The best ways of making money online are the ways that suit you and suit the resources, skills and time you have available.
Myself, I have not yet tried advertising, but have heard and read of lots of success.
I do very little (almost none) in the way of promotion, although that may change when my youngest child goes to school and I have more time.
I have a small network of websites, and my methods are No. 1 and no. 3. and a little of No. 6 in the list below – filling a gap, blogging and affiliate marketing. None of my sites were started with the purpose of making money – supporting the costs of running the websites came afterwards.
While my yearly income is not at the six-figure mark, it is well and truly in the five-figure ballpark and rising. I believe that creating an income online can be achieved by almost anyone who has a bit of drive.
1. Fill a gap
I’m placing this first because in the online world, if you can fill a gap, you can gain traffic. If you have ever spent time online searching for something (a product, service or information) and couldn’t find it – that may mean there’s a gap.
First, identify that there are enough other people searching for the things you couldn’t find. Use a keyword tracker or the free Google Adwords keyword tool. Type in the keywords you used to search for the product, service or information – and if there are thousands searching, you’re in luck!
Fill the gap with a website or blog – and don’t forget your Search Engine Optimization or no one will be able to find you!
2. Go viral
Create a product or service that will get everyone talking and that everyone wants to share. Easier said than done, eh? True, it’s not easy at all to create something that goes viral.
Writing an article that goes viral is probably not much good – it’s not targetted. It might reach the top of reddit or digg – which will certainly bring a mountain-load of traffic, but that traffic will come and go in a day, and could also cause such a traffic spike that your website closes down.
Better to go for something lasting.
In 2007, Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami had the idea to start a website called I can has cheezburger. They got the idea after posting a picture of a cat with a funny caption, ‘I can has cheezburger’ to the site, 4chan, where it instantly became popular. (4chan itself was created by a 15 year old.)
Going viral is about capturing people’s imaginations.
3. Build a blog
By now, most people know that blogging is not a quick way to riches. Here I need to make the definition between websites that are built on blogging software such as WordPress and websites that are truly blogs (no matter what they’re built on). The first one is not a blog. Blogging means posting frequently, putting your own unique spin on things you post about and almost certainly networking.
With endless blogs out there, how can yours stand out? You could start with Darren Rowse’s website Problogger.
If your blog doesn’t fill a gap (see 1.) then you may need a lot of luck, determination and great content to succeed.
4. Facebook Marketing
No not to your Facebook family and friends! Facebook marketing involves setting up ads that are targetted to different groups. Some have ads that point to pages where they have affiliate links to products -They are not selling their own product, but gaining a commission from the sales of the products.
With Facebook advertising, you can set your daily budget – so you don’t blow your cash too easily!
Facebook has over 8% of website traffic – in other words, huge traffic.
5. Publish an online book (ebook)
These days, you can easily create an ebook for download onto the Kindle or other reading device.
If you are knowlegable or an expert on a non-fiction subject, you could create an information resource.
If you are creative and write fiction, you could create a novel or short story. Short stories are selling for .99c on amazon.com. Amanda Hocking is a twenty-something young woman who made over a million dollars through selling her self-published vampire novels. Source. After being unable to gain an agent for her books, she decided to self-publish them as ebooks. (After massive success, she’s now signed up with an agent and publisher.)
A good resource for self-publishers is Joe Konrath’s blog.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves setting up banner and text that link through to products or services – and if someone clicks on the links and buys or signs up, you may gain a commission.
High traffic and targetted traffic is needed to succeed with affiliate marketing. A big advantage is that you don’t need to post out products or actually undertake any services.
Many who do succeed at affiliate marketing do so with the aid of Adwords advertising and/or Facebook and Twitter marketing – the strategy is make a lot more from commissions than is spent on advertising.