting out and may not know if you'll be trading in a year.

6. TradeMonster

For those who specifically deal in options, TradeMonster is the choice for you. You can get option trades for as low as $0.10 per contract. Regular options traders only have to pay $0.50 per contract. As a discount options broker, TradeMonster is highly competitive and offers a lot of features for users that make them stand out. Investors always support this trading platform because it has the lowest fees, and you'll find flat-fee trade rates of just $7.50.

In addition, the broker isn't shy about providing volume discounts and low margin rates. If you are actively trading every day, you need a streamlined trading platform that can give you all of the basic trade functions with a few advanced research tools. The spectral analysis tools allow you to play with volatility, which is unique to TradeMonster. The results are displayed in a map rather than just a chart. You can also use other tools like option strategy features, what-if analysis, group order management, performance tracking and much more.

7. OptionsHouse

OptionsHouse is a trusted brokerage to think about if you want a low-cost discount broker with a more traditional trading platform. For active traders, OptionsHouse has some cheap options. The software features streaming quotes, which aren't always free in some of the other brokers, but OptionsHouse does a good job of making the basic tools free for its users. These are free real-time quotes so you can keep a finger on the pulse of a specific stock or just view the stock market in general.

The trading platform for OptionsHouse is not as intuitive as some of the others, but it's still simple to navigate. You can place stock trades for a flat $4.75 through OptionsHouse, and it also offers free virtual trading. This is perfect for those who have stock strategies that they want to try, but they don't want to invest any money right away. You can use the $5,000 free virtual account to test-run some of your new strategies and see what works.

8. OptionsXpress

OptionsXpress is a publicly traded company with headquarters in Chicago. Its mainly well known for its ETFs, futures, bonds, mutual funds and stock options trading online. The platform has a lot of valuable and sophisticated online tools. You can open individual or join tenants accounts, trust accounts, business accounts and individual retirement accounts. There's also no minimum deposit required to open a cash account, and you don't have to keep a minimum balance for your account to remain open.

You can also trade wirelessly on your smartphone and take advantage of a few different powerful online trading tools like The Screener. The Screener scans the market for potential mutual funds, options, stocks and ETFs that would be good opportunities. You can view all of the information on a stock before making any decisions as well.

A Man's Face With A Saying
The reason I added the .5 was to grab your attention and as well it represents the acting upon utilizing one of these.  I know corny right?  But at the same time if it made you wonder I did my job in making you curious and to check it out, now the only goal is to ACT.

I hope you found these great and informative and one fit your expectations that you can use for your website business : - ) .  If not it may be a great spot to put your money, I know it's really helped me out.

Written And Published By Christopher Pontine & Cynthia Adams
Image Credit:  Creating A Website Today
 
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The Legal Side of a Photography Site

Orange CircleOnce you decide to open a photography business online, you face some difficult tasks like setting up copyright protection and building a streamlined store where fans can purchase prints. However, running a legit photography website means that you also have to consider formation and taxes. By setting up your photography business for success, you'll be better suited to continue that success and build your site legally.

For Photographers Just Starting Out


If you've decided to open your business, you need to get all of your legal stuff out of the way. You should look at business structures, taxes and licenses. You may need to contact your local small business agency to inquire about licenses for photographers and your new business. They can offer small businesses and start-ups a wealth of information.

Choose a Business Structure

Multiple business structures are available out there, but there are some more suitable for photographers. Business structure types include sole proprietor, limited liability company and corporation. The type of structure that you choose will depend on the type of business, investment costs, choice of liability and taxes.

Sole Proprietor: These are the most popular for photographers because it's generally used for small business owners that don't have a lot of investment capital to work with. You can create a sole proprietorship by filing a "doing business as" certificate with your county or state. While this type has the lowest amount of investment cost, you don't receive any liability protection. Personal assets are not off limits and not kept separate from business assets either. If you choose sole proprietorship, you'll file with a Schedule "C" for taxes along with your personal tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) - This is another popular structure for photo start-ups. This structure provides protection for the owner as business and personal assets are not considered together. LLCs have a bigger monetary investment cost due to Articles of Organization, it's the most advantageous for online photography businesses because of its liability restrictions and tax limitations.

All LLC earnings are taxed only once because losses, credits, income and deductions are able to "flow through" to the owner of the company. LLCs are managed by members and income, deductions, credits and losses, so it's divided up with the right documentation.

Corporation: These are more popular for more established small businesses with more investment capital. You need more start-up funds to be a successful corporation. There are also two types of corporations: C and S. C corporations are subject to double taxation, but this can be avoided if owners of the company only receive a standard and reasonable salary. S corporation is the more popular of the two for photographers because structure profits don't have to be evenly distributed, but corporations are subject to state corporate fees.

States also have different laws for business structures. Most business guides suggest that Wisconsin has the best laws regarding LLCs.

How to Pick the Right Business Structure for Photo Sites?

You need to decide what's most important to you when considering the success of your photography site. These are just a few of the factors:

   * Renewals
   * Long term goals
   * Monetary investment
   * Desired protection of assets


If you don't have a lot of money for start-up costs, the best option would be sole proprietorship, but if you also want to protect your assets, you'll need to file as an LLC. There are also long-term benefits of becoming an LLC. It's difficult for independent photographers to start corporations on their own.

The Issue of Taxes for Photographers

There are different types of taxes that you'll need to pay according to where you are operating your site as tax laws vary state by state in regards to digital goods. There are federal income taxes, state income taxes and state sales taxes. There are also some miscellaneous taxes that depend on your business formation and are also different based on the jurisdiction.

Federal Income Taxes

You should consider the federal income tax to be all about your income from your photography business. There isn't a federal sales tax. You have to file a claim yearly, and you should always save a portion of your profits to pay your taxes as your bill will accrue from the IRS. You must do your own withholding as the business owner. You may also be able to pay your taxes throughout the year to avoid surprises. This depends on the type of business and state, so you'll need to contact the IRS if you want to use this option.

State Income Tax

Additionally, some states also have a state income tax that is just like federal income tax. You'll have to file your state income tax separately.

State Sales Tax

Most businesses that sell products must collect taxes for your state. However, some states do not require sellers of digital goods to charge any taxes. You should always apply a state sales tax on top of your digital goods price. You also need to get a sales tax permit, which are free. You also have to file a sales tax return along with your other tax claims. Local sales and taxes are based upon where you registered your business.

You may also be required to pay sales taxes if you operate as a photographer in other areas. Most photographers selling prints and canvases must charge a sales tax. If a person is purchasing a download such as a digital wallpaper, then you may not have to charge sales tax. You'll have to check with your local tax agency to determine if sales tax applies to digital goods.

Business Forms for Photographers

You'll need to have these forms on file.

Portrait Agreement

Clients and photographers must enter an agreement called a portrait agreement. This outlines specifics like payment, cancellation policy, session date and more. If you don't have this form, the expectations and policies of the relationship can be disputed. If you don't use this form, you are placing yourself in danger of being sued if something should go wrong with a photoshoot or portrait for a client.

Model Release

The subject of a photograph must also sign a release. A minor's parent or guardian must sign this release as well. The release gives the photographer permission to display the photograph and use for exhibitions or personal uses.

Print Release

Photographers also have to let clients know that they have rights when they download digital files from your site. You should have detailed restrictions on what can and cannot be done with a digital download. What privileges do you allow for your stock photos? Clients often want unlimited use, but they may call this copyright ownership.

You must specify that they do not own the copyright, but they may buy a license to use the photos according to your specifications. You should also understand the different between print and copyright release.

Independent Contractor Agreement

If you plan to partner with others in the photography world or web design world, you'll likely enter into an independent contractor agreement. This states what goods or services are to be provided at what salary and often includes a deadline or time sensitive information. The agreement also needs to state that benefits are not included and that contractors must file their own taxes. You can specify other expectations and policies on the agreement.

Copyright Notice

You must have copyright protection if you plan to run a successful photography site. Most clients do not understand or pay attention to copyright, but that's all the more reason for you to do so. If they buy files online, they may just want to use them for print. You should specify what photos can be used for and how often they can be used for as part of the copyright license. You should also state that copyright laws are in effect whenever clients purchase art or photos from your site.

Talk to A Lawyer

If you are confused about any legal aspects of starting your photography site, you may want to consult with a lawyer on proper business formation and getting your forms in order to protect your work. You may need special copyright for your site as well. You can also survey popular photography sites to understand how to set up your copyright and legal protection agreements. It's important that you get all of this setup before you start selling any work online.

Starting a photography website is an incredible step forward for photographers. You are entering the business marketplace and opening up visibility to your work from all over the world. You must take the proper precautions and always think with copyright in mind when dealing with clients. Once you have protected yourself, you will have a more legitimate online photography business that can progress your career as well.

Make sure to check out "5 Great Website Builders For Photographers" to choose your platform to use if you haven't already.

Written And Published By Christopher Pontine
Image Credit: My Own Work
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And Your Done!!! Get Your Wordpress Blog Up In A Jiff!!!

As many site developers and designers have realized, WordPress might be the best content management system available today. There are a variety of different CMS interfaces out there, but in reality, most sites today got started because of WordPress because of its easy-to-use interface, reliability and security.

Over 100 million websites today use WordPress and that number is continuing to grow. There are so
People On A Hill
Get That Website Up!!!!!
many different ways to create a site using this platform that it may seem overwhelming to get started. One of the major parts to setting up a high quality WordPress site is the host that you use. BlueHost is an exceptional WordPress host because it's fast and easy to install. Now you can master the art of WordPress and design a flawless site with BlueHost that's relatively cheap.

Why Pick BlueHost for WordPress

WordPress.org has recommended BlueHost as a host since 2005. It's a dedicated WordPress host and will help you create a dynamic site with some amazing tools. In addition, BlueHost offers a one-click installation of WordPress.

You get unlimited space and bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, free domain name and even $100 for Google Advertising. All of this is available for $4.95 a month with the latest BlueHost special. If you don't like it, you can always get a refund with the "Anytime Money-Back Guarantee" provided by BlueHost.

In addition, BlueHost has US-based customer support. This means that when you call, your problem is diagnosed and solved by an English-speaking, United States technical support staff based in BlueHost's Utah offices. They also have their own datacenter, servers, fiber network and custom linux kernel patches. They also have enough generators to power a city, which means that your connection and up-time will always be stable.

Start Designing with WordPress Themes

Once you sign up, you'll install WordPress on your BlueHost account. You'll go to the "Control Panel Login" located on the main page and type in your domain and password, then click "login" to access your account. Once you get into your control panel, scroll down until you see the blue icon for the tool "Simple Scripts" and click on it to open.

Once the page loads, scroll down to blogging platforms and click on "WordPress." BlueHost will set up WordPress for you based on your selections on the next page. The page has helpful hints and tips to inform you on what your selections mean. For example, you can select advanced options like database configurations to further customize.

Once you're finished making your selections, just click "Complete" to finish installing WordPress. It only takes a few seconds to install. BlueHost will give you the site URL, login URL and password to access your WordPress site.

Creating a Dynamic WordPress Site with BlueHost

Once you log into WordPress, you'll be able to customize your site so that it looks just the way you want it. Whether you're trying to set up an innovate business site or you want to create your very own craft blog, everything begins with a theme. Wordpress themes are the basis for the design of your site. There are all kinds of free and premium themes out there, and you can also have one custom designed for your site. You'll find that most themes are tailored to the industry. For example, photography WordPress themes are all about the images while a business theme may have more space for text descriptions and product listings.

Some of the things that you should keep in mind when selecting a theme include:


 * Modern design aspects
 * Valid HTML and CSS
 * Secure code
 * High visibility and readability
 * Compatible with the latest WordPress version
 * Compatibility with popular plugins
 * Support documentation and video instruction

When you have found a theme that you really love, it's important to think about how it will affect your content and visitors. These are some things to consider:

    *Does it meet your requirements to set up your dream website?
    *How easy is it to customize?
    *How quickly will you outgrow it?
    *Do the color schemes match my brand?

Some places to purchase or find free incredible WordPress themes include ThemeForest, StudioPress and WooThemes.

Get the Right Plugins and Widgets
There are some things that you should manually configure for your WordPress site to make it run more efficiently and eliminate security problems. Here are some of the basics that you'll need to install while logged into your new WordPress site.

1. Akismet: This is necessary to get rid of spam comments. It comes with WordPress, but you do need to activate it and generate an API key for it to work properly. If you don't want to allow comments on your articles, then you don't need to use this.

2. Disable comments: Go to "Settings," then "Discussion" and uncheck "Allow people to post comments on new articles." You can also allow comments on individual posts in case you do plan to allow comments in the future.

3.Gravatar: this image is linked to your email address. When you comment back to your visitors, you'll want to have an image that says more about who you are and what your website is.

Maintain WordPress Security

Once you've got your theme ready to go and installed some of the essential plugins, it's time to make sure that your WordPress up-to-date. You should also make the following changes to keep your site secure.

Don't use wp_

You shouldn't use wp_ as the database table's prefix because hackers search specifically for this when trying to exploit a site. You should change it to something unique to protect your database.

Don't state your WordPress version

You should remove the WordPress version from the website's header, which is there by default. This is telling hackers again what version you are running, which makes it easy to exploit your site particularly if your WordPress is out of date.

Change the admin username

You need your own secure login credentials. The name "admin" is default when setting up your WordPress, but you should change it to something more secure and unique to prevent hack attempts.

Setting Up Pages and More

You'll need a few essential pages to get started with your site including a home page, about page, contact page and products or services page. These pages will provide your visitors with everything that they need to know about your business or blog. You should look at your favorite blogs or business sites to see how their pages are set up and get an idea what you can do for your own.

It's also important that your site is optimized for search engines. You can generate an XML site map, use site-wide and post-level control for meta data and set certain pages to noindex or nofollow if you don't want them to be available for search.

One of the best plugins that you can install for SEO is WordPress SEO by Yoast. This will help you create the right SEO for each of your pages and posts.

It's very easy to get set up with WordPress using BlueHost, which is an incredible host for any site. You'll have a fast up-time, and you can automatically update your WordPress site with the latest security upgrades and software patches. There are a variety of different tutorials for setting up WordPress sites for each type of industry. What's most important is that you choose a theme with high readability, security and navigational features that will make it easy for your users to utilize your site as a resource.

You ready to get your website up?  Click and go.

Created And Published By Christopher Pontine And Cynthia Adams
Image Credit: Celestine Chua

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The Legal Side Of E-Commerce: What To Know

A Quick Note:  This is for your reading pleasure and to give you SOME idea, I am no lawyer FYI (Side Note: Sometimes I think I am).  So read on and get a better understanding on some stuff, but always consult someone that practices LAW to get every piece of the puzzle.
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With everything moving online these days, it's easy to look at the benefits. Online stores can sell products from any location and send to any location. They can be globally accessed from anywhere on the web. They can drive traffic through intelligent strategies and cut down on print advertising. However, there are also some legal issues to consider with e-commerce.

There are various ways to deliver products based on Web purchases. Since there are all sorts of businesses online today, every legal situation is particular to the transaction or store. These are a few examples where legal knowledge comes in handy for e-commerce.

Online Delivery of Goods and Services


If you have electronic media that you want to share or sell, then you most likely use some kind of medium over the Internet. You may download a software package purchased on Amazon, or you may purchase music from iTunes and place on your iPad. In some cases, you may purchase a monthly service that you pay for. What happens if the service doesn't work correctly or becomes unavailable? What happens if you need instructions in different languages for global customers? There are some major issues to consider with any electronic transaction. These include:

  •     *Proper online contracts and terms
  •     *Record retention obligations
  •     *Original documentation for TAX purposes
  •    * Import and export regulations for international sales
  •     *Exchange control regulations
  •     *Foreign data protection laws
  •    * Site security and fraud protection
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This is why sites today must have a terms of sale that is easily accessible under a "Terms and Conditions" or "Terms of Use" page. Your terms of sale and terms of use should be consistent with one another. You should also include specific terms that apply to electronic transactions. You must also address refund and shipping policies in your "Terms and Conditions" page or set up a separate area where returns and exchanges are discussed.

If you are using electronic means of delivery, these should also be made secure to avoid other legal issues. You should address faulty delivery or unavailability in your terms as well.

Payment Handling, Sales and Delivery Procedures


There is a simple process to understand when purchasing and receiving products from online stores. The process starts with a product choice, which then goes to order placement. Finally, there is payment processing. All of these points of purchase must be secure and streamlined for your customer. After payment is processed, shipping begins. There are all kinds of issues related to shipping, but most of all, online retailers may forget to establish where they ship to and where they don't. If you have certain geographic availability for your products, you have to place these terms in your conditions of sale and clearly state where you ship to on your site.

If you want to avoid legal battles, you should specify certain geographical areas where purchases are accepted. This means that customers outside of these areas are ineligible to purchase or receive products. It's also important to recognize government bodies and avoid any legal battles that may prohibit you from selling to certain areas. You should never process any transactions from areas that are ineligible to receive products.

To set up terms for your online sale, you should look to the terms of a traditional sale. Your online terms should also be consistent with any packaging of your products such as warranty or limitations. Return and refund policies must also be addressed. You should have an active acceptance of terms of sale before completing purchase. Typically, online retailers place this just above the complete purchase button, and customers are not allowed to purchase until they place a check in the box stating that they have read the terms of sale.

You should also have policies in effect for non-payment and fraud. You may want to provide alternative methods to ordering such as telephone ordering. You can hire an information technology professional to look at your transaction methods and software to ensure that it's safe for your business and customers.

With many businesses under fire for personal data collection, you need to clearly state in your terms and conditions if you are collecting any data or how data is protected on your site. Your site should be secure to build trust for your customers.

It's important that you have terms to enforce if a problem should ever arise. Most of these will be covered in your terms and conditions. By making sure that your site is secure and that you have your customers actively accepting or declining terms of sale, you can place yourself in a more secure position to do business online.

Online Delivery Issues

Most transactions online today happen in seconds. From selection to delivery, people can download music, movies, games and apps with a tap of a button. Digital content is constantly being altered, distributed and duplicated in large quantities all across the Internet. Content is often vulnerable to piracy and unauthorized use because of certain Internet users.

You should have clearly defined copyrights, trademarks and patents to protect your digital content. You should clearly state how your digital content can be used or not used as well as the punishment for doing so. You should also read over content laws and licensing to ensure that you are protected in countries that you sell content to as there may be conflicts.

There hasn't been much success in fighting piracy. There are ways to watermark and change online content in order for it to be connected to one account, but they require intuitive design and implementation. You should always consider the potential risk and reward with any digital content that you release online. In some cases, you may choose to delivery the content offline instead.

You can always consult with a lawyer about your copyrights and licensing issues. You should ensure that your digital content is protected and legal rights can be pursued if there is ever a conflict of copyright.

B2B or B2C

B2B is business to business sales while B2C is business to customer sales. A B2B site has different concerns than a B2C. For example, a B2B is more focused on supply chain management. Dealers and distributors may deal directly over the Web through electronic transfer of orders, payments and invoices. B2C sites are those like Amazon or eBay, which focus on providing a customer with a product. Each type of site has different legal concerns.

In addition, different industries have separate concerns. If you are selling auto parts for instance, you probably want to include conditions for core charges that must be returned in order to receive a rebate. You should always consider the type of business that you are and who you are selling to when creating your terms. By consulting with an IT professional or looking at similar online retailers, you can find out more about how you should develop your terms and conditions.

Today's most pressing legal battles with e-commerce involve security, international sales and shipping. Inevitably a customer has to trust what you are selling to them, and they have to believe that you are selling a good product or service without trying to steal their information. Customers will avoid dealing with businesses online that have a bad reputation for faulty products, abused refund policies and bad shipping procedures.

There are also rising security costs. By writing a detailed terms and conditions and terms of sale, you can avoid most legal problems, but you should also make sure that you are following local, state and federal laws. By setting up your site with clearly stated copyright and licensing information, you can also prevent some instances of theft though most digital content today is duplicated in some fashion or another.

Created And Published By Christopher Pontine And Cynthia Adams

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Wordpress.org And Wordpress.com: Whats The Difference?

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As WordPress becomes one of the most popular ways to build websites, many people ask whether they need WordPress.org or WordPress.com. Both can be summed be simply as a platform to build a website, but WordPress.org is the free version while WordPress.com offers a free blog with add-ons at a pricey cost. This guide goes through all of the different aspects of each and what advantages or disadvantages people find with both services.

WordPress.org Overview


If you want a free WordPress blog, you will likely use WordPress.org. It offers thousands of plugins, and you can purchase premium plugins as well. If you like to customize and do things yourself, WordPress.org offers a valuable resource. With support forms and tutorials, it's easy to modify your website design and create more functionality than what the traditional WordPress theme offers.

WordPress.org allows you to install the WordPress engine, guide you through posting and setting up different categories. There is a ton of support documentation to help you create a site with WordPress.org's free tools. You can even use your own domain and modify the core PHP. If you want to add jQuery, change the theme and install plugins, all of this is available as well.

However, if you need a web host, you won't find free hosting with your own domain through WordPress.org. You may set up hosting on your own through another company and use a domain name while installing WordPress, but there are also hosting options with WordPress, which is where WordPress.com comes in.

Benefits of Using WordPress.org

Besides being free to install and customize, there are a ton of other advantages to working with WordPress.org including:

    Full control over your code and content management
    Install any plugins, themes or other code that you want
    Customize to your heart's content
    Learn how to program with PHP


As always there is a downside to working with the free side of WordPress, these disadvantages include:

    More security risks
    Potential to install malicious themes, plugins and hack code
    No personalized customer support if things go wrong
    Costs may go up when more bandwidth is needed if using a private host
    Site is slower when free


As you can see, there are some great benefits to using WordPress.org to create a full website if you choose hosting through another provider. However, there are some great advantages to choosing WordPress.com as your hosting provider even if it's just for the free version of the blog.

WordPress.com Overview

If you like the idea of a simple free blog such as Tumblr or Blogger, WordPress.com also has a free version that is hosted through their site. Your domain will be "blog.wordpress.com" unless you buy a domain, however. This is an easy way to get a blog up and running if you are completely new to blogging, but it may not offer the most benefits as opposed to paid hosting and your own domain name.

WordPress.com also offers spam protection, automatic backups, automatic updates, proven security and plugins and services that you won't find elsewhere. However, customization is more limited on WordPress.com. For instance, you can't upload and install your own theme like you can with WordPress.org.

There's also the advertising aspect. If you don't like seeing third-party ads on your site, you can only remove them for $30 a year. You can pay for a custom design package that allows you some control over a theme's design like changing the font or altering some of the CSS code, but it also costs $30 a year.

With WordPress.com, everything is a la carte. This means that you can purchase extra storage or even host your own videos but at a cost. There are also premium themes that you can buy, which can range up to $100. However, if you ever decide that you want to buy hosting, you won't be able to use the theme.

Benefits of WordPress.com

There are some positives to using WordPress.com if you want to get a blog set up quickly to start writing. Here are some of the advantages:

    No charges for increased traffic
    Little to no security risks
    Don't have to manager a server or mess with FTP
    Full concentration on your content
    Quick, easy and free to setup


There are also some disadvantages to going with this option. For one, you don't get as much freedom as with WordPress.org. Some other cons include:

    Limited choice of free plugins, themes and settings
    You don't make any money through WordPress advertising on your blog
    Custom domain is $25 per year
    Additional storage, customization and video hosting is expensive


If you don't want to find a host and just want to get set up with a blog, WordPress.com may be the right choice for you. It's quick to sign up for WordPress.com and begin posting. You also receive a lot of support from WordPress and can even troubleshoot with someone if something goes wrong. However, it may not be ideal if you want to monetize your site or do something more than a blog.

Which One to Choose: WordPress.Org or WordPress.com?

The decision is really up to your needs and future plans for your site. These are some different ways to look at each.

Do You Want a Lot of Control?

Then you should go with WordPress.org. You won't get as many plugins, themes and customization options if you choose WordPress.com. The open platform of WordPress.org allows you to customize the code, upload your own themes and add any type of plugins that you want.

Do You Have Money for Hosting?

If you can pay for your own domain and hosting, then you should also go with WordPress.org. While WordPress.com is essentially free, you'll need to pay more to expand in the future. If you want to give your blog true freedom, you can purchase your own domain and hosting, which allows you to install WordPress through WordPress.org and start customizing your site. It's also the best way to get your site out there without having a domain that looks cheap such as "blog.wordpress.com." With more creative control and your own host, you can expand when you need to in the future and continue to have control.

However, if you don't have money for hosting, you can start with WordPress.com's free version and see where your blog takes you. If you just want a place to write, share images and video, it may be easier to go with the free version as well. While your site may look cookie cutter with a free theme, you may not want to customize or don't know how to change CSS. If you are just getting started, WordPress.com is a great way to get used to blogging online for no cost at all.

How Much Effort Can You Put In?

WordPress.com sites require little to no effort all. WordPress will handle all of your security and updates, so that you are constantly updated with the latest plugins and WP files. You won't need to know how to upgrade on your own or handle your own security in a jam if a new exploit suddenly poses a risk to your site.

If you do want to put in the effort to understand and learn WordPress, you will be able to make upgrades pretty easily. However, you will need to understand the risks of installing plugins, code and themes that are malicious and pose problems to you and your visitors.

If you don't want to work with another hosting provider or don't want to customize CSS and install your own themes, WordPress.com is also the best choice. You won't have to know how to create or alter your themes, but you do lose a lot of customization. This means that your blog will have a more cookie cutter type of look and won't stand out. It's still a good option if all you need is a platform for your writing and images.

Do You Have Big Plans for the Future?


If you want to see your site grow or you have plans to monetize your site, you have to go with WordPress.org and use your hosting. However, WordPress.com provides you with all the free bandwidth you need if you suddenly get to the front page of Reddit with a cat meme. However, how long that fame will last depends solely on your content and not the usability of your blog because you won't be able to customize.

You won't have to cover any overage costs as hosts tend to charge when you go over bandwidth on these occasions either. Your website may actually fold with so many people trying to connect if you choose your own hosting with WordPress.org and don't have enough bandwidth to support.

A Simple Way to Choose

If you just want to write, don't want to bother with CSS and don't care about advertising on your blog, you should go with WordPress.com. It will offer you a simple platform to get thousands of words out, and you can still share images and video.

However, if you do want to create a profitable website that you can customize and expand in the future, you should go with WordPress.org. You'll also learn more about web development, plugins and themes, which can help you create other sites in the future.

Quick Note:  Remember many companies such as Bluehost may have simple ways to for you that will easily install your Wordpress Script.  Check out 10 Powerhouse Website Builders And More, and look through the options and click on the link and see if they do.  

Published And Created By Christopher Pontine And Cynthia Adams
Image Credit: ahockley

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