You’ve probably heard the expression “If it smells like money, it probably is.” That couldn’t be more accurate when talking about online marketing. With so much competition in every marketplace, knowing how to make money online is an essential skill for future entrepreneurs and business owners.
What is online marketing? Simply put, online marketing is the practice of promoting products or services over the internet. This can include things like SEO, PPC, email marketing, and more.
While there are a variety of tactics you can use to make money online, in this guide we’ll cover eight ways that you can make money online and how you can get started today.
1. Start a blog
Blogs are very popular these days, and for good reason – they are a great way to start making money online. If you’ve got a sizable audience, you can use your blog to promote products that are relevant to your niche. For example, if you’ve got a travel blog, you can use that to promote hotel stays, airline fares, and packages that include free travel – provided, of course, you write about those types of products often enough.
Blogs aren’t just for fun these days. Many people use them as an extension of their business. If you’re looking to make money from a blog, consider doing one of the following:
- Hosting or selling affiliate products (more on this later)
- Taking paid surveys
- Starting a blog for free with Blogger or WordPress and then making money from adverts on your blog (most people do this)
- Using a free blog like Blogger or WordPress to build a community and then monetizing that community (most people do this as well)
- Getting an affiliate marketing job (if you’re a skilled worker, this can be quite lucrative – more on this later as well)
- Fulfilling online surveys to make a few extra bucks here and there
2. Start an online store
Another great way to make money online is to start an online store. An online store is nothing more than a storefront on the internet that sells physical or digital products. The great thing about online stores is that you don’t need a huge investment to get started. You can simply use affiliate marketing, which we’ll discuss later in this guide, to get the ball rolling.
If you’re looking to create an online store, try these popular marketplaces:
- Shopify – this platform makes it easy to set up an online store. You can use their templates to get started for free, then customize the site with your own branding and products.
- WooCommerce – this is the WordPress platform for online stores. You can use their free starter plan or the self-hosted version to get started.
- Magnify – this is a platform similar to Shopify but with a focus on affiliate marketing. You can use their affiliate program to get commissions for selling products on your site.
- Square – this is the most popular online merchant account, and it’s available for all types of businesses. With Square, you can accept payments online, via email, or on the phone. You don’t need a merchant account to use their service, though.
- FreshMenu – this is a one-stop-shop for restaurants looking to accept payments online. They provide a safe, secure way to process payments for small businesses. You don’t need a merchant account to use their service; however, you do need to have a web server to use their platform. (For real food businesses, they also offer a loyalty program.)
- Xero – this is a financial software company that focuses on small businesses. With Xero, you can take payments online via credit card or PayPal.
3. Start an online radio station
Another great way to make money online is to start an online radio station. Online radio stations are basically podcasts with a small twist. Instead of listening to a podcast while you’re working your way through a long list of chores, you can listen to them on your phone while you’re driving, taking a walk, or cooking dinner.
The concept behind online radio stations is to create a quality station that provides value to its listeners. To do this, you need to consider the following things:
- A niche to focus on (most online radio stations focus on comedy, news, or sports)
- Music tracks you can use in your podcasts (these can be royalty free or you might need to pay for some of them)
- The ability to monetize your online presence (if you have a successful podcast, you can integrate ads into your website to generate revenue)
- Your podcast’s distribution (you can use a platform like Blubber to get your podcasts in front of potential listeners)
- Content creators (if you can get other successful podcasts to come on board, this can boost your income dramatically)
If you’re looking to create an online radio station, try these popular marketplaces:
- Stitcher – this is the #1 podcast app on iTunes, and it’s available for both iOS and Android devices. With Stitcher, you can create, find, and listen to podcasts – all while being connected to a huge community of listeners.
- Spotify – this is one of the world’s largest online music platforms. It’s available for iOS and Android devices. You can use their app or website to stream music online or use their social media platforms to connect with other music lovers.
- RadioPublic – this is a place where you can listen to free online radio stations. You don’t need an account to use their service, but you do need to be aware that most of their stations are ad-supported. (A free account gives you access to most of their content but with limited functionality).
4. Start an online gallery
Another great way to make money online is to start an online gallery. An online gallery is simply an online platform where artists can display and sell their artwork. Typically, these galleries offer the following services:
- A store – where artists can buy and sell their work. You don’t need a massive investment to get started with this type of business. In fact, you can use Etsy to create your own online gallery where you can sell your paintings, drawings, or prints.
- A blog – where artists can promote their work and sell it to a largely digital audience.
- A YouTube channel – for artists who want to promote their work through video content.
- A Twitter account – for artists who want to promote their work via 140 characters or fewer.
- A Facebook page – for artists who want to promote their work via the world’s most popular social media platform.
- A Vimeo account – for artists who want to promote their work via video content.
- A Google account – for all artists who want to promote their work online. You don’t need to have a Google account to use their tools, but having one can assist you in gaining more digital exposure. (If you’re looking to make money online, Google is the search engine you should be using. Don’t use Bing or Yahoo! as your default search engine; people expect to see Google in the search results on their phones, tablets, and computers.)
If you’re looking to create an online gallery, try these popular marketplaces: