- Personal Finance
10 Real Ways to Make Money Online
Do you need extra cash to supplement your income or pay a bill? Here are ten real ways to make money online with your home computer.
Need Extra Cash?
Do you want to supplement your income, build your savings, or pay down a debt? Would you like to make money from the comfort of home?
Now is a good time to start. All you need is a computer with Internet access.
Going online opens the door to a world of opportunities to earn money from home. The challenge is determining which ones are legitimate money-makers and which ones are scams.
Before you enter the work-at-home world, do your homework. Research the opportunities, ask intelligent questions, and use good judgment before jumping in.
Maybe you're a wizard at coupon clipping, frugal shopping, and saving money. Congratulations! Now it is time to earn some money online.
With recommendations from Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living, Rachel Singer Gordon of Mashup Mom, Jim and Audri Landford of Internet Scambusters, and the editors of Woman's Day magazine, here are ten real ways to make money online.
1. Write Web Articles
Are you a wordsmith? Companies like Demand Media hire freelance writers and editors to work on projects for various web properties. The average project pays between $8 and $15 per article. You can often earn more money through special assignments.
Constant Content is a marketplace for web articles written to client specifications. Textbroker is similar. When you write for these companies, you are essentially a ghostwriter who works for a fixed rate per word, usually set by the client. Open orders typically pay between $3 and $8 per article. Team and direct orders pay more, and good writers can earn bonus pay.
HubPages and Triond are examples of content sites that publish user-generated work. As a content publisher, you earn passive or residual income through revenue share advertising like Google AdSense. You can also earn commissions through affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates.
Yahoo! Voices (formerly Associated Content) pays content writers in a combination of ways. You can earn money with up front payments, special assignments, and performance bonuses.
2. Design Websites
Do you like to create computer graphics or build websites? Consider Elance or oDesk, two popular platforms for freelance opportunities. These sites match web designers and developers with companies that need their services.
How does it work? Companies list jobs and freelancers bid for them. All you have to do is create a profile, list your experience, and set your price. If a company selects your bid, you pay a small commission to Elance or oDesk.
Content writers, language translators, and other freelancers can use these marketplace sites to find work, too.
3. Launch a Blog
Do you like to write? Do you have something interesting to say? Consider blogging for fun and profit. Tentblogger offers excellent tips for beginners and pros alike.
Blogger and WordPress are well-known free blogging platforms. After you register and set things up, visit Google AdSense to monetize your blog. AdSense is an advertising program that generates revenue for your blog on a per-click or per-impression basis.
Affiliate programs like Amazon Associates give you another way to earn money with your blog. Refer customers to Amazon and receive a small commission when they purchase something through your affiliate link.
Google AdSense and Amazon Associates are just two ways to monetize your blog, but they are a good place to start. Your income will likely start with a trickle, but it should grow as you build your readership.
Online Survey Sites
MySurvey pays reward points for each survey you complete. Accumulate points and redeem them for rewards or cash prizes.
Surveyhead sends money through PayPal when your account reaches $10. You can also redeem points for rewards or donate your earnings to charity.
Valued Opinions pays you virtual money for voicing your opinion. Exchange the virtual dollars for rewards when your account reaches $20.
4. Voice Your Opinion
MySurvey and other survey sites are another way to earn money from home. Register at legitimate sites, answer a few questions about some products or services, and get paid for your time and effort.
Some survey sites pay between $2 and $5 per completed survey, while others pay in change. Still others pay in points or "virtual cash" that you accumulate and redeem for gift cards or merchandise.
Your payment may come by check, but most companies make deposits to your PayPal account when you reach the cash-out threshold.
A word of caution: survey sites abound on the Internet, and many of them are scams. As always, do your research and avoid joining sites that charge up-front fees to participate.
Web Surfing Sites
iRazoo is a human-powered search engine that lets you to surf the web for a chance to win points. Exchange your points for gift cards and merchandise.
Swag Bucks is a loyalty program that pays in digital dollars that you redeem for gift cards and merchandise. To maximize your earning potential, install their search toolbar and complete polls and surveys.
5. Search the Internet
Did you know that you can earn money just by surfing the web? The Internet has many human-powered search engines that pay you to perform searches through their site rather than the big three: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Some of the pay sites are scams though, so do you research and use discernment. When you find a legitimate website, register for an account and create a profile. Then start using their search engine to surf the web. By doing this, you accumulate points that are redeemable for gift cards, merchandise, and even cash.
Swag Bucks allows you to earn more points by installing their toolbar on your computer and taking daily polls and company surveys. Recognize, however, that it can take a long time to earn enough points necessary for big prizes or PayPal deposits.
For you charitable souls, GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to charitable causes. Donations come from advertisers, so you and the organization you support don't have to pay a cent. This is a good way to earn money for your favorite cause by doing something as simple as searching the Internet.
Online Tasking Sites
CloudCrowd is an outsourcing company that offers tasks for pay through a Facebook application. Payments are made through PayPal.
Mechanical Turk is an Amazon marketplace for work. Complete various tasks and get paid for your efforts. Payments range from a few cents to a few dollars.
6. Complete Online Tasks
Some Internet companies pay you to complete short tasks like searching the Internet for specific products, answering online questions, and giving your opinion about a product or service. Amazon's Mechanical Turk is one example.
Online tasks often have a time limit that can range from a few minutes to an hour or more. Payments range from a few cents to a few dollars. It can take quite a while for the money to add up. But if you have some spare time with nothing else to do, what can it hurt?
Question and Answer Sites
JustAnswer is a paid question-and-answer site that pays experts for high-quality answers to customer questions. Popular expert categories include the medical, veterinary, financial and legal fields, as well as automobile and appliance repair.
WebAnswers is a free question-and-answer site where users get paid to answer questions. Google AdSense generates the revenue for "awarded answers" that are selected by the users who ask the questions.
7. Provide Expert Advice
Are you an expert at something? Do you have knowledge or expertise in a specific area like medicine, law, car repair, or home improvement? Join a question-and-answer website and get paid for your advice.
At JustAnswer and other paid sites, customers ask a question and quote a price they are willing to pay for an answer. You respond within a set time frame, usually an hour. If the customer accepts your answer, you receive a percentage of the customer's payment.
How much can you earn for your advice? It depends on how many questions you answer, and how many of your answers are accepted by customers.
Before you can participate on a question-and-answer site, you must go through a vetting process that includes a background check and verification of your education and professional credentials.
Virtual Call Centers
Alpine Access is a virtual call center that contracts with home-based workers. Customer care representatives receive extensive training and earn an average hourly wage of $9.
LiveOps is another virtual call center service. They employ home-based agents that work as independent contractors. Payment varies by client. Some agents receive a base salary, while others are paid by the minute, project, or commission.
Working Solutions works with companies to outsource customer service and sales positions. Home-based agents are self-employed contractors who earn between $8 and $30 an hour, depending on the project.
8. Provide Customer Service
Many retailers outsource their customer service programs to third-party companies. If you have a telephone and computer, you can apply to these companies as a contract worker.
Customer service representatives usually work between 20 and 40 hours a week. The average hourly rate is $9, although some home agents earn up to $15 an hour with incentives, bonuses, and special projects. Some companies even offer health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits.
Generally, home agents are independent contractors. The hiring process is very thorough with a comprehensive and lengthy application, telephone interview, skills test, and background check.
Book by Kari Chapin / Format: paperback edition.
9. Sell Your Crafts
The Internet is home to many venues that sell your handmade items.Sites like Etsy and Jewelry Wonder give you an online store to showcase your items. ArtFire offers online training to help you market your art and crafts.
Most sites let you register for free, but they usually charge a small fee to list your items and post your photos. When your item sells, you pay a small commission to the host site and keep the rest as profit.
Don't forget eBay, Craigslist, and other classifieds and auction sites. They are great venues for your original art and handmade crafts.
Popular Freelance Gigs
Fiverr creates gigs for services that you are willing to provide for $5. Fiverr gets $1 and you make a $4 profit. Payment is made to your PayPal account.
Gig Dollars lets you set your own price. Most gigs are priced at $20. Gig Dollars gets their cut, but you keep 80 percent as profit. Again, you'll need a PayPal account to withdraw your earnings.
10. Sell Your Skills
Do you think you have nothing to sell? You're not without skills! Sell your talent online to make money from home.
Fiverr is a marketplace for freelance gigs, and all jobs are priced at $5.00 each. Similar sites allow you to set your own price. For each sale, the host site receives a commission and you keep the rest as profit.
What kind of gigs will you find on these sites? Some are serious, many are funny, and others are downright bizarre. You know your own skills and talents, so you decide what to sell.
On Fiverr, one person offers professional hair advice. Another teaches pet owners how to toilet train a cat. One will take pictures of anything in New York City. Another records an Irish greeting with Celtic music in the background. The possibilities are endless.
What would you do with extra income?
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- Gordon, Rachel Singer. . Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc. 2010. Print. Point, Click and Save: Mashup Mom's Guide to Saving and Making Money Online
- Hunt, Mary. . Cypress, CA: DPL Press, Inc. 2005. Print. Debt Proof Living
- Landford, Jim and Audri Landford. "Identify Scams, Identify Theft and Urban Legends: Are You at Risk?" Scambusters. Retrieved July 11, 2012.