by Alban S
The internet is nothing if not overflowing with opportunity â€“ the opportunity to connect, the opportunity of information and the greatest opportunity of all, the chance for you to boost your income. All you need to know is where to look for the most lucrative earning opportunities, and find ways for you to earn an income, without being taken advantage of by scams and time wasters.
If you are looking for ways to make money online, start by looking for something which plays to your strengths and interests, because you will make the most money by doing something you are good at â€“ firstly because it wonâ€™t feel like work, and secondly because youâ€™ll be able to surpass the competition, another thing with which the internet is rife.
1 â€“ Capture an income
With the advent of tiny digital cameras and mobile phones with built in high resolution cameras, we all have the opportunity to capture those stunning once-off shots. As a result, you donâ€™t need to be a professional photographer to make an income from your snaps because gone are the days when you needed thousands of dollars of equipment and weeks in a special dark room.
You can now spend a few minutes in your â€˜digital dark roomâ€™ and have shots which can be loaded onto stock photography websites. These sites will pay you each time someone downloads your images so you donâ€™t have to manage your account, but simply submit your images and wait for them to be chosen. Plus, most people searching stock photography websites will search by keyword, rather than by photographer, so you donâ€™t need to have established a name for yourself, but simply have great photos to offer.
Stock photography websites are used for website images, presentations, brochures, projects, books and more, so regardless of whether youâ€™ve got pictures of flowers or friends, dogs or dinosaurs, you could have just the shot someone out there is looking for. Just make sure that if your images do have people in them, you get a model release signed by everyone in the photo.
2 â€“ Your own online business
When you start your own business online, you donâ€™t have to rely on anyone else, you know who youâ€™re dealing with and you donâ€™t have to worry that your money making plan is a scam in disguise. Also, when you are in control of your income through running your own business, you are able to better protect yourself financially in times of economic uncertainty because you are able to adapt and adjust your business plans and model, to quickly take advantage of changing circumstances â€“ something most bigger businesses canâ€™t do, and therefore end up just downsizing to survive.
For an online business to be lucrative, it has to have a stable business foundation, making sure you have a detailed business plan, a comprehensive marketing strategy and a dedicated customer base â€“ to whom you are dedicated of course.
With your own piece of the marketplace, you are able to build and develop your product based on market needs. When you operate a business online you have access to one of the most responsive and feedback driven business areas around, so you can always remain in demand, with a little research and hard work.
While it may seem like a lucrative option to add ads to your online business website, avoid it if you can. Your website is your store front, your customersâ€™ first port of call so you want it to be all about them and their needs, not about your business partnerships and other businessâ€™ products. Instead, use all of the space on your website to promote your own business, not someone elseâ€™s and youâ€™ll remain in control.
3 â€“ Affiliate yourself
If you donâ€™t have a marketable skills or product you can sell online, then look for someone who has because affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative way to make money online. Affiliate sales does not take any special knowledge or skills, and in fact the more personable and relaxed you are about the process, the more transparent you are and therefore, the more reliable you appear.
Affiliate sales simply means promoting a product you already use and like, to help the company gain recognition and sales. We all have products and brands we prefer and once youâ€™ve found those products which work for you, all you have to do is tell the world.
To start earning money from affiliate sales, find affiliate programs which operate in your field of knowledge. Whether you look for programs which relate to your career and products and services you use at work, or whether you are a stay at home parent and are able to promote household services and appliances or family products.
4 â€“ Social networking
The internet is not only a place filled with opportunity, it is also a very social place and if you donâ€™t want to find people who are interested in your opinion through affiliate sales, you can start using social networks to share your thoughts with the world, and let them come to you.
Blogging can be a great way to earn money online because there are minimal start up costs and when you have something valuable to offer, you will be able to build a loyal readership. If you are serious about earning an income from your blog, you canâ€™t set it up through WordPress, Blogger or other similar free blog sites, because your content is bound by their terms and conditions, which usually state that you canâ€™t actively promote anything.
Therefore, to start up a financially lucrative blog:
* Buy a domain name. A domain name and hosting service can be set up for as little as $20 per year and in turn the blog is branded completely as your own, and you are in control of the content.
* Get the look. The look and layout of your blog will be important to its success because it should reflect your topic, as well as be easy to use and navigate for your readers. There are a number of free templates available online which you can download and use for a professional look.
* Clarify your topic. The key to a successful blog is offering posts which interest your readers, whoever they are. Therefore, you need to choose a topic which will appeal to a certain audience, and stick to that topic, whether you write about yourself, your job, your hobbies, your family or your pets. Just remember that you are going to need to come up with a post topic at least twice a week, so your topic needs to be something you are passionate about, and which provides ongoing ideas.
* Write your posts your way. There are some blogs with posts which are a short paragraph, and others which are thousands of words long. As a starting point, a post of 400-500 words is a good length as it is not too time consuming to write, or to read.
* Promote your blog. Start getting your blog noticed by submitting it to social bookmarking sites. You can also promote your blog through other social networks, and write free articles for articles directories which link back to your blog. Also take the time to read and comment on other blogs in your topic area, and include a link back to your blog in your comments.
* Generate money from visitors. You can start making money from your blog with programs such as Google Adsense which are free to use, and display relevant ads which encourage your visitors to click through â€“ you then earn money from the click throughs. Pay Per Post and Review Me are other ways you can be paid just for posting as they will pay you a certain amount to review a product or a website for the owner.
* Sell advertising space. Once your blog has strong traffic and a good presence, you can start selling advertising space at a price you set. You can include classified and display ads on your blog for any product or service who is interested.
* Sell your blog. With a well established, popular and revenue generating blog on your hands, you can make a very lucrative sale and often blogs sell for ten times their monthly revenue.
Alban is a contributing writer at Home Loan Finder, a home loan comparison website.