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Absolute Beginners Guide To Earning Online

Updated on August 2, 2010

Starting Out Earning Online

When first trying to earn online it is difficult to know where to find information and which information to trust. It is also difficult to decipher the jargon commonly used by experienced Internet entrepreneurs.

When you are full of enthusiasm but light on knowledge, what you are looking for is a beginner's blueprint that spells out the basics in easy to understand language.

I will describe my recommendation to complete beginners in this article but it should be noted that others may have differing opinions on the best way to get started. There are many ways to approach earning online and many are successful. This article aims to start you on the endless journey that is earning online and dealing with the constantly changing environment that is the internet.

How Do You Earn Online?

You earn money online by hosting advertisements and affiliate sales.

Anyone clicking on an ad featured next to your work earns you a percentage of the revenue generated. This can range from a few cents to many dollars. Google Adsense is the most commonly used network and examples of their ads can be seen on this page.

Affiliate sales occur when you direct a reader to a commercial site and the reader purchases a product. You receive a "finders fee", usually a percentage of the total sale amount. Examples of this are the Amazon and ebay affiliate networks.

Start Earning Now - Its Free!

Basic Strategy

First Principle: Utilize Free Websites

When you are learning you don't need to pay for the privilege. If your goal is to earn online, any money spent has to be recovered before you turn a profit so keeping expenditure to zero makes sense.

To earn online you need an online presence. To run your own website means purchasing a domain name (your "www." internet address), keeping it registered with yearly fees, and paying for someone to host your site. This is an ongoing monthly cost.

The other option is taking advantage of free online services. They provide the hosting and can get your work discovered by search engines much quicker. They do not provide this service out of the goodness of their hearts. They make their money by taking a percentage of the revenue generated from your work.

My suggested strategy (which will be explained in detail) is to start the more complicated, long term process of running your own website in a simplified and inexpensive form while you learn the ropes and begin to earn revenue on third party hosted sites. This allows you to have your own site that earns you 100% of the revenue and can be improved as you implement the lessons learned along the way. You will soon learn that starting you own site is a very slow process and you will be glad to have started at least one at the very beginning.

Find Your Niche To Earn Online

Earning Online - Step One - Choose Your Topic

Before you publish anything online think about what you are going to write about. You get a significant benefit from having a lot of work published on the one subject. It is very beneficial to take a few moments to think about where your knowledge and skills lie. Think about all of the possible variations on the key subject and if you have in depth knowledge or if more research will be required. Remember that the internet reflects the entire world and if you are into a topic, hobby or sport it is likely that thousands of others are too.

Once you have chosen your topic, commit yourself to writing exclusively in this area for the time being. In the future you can branch out and cover new areas, implementing the knowledge learned to date. Staying in focus has great benefits.

What are people searching for?

To make money online, you need to get traffic from search engines. To get this traffic you need to write about subjects that people are searching for. There is little point writing about rabbits if no one searches for this term. You can write the most informative, helpful and amusing articles about rabbits but no one will see your work.

How Do You Find What People Are Searching For?

The Google Adwords Keyword Tool gives you an estimation of the number of people that are searching for any given term. You can find it here. For instructions on how to use it effectively see the video at the bottom of this article.

It helps to refine your topic ideas. A single word such as "rabbit" will obviously show thousands if not millions of searches per month as it is very general. The Keyword tool allows you to test more specific topics such as "Rabbit recipes", "rabbit health", "owning a rabbit" "lucky rabbit's foot" " greyhound chasing rabbits".

Think About Competition

If you are starting out you must assume you are up against stiff competition. Here is a basic tip.There is no point writing about topics with huge levels of competition. If you choose to write about the Apple iPad, you will receive zero traffic as there are probably 1 million sites more established than yours that receive all the search results.

Choosing a niche that is specific enough to eliminate competition but not so specific as to eliminate all potential traffic is the key to success.

Summary: Decide on a topic and level of specification and stick to it.

One Of The Best Places For Beginners To Earn Online

Earning Online - Step 2 - Where To Write?

Once your topic is chosen, you need to begin creating content.

For this I recommend 2 sites:

Firstly, this site, Hubpages. Hubpages is an extremely user friendly site that lets you publish your writing online with no technical skills. If you can type you can use Hubpages. The main benefit you receive from the site is its authority with major search engines. Readers can find your site if the search engines don't know about it. Writing published on Hubpages will be found by google within days compared to the months it often takes for your own site. You can earn revenue from Google Adsense, Amazon and ebay sales. You need to sign up for these affiliate programs yourself and you can't do this until you have a few articles to demonstrate your work. You will also not be able to sign up for the ebay affiliate program unless you have your own site, with paid hosting.

Hubpages is a revenue sharing site which means that some of the time the advertisements displayed next to your work will have your identifying code inserted, other times the hubpages code will feature. Your code is used 60% of the time and if anyone clicks on these ads you will receive the money generated. You should be very careful not to click your own ads as this is against the Terms of Service and will see your Adsense account permanently cancelled.

40% may sound like a lot to give to the hosting site but believe me it is one of the best deals on the internet. You will receive so much more initial traffic to articles posted here that it soon becomes plain that 60% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

If you have not yet signed up, you can do so for free here.

Next you need your own site.

To begin your own site that will hold significant value in the future, I use Blogger hosting with a custom URL. Blogger is Google's blogging platform and is a free service. A normal blogger account gives you an automated URL of

Here I advocate purchasing a cheap domain name to take advantage of blogger's option of using your own domain name at no additional cost. Again, in the interest of spending nothing or nearly nothing I recommend buying a cheap domain name such as a

Your own domain name that uses you keywords is advantageous in ranking well in search engine results. Continuing the previous example, would be a good choice.

These can be bought for $1 for the first year at domain registration sites such as

They cost significantly more for subsequent years (up to $10 / year) but I think $1 is a small price to pay to test the water and after a year you can make an informed decision about keeping the site or letting it lapse. If it has made $20 in this time it has already paid for its second year when the revenue is likely to increase.

Summary: Use 2 primary writing sites: Hubpages and a Blogger account with you own domain name.

Quality Content = Quality Revenue

Earning Online - Step 3 - Writing Content

For your blogger account, write regular informative pieces. Just because it is hosted at blogger doesn't mean it has to be a blog. You can use the platform to make an instructional website, a collection of articles on the same topic or interact with readers via the comments function.

Make sure that your chosen topic's keywords appear regularly in the post titles and in the text without forcing the issue and keyword stuffing. Your writing should be flowing and easy to read and offer the visitor something of value: information, humour, opinion or a shared interest.

Don't worry about the lack of readers in the first few months. Unlike hubpages you will take a long time to get noticed. This is normal. It is also the reason you are starting this process now. By the time you have gained more knowledge and experience you will have a site already "aged" to try out your new skills on.

The other big advantage of a blogger hosted site is to gain approval for an Adsense account. As Google owns both sites it has been noted that the success rate greatly improves if you have a blog with them. Wait until you have published between 5 and 10 posts then apply here.

On Hubpages you need to be more structured to get the most out of your writing. You should aim to write articles around 600 - 800 words. You should break the text up into separate capsules and title each one including your chosen keywords. Add pictures and relevant youtube videos to enrich your content. This article is not a great example of a sensible length but does show the use of multiple text capsules and images. Also note the use of titles.

Hubs published here will receive readers almost straight away. Not hundreds but the writing community here will be a source of readers and bring the first traffic to your work. This internal traffic will not earn you anything as other writers don't click on ads (Never "do someone a favor" by clicking on an ad next to their work. Google quickly spots suspicious clicks and you may get them banned). The kind of reader that clicks ads come directly from search engines. this is known as organic traffic and it is this traffic that you seek.

Your hubpages writing will be found by the search engines in a matter of days and hopefully then you will begin to see organic traffic. You can check to see if your site has been found by doing a search on google for your entire sites URL inside quotation marks e.g " "

On the "Your Account" page at hubpages you will see statistics of your page views and the "Traffic Sources" link lets you know where they are coming from.

Summary: To be successful you need interesting, unique content. If your content is poor, no amount of website promotion will turn your work into an ongoing revenue stream. Do not cut and paste content and publish it on multiple sites. Search engines reward original work above repeated content.

Learn More = Earn More

Earning Online - Step 4 - Learning More

The other major benefit of hubpages is the helpful community and library of information available. Just about every question you could think to ask has already be asked by someone before you. Go to the forum page and use the search function. You will quickly find a post relevant to your question and a whole range of answers from experienced and successful online writers.

The beginner could spend days reading the valuable information contained in the forum archives and if for any reason you can't find an answer post a question in the knowledge exchange.

Another valuable experience is submitting your first few hubs to the Extreme Hub Makeover This is where you can receive constructive feedback on your writing and get valuable tips from the community.

The next vital thing you are going to have to learn is website promotion. To drive traffic to your work and rank higher in the search engine results pages you need to create backlinks to your content. Backlinks are one way links from another site to your work. Not only do they lead traffic to your site, they give search engines the impression that your site is important boosting your ranking. This is a very important subject to understand and too big to cover here. Read this article on backlinking and also search for forums and hubs on this topic. It is something you are going to have to do so the sooner you learn the better.

Summary: Hubpages has a wealth of information. Use It. Learning is a never ending process and you can't know too much. I summarize all I have learned in my blog The Online Income Experiment

Using The Google Keyword Tool

Choosing a Topic To Earn Online


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fabulously written hub article, chock a block full of useful information that anyone could follow without needing to undertake a University degree!

      I for one will be taking heed of mcbean's advice.

    • vashal profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative hub. Thanks!

    • danatheteacher profile image

      Dana Rock 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Very stellar hub! SheToldMe also sent me here-HA.

    • charlemont profile image


      8 years ago from Lithuania

      I too came here via SheToldMe, so it must be a potentially valuable source of traffic to your hubs ;-)

    • mcbean profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from A planet far, far away

      Some people are strongly against .info domains and say they don't do well in the SERPs. I believe this is mainly due to the fact they are often used by beginners who don't know what they are doing or spammers. I don't think google actively penalizes them.

      My first .info domain earns over $50 a month from adsense and earns that because of organic traffic. It paid for itself many times over in the first year and even with the higher re-registration fees, my total outlay has been less than $20. This includes the next 18 months registration so even at the current rate it will bring in another $900 in this time. Not a bad return for a bit of initial work - especially when I had no idea what i was doing at the time.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent hub explaining how it's done. You are right the key is persistence and time, especially if you are trying to do it without spending any money

    • mcbean profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from A planet far, far away

      Don't worry about making mistakes at the start. Every one does and it is all part of the process. With experience you get better at guessing which topics are effective but there are so many variables sometimes one of your early attempts turns out to be a winner and you never find out why. Most of my hubs don't earn each day but with over 100 there is not a day that one of them doesn't earn. Now for the next 100.....

      The key is persistence and time.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Good sound advice, I am trying to understand but it comes slowly to me. Thanks for the informative hub.

    • mcbean profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from A planet far, far away

      To further highlight the value of Hubpages: I published this hub and went to bed. By the next morning the hub had been indexed by Google, had received organic traffic and had its first adsense revenue. Hubpages allows you to achieve things in less than 24 hours that an independent site would take months to do.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful tips here. Found you through SheToldMe. If one follows your tips here exactly, it will definitely result in their Adsense Revenue. Interested to read more of your hubs here. Keep writing.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      Excellent tips. Wish I had this information a few years ago when I started.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Your hub caught my eye , while I was posting on Shetoldme. I think I will buy my own domain name for my Blogger blogs. Thanks! Pam


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