Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
You may decide to create free videos as extra content for your blog, and not sell them at all. If this is the case then you can still make money from these videos by selling advertising space on them (in the same way as discussed for monetizing podcasts). Once you have high volumes of traffic visiting your blog, and watching your videos, you can charge businesses to advertise at the beginning of your videos. Use website’s like Izea to help you connect with companies willing to pay to advertise on your blog.
25. Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.
I've heard stories of different marketers who have had their Amazon Associates accounts banned because of violating terms of service. While I've done my best to ensure this guide is up to date and all of my tips are in compliance with their latest requirements for the Amazon affiliate program, here are a couple of excellent articles to check out that help clear up some of the mistakes people make (sometimes unknowingly) that result in a banned account:
Alibaba is a Chinese eCommerce store that matches Chinese suppliers with buyers all over the world. Prices are extremely cheap, providing the possibility of large profits. However, with the potential profits comes more risk. As you are dealing with suppliers in China, if the quality of the product that arrives isn’t up to standard there is little that you can do about it.
The best way to save money, and essentially make money, when you dine out is to use a service like SB Local. With it, you'll effortlessly receive cashback when you dine out or shop at any of the 1,000s of participating restaurants and retailers nationwide. And, you won't have to show a coupon or do anything other than pay with the credit card you link to the Swagbucks Local program.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months building domain authority with blogging and guest posts to get more organic traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
A great point you made there though. Too many people try to take on too much at once and end up spreading themselves too thin – trying to conquer all the niches at the same time. Marketers also do this with advertising. Instead of sticking with one platform until they are generating a consistent number of leads they will jump from platform to platform, in essence chucking a load of crap at a wall and seeing what sticks.
"I started my blog in March 2015 and didn't even know what affiliate marketing meant. And....I didn't do much about it. I think my largest month was around $500 last year and then died down to sometimes only a few bucks per month. It wasn't my focus, but I didn't realize I was leaving money on the table, meaning I was losing money every month! I decided to enroll in Michelle's course, and I quickly noticed I didn't know a thing when it came to true Affiliate Marketing! No wonder it just 'wasn't working for me'...
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up.  I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
The affiliate marketing industry is growing steadily. An independent survey commissioned by Rakuten Affiliate Network found that affiliate marketing is set to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Ninety percent of advertisers included in the survey said that affiliate programs were important or very important to their overall marketing strategy, with the majority of publishers reporting that affiliate partnerships drove more than 20% of annual revenue.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
Thank you Yuwanda for this encouragement and information! My website is nowhere near finished yet but another blogger had recommended starting to get affiliate approval as soon as possible so I gave 2 of them a shot and was turned down today – but then stumbled upon your great post so I think it was all meant to be. I feel like it takes a lot of failures to achieve a small amount of success so this is just helping me to get to there… but patience is sometimes hard. I appreciate your excellent words of wisdom.
"I have followed Michelle’s blog for years. Her blog posts are incredibly informative and never disappoint. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is no different. The detailed strategies she shares in her course can help any blogger implement affiliate marketing. Within two days I received my first ever affiliate sale! From then I was hooked. The Mastermind alone is worth the cost of the course and the immediate access to an affiliate marketing expert is priceless! I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing." - McKinzie Bean, Momsmakecents.com
My question which I don’t see addressed anywhere. How do you feel about letting your traffic know they will be clicking through to Amazon. Right now we are just using “click here for details and current price” which sets our cookie. However, I had an Amazon rep tell me we would do better by letting the visitors know where they are going. I have never tested that. Have you?
5. Fiverr – Fiverr is a great place to make a few bucks or spend a few bucks if you need some of the services people offer. Basically, everything is $5. You either pay $5 or charge $5. They call them “gigs.” You can offer your services however you choose. If you sell art and you’re fine selling pieces for $5 each, that’s a gig. If you’re a graphic designer and you want to offer your services for $10/hour, simply offer a 30 minute gig. If they need two hours of graphic design, they pay you $20, or $10/hour by buying four gigs.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
I tried affiliate marketing years ago. Back then I was just randomly posting ads online hoping to get sales. After about 4 months I had one sale and commission was $100. Well, I gave up on it. I went to eBay, ran a successful store on there for the last 8 months, sales totaled over $2,000 and my last month I had my biggest sales in a single month at $500, then BAM, eBay killed my account. Now, today, I’m back at looking into affiliate marketing and I need help with the fine details. I think I understand the big picture, but it’s the details I need help with. So, I make a website? Specifically, do I use some free service like Wix or should I use GoDaddy, and sign up for a domain name and build a website? What do you think of, or rather, what do customers think of being on subdomains? You know websites like mystorename.majorbrand.com? I also see you mentioned writing articles, and getting ranked on Google. I’m not familiar at all with getting ranked nor do I really understand what that means. So, am I writing articles and posting them on my new website or am I writing articles, putting them somewhere online then link them to my website in hopes of generating traffic? If you could help with these concepts, I would greatly appreciate it.
If an affiliate changes the terms of its program, your revenues could be directly affected. Choosing the wrong affiliates can also be problematic if your blog or website audience doesn't feel compelled to buy their products or services. With the affiliate-marketing industry experiencing a boom, you’ll also have to contend with competition from other marketers shilling the same affiliate products.
Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
And it's been a blessing! My husband and I are going on our 3-year wedding anniversary and Swagbucks has been a part of our story from the beginning. I was able to get a beautiful red (our fave color) luggage set paid for entirely by Swagbucks! Our passion is to travel and thanks to Swagbucks, we have been able to make our trips even more special. <3
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to make money online doing something you love via a niche website. That of course, is easier said than done. Creating a profitable niche website takes time and is not intended for the faint of heart. But, if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it and eventually monetize through advertising, affiliates, or other relevant products.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
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