There are a number of questions that all online workers get asked very frequently:
- What is it exactly that you do?
- How do you make money from your websites?
- Is it possible to work from any location?
I’ve already answered the first question in the about page, and I’ve written an article related to the third question, explaining why Malta is a paradise for digital nomads. Moreover, I’m now working from Chiang Mai in Thailand for a few months before heading back to Europe, so I guess that answers the third question.
Today I want to focus on the money question, because at the end of the day one can only leave a corporate office job and focus on online work if the money is enough to get you a decent living.
Let me first make myself clear, money is not my driving force in what I do. I only work online because it has always been my dream to do so, and because it gives me the flexibility to travel and work with my own schedule. The freedom this gives you is something that has to be experienced to be really understood.
But let’s get back to that infamous question, how do I make money online?
The ways I found to make money online are ones that have already been used by others before me. What that means is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you would also like to make some online dollars.
Many people have done this before you, just read and inform yourself about all the techniques and then see which ones are most suitable to your knowledge and abilities.
My online money making strategy till now has been successful using these four income streams:
- Affiliate marketing
- Freelance writing
- Software products
Let’s take a look at these online money making methods one by one.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways of making money online. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it is the best way to generate a passive income stream. This means that once you have set up your affiliate marketing system and are making money, you can take a step back and enjoy life. Timeless content will keep on attracting new visitors, and they will continue purchasing that product/service that you are promoting, whether you put in 8 hours of work, 3 hours or even none.
Perhaps the greatest requirement is that your site has a healthy traffic base. If you want to make any decent money through affiliate marketing, you should have a site which gets 20,000+ unique visitors per month. That is not a hard and fast rule however, and if you have a very loyal audience who will respond frequently to your product suggestions, you can make it work with much less traffic. You can also make good use of email lists to promote affiliate products.
My suggestion when doing affiliate marketing, is to be honest and only promote products that you have used yourself. It goes without saying that you should promote a product that you have been thoroughly satisfied by. At the end of the day signing up to a thousand affiliate programs won’t make you money, it is that handful of superb plugins that you have written extensively about that will bring the money in.
The winning strategy here is to position yourself as an external expert about that product/service you are promoting, so you will not only be found via search engines, but people will remember your site and come to you directly for information/advice about that product or service.
That brings us to our next money making method…
Services tie in very well with your affiliate marketing efforts. Since I am very involved in the WordPress industry, my main services revolve around WordPress and various themes and plugins that you can use with it. So if I am promoting say a plugin or theme, I can easily offer add-on services, such as theme customisation, or plugin installation and setup. Many customers might have specific needs that are not catered for by the plugin or theme they downloaded, and they don’t have the necessary skills to do the customisations themselves. That’s where I come in.
Apart from that, when your blog becomes successful you can offer direct services to your audience. For example, many internet marketers who have successful blogs, also offer coaching to newbies as a way of making extra money online and helping their audience at the same time. As a WordPress blogger, I can also offer complete site development services, PSD to theme conversion, or any other WordPress-related service I can come up with.
Services remain a big way of making money online, however they come with the downside that you will always be trading hours for money, so it’s not passive income as in the case of affiliate marketing.
Freelance writing is probably one of the more time-intensive ways of making money online. In this case you are really trading your hours for money, as you have to create original content every time you pen a new article.
On the flip side this is one of the easiest ways to start making money on the internet. Although most of my writing goes on my own blogs, every now and then I do contribute to other blogs and I see this as having many benefits. First of all I love working with other people, and I always learn something new when contributing to other sites. Secondly it’s a very good way of supplementing your online income.
If you want to get started in freelance writing, I highly recommend Tom Ewer’s book, Successful Freelance Writing Online.
Developing and selling software is another great way to make money online, provided you have the skills to do the development or are good at managing a team to develop said software. The hottest areas that I know of are WordPress plugins and iOS apps. I’m heavily involved in WordPress so my choice fell on plugins, and I have created the most popular RSS feed importer plugin for WordPress, WP RSS Aggregator.
Is that all?
Of course not!
There are a thousand and one ways of making money online, and one of my main motivations for waking up every morning and opening my laptop is the knowledge that there are so many ways I haven’t tried yet.
In my case, I am very interested in creating informational products. Many friends of mine have made very good money with their ebooks or courses, read about Tom’s success as an example. With my WordPress knowledge I know I can produce a high quality product that will be beneficial both for my audience and of course for myself.