So you want a job that allows you to work from home or café while connecting online with people around the globe? But none of our new ways to make money online suit? Consider whether one of these more proven pathways to earning income online might be right for you.
Publish an ad-supported website. Create a blog or other site about a topic you have some passion for and knowledge of, put advertising related to the content on it, and wait for the revenue to roll in.
Of course, it’s not that easy to make big money this way. You not only have to build up substantial traffic, you need traffic from people who click on ads. You need to create an evergreen archive of useful articles that will draw people in through search engines and also keep people coming with fresh new content. You need to place your ads so they’ll attract clicks without cluttering up the pages so much that readers never return.
Google’s Adsense is the best-known of contextual advertising services, but you might also want to check Yahoo! Publisher Network or Clicksor. You can also sell sponsorships directly to advertisers or see if your site qualifies for a boutique advertising network like Federated Media Publishing, to which Web Worker Daily belongs via the GigaNet.
Open an online store. Create your own e-store and do some C2C (consumer to consumer) or B2C (business to consumer) e-commerce — doesn’t that sound just like 1999? But it still represents one of the best ways to make money online.
You can sell stuff that you stock and ship yourself or use a drop shipping service to handle those logistics for you. You can sign up for an account with a small business store host like Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, which offers site design tools, a product catalog builder, and of course shopping cart and checkout services. Or, even easier, turn your existing website or MySpace page into a store with a tool like BlinkCart.
Sell software or other downloadables online. This is a variation of opening an online store, easier in that you don’t have to stock baby gear in your basement and harder in that “information wants to be free.”
Actually, it’s people who want information to be free and they’re getting used to freely-available documents, videos, and software online. Still, if you tantalize visitors with a taste of what you offer, you may be able to sell premium content like a downloadable ebook or a more fully-featured version of your software.
Earn affiliate commissions. You act as a salesperson for another store online — posting images or links to their products on your website and then getting paid when someone clicks through and buys. Amazon, eBay, and Cafepress all run affiliate programs. ProBlogger Darren Rowse has some great tips on using affiliate programs on your blog, including this important one: “Genuine recommendations and personal endorsements always work best.”
Serve subscription content and services. If your content is so compelling that people will pay outright for it, sell monthly or yearly subscriptions and put it behind a subscription wall. This might be a hard sell, given the plethora of free options online. But many companies have made it work, from The Wall Street Journal to 37Signals to AOL (for a while, anyway).
Write online content. Sell your articles to ad or subscription-supported websites. Look for opportunities on job boards — MediaBistro and ProBlogger both offer them, for example. Or find an ad-supported website that you like and contact the editor directly. Note that pay for freelance writing is generally pretty low, reflecting the large supply of writers looking for work. Some blogging gigs don’t pay at all, except in increased visibility and possibly bonuses tied to pageviews.
You can also find online writing jobs by browsing more general job boards like Monster or Career.com, visiting the job search engine at Indeed.com, or searching Craigslist — and of course those are all good places to search for any jobs that might allow you to work remotely and use the web to connect, such as one possibility we profiled recently, online community manager.