The internet, while good for connecting with friends through social media, creating awesome cat memes, and surfing the endless fail compilation videos on YouTube, the internet is also the world’s largest market. Nearly 3 billion people (more than 40% of the world’s population) use the internet, meaning you have the potential to make a lot of money from a lot of different people across the globe. From selling your own products to making a full-time career as a freelancer, the internet is full of potential to help you make money. The question is, however, “What is the best way to make money online, anyway!?”
The following list delineates our 20 top picks for legitimate ways you can make money online and a couple of suggestions on how to get started. Whether you are simply looking for a small side-hustle or you want to make money long-term as a career, consider how these may be able to put some cash in your pocket and generate real income.
1. Sell Products Online
One of the most lucrative ways to make money online is by selling some sort of product/products and marketing them to a niche audience. The idea is that people will search for your product, find the product/products you are selling, and buy from you. This is a long-term game, but getting started is simple and doesn’t actually have to cost you anything. You need to decide on a product/products you want to sell, build a website around the product (which you can do for free below), market the website, and continue expanding your potential customer base. Seeing real success take a little while, but many online entrepreneurs have made their livings by going this route.
2. Consider Affiliate Marketing
Much like selling your own products online, you can sell others online too. Affiliate marketing is another great way of generating income without actually having to provide a physical product. Many companies will pay people like you to build a website and market their products for them online. You get commission from anyone who comes to your site and ends up buying the company’s product through your website. This is also a long-term game, but the potential to make a lot of capital without needing to invest a lot of your own is very good.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing, in its essence, is selling a product by sending out emails to mass amounts of people. You begin by determining what you want to sell, be it your own product or an affiliate product – though online products such as ebooks or video courses often do better. You then set up a one page promotional website selling your product and push a targeted ad on Facebook or other platforms where an interested demographic can see what you are selling. The interested party hits your website, puts in their email to receive free information, and you use that email on an almost daily basis to fire away a large barrage of emails selling them the product you choose. There is a lot of reward in doing this, but many mail merge companies (companies that allow you to send mass emails) cost money, and your domain on which you set up your website will likely cost as well.
4. Write and Sell an E-book
E-books are a great way to make money online. Anyone who considers himself a writer or even a fairly knowledgable person about any particular issue can make some money creating their own book and selling it online. The types of e-books that make the most money are often information books about topics that many people need but which information doesn’t exist in depth. It can be done with novels and actual stories, but it may be harder to convince your target audience to read them. After you write a book, you can publish them for free through online sources such as Amazon Kindle Direct or others such as Lulu.com.
5. Start a niche a blog
Blogging is a very successful endeavor for people who want to make some extra money online. If you write enough and consistently about a topic people really care about, the more your target audience will return to read the content on your site. After your site has enough visitors, you can allow companies to place their ads on your site for a pretty substantial fee. After your following base is large enough, you can even start creating your own products to sell. To see a good example of this, take a look at TwistMePretty.com, an extraordinarily popular blog about hair tutorials where the site’s creator is raking in some major bucks from ads and her own products / affiliate marketing products.
6. Contribute to a Blog
If you don’t want to create your own blog but are still a good writer, you can also get paid to contribute to big-name blogs or news outlets as an opinion columnist or content provider. You can find these gigs by going to your favorite blog and looking up “Careers” at the bottom. You can also reach out directly to the editor of the website to advertise your services. If you can’t find this information online, it probably means they aren’t hiring.
7. Create an Online Course
An online course, much like an ebook, can be a great way for you to share your expertise about a particular topic and provide missing insight into an industry that doesn’t have enough in-depth information. You can build a website around your courses, use your blog to promote your course, or even upload your course to one of several online course platforms such as Udemy.com or Thinkific.com
8. Write Articles
This is like contributing to a blog but on a broader scale. Often, freelance writer will provide content for different websites, as valuable content is what makes the internet function. Consider becoming a freelance writer by either reaching out directly to websites or joining a content creation company such as Crowd Content as one of their writers.
9. Monetize Your Website
If you already have a website with a fair amount of traffic, there is no reason that you can’t monopolize on what you already have. Monetize your site by considering getting advertisers to pay you for listing on your site. This can be done through agencies like Google Adsense or by doing individual outreach to companies you think would be interested advertising to your niche market.
10. Sell Your Photos
Professionals and amateurs alike can make some good money selling their photographs online. This isn’t a long-term money-making strategy unless you dedicate a lot of time to it, but online companies like iStockPhoto.com or Shutterstock.com will pay you royalties for photos they accept and which people download. This could be a good passive income stream with enough good quality photos people can appreciate.
11. Create an App
This take a lot of investment, both of time and money, but there are many apps that you could make that could improve the lives of the people who use them. There are some free, basic apps you can create and deploy, and others take a great deal of coding, but if you find an idea people are willing to pay for, either with in-app purchases, with advertisers, or with actually selling the app for a price, you may be able to generate a positive income stream.
12. Test Websites
An important aspect to online businesses nowadays is whether or not their site will be able to convert visitors into real sales or leads. To do this, many companies will turn to website testing platforms where you, as a real person, can sign up and record yourself as you peruse through a company’s website. This provides them some pretty valuable insight about what they need to change and how they can improve their overall leads. Each website test is pretty quick, and you get paid up to 10 dollars a test.
13. Buy and Resell Domain Names
There are several companies out there that don’t yet have a website of their own, as hard as that is to believe. There are also companies not yet thought of that will need a domain in the future. One way to capitalize on this is to buy domain names companies or individuals will potentially want and resell them at a higher price point to make some extra cash. One way to do this is by looking at businesses in your community and assessing which ones don’t have websites. Buy a domain name that either matches their business name or has keywords their business would be interested. Then, reach out to the business and say you have the domain name you would like to sell them. If it is very valuable to them, you can try selling it for much higher, but it will be up to you to guage which business will pay how much for a domain name. You can buy domain names for even 5 dollars, so charging even 25 will make you quite an investment, as would 100 or even 1000.
14. Sell Your Craft
Many people who have a hobby may want to turn it into a small side gig without the worry of creating a website or worrying about marketing it. If you have a craft you would be interested in selling, you could also consider selling it on Etsy.com to make a little extra money, as well as any other site where you could sell your product. They usually take a small fee for each purchase, but it may be worth it to you for a few extra dollars in your pocket.
15. Clean Up Search Engines
We live in the information era. It is frustrating to us when we perform a search and can’t find what we are looking for. Google, Bing, and other search engines are always looking for ways to improve the information they provide, and they hire people like you to perform searches and clean up relevant data you may find in a search. This is pretty non-committal, but they don’t always have opportunities available, either.
It’s no secret that Airbnb is replacing the need of hotels and vacation rentals. You may consider renting out your room or apartment to someone who needs it for the night and pick up a little extra cash on the side.
17. Sell Tasks on Fiverr
There’s a lot that people like you could do for five dollars that is simply and no skin off your back. Fiverr.com is a company where you can promote your services for a price (often of 5 dollars, but it could be more). People will pay you for even basic tasks, but it could be a way to put your skills to good use.
18. Mechanical Turk
This is Amazon’s effort to pay people for small tasks which they can do online. Essentially, individuals and businesses will put up a task with a certain amount fixed to it (usually a very small amount) and an estimated time to do the task. You complete these easy tasks, you get paid. It is as simple as that. You can get started here.
19. Answer Professional Questions
If you are a guru in your field or have some professional expertise in a certain area, you may be able to get paid for your answers. Places like JustAnswer.com hire people like you to give professional answers to people’s questions. Just click the link to find out more.
20. Perform Online Surveys
When all else fails online, paid surveys are always a way to go. You can find several advertised on Facebook, but any of the top Google results, including paid results, when searching for “paid online surveys” are legitimate ways to give your opinion a voice and actually be compensated for it.
21. Join an Online Community
No matter what your online money-making pursuits may be, joining an online community of entrepreneurs can save you a lot of time, headache, and unnecessary investment. I would personally recommend WealthyAffiliate.com.
With Wealthy Affiliate, you get expert advice, can connect with mentors who are willing to help you, and you can get training for creating a successful side-gig or career making money online.