1. Google Adsense.
If that sounds like too much technical information for you, there is an easy button – Google’s advertising platform is as simple as signing up, enabling (on Blogger) or pasting a small code on your website, and allowing the advertisements to automatically roll in. The problem with this program is that you don’t get any commissions — and you don’t get to control the ad content. This is useful for some, but powerful users will want something a little more robust.
2. Amazon Associates.
Amazon has an Associates program for site owners and bloggers. They offer a search tool to find the right products and services from their site and a variety of ad styles to display on your site, including text-based and banner images (digital billboards).
Each item purchased through your Amazon links give you a commission. It doesn’t take high volume traffic to achieve results, either. I began making money with the program when I only had 1,000 hits per month on my site. They can apply your earnings to your Amazon account balance, issue you a check, or direct deposit into your bank account. If you love Amazon, you’ll love their associate’s program.
Mindsumo is an amazing concept that has been around for almost 4 years (Since 2011). Branded companies post the problems they face as “challenges” on Mindsumo, and you have to go head-to-head with other college kids and come up with the best idea to help them solve their problems. The best 3 ideas are awarded with $150, and $50 is given to the 10 second-best ideas, or “Honors.” It’s not always about the money, but Mindsumo allows you to think creatively, and also gives you a chance to put your ideas out into the world.
You must be a student or a professors to sign up, as they accept only .edu emails.
If you have a social media account, try out Klout. The company tracks your social media usage, determines how big and what type of audience you draw based on the subject matter of your updates and posts. Using this information, you’re qualified to receive free items, tickets, etc. Check their website often to find ways of earning free stuff by doing what you’re already doing online.
If you have anything you want to sell, then EBay is the first place you should consider selling it. Personally I’m not a fan of the site because of the work it takes to build up a reputation. If you’re willing to grind through that process, you’ll be rewarded with many privileges — people have even gotten rich selling books about how they got rich selling their stuff on EBay.
If you start getting too big for EBay or decide you want to try a different flavor, Amazon has a marketplace as well. I prefer using Amazon because I can depend on their shipping, have a Prime account, and, in general, I trust their reviews.
The difference between Amazon and EBay is that EBay (though still filled with new items) is seen as a used marketplace between individual parties, whereas Amazon (which is filled with offers for new and used merchandise from the 3rd parties) is viewed as a Wal-Mart-type superstore.
Craigslist is the modern equivalent of the classified ads that dominated the days of newspapers. These quick ads are easy to navigate and use, and they’re geographically linked. Whether you’re selling something or offering a service, this method is a great place to start learning the intricacies of Craigslist.
Posting ads on Craigslist is technically easy, but people often have fears about posting their personal information on the site. I communicate mostly through email when doing business on Craigslist, and I’ve never run into any issues. I’ve never been ripped off, nor have I been murdered or raped for using the site. It takes common sense, so use your best judgment, but don’t assume someone is a thief just because of their preferred communication method. For an extra bonus, Google “funny Craigslist ads” to see some delightful examples of guerilla and grassroots marketing.
Perhaps a full-fledged career is too big of a commitment at this point in your life. Elance is a site to find freelance work of all types. I’ve used it for quick writing, editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs and temp gigs. The experience has been great.
Elance offers a wide array of technical, data entry, accounting, and other freelance and temp gigs. If you’re just looking for something short and sweet, log in, input and showcase your marketable skills, and begin searching through their job database, using any parameters you desire. Once you submit a bid, you’ll receive an acceptance or denial – you may get a few rejections, but don’t sweat it. Negotiate the terms of your bid, and get to work. You have money to make.
If you’ve heard of crowdsourcing (and even if you haven’t), Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program is a great place to get involved. Much like Elance, with Mturk you provide your personal information and skills. You are then able to search for different menial tasks ranging from identifying inappropriate web content to transcribing audio recordings to basic data entry work.
Just like at any other job, the more work you do, and the better your quality, the more opportunities you’ll have to make money. The payoff is often small, and your payment is received in Amazon credit, but Mturk is a great place to make mindless money while vegging on the and couch watching TV.
I make the bulk of my money from blogging. In addition to the advertising revenue streams mentioned above, I also receive flat rate payments for blogging from various blogs throughout the web. I’m paid to write as a whistleblower, financial analyst, reviewer, commentator, and more. Writing for other sites builds traffic to my personal blog. In turn, the traffic for this blog gives me clout to present to advertisers.
To create your own blog, you don’t even need a web domain. You can start a completely free blog on either WordPress or Blogger. Each of these sites has its ups and downs, but you can’t beat the price. You generally want to keep blog posts between 150-500 words until you have a few dozen under your belt. Links between your blog posts encourage people to stay on your blog once they find it, increasing traffic. Once your blog is up, promote it on social media for the traffic, and then you will be banking well.