142+ Ways to Make Money Online
I love list posts, especially ones that can be bookmarked and revisited as a resource. I’ve always wanted to create something like that, which is what led me to this article. I’ve been working on this article for a couple months now, adding to it little by little. I’m proud to be able to finally share it with you today.
(See my note below about why this post has been republished over 2 years after its original post date.)
The contents of this article are not in any way revolutionary. Given enough time (this actually took much longer than I expected), you could easily compile a similar list. The concept of making money online is so broad, however, that I wanted a resource that captures most aspects of it. Take from it whatever you’d like, or simply bookmark it for future reference.
Here’s some food for thought: If you could find a way to make just $1 per day utilizing each of the following sources, you would earn over $52,000 per year!
Side note: I could have easily used affiliate links for the majority of the items listed below, however I have decided to only use affiliate links for services that I actually use, or ones that I’ve seen highly recommended. The vast majority of these links are not affiliate links. I want this article to be a valuable resource, not a source of income for me.
[Update 8/4/2013: Although I have made some updates to this list recently, I've republished this article as part of an experiment I"m conducting. If/once I get meaningful results, I'll definitely be writing a blog post about it.]
[In addition to this list, I have now published one titled "64+ Ways to Save Money Online" that I think you'll enjoy if you enjoyed this one.]
Getting Paid for Performing Simple Tasks
- Cash Crate - This site is pretty cool because you can get paid for doing a variety of simple tasks online. Just for signing up, they give you a free dollar. In addition to getting paid for simple tasks, there are also a lot of great ways to get coupons and cash back for purchases you might typically make. For example, you can sign up for a free trial of Stamps.com, and Cash Crate gives you $9.60. Although each individual task may be small, it adds up. This is a great place to “get your feet wet” with regard to making money online.
Getting Money Back for Regular Online Purchases You Make
It’s pretty common to shop online these days, so why shouldn’t you use this as an opportunity to make even more money online? Here are some places you can sign up to and you’ll be able to shop at many of your favorite stores AND get cash back (in addition to whatever your credit card gives you).
- eBates - This one is my favorite. [Free $10 gift card after your first $25 purchase.] I love this site because there are over 2,000 stores to choose from including Walmart, Sears, Target, and many others. If you are doing any online shopping, you should be using a site like this. It’s free money that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
- Mr. Rebates - Get $5 free just for signing up. This is very similar to eBates, so it makes sense to sign up for both and then when you go to shop at a store, just go to whichever one offers the better cash back deal.
Revenue Sharing Article/Bookmarking Websites
I’m leading with this category because I believe article writing is one of the best ways to get started making money online if you’re new to the game. It costs nothing, and you can be up and running within a matter of minutes. There is a learning curve (especially with respect to SEO and researching keywords) and you’ll need to be patient, but in time, this can be a significant source of passive income. Not sure of what to write about? I’ve discussed that before. Note: These are not listed in any particular order.
- InfoBarrel - This has been a continually increasing source of online passive income for me (ever since my original “challenge”). Last month, I earned $96 with InfoBarrel. If you want to see what others are earning, check out Mike Moyer’s January InfoBarrel earnings rankings. The top person on there earned $1,586 from InfoBarrel last month. InfoBarrel’s AdSense revenue share ranges from 75% to 90%, and also includes Chitika and Amazon ads.
- Squidoo - Another revenue-sharing article site (great for building backlinks to your niche sites). They share revenue, but the way they do it is a bit complicated.
- HubPages - One of the more popular revenue-sharing article websites. I still prefer InfoBarrel to HubPages due to its relative youth and growth potential, but HubPages is also a great option, even just for backlinking. The AdSense share here is 60%, and you can also monetize with Kontera, eBay and Amazon.
- Bukisa - Article site with 60% revenue share (Adsense or Chitika).
- Xomba - High-ranking bookmarking site with 50% AdSense revenue share (links are no-follow). They recently changed their rules to disallow links to your own content (to improve the quality of the site), so use this at your own risk.
- Snipsly - Social bookmarking site with 80% revenue share (AdSense).
- Seekyt - Article site with 70% revenue share (AdSense and Amazon).
- SquidStop - Social bookmarking site with 100% revenue share (AdSense).
- Jevitt - Social bookmarking site with 80% revenue share (AdSense).
- SheToldMe - Social bookmarking site with 100% revenue share (AdSense).
- TipDrop - Social bookmarking site with 75% revenue share (AdSense).
- Best Reviewer – Get paid to write top lists (e.g. “Top 10 Ways to…”) – 100% AdSense revenue share.
- Flixya – Share video, photos, and blogs – 100% AdSense revenue share.
- Mixx – Share a variety of content (articles, photos, videos) for 50% AdSense revenue share.
- Rate It All – Write reviews or rate products, and get 50% AdSense revenue share on your content there.
Peer-to-peer lending is an interesting concept, because it allows individuals to secure relatively large loans without getting a bank involved. On its face, it sounds like a risky proposition, but these P2P lending sites generally have good measures in place to mitigate your risk (not to mention, you’re compensated for this risk by earning very high interest rates). In addition, you can usually invest in someone else’s loan for a small amount (e.g. $25), which reduces the risk you take for any given loan.
- Lending Club (U.S. Residents Only) - I’ve been talking about this site ever since I started this blog, so there’s no reason to stop now. Lending Club is an important part of my passive income strategy. I discuss it in all of my income reports, so you can read those for more detail. As I’ve said several times, I believe this is my only true source of passive income.
- Community Lend - Like Lending Club, for Canada residents. I have not done business with them, so do a bit of research first if you plan to invest here.
Books to Help You Make Money Online
These are some of the top books (according to Amazon.com) for making money online.
Social Media (Specifically, Twitter)
Social networking and social media is a great way to share your content, gain followers, and in general, increase your presence online. There are, however, ways to make money by sharing someone else’s content with your followers via Twitter. I generally don’t consider this to be a great way to make money online, but it can be lucrative for those who have a big following. (Side note: I tried to see if there was a way to sell Facebook “likes” or get paid to share content on Facebook, and couldn’t find anything.)
- Sponsored Tweets - Just like it sounds, this site allows you to make money by tweeting for someone else. I wrote about it here.
- MyLikes - Very similar to SponsoredTweets, however I like Sponsored Tweets a bit more.
- Magpie - Another Twitter advertising platform.
Freelancing / Pay-Per-Project
You’ll recognize many of the sites below. However, when I usually write about them, I’m referring to them as means of outsourcing. In this case, I’m listing them as ways to make money online by being a provider of services.
- Elance - I love Elance for outsourcing, and on the flip side, it could be a great way to make money online as a freelancer.
- oDesk – Same as Elance, although many say that oDesk is the better choice for hiring programmers.
- Microworkers – Make money by performing mini-tasks. I wrote a review on Microworkers early last year.
- Mechanical Turk - Owned by Amazon, this site is similar to Microworkers, but maybe a bit more sophisticated.
- Fiverr – Make money online by offering virtually any service or mini-task…the catch is, you have to charge $5!
- Just a Five – Very similar to Fiverr.
- TenBux – Make money with gigs that cost either $5 or $10.
- GigMe5 – I think you get the idea…
- UpHype – Another gig site, with odd price points: $8, $16, or $24.
- Dollar3 – A gig site with price point in multiples of $3, starting at $3.
- Jobs for 10 – Take a guess at what this one’s about.
- Fittytown – A little bit more upscale – all gigs are $50 each.
- Demand Media – A great site for freelance writers, however you must be approved first (and I’ve heard they’re somewhat selective). Once you’re accepted, however, you can earn up to $15+ per article, which can be quite lucrative if you’re a fast writer.
- Constant Content – Another freelance writing site.
- Associated Content – Earn up-front payments for articles and also get paid based on views (I’m told it’s a very small amount).
- Break Studios – Freelance writing site similar to Demand Studios, though they pay less (up to $8/article), however the article length requirements can be shorter.
E-mail marketing is one of the oldest forms of making money online. As the old cliche goes, “the money is in the list.” Within the MMO niche, e-mail marketing has become somewhat annoying, but there are some people who still do it well. I like to think my newsletter subscribers get value out of my e-mail, as I very rarely promote anything. I think e-mail marketing is critical, not just because it’s a way to drive traffic to things that make you money, but because it’s another way to stay in touch with people who follow your website, blog, or brand. I only use Aweber, but I thought it would be helpful to include a list of alternatives. I’ve noted the ones that are free.
- Aweber – This is what I use for my newsletter, and it works really well.
- Stream Send
- Send Free – Has a free ad-supported option.
- Free Follow Up – One time fee of $4.99, and then free lifetime usage (I can’t attest to the quality of the service though.)
- MailChimp – Send up to 12,000 e-mails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers for free.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
There are some people who make a living with PPC ad campaigns, so it’s definitely a viable way to make money online, either as a publisher or advertiser. Be careful though – you can easily lose a lot of money if you aren’t continually testing and optimizing ads.
- Google AdSense – Probably the most common way to monetize a website or blog. You can easily add AdSense ads to your site and earn money for each click. Click value depends on your niche and targeted keywords.
- Google AdWords – This is the flip side to AdSense. You can use Google AdWords to drive traffic (which costs money of course) to a landing page or website where you will ideally make more money off that traffic than what it costs you per click.
- Chitika – Another way to monetize your website with ads, similar to AdSense. Usually, Chitika ads don’t pay as well, but can still be effective.
- Facebook Ads – Similar concept to AdWords. Create ads that drive traffic to a landing page, blog, or an affiliate offer (I’m not sure if you can still use affiliate links with Facebook ads). Facebook ads are nice because you can target very specific demographics and funnel that targeted traffic to a product or service you’re selling.
- MySpace Ads – Similar concept to Facebook Ads.
- LinkedIn Ads
- 7Search – An inexpensive alternative to AdWords. There’s obviously less traffic, but it’s a fraction of what it costs you on AdWords.
- Speedy Ads – Another PPC alternative. Looks like a pretty cool site, though I’ve never used them.
Pay-Per-View (PPV) Advertising
Another way to drive traffic to your affiliate promotions and landing pages. The benefit here is that they are usually less strict than PPC sites (i.e. you can usually directly link to an affiliate offer). It’s a different beast though, from what I’ve been told, so it’s best to do a little bit of research before you spend money on PPV traffic.
Cost-Per-Action (CPA) Offer Sites
These are great for monetizing your blog/website, or using in conjunction with PPC/PPV ads. In general, CPA offers allow you to be paid for someone completing an action. For example, there may be an offer that requires someone to input their e-mail address or zip code. Upon that submission, you’re paid an amount, usually ranging between $1-10. There are more lucrative offers that pay $20+, like filling out a short form for a free credit report. It may require some creativity to use CPA offers to monetize your website or PPC ad campaign, but there are people who make a living doing this online.
Note: Many of these sites are selective about who they accept. They want to make sure you’re going to send legitimate traffic to offers, and will often want to talk to you on the phone before they allow you to begin making money with them. There’s a thread on Warrior Forum that gives you some good tips.
- CX Digital
- Epic Direct/Azoogle
- CPA Lead
- Web Jam Ads
- Market Leverage
- Flux Ads
- Offer Vault - Compare offers from many CPA networks (free sign up, but beware, they like to send e-mail frequently).
Answering Questions / Giving Advice
I don’t see this talked about too much within the MMO niche, but there are several sites that allow you to make money by answering people’s questions online (usually related to very specific topics). For some of these sites, you need to sign up and be approved before you can begin answering questions for money.
- Just Answer - Great if you are an expert in a particular field.
- kgb – Get paid for answering questions that people send via mobile text message.
- Fun Advice - Earn points for answering questions, which get converted to dollars.
- Ether – This is actually a pretty cool concept. Essentially, you’re selling your advice via telephone (almost like a phone version of Just Answer). They give you a free Ether phone number (which forwards to an actual phone), you set your hourly (or by-the-minute) rate, and you can schedule times that you’re available for calls. You can also sell digital content via Ether.
- ChaCha – Very similar to kgb.
- Web Answers – Answer questions and earn a share of AdSense revenue, which is based on the quality of your answer and other factors.
Selling Products You Own
When we think of “making money online,” we often immediately think about affiliate marketing or selling digital products. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget one of the oldest forms of making money online…selling products you own! Clear out your house, apartment, or bedroom. Instead of throwing things away or letting them pile up and make a mess, get some money for them.
- Gazelle - This is a great place to sell back your gadgets that you don’t use anymore (like your old iPhone, laptop, etc.). I was able to sell back my iPhone to them for $150 and put that money toward a new iPhone 5. They even pay the shipping cost for you to ship the product to them.
- Amazon – You can actually sell back or trade in items you own to Amazon and receive Amazon gift card credit.
- eBay - The most popular auction site online.
- Craigslist - The most popular (and free) classified site online.
Selling Products You Don’t Own
…Also known as affiliate marketing. This is perhaps the most common or hottest way to make money online at the moment. You recommend a product, using an affiliate link. Someone clicks through that link , purchases the product, and you get a commission. It’s a simple concept, but sometimes difficult to execute.
One common way to do it is to create a niche site – a site generally focused on one type of product or sub-market – and populate the site with relevant articles, with affiliate links embedded. One of my current challenges is to add $20,000 per year to my passive income portfolio by creating niche sites that focus on Amazon products. Here are some good sources for products to sell as an affiliate:
- Amazon Associates – When someone clicks on your Amazon affiliate link, you’ll receive a commission from anything they purchase within 24 hours.
- eBay Partner Network – Earn a commission on eBay auctions that people find via your affiliate links.
- Commission Junction – Huge marketplace of affiliate offers.
- Clickbank – One of the largest marketplaces for eBooks and other digital products.
- E-Junkie – Similar to Clickbank, but I find it a bit more difficult to navigate and find certain digital products to sell as an affiliate.
- Google Affiliate Network - I view this as pretty similar to Commission Junction.
- DigiResults – Very similar to E-Junkie and Clickbank.
Selling Products You Designed, But Don’t Own!
In some cases, you may want to design your own products (we’re talking simple things, like t-shirts, magnets, mugs, etc.), but you don’t want to take on the cost of having inventory that you can’t sell. The below options are great for this situation – for the most part, it’s free to set up a virtual storefront, and you earn money when your products sell (and if nothing sells, it costs you nothing). These are generally great if you already have an established brand and want to sell your branded gear.
- Cafe Press – Easily design products like t-shirts, mugs, etc. and sell them from a virtual storefront through Cafe Press.
- E-Shirt – Cheaper alternative to Cafe Press that focuses primarily on t-shirts.
- Spreadshirt – Similar to E-Shirt.
- Zazzle – Very similar to Cafe Press.
- Shirt City – Another shirt design site/store.
This isn’t really my cup of tea, but there are several sites that will pay you to take surveys or give your opinions. Important note: Don’t ever pay to sign up to a site that offers to pay you for surveys. Here are ones that, based on my limited research, are legitimate.
- Dollar Surveys
- Opinion Outpost
- Global Test Market
- Pinecone Research
- Permission Research
- Test Spin
- Clear Voice Surveys
- Hot Spex
- Survey Spot
There are some good sites out there that will pay you to write reviews on your blog for various products and services. I haven’t done much of this, but I’m hoping to eventually incorporate it into my niche sites. Some of them are picky about what blogs they accept/approve, so you may have to wait until your blog is older and more established.
- Social Spark
- Pay Per Post
- Expo TV - Get paid for doing video reviews of products you own.
- Blog To Profit
- Blogging Ads
- Sponsored Reviews
Stock Trading / Investing Online
If you’re willing to do a bit of research and take on the risk, you can buy and sell stocks online. Some people make a good living trading stocks on a daily basis, while others have lost significant amounts of money doing it.
Selling Your Photos Online
There are several sites that allow you to sell photos or images that you have created. Here they are:
There were some things I couldn’t fit in any particular MMO category, so here they are:
- SurfBounty – I’m generally not a big fan of this, but others have had success with it. This site allows you to get paid for reading e-mail, surfing the internet, and participating in surveys. Some of these types of sites are scammy, but I don’t believe this one is.
- Flippa – Make money by reselling your websites and domains.
- Career in online marketing – This one comes per the suggestion of Ian in the comments, and rather than rewrite what he said, I’ll simply quote him: “There are two types of careers. The first one, where you have to work out of an office, is not really making money purely online because it’s a job that requires an office presence (although an absolutely amazing one and one that may still make your list). However, another route is starting your own SEM agency. If you start your own agency, you can make a tremendous amount of money from the comfort of your own home if you work hard and are really good.”
My Favorite “Make Money Online” Blogs
These are some of the blogs that I subscribe to in my RSS reader. Not all of these blogs will consider themselves “make money online” blogs, which I completely understand and appreciate. What I’m saying, by listing them here, is that they’re great resources that will no doubt help you make money online in one way or another.
- Smart Passive Income
- Viper Chill
- Escaping the 9 to 5
- Virtual Business Lifestyle
- Jonathon Volk
- Make Money on the Internet
- PPC Ian
- The Life Design Project
- Income Diary
- Quick Sprout
- Profit Addiction
My Favorite “Make Money Online” Forums
I don’t frequent these forums too often (and there’s often a lot of garbage to sift through), but there are some gems of information here. It’s usually a good place to check on reviews of various SEO software, see what people think about different changes in the MMO world (like when Google changes their ranking algorithm), and other miscellaneous MMO/affiliate marketing topics.
- Warrior Forum – My favorite. Be careful, you can get sucked into some of the threads here, and before you know it, you’ll find that you’ve just “wasted” 2 hours.
- Digital Point – Not as good as Warrior Forum (in my opinion), but still worth visiting.
- Black Hat World – I certainly don’t recommend or practice black hat SEO tactics, but occasionally there is some interesting information and discussion within this forum.
What Am I Missing?
Hopefully something in this article will help you earn more online. With that said, I’m sure there’s still a LOT out there that I’m missing. Share it in the comments! If I hear some interesting ones that I completely missed, I will probably come back and edit this article to include them.
I put a lot of work into this article, so I’d be forever grateful if you could retweet it, share it on Facebook, or Stumble it using the buttons on the left sidebar. Thanks so much!