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The no nonsense guide to making money online

Updated on January 25, 2012

It ain't rocket science

Let's not mince words here.

There are thousand of websites, hubs, videos, emails, gurus and goodness knows what else out there, promising you can have it all through online marketing.

And there are no shortage of cowboys like our pal John Wayne willing to sell a bit of snake oil in the form of a book or training course that'll lead to you being showered in shekels as you upgrade your life to the fast lane.

Well, sorry to break it to you, but making money online is not the black art people claim.

I have a bit of an obsession with these things called 'business models' which are basically the mechanisms behind making money.

I think about then a lot and want to dispel some of the myths around making money online.

No doubt this will upset some.

So read on, if you dare.

The ways you can make money online

There are potentially many, many ways to make money online.

For the purposes of this hub, I will steer clear of some of the more seedy and quite frankly, illegal techniques like fraud and theft.

After all, at Hubpages we like good, clean fun.

Selling advertising

No, this technique does not require getting on the phone and hassling marketing executives to part with some of their annual budget.

Selling advertising essentially requires developing good content that people want to know about (think hubs, websites, videos) and making money from either displaying banner ads or getting clicks on ads from your viewers/readers via performance based advertising such as Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is probably the most well know advertising program. Have a look around this hub, you may see some of these ads. Google will pay me a small amount each time someone clicks on an ad (to be clear, I am not encouraging you to click, unless the ad is actually interesting).

They'll never speak to you again if you click on your own ads.

Making big money through this form of advertising requires lots of visitors, as only a small percentage will click on ads.

The ideal business model is to develop the platform and infrastructure for others to upload and update content and there's an almost drug like urge for people to return.

Facebook and YouTube have this mastered.

Setting up and promoting an online forum is also another way you could do something similar, albeit in an old-fashioned way.

Selling products

People buy products online and some of the heavy hitters like Amazon will pay you a percentage of any sales that you can refer via your website, Facebook, Twitter, email campaigns or any other way you can drive traffic.

Unfortunately the percentage commission is small.

To earn $100k you will need to sell $1 million or so worth of products. Ouch.

There are other things you could try and sell, like b-rate ebooks that attract large commissions, but to be honest, these have relatively small sales volumes compared to real products that our friends and family buy online.

Again, it's possible to make some money but rather challenging to make a full time income.

The real money is in providing the infrastructure for people to do this and then taking a small portion of their profit.

Selling a money making website

Assuming you can build a website, Hub or content that makes money, you could sell it to someone else (check out a website called Flippa for an interesting peak into this market).

People will pay relatively well for these kinds of website and it's a quick way to rake it some cash without the burden of maintaining a website or content..

Alternatively you could buy someone else's website and 'renovate it' so to speak.

Facebook are about to sell their website to the public. Keep an eye on how much they'll make...

Writing and selling things like apps and ebooks

It's a bit hit and miss but there is significant upside in developing a mobile phone app or an ebook for a platform like Amazon's Kindle and selling it.

The book thing is tough unless you already have a following and are writing about a popular topic.

Apps can do extremely well but there are some top-notch companies spending big and making great apps.

The positive side of the above is that once it's made, there's not a heap you need to do on an ongoing basis. The money rolls in.

Like some of the examples above, the big money is in developing the platforms and profiting off the grunt work of others. Just ask Apple about iTunes.

Selling yourself

No, I'm not talking about the world's oldest profession.

Do you know a topic well?

Why not start a blog and become something of an expert in your field?

This is a bit left-field but has quite possibly the highest profitability.

It costs nothing, there are few competitors and it can easily boost your asking price when you next apply for a job.

It's also the platform for getting into profitable items above like selling books.


Making money online is not rocket science.

There are small scale things you can do, but they're typically fairly labor intensive.

If you really want to make big money, do a combination of the things above like: set up a platform, make it profitable, sell it to someone else.

Thanks for reading!


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    • jf_2000 profile image

      jf_2000 6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the feedback!

    • retired06 profile image

      Leona J Atkinson 6 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Thanks. Some good tips. Enjoyed reading.

    • jf_2000 profile image

      jf_2000 6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks :)

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 6 years ago from Florida


      Good hub, good writing and well thought out. I am sure others appreciate it as much as I do. But what really got my attention was John Wayne, that was a good choice for a photo. I voted up.