The internet is out of control! Seriously! There’s so much content on “making money online,” that it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the “gimmicks” and the “legitimate’s.” It’s like drinking water from a fire hydrant.
As a marketing expert, my clients rely on my expertise to help them set their brands apart from the competition. But in today’s globalized world, just being unique may not be enough for some businesses to survive. If business and brands want to maintain a captive audience, they have to find ways to generate income that will sustain them through low periods.
After years of researching, implementing, trying, failing and finally succeeding, I’ve narrowed down the 5 practical ways anyone can making money online. Be forewarned, however, these aren’t “get rich quick” schemes. Each method takes a bit a serious thought effort to implement. Most methods don’t cost any money to launch and others may require a small initial investment — small being less than $100. And while I have found a few more than 5 ways to make money online, I wanted to limit this article to the 5 ways that were the easiest for just about anybody to implement. Besides, who ever actually reads a list things beyond 5 anyway? Let’s do this…
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. - Leonardo da Vinci
1. Monetize Your Website
Website monetization is the process of converting traffic to your website into revenue. The most popular ways of monetizing a website are done through digital ads displayed on your website that generate revenue based on Pay per click (PPC) or Cost per impression (CPI/CPM). PPC generates revenue every time a visitor on your website clicks one the ads while CPI/CPM generates revenue each time a visitor sees an ad on your website.
Where to Start: First, you need to find out how much traffic your website has per month — PPC and CPM monetization is based on site traffic. Next, all you need to do is sign-up for an account with a website monetization company. Signing up is typically free.
How it Works: Your account must be approved. Most website monetization companies have a minimum site visitor requirement (i.e. 100 unique visitors per month). Detailed instructions on how to place digtial ads on your website will be provided and they don’t typically require that you any “coding” skills to place them.
Where to Sign-Up: Google AdSense is the leader in website monetization. Site traffic requirements are the lowest in the industry. If you’re a professional, such as a physician or attorney, or have a “select” clientele who might not like the “Beer and Pappas ad in the footer, try out: Imonomy and Appnext both have great monetization platforms for businesses that desire monetization of their websites not be too visible.
2. Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs offer arrangements between an online merchant site — such as Amazon.com — and affiliate’s — such as you — a commission to send traffic from your website to their site.
Where to Start: First identify places on your website that you want digital ads to be displayed OR you can build a website, place them on blog articles or social media pages as links, for the sole purpose of selling affiliate products.
How it works: An affiliate is paid to drive traffic from their website to the merchant’s site. The affiliate places links on their site and every time a visitor clicks on one of those links and makes a purchase on the merchant’s website, the affiliate gets a commission on the purchase. Some affiliate programs also have links that you can share and embed in anything…just like this one.
Where to Sign-Up: Amazon.com is one of the best affiliate programs out there. The requirements to get started are very easy to meet and there is no cost to be an affiliate — it’s 100% free!
3. Sell Advertising Space on Your Website
Identify easily visible places on your existing homepage and sell digital ad space to other local businesses. This is easiest for brick-and-mortar or storefront businesses who have a nice website and high-volume foot-traffic.
Where to Start: Decide what locations on your website are most visible to site traffic — somewhere on the home page. Once you locate these spots, price them according to how visible each space is. (Header and side banners should be priced the highest)
What to Do Next: Create a “your ad here” ad and place it in every space you want to sell. This will help you figure out what the size specifications are for each space (If you need help with that techie stuff). Be sure to list a number, email or embed a link to help interested advertisers reach you.
Keep it Simple to Make a Profit: Sell the ads in 3; 6; and12 month increments. You don’t want to fuss with reloading new digital ads too often. If you plan to aggressively sell those spaces, a good market to start in is the local businesses who don’t have a website. For those businesses who do, be sure to offer an embedded link to their website and definitely charge more for that!
Legal Stuff: Be sure you have a good advertising agreement with a termination clause to protect your business in case your advertisers get into any “public” entanglements. You need the right to remove and cancel any advertisements based on events that may harm your business brand.
4. Digital Downloads: How-to-Guides
Write a short e-guide and sell it online as a digital download. This process will take a little time but the earnings potential is enormous!
Where to Start: Pick something you’re already fairly knowledgeable in. It can be anything from It can be anything from “Dress to Land the Job: 10 Easy Ways to Influence Hiring” or “Couponing Like a Boss: Save Thousands.” Make it valuable, fun and interesting. Write your e-guide in Google Sheets so you can take advantage of the “drag-and-drop” easy picture placement functions and then turn it into a PDF. Be sure not to make your e-guide too long, max 20 or so pages — no e-novels!
Where to Sign-Up: Easy Digital Downloads or Sellfy or SendOwl are the three most popular digital download platforms in the market. Each of them have different costs and fee structures so be sure to read all the fine print. If you have a website, find out what digital download platforms are most compatible with your site, or, if your site is on WordPress look for free plugins to keep initial costs down.
Price it to Sell: Don’t get greedy on your first guide! If your guide is 25-pages price it in the $1.99 to $0.99 range. Advertise Cheap: You will need to be prepared to spend a little money on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Your guide won’t sell itself. Be ready to push it aggressively.
5. Online Store: Drop Shipper
Start an online store to sell products without purchasing or storing any inventory. Love it! Drop shipping is a retail fulfillment method where the store selling the goods doesn’t keep anything it sells in stock.
Where to Start: Decide on a specific product to sell, open up a merchant account so you accept payments. Register with your local tax authority and be sure you get any necessary business licensing or sales tax certifications that may be required.
Where to Start: Sell your own products or decide on a specific product to sell. Open up a merchant account so you can accept payments. Register with your local tax authority and be sure you get any necessary business licensing or sales tax certifications that may be required.
Where to Sign-up: Shopify.com is one of the leading e-commerce platforms in the market. I have helped clients with other platforms but all are just too complicated. Plus, they have dozens, if not hundreds, of drop shipping agreements already in place so you don’t have search for manufacturers and distributors on your own. All you have to do is start! Oh, and Shopify has a 14-day free trial, so you don’t pay while you’re setting up your store. Yes, it takes a good two weeks to get an eCommerce store fully up off the ground.
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