With the Internet World Stats reporting 2.8 billion worldwide users as of December 2013, there are more than enough opportunities to make money online or start a business online. In the same year, it’s estimated a total of $1,233 billion (US Dollars) in consumer sales. Of which roughly $12 billion were through mobile devices. I think this paints a pretty good picture of ways to make money online certainly exists.
Starting an internet business and earn money online is a little easier than you may think. I don’t want to mislead you and imply it doesn’t require much effort but the actual money making process can be quite simple; the difficulty is learning the techniques to increase visibility. With some of the suggestions I’ll mention shortly there are sites which take care of the visibility for you. All you have to do is sign up and have quality execution.
Imagine, with so many people on the internet someone will eventually see what you have to offer and if the quality is good enough users will be interested. Customers are no longer only those within physical reach. Business on the internet becomes a matter of increasing your visibility. Perhaps now you’re starting to see the pattern, the internet is all about increasing the number of people who view your content, products or services and everything else begins to fall in places. To take this notion a step further it’s important to gain this thought process and putting odds in your favor with everything you do.
Without diving into a whole new subject, it’s also important to realize, it’s easy to generate content specific to a person’s interests because they came to you. It’s also important to note data collection about a person’s habits and interests are easily logged for a more tailored experience.
There are many reasons to use the internet for making money online. There are many reasons for wanting to start an online business. Some of us it might be how to make extra money, making money from home or to how to start a business online from scratch. Regardless of the motivation I’ve narrowed down four methods to help give you an idea of where to begin.
There are two types of income strategies when doing business online. The first is Active Income; it is the most obvious and is certainly the strategy everyone is most familiar with. Active Income is acquired by performing labor services resulting in a direct return on effort. We all know this as charging a fixed rate for a service or by working at X dollars per hour. The maximum revenue for Active Income is based upon the number of hours worked combined with the maximum rate paid. The other alternative and second strategy is Passive Income. Passive Income is less obvious and certainly more desirable; maybe even the strategy most dreamt about. Passive Income is generated by the reoccurring sales of a product. Basically the end result is exponential or accumulative income. The maximum revenue for Passive Income is maximum price and market saturation.
1 – Miscellaneous Ways to Make Money Online
Here are a handful of methods to make some extra money on the internet. Even though some of these ideas may require some skill the advantage is there is no real commitment to a reliable schedule. Essentially, these can be done at your convenience. Furthermore, these options are a great way to learn how to make money from home.
Buying and Selling Domain Names
When creating a website the first transaction we make is the domain name. If you’ve bought a domain name before you’ll recall how much thought you put into choosing that domain name. If you haven’t, it seems pretty obvious to not pick just any domain name. In fact, there’s a lot more to choosing a domain name than “does it sound good, is it original and is it available?” When choosing a domain name it’s, usually, very important to choose one whose words are commonly used in a search phrase. Flipping domain names is doing the research for popular phrases then buying those domain names before someone becomes interested in using it. Then when someone becomes interested it can be sold at a higher rate. Keep in mind there can be a lot of risk in buying something in hopes someone else will buy it and unknowingly when.
Earn from Paid Surveys
Essentially, anyone can Google the phrases “participate in online surveys” or “paid surveys” to find organizations actively looking for individuals interested in taking online surveys. Surveys for money are based upon geography and demographics so you may not qualify for every online survey available. It’s also important to be aware of what you share. Knowing there are those looking for quick ways to make money online there is a great opportunity to be scammed for personal or credit card information. Some ways to protect yourself is to never provide you home address, phone number or credit card number. If an organization wants you to pay them first then it’s time to move on to the next site you researched. In fact, it probably would be worth your time to briefly investigate using Google what the internet community is saying about the survey site.
Make Money on YouTube
Do you like making videos? With over 1 billion unique visits and 6 billion hours of video watched every month YouTube is an excellent way to generate Passive Income. These videos could be just about anything you can think of such as highlights from a great moment or how to do something. However true success comes from finding what people want to watch with some keyword research and providing great quality. The revenue source is from the TrueView in-stream ads presented during the video so the more views the more likely the ads will be clicked.
Submit Site Content for Money
There are two ways to write articles online for money where the first is directly submitting content to a site and the second is being contracted to write content. Writing content for the internet, or better known as ‘copy’, is and will always be in demand since every site needs site content.
The first method is a little easier than the second since the return is immediate and there is no convincing a client your proven experience and quality of work. Sites such as Yahoo! Voices, About.com or DemandStudios.com are great opportunities to submit content to existing sites. Check out this good read by Mahesh Mohan, “Make Money Writing Articles: Top 25 Sites That Pay Upfront For Your Content.”
2 – Make Money Online with Freelance Work
Freelance jobs are an excellent option to work independently. It takes time to build credibility but if you are consistently providing good quality there can be a lot of opportunity for work. Freelance work can be generated using existing sites such as Elance.com or oDesk.com where client jobs are submitted and you as the Freelancer apply for the job. These sites typically offer a wide array of work such as Software, Web and Mobile Development, Designer and Multimedia, Writers or Marketers.
There are quite a few freelance sites but here are a few major ones to help get you started.
- Elance.com – Developers, Designers, SEO, Translation, Sales, Legal, Writing and more.
- oDesk.com – Developers, Designers, SEO, Translation, Sales, Writing and more.
- Freelancer.com – Developers, Designers, SEO, Translation, Sales, Writing and more.
- 99Designs.com – Graphic Designers
- Hatchwise.com – Graphic Designers
- InfoBarrel.com – Writers
- Constant-Content.com – Writers
- ContentBlvd.com – Writers
- BloggingPro.com – Writers
- HireWriters.com – Writers
Sell Photos and Graphics
3 – Earn from Ad and Affiliate Marketing While You Sleep
Again with 2.8 billion worldwide users on the internet in 2013 you can imagine there is plenty of opportunity for advertisement and online marketing. The first key element is to attract these users to a place you can then present relevant ads. Unfortunately because there is so much content on the internet we cannot just place good content on a site and assume “if you build it, they will come.” [Field of Dreams, 1989] Attracting users is a little more complex and requires a fair amount of research.
The two most popular content sites are Blog sites or Niche sites. A Blog site and a Niche site are very similar in nature except where generally they are about providing content in the form of text, images, audio or video. Where they differ is level of keyword research and the overall scope of the sites subject. First, Blogs are a little broader in subject matter where Niche sites are more specific in their overall subject. This means keyword research is pretty extensive prior to creating a Niche site where Blogs keyword research tends to be emphasized at the article level. Ultimately in the end the users still drive the content.
Keyword research is the analysis of user interests and who better does this than a search engine and with Google being the largest search engine they are the best candidate in providing such details. Google has a tool called Keyword Planner which shows how many searches are made per month for a particular word or phrase. But wait, we’re not done yet. Just knowing how popular a search word or phrase is doesn’t tell you how competitive the competition is. That’s where Moz.com and SEMRush.com come in. In all reality though, it’s better to use a tool such as Long Tail Pro which simplifies the process tremendously.
Once the keywords are narrowed down the next step is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the strategy of convincing search engines your content belongs near the top of the search results. However at the end of the day nothing beats great content that encompasses valuable keywords.
Now imagine the placement of physical advertisements we see in day to day life, the higher the auto traffic, pedestrians, paper readers or TV viewers the higher the cost and return for the ad. The same holds true for the internet. The more visitors to a site the more people want to advertise on your site and the more likelihood users are going to click on the advertisements. What makes this approach so valuable is this income strategy is considered Passive Income and regardless of where you are or what you’re doing your sites are always making money.
There are various types of networks which help you incorporate ads on your site.
Cost Per Click (CPC) or Pay Per Click (PPC) Ad Networks
CPC or PPC is an advertising model which pays you as the publisher or site owner for directing traffic to a site through an advertisement. Each time an ad is clicked the advertiser pays you a small amount for each click.
Cost Per Mille (CPM) or Pay Per Mille (PPM) Ad Networks
CPM or PPM is an advertising model which pays you as the publisher or site owner for every 1,000 impressions to site visitors. In Latin, Mille means 1,000.
Cost Per Action (CPA) or Pay Per Action (PPA) Affiliate Networks
CPA or PPA is an advertising model which pays you as the publisher or site owner for some action the user takes. This action could be for a click, complete survey, complete contact request, newsletter signup, registration or transaction.
Cost Per Sale (CPS) or Pay Per Sale (PPS) Affiliate Networks
CPS or PPS is an advertising model which pays you as the publisher or site owner for converting sales that are directly generated by an ad.
In-House Affiliate Programs (directly with vender)
In-House Affiliate programs is working directly with the vendor and not using an affiliate network. This approach presents a huge cost savings to the marketer without having to pay commission to the affiliate network. The next advantage is developing direct relationships between the vendor and the publisher or site owner.
4 – Make Money with a Membership Website
Membership websites have a lot of lure due to the obvious nature of reoccurring income. Without a doubt this is considered passive income and don’t be fooled, membership sites are a lot of work. These sites come in many forms and can vary in structure.
Content Drip Website
Content dripping is the strategy of providing relevant content over a long period of time. Within the membership site a drip feature is used to make information available at a predefined schedule over a period of time. Some Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress Plugins provide a Drip feature with the membership framework. The beauty of this strategy is the minimal upkeep and automation. Furthermore members are more inclined to return on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Community sites are a great way to share something you know or create a community around a particular subject. The most popular and common examples are social sites, forums and wiki’s. However there are less conventional sites which we use every day such as StackOverflow, StackExchange or CodeProject.
Another method which is overlooked is a group coaching site where you teach how to do something specific. To be upfront, people love to learn and will pay to do so as long as the content is exceptional.
A Publishing Website can be a lot of fun but also a lot of work. The idea is simple, produce regular content on a regular interval. With the consistently new content this site could then charge a subscription fee.
There are many options for content and can be any combination of written, audio and video. These sites are very common and are found everywhere. Many people create content because the subject is something they enjoy while others create Niche Sites. You might recall earlier creating a Niche Site is the process of researching popular keyword phrases which have little or poor internet content. What’s more interesting is generally the people are not experts in that field but become experts over time.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Besides selling a physical product online, providing a web application that serves a function to users is probably the second most obvious way for making money online. Although the process of creating a niche site is relatively the same the steps of execution are quite different. Might even use the cliché of “find a need, fill a need” and what a better way to find a need than by asking. The real skill is knowing the right questions to ask.
A classic example is Sam Ovens: The Foundation Case Study interview with Andrew Warner. In this interview, Sam explains in detail the steps he took to discover a need for Property Management Companies. Once he found the “need” he then sold the product before it was even built. Presales was key since that became the primary source in funding the development. More interesting his initial development quote was over $100,000 which he then found a way to have it built for under $10,000.
5 – Make Money from Selling a Product Online
The last and certainly the most obvious options to make money online is by selling a product online. However some may think a product would be either software or a physical product but in fact there are many options in selling online.
Most people overlook how easy it is to create a product which sells online. If you already create content online you can take your existing articles and convert them into an eBook, a book or an audio book. If you have popular YouTube videos you can compile those into a DVD which can be sold as well. You might be surprised how users will pay for something nicely packaged even though it’s free elsewhere.
There are two approaches to selling online and many do both. As I have mentioned previously, the more visibility the better your opportunity. Selling a product can either be presented to a site where there is already traffic or creating a site and generating our own traffic.
Getting your product on an existing sales site is certainly valuable. Sites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy are probably the most widely used but unfortunately it’s still not as easy as just getting your product listed. As a vendor selling your product you will compete with others in the same category for being listed near the top of the list.
Why Not Start Making Money Online Today
If you are looking for ways to make extra money on the side you can start many of these as a sole proprietor. Although with how easy it is to create a LLC, I’d recommend contacting a firm such as LegalZoom to find your options. The best approach to start is identifying your skills, passions and fears. Next do a little keyword research to determine demand, get an idea for competition then lastly avoid paralysis and get started. The bottom line is “do something because doing nothing with get you nothing.” You never know, your next job might be the one you create.
Alternatively if you are looking to grow your business online the bottom line is the same. The best approach is pick one approach and stick with it. You might say you need to learn more before starting but the truth is we’ll never know enough. I previously mentioned paralysis which can be our worst enemy. Avoid doing nothing and suddenly the future can be anything you create.
There are so many options of where to start and how to being, I’d love for you to share in the comments what your experiences are or if there is something not on this list that should be.
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