7 Popular ways to Make Money Online
The following methods of making money online are not listed in order of preference or earning power. They are simply a brief introduction to the most popular and efficient ways to generate a part-time, or even a full-time income using your PC working at home, or anywhere else you may have access to the internet. For some a website is essential, for others you don’t need one.
1 – Affiliate programs
If you have a website, and you want to make money from it you should consider joining an affiliate program. If you don’t have a website but are willing to learn how to build one be sure to read the simple guide to ‘Designing and Building a Website’
Becoming an affiliate means you can make money by advertising and promoting the products of other merchants from your website. This is generally done by placing banners and text links on your site. When a visitor clicks on a merchant’s banner or text link they arrive at the merchant’s website whereupon the visitor may make a purchase from which you will earn a commission. The results of promoting someone else’s products however, can vary enormously. Simply putting up a banner or a text link on your website is unlikely to generate much commission, unless you receive many thousands of daily visitors. But if you’re willing to learn a few simple marketing techniques, such as pre-selling through recommendations, even with a small website you could soon start building up a useful income.
You can apply what you learn from affiliate marketing to sell almost anything you can think of. But ideally your first priority should be to sign up with merchants that sell products your website visitors are interested in. For example, if you wanted to advertise pet food on a ‘Tips for breeding dogs’ website then you’re much more likely to generate a sale and earn a commission than you would if you placed the advert on a site for ‘How to build a PC’ because most of your visitors simply wouldn’t be interested in pet food. So always look for products and services that are compatible with the content of your site.
You may be surprised at the range of products and services available from merchants who require website publishers to promote their stuff. To get some idea I suggest you take a peek at one of the best affiliate network directories on the net Commission junction. It’s free to join and there is no charge to link up with any of the merchants listed. Everything is simple and straightforward. You get quick access to the html code for all the banners and text links you need as well as daily statistics of how many sales you make and which advertisements are working well and which ones aren’t. All you need to get started is some basic knowledge of how to cut and paste the linking code into your web pages. This is the code that has your affiliate identification embedded into it to accurately track all sales.
Promoting other peoples’ products through an affiliate program is a useful way to generate income using your website. You don’t need to hold any stock or have the responsibility to fulfill the order or take payment. You simply get paid for introducing the buyer to the seller and when a sale is made your obligation ends there.
One of the leading internet and affiliate marketing experts is Ken Evoy whose products and free marketing advice are some of the best available. The information and knowledge he provides on affiliate marketing and internet marketing has allowed thousands of people to earn a substantial income selling their own or products and other peoples products or services via the internet. The expertise and tools he provides for building sucessful websites using his SiteBuildit SBI system are top notch. His free course in affiliate marketing is packed with information and knowledge that have taken him years to aquire. You can read more about his free affiliate marketing course and other marketing products by clicking here.
2 – Google Ads
An alternative to joining and promoting a merchant’s affiliate program is to incorporate Google AdSense advertising on your website.
Consider this… Google is one of the most successful companies online. Next time you use Google and type in a search term take a look at the column down the right side of the page when the search results show up.
What you’ll see is a selection of small text ads or image ads which are related to your search query. These are what is known as PPC (pay per click) advertisements. In other words, whoever has placed the advertisement with Google has done so on the basis that every time their advert is clicked on, the advertiser pays a small sum to Google. So the advertiser gets good quality targeted traffic to their site, Google makes some extra cash, and everybody is happy. But it doesn’t stop there, because Google, in their almighty wisdom, allows you to put these ads on your website too, and they’re willing to pay you a percentage of their commission. It’s a win win situation. What makes this so brilliant is that the ads that you display on your website will be mostly related to the content you provide, and statistics show that visitors are much more likely to click on these ads than banners. All you need do to get started is apply to Google first, and once accepted they will provide the code which generates the ads to appear on your site.
Notice I said that your site needs to be accepted first. That’s because Google has a few rules that need to be adhered to in order for your site to be accepted. This is neccessary to keep their advertisers happy and raise the standards of good search results.
To find out more about how AdSense can provide a useful extra income stream, plus tips on how to get the best results using AdSense on your website I have written a short article that will help you get started entitled A Simple Guide to Making Money with AdSense
A quick and effective way to build websites optimised to use AdSense is to use a specialised program like Sitebuilder Elite But there’s more to just building a website and putting it online. You need highly targeted traffic to get the most effective results if you’re planning to make a decent income from your venture!
There are many individuals and companies who are also making money from actually paying for these ads to be shown. Affiliates can also use this method to boost sales. By utilising the PPC (pay per click) opportunity that Google and similar PPC search engines provide, it’s perfectly feasible for you to join an affiliate program and promote a merchant’s products or service using this technique, combined with using your affiliate link within your promotions. As long as you follow Google’s editorial guidelines and any terms and conditions as stated by the merchant that relate to the use of PPC advertising to promote their products, there shouldn’t be any problems.
3 – Information products
Digital products are ideal for selling on the net because they cost next to nothing to produce and are easily duplicated. And there’s no expensive overheads such as printing and packaging costs. Some of the highest paying affiliate commissions are available from promoting ebooks, marketing courses and software products. This is because of the high mark-up profits which are possible, allowing resellers and promoters to make between 25% – 50% commission on each sale.
A whole range of downloadable products can be found at ClickBank including some of the best information products available online. If you want to seek out and promote products with exceptional profit margins, Clickbank is the place to visit. You can view some of the products available from Clickbank in the CB Mall.
Of course the big money is made by the originators of these products. Imagine creating an ebook and having hundreds of affiliates signing up to sell your book? It’s not so difficult as it sounds. If you sign up with ClickBank to sell your digital product through their marketing program, you also have the advantage of having thousands of potential affiliates ready to promote your product on their websites using simple tracking links that Clickbank provides. As long as your product is of a high standard and has little competition, you are likely to get plenty of interest. Affiliates are usually generously rewarded with high commissions ranging betwen 25% to 50% but because you’re selling a digital product your overheads are practically zero.
Ebooks are not the only option though. Have you ever considered designing your own software?
Too complicated? Don’t know anything about programming?
Well actually you don’t need to. There are lots of good programmers who are willing to do the work for you for a reasonable sum. You can find them on elance or freelancer. If you have a good idea for a piece of software and you need someone to bring your ideas to fruition, these are the places I recommend you look.
4 – Newsletters and e-zines
Newsletters and electronic magazines (e-zines) are a great way to build up a customer base and a trusting relationship with people prepared to deal with you on a regular basis. This is the cornerstone of most successful businesses whether established online or offline.
Having a list of subscribers that you can regularly mail to puts you in the perfect position to bring related products or services to your customers attention. Whether you provide your own saleable products, electronic information or otherwise, or join partners as an affiliate and promote other merchants goods, the process of churning out a regular newsletter or digital magazine can seem suddenly more inviting.
Starting a newsletter or e-zine is also a good way to learn and improve your marketing skills. Public relations, effective advertising, producing useful information that people are actively seeking out, and building a subscriber list through opt-in subscription methods, are all essential skills required for making money online. Some successful e-zines are even produced and distributed without the need for a website. Building up a strong subscriber list can be achieved simply by advertising in the right places. An effective advert and a simple link to a web page with where people can sign up may be all that you need.
Getting people to subscribe to your newsletter or digital magazine isn’t that difficult. All you need to get people to sign up is to entice them with a free offer for something you know they can’t resist. For example, a free e-book, or free software. Providing they perceive the offer as being valuable it’s quite easy to get a steady stream of new subscribers.
If the magazine is in a niche market which is dedicated to a specific subject, and the content is well presented and informative, people may be quite happy to pay for a regular subscription if the price is right. However, even if you make your magazine or newsletter freely available then it can often be monetised by selling advertising space if you reach a large subscriber base.
By building trust with new subscribers and a quality information product you are far more likely to succeed in your publishing venture. It’s a lot easier to produce sales through recommendations or advertising related products to customers you know may be interested and who you have a good relationship with, than trying to sell to someone who has no interest or has never dealt with you before.
5 – E-commerce website
Many people assume that the best way to make money online is to set up a shop selling products direct from a website. While this is true for the majority of well established online businesses, it can be a costly and daunting proposition for newcomers who want to set up a business online for the very first time. If you have products you want to sell on the net but want to test the waters first before making a major commitment you should consider Pay Pal as your online payment payment processing system. It’s free to join, very simple to set up and you can use it to configure your own shopping cart to fit in with the design of your site. Whether you have a range of products or single items to sell, Pay Pal is a quick and easy way to start selling products online.
If you don’t already have a website built and are seeking a good ecommerce web hosting service, consider using Yahoo! Their Merchant Solutions product gives you fast, reliable web hosting and for a small monthly fee can provide everything you need to set up your own e-commerce website.
If you have ever dabbled with selling goods via auction sites and have a range of products to sell, you could set up your own webstore through ebay’s ebay stores program. You can sign up with ebay.com or ebay.co.uk and promote your own online store complete with a whole range of items that you sell in various categories. And because ebay is one of the most visited websites in the world there is already plenty of people ready and willing to check out your wares. This is an easy solution to starting your own online business. But like all the other methods described here, it requires a certain degree of marketing skill to get visitors flocking to your store. Without targeted visitors you’re unlikely to reach your full sales potential.
6 – Selling stuff on eBay
Selling stuff on eBay is easy. Most of us have heard reports about how some individuals and businesses are making massive incomes from selling on eBay. But like any other business there’s no magic formula to instant success. You need to learn the ropes first. Start small and work your way up.
Sole traders and big companies are using eBay as a way increase their sales. But it’s not a guaranteed way to make money online. There are charges to consider before calculating the profits you might expect from selling through their auction pages. If you’re new to the concept of selling on eBay I suggest you read their guidelines thoroughly. Make a note of their listing and selling fees and consider all other costs you might encounter regarding postage, packing and the use of payment processing services such as Pay Pal.
Try testing response rates by putting a small, select number of items up for auction first. Choose products that allow you to realise a good profit margin. After eBay’s listing and selling fees, plus delivery and payment processing charges are taken into consideration, there should still be room for making a profit. At the same time, choose products that you can afford to make a small loss on if necessary. After all, if they don’t sell you will still need to pay the listing fee. You could even lose money on the sale if you don’t follow some simple rules to minimise losses.
Whole books have been written about how to trade successfully on eBay. One of the most popular ebooks available online is written by Jim Cockrum, the author of
‘The silent sales machine hiding on ebay’ His experience and techniques have helped many people to make money using the most popular auction site online.
Some ebayers are turning over tens of thousands of dollars in revenue every month! Some have even closed down their offline trading premises to trade solely on eBay. Such is the success of the eBay phenomenon.
The most successful merchants on eBay are known as ‘power sellers’ Next time you visit eBay look out for the power sellers and take notice of how they run their business. Take particular note of how they promote their products using powerful descriptive headlines and text, as well as high quality images that showcase their products to the best advantage. Their excellent after sales service and customer relations help them achieve a top feedback rating which builds trust among new and old customers alike, who are happy to deal with them again and again. Emulate their success by following the same techniques and principles they employ to make big sales!
For a more detailed information about selling stuff on eBay click this link.
7. Membership websites
Finally we come to what I believe is an under-developed opportunity to make money online … membership subscription websites!
Membership websites, are becoming increasingly popular with people willing to pay a regular subscription to access information that is difficult to find elsewhere. Other types of site that often use the subscription model are sites that provide a specialised service, or make available a library of useful content. Internet dating sites and image libraries are two prime examples.
Anyone who can provide a unique service or specialised information in a niche market could set up a subscription website. By signing up new members on an annual or monthly payment plan, you could soon build up a sizeable regular income. For example, let’s say you’re a bit of an expert on how to make money from property development. You could set up a site that gives free information on this subject, but only allow paying members access to more advanced information and training. This would be a secure area which can only be entered using a username and a password. It would contain those ‘closely guarded secrets’ that only your expert knowledge and experience can reveal. Only subscribers would then have access to the most effective methods and shortcuts on how to succeed in the lucrative property development business.
This is just for illustrative purposes of course. But anyone who has a passion and expert knowledge of a hobby or business could set up their own subscription website, providing they know how to go about it. Fortunately there are some very good resources and examples of how to start and run a subscription site which you can find online.
The most important ingredient of course is to have a target market. If there isn’t enough people out there who will be interested in what you have to offer, then you’re unlikely to succeed in your venture. It’s important to do some research first to find out if there will be a demand. One way to do this is to use Google’s keyword search tool. Google provides information on how many searches were done on a specific keyword or phrase.
For example, at the time of writing I did a search for ‘dog breeding’ and there were 14,800 related searches carried out during the previous month. However, ‘dog breeding’ is a fairly generic term, so if you specialised in breeding boxer dogs then the results would be much lower but more highly targeted towards a niche market.
So let’s assume there’s enough demand and little competition in your chosen category, after setting up your site, the next step would be to attract subscribers. To do this you would need to generate a lot of good quality traffic to your site. By good quality I mean carefully targeted traffic which consists mainly of visitors who are definitely interested in what you have to offer. Not everyone will sign up of course, but the more focused your advertising campaign is, the more likely you are to receive good quality traffic.
Using a variety of traffic generating methods should produce good results. Pay per click advertising on Google for example, of facebook ads. Or using social media and viral marketing using free giveaway ebooks that offer useful information and introduce the benefits of subscribing to your site. You might also consider submitting articles to e-zines and newsletters as well as free article sites and using You Tube to promote your site using video. These are all useful ways to get more traffic and potential subscribers.
For the more advanced marketer there’s also affiliate programs. This method would involve finding affiliates who are eager to promote your membership subscriptions on a commission basis. ClickBank is a prime example of one company who can provide this service.
And of course let’s not forget SEO (search engine optimisation) which is essential if you want your site to rank well in the major search engines.
Once set up and running, in order to maintain and increase subscriptions to your membership site, it’s important to continue to provide a first class service. If you don’t give your members a good reason to return to your site regularly then your venture will almost certainly fail. Always provide a high quality service and good content. This means information and services that people can use to their benefit that will ensure that they continue their membership, and hopefully recommend you to their friends.
I’ve given you some insight into the methods which I consider to be some of the best ways to make money online. There are other ways of course, but these are the ones that I would recommend to anyone looking for new ways to boost their income with an online business.
If you’re serious about making money online then the methods outlined here are the ones that are most likely to succeed. And there’s nothing to stop you implementing all seven of these methods to create multiple streams of income.
Forget about ‘paid surveys’ and the like, either set up your own website, newsletter, facebook page or blog and promote it vigorously, applying the methods described above.
Then, if you try hard enough, you will succeed at making money online!