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The Truth About Making a Living Online

Updated on March 28, 2013

The Truth and Nothing but The Truth

The Truth about Making a Living Online -- Are you tired of running all over the internet searching for some honesty about making money online? Tired of empty promises and the lure of riches untold just to be disappointed -- again?

Here is the only promise I will make to you -- honesty.

I won't promise you wealth, prosperity or anything other than hard work and learning from others on the same path. I will share what I have learned in the last year or so and let you make your own decisions.

Image Credit: DecoratingforEvents/Mandee

Making Money Online
Making Money Online

No Shortcuts to Success

Get Rich Quick -- Get Real!

If there truly were "get rich quick" schemes that worked, don't you believe that everybody and their brother would have already done it? We would be a world of millionaires. No more homeless, hungry or bankruptcy. If only...

Making a living online is a topic that is researched over half a million times a month, globally. There are (as of today) over 69 million websites optimized for that phrase or a variable of it.

People are still searching for the quick and easy buck. The bottom line is, the way to attain wealth quickly is by inheritance or winning the lottery. That leaves a lot of us out in the cold.

It takes work and time to make money online. If you want overnight success, this route isn't for you.

Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay

If there truly were successful

"get rich quick schemes",

we'd all be millionaires.

Making a Living Online

There are many ways to make money online. None of them are overnight successes but can, with time and hard work invested, make a nice monthly income for you.

You have to decide which is the best solution for you. Some of the popular choices are listed below:

  1. Affiliate Marketing Programs -- Commission Junction, Share a Sale, PepperJam, Amazon, AllPosters, Zazzle, etc... are all Affiliate programs you can sign up for and then promote (if approved). An Affiliate Marketer needs at least one platform to write and promote their affiliate programs. You can use websites like Squidoo, Wizzley and HubPages or promote on your blog and/or website.

    Commissions usually range between 4% and 12% to start but each program is different. So, let's say you sell an Apple TV for $99 from Amazon off your personal blog. Your 4% equates to just under $4.00.

    If you are writing for a site like Squidoo, Wizzley or Hubpages, you will split the commissions with them in some form (50% - 50%, by impressions, etc...)

  2. Website that allows you to sell your product -- Etsy,,, etc...

    Handmade items are really beginning to take off in the online world, thanks to sites like Etsy. If you make products to sell, one of these venues might be the way to go. They pay for all the website costs, have a loyal following and can usually have you up and running pretty quick. In return, you pay listing and/or transaction fees each time you sell something.

    Taking time to research which is the best option for you will save you from unwelcome surprises down the road.

  3. Online Auctions -- eBay, WebStore, eBid, OnlineAuction, Ubid, etc...

    Online auction sites are aplenty. You can sell anything from a car, to jewelry to electronics to vintage items laying around the house. Almost anything can sell. Again, you pay listing and/or transaction fees. These are usually based on the value or the sale price of the item you are auctioning off. The platform is provided by the company, you provide the product.

  4. Your Own Website and/or Blog --

    If you would rather skip splitting your profits, you can build your own website and sell your items yourself. This will entail a lot of work in both building the actual site and then building traffic to your site. This method can be very successful but usually takes a while to build up customers.

    Don't believe anyone that tells you "If you build it, they will come". With a gazillion websites populating the internet, you have to work hard to attract your target audience as well as the search engines.

  5. Write for an established site and earn money --

    As mentioned above, Squidoo, Wizzley and HubPages are free (no fees) sites that allow you to write about topics you are passionate about and also have the possibility of earning some money along the way. Each site has strict guidelines on their TOS pages that should be read prior to writing.

    These sites are wonderful to get your feet wet and see what it's like to earn money online on a free platform. Some have royalties based on an algorithm and ranking system as well as the opportunity to earn money through Google Adsense, Amazon and eBay. Some allow you to use your affiliate programs as well. It's all in their TOS.

    This is a terrific way to start!

    Note: The links above are referral links. I will get credit if you sign up using one of these links. Just so you know! :D

Keywords, Backlinks, SEO...Oh My!

To truly be a success, you need to understand the who, what, when, and how of internet marketing.

  1. Who -- It is imperative that you know your target market and then market toward them. Just getting traffic to a lens, article or blog is not enough to make money online. You want targeted traffic that will convert into sales. Understand your market segment, think like them and then write your article.
  2. What -- What you write needs to help solve a problem or help your targeted market in some way. People search the internet everyday for answers to everyday problems and more. Make sure what you write is informative and helpful. This will build trust and authority in your writing. If you sprinkle totally unrelated items (for sale) within your article, you will turn off your target market. Stick to the topic.
  3. When -- In internet marketing, there are evergreen articles and seasonal articles. It is nice to have a mixture.

    Evergreen means the article is relevant year 'round. Seasonal is, obviously, only relevant during a certain time of year. When you post these articles is very important. Google and other search engines give more authority to nicely aged articles. That's an edge you want on your side.

    For seasonal articles, try writing and publishing 3 to 6 months prior to the season. This gives time for it to be found, indexed and for you to build backlinks.

    Evergreen articles can be written and published anytime but look for the same 3 to 6 months before your targeted traffic really starts to flow.

  4. How -- This is the biggie since it includes SEO, backlinks and keywords. How you write your article is important for the search engines as well as your potential readers.

    The best advice I can give you here is to write more for the person reading and less for search engines. Search engines have evolved greatly in the past couple of years. They decide for themselves what the keywords in your article are and who they will send to your article.

    That doesn't mean you skip keyword research -- it is still an essential step so you know what people are actually looking for. People type different words and phrases for their searches. For instance, one person may type "Kindle Fire" into the search box -- another may type New Amazon Kindle -- and another may type Amazon Reader. You need to know which phrase the majority is typing and optimize for it. You can still sprinkle synonyms in your article (and should) since search engines understand them and will give you relevance credit for them too.

  5. The above "How" is detailed but below you will find a list of articles that are more detailed. These will help you break it down and understand the essentials.

truth about making money online
truth about making money online

Writing and Promoting

Niche, Focus!

When I write articles about different topics, I choose products to promote that go along with the topics. It is important to "niche". That is, find a topic and zero in as far as you can when you write your articles.

For instance, if your niche topic is dogs, narrow it down to one aspect -- Dogs --> Dog Training --> Puppy Training --> Obedience Training for a Puppy.

In that article or lens, recommend only products that have to do with what you are writing about so you don't lose your reader. Irrelevant ads and product plugs are annoying to a reader looking for specific information. For the above niche you could promote training aids, training treats, books about training your puppy and so forth.

Stay niche in your topic as well as product recommendations.

Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay

making money online
making money online

My Experience Making Money Online

What I have found is there is no magic shortcut to earning a living online. It takes perseverance, trial and error, research and, above all, time. That is the bottom line.

Making money online is not for everyone. If you want to get rich quick, this probably isn't the route you want to take. Having said that, I need to qualify. -- There are some people that have been successful in a short amount of time. Buying established websites or lenses that are already in the good graces of search engines and then fixing them up can shorten your conversion time. Working 24/7 can also make a difference in how fast you begin to show some earnings. There are always exceptions to the rules.

Just know that it is a commitment and will start showing you earnings with time.

I have been doing this for over 2 years now and am beginning to have a decent income from Squidoo, Wizzley, my blogs and websites. Patience is definitely a virtue with making a living online!

Good luck!

Image Credit: Public Domain via Pixabay

I don't like spam, consequently, these comments are moderated. All html is stripped out of every comment. You are welcomed and encouraged to leave a comment about your situation, beliefs, agreements or disagreements.

I just ask that you be kind and considerate of others. :D

Squidoo is a FREE format that offers you the opportunity to write about your favorite niche topic and make an income or donate to charity at the same time! What could be better?

Click the Squid for more information...

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      {What people love about this|I think that this pducort about|Wow, this is a very nice|Amazing if you could have this|Great pducort to buy|My friend just buy this pducort|Very cheap and so cute|I am happy to have this|Just search this pducort about|Fi My wife and i got very lucky Chris managed to carry out his survey through your precious recommendations he made from your site. It is now and again perplexing to just happen to be releasing points which often many others could have been making money f

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      excellent lens! Thanks for sharing

    • marie-churchman profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for this article. I've been a bit discouraged MUCH to learn about promotion and not knowing where to start. You've made some of it clearer for me and I really appreciate Thank you

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with you that there is no shortcut to success.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      6 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I always love to read about making money online. Thanks for sharing your take on it! ::::blessings::::

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have made goals for Squidoo, Zazzle and Wizzley...but I am not close to those goals yet. I am trying to learn something every day to make a better return on my time and effort. Well written lens...and honest.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      6 years ago

      I agree - there are no shortcuts to trying to make money online.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Fantastic. Nice to see someone tell it like it is. My experiences are similar. Blessed - so hopefully you can make a bit more from this one which helps all the rest of us make a living on line:)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Excellent advice and suggestions! One thing you have touched on that is so very true is that diversity is extremely important for those of us who depend on our online income. Because each site has a different following or even appeal, it is important to diversify and establish a good reputation on several sites. I have found that when my sells on one site may be down, it is awesome to have another site make up for that decrease in income.

    • meetkerry lm profile image

      meetkerry lm 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens, its nice to see others who say it like it is! Their is no push button!! Work hard and reap rewards (:

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      7 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I like this lens. I am just finding out about keywords, and what makes a blog or site popular. This lens has some great advice and helpful website links too. Thanks!

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 

      7 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Really nicely written and great advice

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @ohcaroline: Thank you Caroline! You are right, with the internet and algorithms ever changing, it is a challenge to keep up. But, worth it. :D

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @tssfacts: You are one of those teachers I owe, my friend! I love your motto or never give up! It takes time but is worth it for sure!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I enjoyed the article. I'm still trying to digest a lot of what it takes to be successful. I am enjoying the trying part though. I find the most frustrating part of this kind of work is that the internet changes so quickly...I'm not sure I am doing a very good job of staying with all the new things. I think you are doing remarkably well given your amount of time on "the job".

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great review. Most people look at making money like as a hobby not as a business. Sometimes I think online marketing is just as hard if not harder than a brick and mortar business. There is a place for both: each takes a lot of effort and a never give up attitude to be successful.

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @BuckHawkcenter: Love your optimism Susan! Thanks for reading!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      7 years ago

      Again, a great heart-felt lens about an important topic. Patience and hard-work are the way to make a living online. But, now we can all be millionaires :-)!

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @pablina31: Thanks! You are so right. Giving up quickly is a mistake but I guess it weeds out the serious from the not so serious.

    • pablina31 profile image


      7 years ago

      Very true. Earning money online for 99.9% of us does take time, and there are a lot that give up too quickly. For those that don't though, there can be some very nice rewards as after the hard work, even if that's 2 or 3 years of solid hard work, residual income becomes better and better. Great lens.

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @Wednesday-Elf: Thanks Pat! I'm no expert but I have learned so much in a short time, I figured others might benefit too. You started me on the road and I am staying committed. Overnight success rarely happens -- you have to work towards it. Thanks for your kind words and friendship!

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @Close2Art LM: Thank you for the blessing! Much appreciated and I'm glad you liked it.

    • DecoratingEvents profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @BusyMOM LM: Thanks BusyMom! We are worker-bees for sure!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Excellent review of this topic. I think too many people 'think' they can 'get-rich-quick' by writing/selling online and don't realize it takes 'time', lots of hard work, and perseverance! You are a good example of this -- having gone from a 'beginner' to a virtual expert in the field -- and having shown patience throughout your journey. Well done, my dear!

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 

      7 years ago

      great page, very honost, Blessed

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 

      7 years ago

      Being a fellow worker-bee in making a living online, I greatly appreciate you putting the word out there on how it's not a get-rich-quick way of making money. Thanks! Great lens.


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