How To Make Money Online

  1. This will not be quick or easy.

    For most people, the money will be small, and slow to come. And the time-investment will be large.

    Melanie Pinola's "Can I Really Make a Living by Blogging?"
    Trent Hamm's "The Reality of Earning Money Online"

  2. Have something interesting to talk about.

    Don't just create useless content, in the hopes of making money from it.

    Some thoughts: What are you passionate about ? When you do interesting things, write about them. If you search for something on the web, and all of the pages you find are bad, maybe that's an opportunity to make a good page about that subject.

    The Oatmeal's "Some thoughts and musings about making things for the web"
    Christopher Heng's "What Sort of Website Should I Create In Order to Earn Money?"
    Jerry Low's "Make Money Blogging for Real: 3 Must-Know Factors"

  3. Create your site.

    1. Create a web site.

      Not a Facebook or MySpace page, or a blog on a blog-hosting service. Those places capture the advertising revenue that you want to capture. And your content gets trapped in their system; it is very difficult to move it to somewhere else later. And a semi-closed system such as Facebook shuts out search engines.

      My response to someone who asked why I kept putting links to my site in my Facebook comments. I think he was trying to put me down as a spammer or something, because he didn't like my opinions. But I gave him a straight answer anyway:
      No, my site is not lucrative. I have a reasonably big web site and I think I make about $400/year off it at this point (11/2013). Used to make more 5 or 8 years ago, from fewer pages, but ad payment rates have decreased quite a bit.

      The reasons I often refer to my web pages are:

      • Why paste tons of info into a Facebook post, when I can write just a couple of key, concise sentences and then say "follow this link if you want more details, supporting links, etc". Better for me, better for readers.

      • A web page is a richer/easier format than a Facebook post: I can put in lots of links with appropriate titles, multiple images, control formatting (somewhat). More page-space. And can update it as new info comes in.

      • The stuff I put on the web site is available to the whole internet, unlike posts on Facebook. I post on Reddit and Slate, also, plus people can find my content through search engines.

      • I can refer to the info on the page from multiple different posts and comments on Facebook, inside and outside groups.

      • The stuff on my site is under my control, as opposed to stuff posted on Facebook. If someone deletes a thread on Facebook, the info (including my comment) goes poof ! If Facebook decides to close my account, my info on FB would go poof ! And even if the info stayed available, it would be spread throughout Facebook in lots of places, and hard to find and get out later. I back up my web site, and the backups are under my control.

    2. Hand-craft your web site.

      Create your site using a text-editor such as Wordpad, or an HTML-editing tool such as Notepad++, not an automatic site-generator or site-builder. Hand-crafting is more work, and the results probably won't be as pretty. But the automatic tools may introduce bugs you can't figure out, and limit you in certain ways.

      Admittedly, this is my bias; I was a computer programmer for 20 years, and did things by hand. Maybe an automatic page-generator is a good way to go for you. And certainly I am out of touch with the state of the art of page-generators; maybe they've gotten quite good. And for a complicated commerce web site, integrated with PayPal or credit-cards and such, a generator would be the way to go.

      But I'm sure you shouldn't use a "captive" site-generator or page-generator, one that lets you build a site only on a specific hosting service. That means your content gets trapped in their system; it could be very difficult to move it to somewhere else later.

      Okay, you'll have to learn HTML. But it's a very good thing to know, and it's not difficult. For example, take a look at Joe Barta's "PageTutor".

      And you'll have to learn how to "upload" your files from your PC to the web-host. This is something that a page-generator or site-generator probably would do for you automatically, so it's a downside of hand-crafting. You'll probably have to use FTP or the web-host's administration page to do it. Not difficult.

      Another downside of hand-crafting: I have yet to find a free tool to generate a decent site-map page.

      Potentially big downsides of hand-crafting: it will be very hard to add e-commerce things, or user-community things. If you want to sell things, or let users comment on your pages, don't hand-craft.

    3. Keep the site "simple".

      Don't use fancy stuff such as Flash or PDF files or video or audio or GIF animations or tricky Javascripts. Those things confuse the search engines or hide your content from them, and often annoy users. And you may find yourself spending more time doing tricky things rather than creating useful content. Content is king; form is secondary.

      Again, this is my bias; I was a computer programmer. If you're an artist, or your target audience are artists, or you're good at flashy stuff, maybe it's the right thing to do for you. Personally, I run a Flash-blocker in my browser, turn off video in the browser, turn off audio most of the time, hate distracting animations.

      But I'm sure that it's better to have your content in plain text on the page, where a search engine can see it, rather than hidden inside a video or audio or animation. Also better for the visually-impaired reader, maybe the deaf, those who want to translate to another language, etc.

      If you decide to use any slightly fancy "server-side" services, such as PHP or SQL, be aware of what you are depending on. It limits where you can move to, if you ever need to move. And make sure you have your own backup copies of any server-side data; you don't want to lose your SQL database if the hosting company goes out of business or something.

    4. Use free web-hosting.

      Again, this is my bias, but I see no need to pay for web-hosting, or to pay for a unique domain-name (usually about $35/year). Free web-hosting seems to work pretty well, and most people will get to your site through search-engines or sharing or bookmarks, not by remembering your specific domain name.

      The downsides of free web-hosting: The host company may go out of business if they run out of money, and you'd have to move your site. Their customer support may suck (but so may that on a paid host). Their up-time may be less than that of a bigger-buck service.

      Some free hosting services display their own ads, and forbid you from displaying ads. You don't want one of those. Some forbid you from displaying ads if you're using free hosting, but allow it if you're paying.

      Some free hosting services restrict the file types you can use. All have restrictions on total site size; make sure you have enough space to grow.

      Some free hosting services prevent registration from some countries. Many prevent registration using Yahoo Mail email addresses, which makes no sense to me because it is extremely easy to get a GMail address instead; why would fraud be worse from Yahoo Mail addresses ?

      Most free hosting services are banned by Facebook, and some (e.g. Zymic) are banned by Google AdSense or Google Search or other sites, because of viruses or other bad things on a site hosted there some time in the past. The whole service, including your web site, can get swept up in a general ban if any site on the service does something bad. Ask about this before signing up and uploading your site. Upload a few pages and then test for bans.

      Some free hosting services (e.g. Agilityhoster) forbid putting links to Amazon or AOL or other sites on your pages. Some (e.g. Agilityhoster) forbid phrases such as "card number" or "picture of child". Often they run some automatic checker, and no human looks at your page to see what it actually is saying.

      Type "best free hosting services" into a search engine, and prepare to be overwhelmed. They try to bait-and-switch you onto a paid hosting service, but totally free services do exist. Sign up for one that sounds good, put a page or two up there, and see if any "gotchas" appear (their ads, preventing your ads, banned by Facebook, other restrictions). You can always delete your site and account, and try another place.

      It seems many free hosting services (e.g. byethost) have the policy "if your site does something bad, we'll disable your site without even sending an email to inform you". They think it saves them effort, but it just causes more support tickets to them, and a reputation for bad customer service.

    Eric Griffith's "How to Build a Website"
    Christopher Heng's "How to Make / Create a Website: The Beginner's A-Z Guide"
    Robert's "How To Build A Website" (using Wordpress)
    Joseph Hogue's "How to Start a Blog and Make Money Every Month" (using Wordpress)

  4. Connect to money.

    1. Google AdSense.

      Join Google AdSense (free) and put advertisements on your web pages.

      You put a little HTML and Javascript on your page, and they figure out what ad is appropriate to display there. They pay you money if someone clicks on the ads.

      It may not be big money, especially at first, but it is real cash paid to you.

      If you have any swear-words (no list is available from Google) on one of your web pages, Google will stop supplying ads on that page, leaving blank spaces, and not notify you in any way ! Pretty shoddy behavior.

      Udinra Tech's "7 things you must do before using Google Adsense on your site"

    2. Amazon Associates.

      Join Amazon Associates (free).

      Every place you mention a book (or some other item Amazon sells) on your site, you go to the Amazon Associates, get a link to that item on Amazon, and paste that link into your page. They pay you money each time someone clicks on one of their links, and more money if that person buys the item.

      It may not be big money, especially at first, but it is real cash paid to you.

    3. More information.

      Christopher Heng's "How to Make Money From Your Website"
      28 Ways to Make Money with Your Website
      Affiliate Programs: Free Sponsors and Advertisers
      Mike Wallagher's "How to Make Money with your Blog"

      eBay Partner Network:
      They seem to be very picky about who they'll accept as a Partner. They seem to want a heavy commercial focus on eBay. They rejected my site, and sent this when I asked why: "[You can appeal, but don't bother unless:] The appeal should contain information about your promotional methods, how you plan to advertise eBay through your site and how you plan to drive incremental, quality traffic to eBay."


    4. Donation systems

      Patreon ?
      PayPal ?

  5. Drive traffic.

    1. AddThis.

      Join AddThis (free) and add their script to each of your pages, so users can easily share links to your pages on services such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

    2. Sprinkle links to your site in appropriate places.

      Don't be a spammer; be discreet and appropriate and low-key. But:

      Put your web site address in your email signature, and in your signature and profile in any messaging forum you belong to.

      Participate in forums relevant to your interests, and if someone asks a question that is answered on your web site, you can reply with information and also give them a link to your site.

      If there is a web site that has a "directory of sites" relevant to your interests, send them a link to your site so they can add it to the list.

    3. Try interesting things.

      If you have a problem, and can't find a web page that answers it, create your own web page for that. Maybe you've found a problem that other people have, too.

      Put your email address on your site, so people can contact you if they see a bug on your site, or have interests similar to yours, or have a suggestion for a page you could build.

Lisa Irby's "Free Website Creation Tutorial For Beginners"

Please send any feedback to me.

Bookmark and Share

Site Map     

Privacy policy