There are thousands of ways to make money online. Some are easy and quick, others are hard and unforgiving. Here are five different ways to make real money online including their pros and cons:
1. Start a Blog
This is an obvious way to make cash online so everyone and their mother are into it. The steps are basic, set up a blog, grow your audience, place ads or advertise products, earn money.
Pros of earning with Blogging:
- Set your own pace – work in spare time, your income depends entirely on your ability to attract an audience, whether through great writing or social engineering.
- Layered earnings – monetize your blog through multiple different channels (AdSense, product advertising, affiliate products)
- Recession-proof – if you’re great at attracting audiences with your content, you can set yourself up for continuous income no matter the economic climate in the off-line world.
Cons of earning with Blogging:
- Time-consuming – it takes a while to build up a great blog that makes enough income to quit your day job.
- Inconsistent – some days it may feel like the ads are not bringing in any income.
- Limited – blogging won’t make you rich (except in some cases) and you shouldn’t set high expectations for high income.
- Reliance on search engine algorithms – when search engines change algorithms and your blog doesn’t pass the new set of rules; traffic can drop resulting in dropped income.
2. Start a Website with AdSense
Unlike blogs, websites created for AdSense require less daily upkeep. Personally, I prefer a blog to a static website any time of the day because it is easier to maintain and blogs typically attract more linking and interaction.
Pros of earning with an AdSense-configured website:
- Don’t have to update all the time – once your niche-based website is set up, all you have to do is add content over time and work on inbound marketing.
Cons of earning with an AdSense-configured website:
- Niche-dependent – income relies heavily upon the niche you’re in. High paying niche keywords like weight loss, attorneys, doctors, insurance are hard to compete in but bring in the most money.
- Boring – it’s hard to work on a website you have little or no passion for if the niche is not so exciting.
- Reliant – heavily dependent upon amount of inbound marketing (backlinks and creative traffic building)
- Limited – unless your website is in a high paying niche income is typically low (at least not enough to quit a full time job)
Freelancing is and has been a great way to make money online if you possess in-demand skills. Programmers and designers who stand out can make very good money on one of many freelance websites and personal client relationship development. Just check out oDesk, eLance, Freelancer for starters.
Pros of earning with Freelancing:
- Low turn-around time – unlike blogging or websites you can make money right away assuming you find work. A simple project may take as little as a few minutes of your time to complete.
- Unlimited potential – income is entirely dependent on your ability to find work and
- Potential to turn into a business – sometimes one-time freelance customers are so pleased with your work that they retain you full time or go directly to you for any future business. Freelancing can lead to establishing a permanent online business.
Cons of earning with Freelancing:
- Competition – everyone is trying to make money online today, which results in increase competition for freelancers. If you are in the United States you have to worry about competing with cheaper labor from other countries.
- Instability – as with any self-ran business there is the aspect of not being able to find any work. Some days are great and you’re making thousands of dollars – next you’re bidding on projects 5 times less your typical bid range.
- Volatile – you can go out of business as fast as you got into it. Unlike blogging or static websites, taking time off work means no money coming in.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Lead generation through affiliate marketing is the next best thing to a real online business. It pays the most and has all the potential of turning into a full-scale solid enterprise. People like Jeremy Schoemaker have turned small time affiliate projects into multi-million dollar ventures and startups.
Pros of earning with Affiliate Marketing:
- Huge income potential – make anywhere from a few bucks to $30,000 a month or more depending on your creativity. It is not unheard of for super affiliates to make over $1 million per year.
- Potential to turn into a full-time business. ShoeMoney has done this time and again, turning affiliate income strategies into web businesses which sold for $1-5m.
- Instant income – make instant money with a flip of a switch on your AdWords campaign.
Cons of earning with Affiliate Marketing:
- High learning curve – you must know what you’re doing to succeed in internet marketing. Sure you can make a few bucks here and there but if you want to turn it into something significant then you have to come up with a unique strategy to create viral growth. Some of the more creative viral affiliate marketing can be very technical and requires advanced knowledge of various programming languages and technologies.
- Instability – any affiliate marketer who throws around a yearly income figure like it’s a salary is full of it. Affiliate marketers can make great money for a month, 2 months maybe an entire year, but once the hot streak has ended and the well dries up you can be in a long drought. Sometimes these periods of no income are enough to drive you nuts so there’s the stress level to consider.
- Expensive – you can lose a lot of money in affiliate marketing. I remember running an AdWords campaign and dedicating $500 to a poorly constructed ad and landing page. My money was gone within minutes. Affiliate marketers who use AdWords often pull out very quickly after losing too much money without producing results.
5. Start an Online Business
This is my personal favorite and is probably the crème of the crop in generating online income. The beauty of starting an online business is that it can come from a very small project such as a blog, a static website, a simple idea or a lead generation campaign. Online businesses are all about creating long-term income by providing products and services that people can’t do without. If you’re blogging to make money you may want to consider your long-term goal.
Pros of starting an online business:
- Stable, good income (millions if very successful.)
- Substance – you won’t be putting years of work into something that can disappear over-night. If it’s a good business, chances are it’ll grow in value allowing you to sell assets if you so choose to.
- Low-cost entry – online businesses often start as a small service, costing significantly less in overhead than a physical location business.
Cons of starting an online business:
Besides time consumption and possibility of not making it I really can’t think of any.
Are you blogging to generate income? Have you tried any of the other ways to make money online?