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can you earn money online without investment?

Updated on January 12, 2013
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Got no money to invest?

Well, I hear you. I was there some time ago, wanting to start my own online business but not a penny in the bank to invest in it. So, how did I start to earn money without investment? Well, first of all, like many newbies in this business, I looked at all the shiny things people were trying to sell to people in my position, and I admit I did find ways of buying some of that rubbish.

I was seduced by the pictures of fast cars, beach houses and even helicopters that these people have on their sales pages; after all, $49 isn't much of a layout to become a multi-millionaire, is it? So, I borrowed money to buy these things and I learned a simple lesson. It's this - DON'T BUY ANY OF THAT SH*T! Let's face it, if these people knew the secret to making millions online they wouldn't be wasting their time selling it to you for fifty dollars, would they?

So, after being burned a couple times I thought, hey, I think I'm an intelligent kind of guy, surely I can work this out for myself?

Well, I tried, and it turned out it wasn't easy. I read all the free advice I could find but even then I found that free advice comes with an attempt to sell you stuff. Now, I'm not saying that everyone out there offering free advice is a scammer, there really are some great sources of good information out there (check out Lis Sowerbutts, for example, for some high quality free advice that doesn't try to sell you stuff). Anyway, it's a jungle out there! But, in time, I managed to carve out a way that worked for me. I started with no money and I can't claim to have made my fortune, but I've made enough to know that this thing can work. Read on to find out how you can get started too.


Where to begin to earn money online without investment?

Okay, here's how it works. Essentially you're going to be building a flow of traffic to articles you write or websites you own (this is optional, as you have no money) in which you offer high quality advice (did I say high quality yet?) to your readers. You'll get this traffic in two ways to start with - by finding out what people are searching for, what questions they want answered, what problems they need solved and secondly, you're going to give them the information they seek. You're in the information game! Hence the awful word inforpreneur which I promise I'll never mention again.

So, at this point you're thinking "What questions are people asking and can I answer them?" We're going to concentrate on what people are searching for in Google in this article; I mean, other search engines are available but who gives a stuff?

So we go to the Google Adwords Keyword tool, which is completely free. Before you do that, though, you'll want to sign up for a Google Adsense account, also free. This will enable you to earn money from Google ads on your site and has the nice side-effect that you won't have to fill in a Captcha to use the keyword tool.


The Google Keyword Tool

Google's free keyword tool
Google's free keyword tool | Source

How to find keywords

In the photo above you may just be able to make out that I've typed the words "how to get rid of ants" into the search box on the Google Keyword tool. This is something I imagine a lot of people type into Google each day, but at this point I'm only guessing. The tool will help me find out if anyone actually is searching on that keyword (although there are 6 words there, we still call it one keyword) before I waste time and effort creating a fantastic website with great advice about getting rid of ants (lets assume you know lots about getting rid of ants, or are happy to become an expert). So I type it in, press Search and look at my results as in the next photo.

Keyword Results

My keyword results
My keyword results

My Results

The screenshot above shows the results of my query about how to get rid of ants. The columns are fairly self-explanatory bur for now we'll concentrate on Competition, Local Monthly Searches (if you're in the US, that's the one to look at) and Cost Per Click. Here, we can see that the first keyword on the list is 'getting rid of ants' which is obviously directly relevant to my original keyword. It shows me that Competition is Medium and there are 49500 Local searches per month with a CPC of £1.16 (I'm in the UK). Ok, what does this mean?

Well, this tool is primarily designed for people who want to place advertising with Google. It tells them what keywords people are searching for and how much they could expect to pay for each click on one of their ads. Therefore, the Competition rating is a measure of how many other people are bidding for this ad spaces, so from our point of view, the more competition the better because we'll get lots af ads in our articles. So, I'm happy with medium competition, and I'm happy with 49500 searches a month. I'm less happy with the CPC; it's not very high and £1.16 is what the advertiser will pay Google per click; then Google pays you a small percentage of that.

It's not the best I've ever seen, but it does suggest there is some money to be made here. I would then scan through the remaining keywords and get myself a nice little group of keywords with good potential related to the subject of ant control. Remember this tool tells you what people are actually searching for as opposed to what you think they're probably searching for. Don't guess, do research!

Now What?

Ok, so we have our keywords. Obviously, if ant control isn't something you know about you're either going to have to be prepared to put the research in or simply try something else. A great source of keyword ideas is Google auto-suggest. Just begin typing something into the Google search engine and it gives you lots of ideas about what you might be trying to type. Look at those for ideas. For example, just type "how to" into the search box and look at what Google is suggesting. This will tell you what people are searching for right now. Find some ideas about things you know about this way, then enter them into the keyword tool.

Okay, time to start writing. Open a word processor, or better still a text editor like Notepad (the reason being, we're going to write an article then copy and paste it onto a website and all the fancy markup in the likes of Word makes using Notepad easier). You'll want to write around 500 words of high quality information that tells the reader what they want to know. Remember, we're not writing for the Search Engine, we're writing for the reader. So give them what they want.

Now, writing done, where to publish? If you had a little money you'd want to buy a suitable domain name and publish your own website, but you don't, so let's go to Hubpages, create an account and write a Hub about getting rid of ants. You can simply copy and paste the article you just wrote.


So, am I now earning money online without investment?

But, I hear you ask, how do I actually make money? Well, Hubpages along with other similar sites offers a revenue sharing program. When someone clicks on an ad on the site or buys something through an Amazon module, Hubpages get some money and you get some money. So, you need to be signed up for a Google Adsense account and an Amazon affiliate account. Enter the details into your Hubpages account and don't forget to put an Amazon module on your page.

If this has intrigued you and you would like to find out more, visit my blog for more about how to earn money online with no investment.

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