The internet can sometimes feel like the Wild West, with various scams and scammers lurking about, eager to find their next victim. However, amid this vast landscape, there are genuine opportunities to make money online. We’re not talking about the ubiquitous “get rich quick” scams promising you’ll make a fortune in no time, but rather proven ways to generate income through hard work and perseverance.
Of course, nothing in this world is entirely free. If you want to make money online, you’ll need to put in effort. Success won’t come overnight, but with dedication and hard work, you can potentially not only supplement your income but also make a living on the internet.
In this guide, we’ll delve into five of the internet’s primary sources of income, including:
If you’re looking to make a living online, focusing on one of these five areas is essential. However, if you’re content with your current job but want to earn some extra money on the side, here are some of your best options:
Watch videos, play games, and get paid to Make Money Online
Online survey sites like Swagbucks actually reward you for completing surveys and small tasks online. You’ll receive virtual cash, which can be converted into real money, PayPal credits, or gift vouchers for stores like Marks & Spencer and Amazon. While you won’t become wealthy with Swagbucks, you can easily add an extra R550 to your monthly income, which amounts to R1200 annually.
Online survey sites
Online survey sites are an effective way to boost your income because they require no special skills and can be enjoyable. You simply sign up and wait for surveys to arrive in your inbox, covering topics ranging from your choice of laundry detergent to opinions on political matters. Register for a few of the sites listed in this article, and you could easily add an extra R15,000 to your annual income.
Get paid to search online
By installing an add-on called Qmee on your internet browser, you can monetize your online searches. Qmee will display additional results or ads alongside your standard search results, and if an ad interests you, clicking on it will earn you a small payment, typically around ten pence per click. While this may only add an extra R250-R500 to your monthly income, when combined with other strategies, it can accumulate over time.
Complete simple market research tasks
Websites like Field Agent, Roamler, Yoobic, and Streetspotr offer opportunities to perform basic market research tasks. These tasks may involve checking product prices in stores, taking photos or menu cards in restaurants, or photographing product displays. You could earn R150-R350 for each accepted “mission,” which is a decent return for just a few minutes of work.
Test company websites
Sign up for What Users Do to earn money testing company websites. Businesses are eager to make their websites as user-friendly as possible, and by joining What Users Do, you become the website tester. You’ll be paid to complete tasks on a website, such as finding a specific product or completing an action.
The company records your screen and voice as you perform the task, so you’ll need a microphone, but your face won’t be recorded. Once you’re an established member of the site, you might also be invited to test mobile sites, which can pay up to R250 per test for 10-15 minutes of work.
How to make money on YouTube
You’ve likely heard stories about “vloggers” who make a substantial living by regularly posting YouTube videos and earning advertising revenue. In some cases, a single viral video can lead to significant earnings. For example, the “Charlie bit my finger – again” video has been viewed over 827 million times and has generated more than R100,000 in advertising revenue for the family.
The formula for making money on YouTube is simple: create a video that attracts enough views, and companies will pay to advertise on your channel. The advertising revenue is typically split 55-45 in your favor.
How much money can you potentially make?
The potential for earning money on YouTube is vast, though achieving a life-changing income may not be realistic for everyone. You can start earning money relatively quickly if you build a strong subscriber base. Instead of relying on a single viral video, regular vlogs (video blogs) that offer real value to your subscribers are more likely to lead to success. Even with a substantial subscriber base, your earnings can fluctuate, ranging from thousands of pounds one month to a hundred or so the next.
As a benchmark, you can expect to earn a few pounds for every 1,000 views your video receives. However, this amount can increase based on factors such as the number of subscribers, likes, comments, and favorites you receive.
The beauty of YouTube is how easy it is to get started. You can post your own video content at no cost since most of the equipment you need is likely on your smartphone. The essentials include:
- A decent camera – Higher quality is better, with videos recorded in full 1080p HD.
- Sound recording equipment – Many smartphones and cameras have built-in microphones, but as you progress, consider investing in a dedicated microphone.
- Video editing software – If you’re posting regular vlogs, the ability to edit your footage is crucial. Decent video editing software, like Microsoft Windows Movie Maker, is available for free.
The great news is that there’s a vast potential market for those looking to make money on YouTube. With over one billion unique users monthly, if your videos are engaging and you follow these quick tips, you can indeed generate significant income.
Building Your YouTube Channel
Regardless of whether you’re setting up a YouTube channel to promote your business’s products or just to share cat videos, the fundamentals remain the same. When creating your account, use keywords to make your content more discoverable. Navigate to the advanced section of your channel settings to accomplish this. Ensure the keywords are relevant to your content, such as “cute cat videos” or “DIY tips.”
Select a username that’s short, simple, and unique, making it easier for people to find you. Google provides a helpful guide to creating and building your channel.
The most successful YouTube videos are generally short and of high quality. Regularly uploading new content is crucial, so your subscribers know when to expect new videos. Initially, the quality of your videos may not be outstanding, but practice and improvement are key.
You can enhance your videos by using better cameras, shooting from different angles, improving editing, using a tripod, and working on lighting. Tag each video with relevant keywords and an enticing description to drive traffic from YouTube searches.
Increasing Your Audience
The ability to build an audience is central to monetizing your YouTube channel. The more people who watch your videos, the more money you’ll make. Building an audience is primarily about hard work and promotion to make money online.
Upload content regularly and consistently at similar times each month. Share your videos with as many people as possible on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Promptly respond to viewer comments, and even create video content tailored to viewer requests or questions. This approach fosters a community that people want to be a part of.
Monetizing Your Content
To monetize your videos and start earning money on YouTube, your content must meet specific criteria:
- It must be advertiser-friendly and appropriate for all audiences.
- You must have permission to use it commercially.
- You should provide documentation proving your commercial rights to any audio and video content.
- It must comply with YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.
To enable monetization on your YouTube channel, follow these steps:
- Go to the “monetization tab” in your account settings.
- Click “enable my account.”
- Follow the on-screen steps to accept the YouTube monetization agreement.
Once your account is successfully monetized, you can choose which videos you want to monetize.
Monetizing your content is pointless if you can’t receive payment. You’ll need to set up Google AdSense, which allows you to earn money and customize the appearance of ads to match your YouTube channel. If you’re under 18, an adult should help you create your account. You’ll also need a PayPal or bank account and a valid email address for AdSense to verify your identity and send payments to the correct place.
Understanding Your Audience
The Analytics option in your YouTube channel menu provides insights into your audience. You can examine the demographic of your viewers and identify which videos receive the most views and generate the highest earnings. This information can help fine-tune your YouTube content in the future.
Marketing Your Videos
The most successful YouTube channels don’t rely solely on content publication and audience discovery. To maximize views and subscribers, use all available platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and your business website, to inform as many people as possible about your new YouTube videos.
Becoming a YouTube Partner
To make money online on YouTube, the final step is to become a YouTube Partner. YouTube Partner status is typically granted to channels with monetized videos that receive a substantial number of views. Becoming a YouTube Partner unlocks various features, from improved content creation tools to additional support and advice. To access the most powerful YouTube Partner programs, you’ll need 15,000 cumulative hours of viewing time in the last 90 days.
How to Make Money from Blogging
If you’ve ever wondered how to make money from blogging, you’ve come to the right place. The link between writing content online and make money online might seem obscure to newcomers. Every blogger’s income streams are unique, as no two bloggers are the same. However, all bloggers share the need for substantial time and effort before generating income.
Choosing the Right Topic
In some cases, no matter how much effort you put into your blog, you may struggle to monetize it. The topic is the key difference between a fantastic “hobby” blog and one that can generate income. If you have a blog with a small audience that you’ve worked hard to build, consider switching to a topic with broader appeal.
The recipe for success involves finding a topic that isn’t already covered extensively by bloggers but still attracts significant searches. A topic you’re passionate about and knowledgeable in is essential, as it will help you produce the high-quality content required to maintain reader interest.
Once you’ve settled on a topic, the next step is to create your blog. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Purchase hosting.
- Choose your domain, preferably something catchy.
- Install WordPress.
- Design your blog.
A comprehensive guide to getting started can walk you through each of these steps.
Writing Your Blog
Understanding how to make money online from blogging is just a small part of the equation; the majority of your success will depend on hard work. It can take months or even years to start generating even a small amount of revenue from your blog. To achieve success, produce regular, original, high-quality content on a topic that interests your readers.
The temptation for some bloggers is to rehash existing articles. While it’s the easy option, it’s not the path to success. Quality blogs rely on original and engaging content. Conduct research and check what’s already out there, but readers come to your blog because they appreciate your writing style and unique perspective. They won’t bother bookmarking your blog if you’re merely rehashing other people’s work.
The truth is, there are no shortcuts. If your blog posts lack original insights or fail to provide value to readers, they won’t be read. To make money, you need visitors, and visitors will come only if your content is worth reading.
Creating excellent content isn’t sufficient to make money from blogging. To attract the visitor numbers you need, it’s essential to engage with your followers and other influencers in your niche. Build genuine relationships, interact, and find people who can benefit from your information.
Building relationships is vital for three reasons:
- Authentic relationships with respected influencers in your niche establish you as a trusted source of information and allow you to become an authority in your field.
- The more people who know you exist, the more traffic your blog will receive. If another blogger publishes one of your blog posts, it exposes your content to a wider audience.
- Building mutually beneficial, lasting relationships can turn online acquaintances into friends who support you in the future, making it easier to achieve your blogging goals.
Monetizing Your Blog
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to making money from blogging. Successful bloggers continually seek new income streams as others may diminish. The key is to have multiple income sources working simultaneously behind the scenes.
These are five of the most common income streams for bloggers:
Advertising involves displaying ads on your blog to make money online. These can be images or banners located in different areas like headers, footers, and sidebars. Advertisers are interested in blogs with substantial traffic, so this may not be the most lucrative income stream for new bloggers. Ads should be relevant to your content but not overwhelming, as excessive advertising can negatively impact your blog’s ranking on search engines like Google.
You can work with ad networks like Google AdSense, Blogads, or BlogHer. Alternatively, you can negotiate private ad deals directly with advertisers or create sponsored posts where you write about a company’s product or service in exchange for a fee. Always disclose your relationship with the company to your readers.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services from other companies on your blog and make money online. You earn a commission when your readers make a purchase through affiliate links on your blog. To become an affiliate marketer, identify products or services relevant to your blog and check if they offer an affiliate program.
Many companies have affiliate programs that you can join. Ensure that the products and services you promote align with your blog’s content and genuinely interest your readers to maintain trust.
- Digital Products
If you’re an expert in your niche, consider creating digital products such as online courses, paid webinars, and e-books. Online courses and webinars can teach valuable skills, and e-books are self-published content that can generate income.
While e-books may not generate significant revenue, they can be a good source of income, especially for bloggers with engaging content on specific topics. You can also offer exclusive content to paying members on your blog if you have in-demand expertise.
- Physical Products
Some bloggers monetize their work by selling physical products. If you’ve built a loyal following, consider self-publishing or traditionally publishing books, particularly if you’re a lifestyle or cooking blogger. If your blog focuses on specific skills or knowledge, you can offer conferences, classes, and workshops.
Selling handmade or manufactured products related to your blog’s content is another option. For example, a jewelry-making blog could sell handmade jewelry products on platforms like Etsy or Handmade at Amazon.
Offering your expertise or skills as a paid service is another income stream. Successful bloggers often have strong writing, design, and social media management skills. You can provide services like content creation, graphic design, and social media management to other websites or blogs. Your blogging experience can make you a valuable resource in the online business world, and businesses are willing to pay for these skills.
How to Make Money from Social Media
Around half of all South Africa adults use social media daily, and one in seven people worldwide are regular social media users. With an internet connection, you can potentially reach over one billion people. However, the competitive landscape is fierce. Here are some potential ways to make money through social media:
- Write Sponsored Tweets
If you have a significant Twitter following, companies may pay you to send out sponsored tweets about their brands. Sponsored tweets can be a source of income, but they generally require a substantial following.
- Sell Stock Photos
Share your photography on platforms like Flickr. Licensing your photos under Creative Commons allows other websites and blogs to use them for free. Building a following and enhancing your skills through free licensing is an excellent start. Eventually, you can transition to stock photography sites like Shutterstock and iStockphoto, where people pay to use your pictures.
- Advertise Your Products
For online retailers and hobbyists, Pinterest offers an ideal platform to reach a broader audience. Use high-quality product images to capitalize on advertising space that reaches over 200,000 people in the South Africa alone.
- Become a Social Media Manager
If you’re proficient in managing multiple social media platforms, consider freelancing as a social media manager on websites like PeoplePerHour. Start with simple projects to build your skills and gradually increase your rates as you gain experience. You can eventually establish your own social media business.
- Run an Online Instagram Shop
Instagram has a strong user base, primarily consisting of young and female users. Brands related to fashion, fitness, entertainment, and media perform well on Instagram. If your products align with these markets or you’re exploring wholesale opportunities, setting up an Instagram shop can be a lucrative endeavor.
By leveraging these strategies, you can explore income opportunities and potentially earn money online through social media.
How to Make Money from a Website
If you have a website with substantial traffic, you have the potential to monetize it and generate income. However, it’s crucial to consider how you built your website’s traffic in the first place. Most websites receive their primary traffic from organic search queries.
Monetizing your website with methods that violate search engine guidelines may result in penalties, causing your site to drop in rankings. Be cautious and ensure you maintain your website’s integrity when exploring ways to make money from it.
- Selling Products and Services:
Many websites aim to sell products and services to their audience to make money online. To be successful, you need to place your website at the top of search engine rankings through organic or paid search engine marketing. Detailed guides on these topics can help you optimize your website for this purpose.
- Email Marketing:
Building an email marketing list is a powerful asset make money online. It’s cost-effective and can deliver an excellent return on investment. Encourage visitors to sign up for newsletters or notifications about new content to grow your email list.
- Selling Advertising Space:
Caution is advised when selling advertising space on your website. Advertisements should be used in moderation to avoid penalties. Having too many ads “above the fold” may result in search engine penalties. You can work directly with advertisers or use services like Google AdSense, which finds suitable advertisers but takes a cut of the proceeds. You’re paid based on the number of impressions the ads receive, typically earning anywhere from R10 to R50 per 1,000 impressions.
- Premium Content:
Reserve part of your website for premium content, available to paying members. Offer exclusive, comprehensive guides, tools, and sought-after material to monetize your website further.
- Write Sponsored Reviews:
Websites with high traffic can generate income by writing sponsored reviews for products. Platforms like PayPerPost and Sponsored Reviews connect websites with products for review. While it may raise concerns about editorial credibility, sponsored reviews can be a lucrative option.
- Affiliate Marketing:
Affiliate marketing is a common way to make money online. You can promote products or services on your website and earn a commission when visitors click through and make a purchase on the merchant’s site. Several marketplaces and networks like ClickBank, LinkShare, and Google AdSense can help you find suitable affiliate opportunities for your website.
- Sell Your Website:
If you’ve built a website with a substantial following over the years and are considering a new project, selling your website can be an option. Websites are assets, and they can be sold based on their revenue. Websites typically sell for 12 to 24 months’ revenue. If your blog has a strong reputation in your industry, it may sell for even more.
How to Make Money from Google
Google AdSense is an advertising placement service for website publishers to monetize their sites by displaying targeted text, video, and image advertisements. Publishers earn income every time an ad is clicked, with a revenue split of 68% to 32% in the publisher’s favor.
How Much Can You Earn?
The earnings from Google AdSense depend on the advertiser’s willingness to pay for a click, with competitive search terms commanding higher rates. Earnings can vary from R10 to R100 per click, but typically, over R1 per click is rare. AdSense provides daily, weekly, and monthly earnings reports.
Will Google AdSense Work for You?
To make money online with Google AdSense, you need:
- A high-quality website that meets Google’s standards.
- Substantial traffic, with at least 200-300 unique visitors per day.
- Relevant keywords and content that attract advertisers.
While AdSense can provide revenue, it’s essential to diversify your income streams to reduce risks. Relying solely on AdSense may not lead to substantial earnings. Diversification is key to maximizing your income potential.
In summary, there are various opportunities to make money online, and the key is to diversify your income streams. Creating engaging online assets and providing valuable content to attract visitors is crucial.