Looking for a way to make money online at home while chilling on the sofa with your laptop? Maybe you’re tired of the 9 to 5 rat race or just looking to supplement your income. Or maybe you are unemployed or a stay-at-home mom looking for something productive to do? No matter what you incentive is, you have come to the right place.
Today I will show how to start making money online at home with a step-by-step guide so you can start working towards that goal today yourself. But let’s first take a look at the ways people are making money online these days.
Realities of making money online
You may have heard that there is no money to be made online these days as the markets are saturated and there are only scams about making money online. This could not be farther from the truth.
You might have also come across some of the make money online scams and maybe even got burned by one. It is true there are a lot of shady businesses and entrepreneurs in the make money online business. That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to make money online ethically without using questionable business strategies to essentially con people. You just have to know what you are doing.
The amount of users on the internet is greater than ever before. It is estimated that in 2018 there are over 4 billion internet users. There are also more people making an income online than ever before. With such an incredible amount of users the market is far from saturated.
During the last decade content platforms like YouTube and Instagram have exploded and made it possible for people to make a living simply sharing their day-to-day life with their followers. This is getting rarer however, as the competition has gotten much tougher as there are big bucks to be made. That’s why you need to know exactly what you are doing to be noticed by the search engines and services.
This includes things like keyword research, social media sharing, guest blogging and other joint venture projects. Essentially Google, YouTube or any other service will give zero attention until you have enough quality content, followers and engagement.
This makes it very tough to get started. You may have to keep pushing for months before seeing any sort organic traffic. Then one day you might find your blog post on the first page of Google or your latest video on the featured videos of YouTube and your traffic just explodes. More typically, your traffic slowly increases as you produce more content until eventually you will have significant amount of traffic that allows you to earn an income from your content.
There are exceptions to the rules as always. We have all heard the overnight online fame stories. This usually requires exceptional circumstances and luck to happen. Maybe a lucky video that just goes viral in social media or a celebrity shares some of your content. These are things you should not account on when starting a business online. If something like that happens, great, let it happen. But don’t expect it, earn your traffic with hard work.
Next I would like to talk about the model I am using to make money online. It requires consistent work and it won’t make you rich overnight. However it’s fun, you can do it anywhere with an internet connection and it’s not very expensive to get started. And once you get the ball rolling and start getting organic traffic you can earn quite a nice income, there are thousands of success stories using this exact same method.
The method I’m referring to is called affiliate marketing. More specifically the method involves building a website or sites around a niche and then creating content around keywords related to that niche. Once you have the basics down it’s possible to expand your affiliate marketing to YouTube, social media or what ever is your thing.
Affiliate marketing essentially means referring customers to companies’, that then pay you an affiliate fee if the referred customer makes a purchase. The products can be anything from real commodities to information products and software. Affiliate fees can be anything from 1 % to 80 % depending on the subject.
The great thing about working as an affiliate marketer instead of selling directly to customers is the fact that you don’t need an inventory, expensive stock, employees handling and shipping orders etc. All that expensive and arduous stuff involved with a typical brick and mortar company.
Instead you work as the missing link between a company looking for buying customers and customers looking for product or solution to a problem they are having. Armed with nothing else but a computer, an internet connection and a hosting service for your site you tap into that flow of currency.
You might be wondering why do companies’ offer affiliate fees to marketers when they could be scooping in the cash themselves? Well the magic is in the word marketer.
Companies use big bucks in conventional marketing like TV and radio commercials and ads in papers. This is proven to increase sales but it isn’t very efficient. One ad costs the same, no matter if it nets you 10 or 1000 sales.
In affiliate marketing the marketers do the “dirty work” for the companies’. They pre-select customers that have already displayed an interest in the companies’ product and are looking to buy. They then reference those customers to that companies products and if they decide to make a purchase it’s a real win-win situation. The company gets a sale, the marketer gets a fee and the customer gets what they were looking for.
The companies’ know that it’s lucrative to offer affiliate fees instead of spending that money on conventional marketing as they will only need to pay for the sales that happen. And if you make it profitable for the marketer, you can rest assured you will receive a lot of buyers to your products as you will have thousands of people referring customers to your company online 24/7.
How to build an affiliate marketing website
Next I will tell you step-by-step the basic to creating an affiliate marketing site. This is essentially the same blueprint taught at Wealthy Affiliate, an online education and hosting service designed for marketers. I wrote a comprehensive review about Wealthy Affiliate here.
Choosing a niche
The whole process start with choosing a niche. A niche essentially means the topic or subject of your website. It should be something quite specific as too broad of a niche will make it hard to create a competitive authority site in a reasonable time frame.
So let’s say you want to market shoes. Your niche should not be just shoes, but let’s say tennis shoes and specify that even more, like tennis shoes for men. You probably get the drift, the options are endless.
I suggest you pick something you have interest in and feel passionate about as you will be writing a lot of content about the niche. This makes research easier and writing funner!
Now you have nice specific niche where you can find tons of products to review and topics to write about.
Building a site
After you have a niche it’s time to choose a domain and build a site around that. Most marketers use a content management system called WordPress (don’t mix this with the free blog platform WordPress) which requires no real expertise in running a website. If you are an experienced webmaster, you might choose something else.
Before you start building your site, you need a hosting service. I personally use the one provided at Wealthy Affiliate. It’s a state of the art hosting platform for a very reasonable price, considering you get everything you need to run an affiliate website, including keyword research tool. There are of course many other hosting services available that require different levels of expertise.
So you now have a hosting service, great. Before you create your site you of course need a domain. There are basically two ways to go about this. Either choose something relatively short and brandable or choose a keyword related to your niche. The domain should be a .com or if that’s not available .net and .org are acceptable.
So to our tennis shoes for men niche our domain might be something like BestTennisShoesForMen.com or MenSchoos.com (the brandable domains are tough to come up with so give me a break here :D).
After you have bought your domain and have a hosting service, it’s time to install WordPress on that domain and create the site. There is no real magic here. In the beginning you can have a pretty standard looking site that you can design more personal as you start getting traffic to your site. For now, it’s all about the content. If you are using WordPress you do want to ad an SEO plugin and an image optimizer to mage in page SEO easier and your site fast as possible as this affects Google rankings.
Next we need to start thinking about creating content for our website. This always starts with keyword research. Keywords are not actual singular words but phrases that people type to google while looking for stuff.
In our tennis shoe niche this could be something like best tennis shoes for men (our domain name), tennis shoes for men over 50, Nike (or any other company) tennis shoes for men or most comfortable tennis shoes for men.
There are rules to what makes a good keyword. These days you basically have to have a keyword research tool to get the critical metrics on keywords while doing your research. I use the Jaaxy lite that is included in my Wealthy Affiliate premium subscription. Jaaxy is an incredibly effective tool and even the lite version offers all the data you need to make an informed decision while choosing a keyword.
Since Jaaxy is the only keyword tool I’m really familiar with, I will next go through how to find a great keyword with it. In Jaaxy there are essentially three metric we are interested in. The first one is the avg, which stand for average monthly searches, traffic is the amount of traffic you can expect to receive if you rank on the first page of Google and lastly the most important, QSR or quoted search results, the amount of competition with this exact keyword in Google.
When you are starting to build a site you want to find keywords with as little competition as possible. It’s OK if the traffic is low, as long as there is some. This makes it possible to rank in Google even though you haven’t built any real authority yet. Once you have enough content ranked with the low competition keywords you can start to go for the higher competition ones with higher traffic. Going straight for them you won’t stand a chance with a new site.
Different people use different rules for the Jaaxy values but I generally look for keywords with traffic of around 15 to 100 and QSR of less than 50. The tennis shoe examples I made out from the top of my head before are all actually pretty good keywords and the most comfortable tennis shoes for men is actually great with a QSR of 13. Feel free to use them.
You can try Jaaxy completely free for 30 searches by the way.
Writing quality content
Now that we have a domain, a site installed on that domain and some great keywords it’s time to start creating content. Your content needs to be relevant, easy to understand and engaging. The posts and pages you write need to have enough content to seem significant to Google. This means over 1000 words per post, I prefer over 2000 myself.
This is the toughest part of creating a successful affiliate marketing site. I’m not going to lie to you, it takes tens of posts just to start getting noticed by Google and probably hundreds to truly dominate a niche with an authority site.
This essentially means you have to be willing to put in the work of writing every week to be successful, this is not a get rich overnight scam. It takes actual work The good thing is that once your content it takes a lot less effort to keep it there. So you should think of the time you put in the beginning as an investment. You reap the benefits later or.
The other good thing about writing is that it gets easier. I haven’t been doing this that long and already the writing is faster and more natural than it was in the beginning. And I’m not even writing in my native language. So you should not be afraid of the writing. You don’t have to be an excellent writer, there are tools to help you correct and check spelling and punctuation. It’s actually better to write in a casual down-to-earth style that most people can relate to. Remember, you are trying to establish trust with your audience.
Interaction (comments / social media)
Once you have content on your site it’s important to share that content in social media. Google and other search engines look for engagement and social interaction when they are ranking your content. Naturally for Google, Google+ is very important so you should network at least in there and share all your content as you create it.
Other important thing is to get comments on your posts to tell about engagement. This can be hard before you are getting organic traffic as someone has to see your content before they can comment. This is the other reason social media is important for new sites. You can also get help for comments in Wealthy Affiliate if you decide to use their service.
Adding affiliate links
So you now have let’s say 30 great, engaging, 2000+ word posts on your tennis shoes for men niche website, targeted on low competition keywords. Google has noticed you and you are receiving organic traffic daily. What next? It’s time to make money.
To monetize your content you will add affiliate links to you posts. In the tennis shoes for men niche Amazon would be a great affiliate partner as there are thousands of tennis shoes for men in their inventory. So let’s say you have some reviews where you compare popular tennis shoes and are receiving traffic to those reviews.
Next you simply add affiliate links to Amazon so that your visitors can order the shoes from Amazon if they wish. If they do, you receive a 5% to 8% affiliate fee for the purchase. If they purchase something else while on Amazon, you will be credited for that too. It’s not unheard-of that someone buys a smart phone or a computer at the same time as they buy something completely different.
Let’s do a bit of math here. Let’s say you are reviewing $200 tennis shoes and your review receives 500 monthly visits on average, out of those 500 visitors 2 % decide to make purchase, if I understood correctly Amazon pays 7 % affiliate fee for apparel. This would equal 500 x 0.02 x $200 x 0.07 = $140. That’s what you could be earning very realistically on complete autopilot from one single review post every single month for years. And you could have tens or hundreds of posts with similar or better results. I bet you can see the potential here.
Well there you have it. A proven way to start making money online at home. It takes work, a little bit of investment to run a site and few months to a year to climb the search engine ranks. That’s about as fast you can expect to start to make any real money online. Anyone promising instant results is lying to sell their product, sorry to break it to you.
If you are in instant need for cash and looking to make money online I would suggest eBay or Craigslist to sell some of your belongings. If you are just looking for employment and not running your own site you can easily find freelance online jobs in places like Fiverr or Freelancer.
There is always the odd chance you might be the next YouTube hit and could find success creating content there, especially if you dread writing. Just don’t expect any miracles, it takes probably way more work to rank in YouTube than with the Wealthy Affiliate method.
If you have any questions about affiliate marketing or Wealthy Affiliate don’t be afraid to ask, I do my best to answer all the comments I get.