Earn Money Online

Summer is flying by really quickly. It seems like I just wrote about my $7,353 in Q2 online income and now its time for another update! July has been a stellar month and I managed to pull in just over $3,200 in online income.

As usual, Ebay was my biggest earner with nearly 33% of the online income. I’m glad I’m not dependant on only one source for the majority of my income, especially since I found out that one of my friends got booted from the Ebay Partner Network (EPN). While the real reason is a mystery, I can only guess it was one of the following:

  1. He wasn’t promoting related products on his blog. This tells the EPN that you’re not a serious affiliate marketeer and that you don’t know how to internet traffic conversion works.
  2. Some of the other sites were thin-sites. A site with no content and just affiliate links to products doesn’t usually rank well in the search engines and as a result gets no traffic. This also indicates that you’re a novice.

Ebay is facing problems increasing their revenues. They desperately need people to market their products for them. However, they don’t want people to sign up for the affiliate program and use it subsidise their own purchases.  If you make it seem like your internet marketing skills are non-existent there’s a pretty high likelyhood of their rejecting you. But you do have 60 days to try out BANS and get a refund if you don’t like it. If you don’t like BANS you can try this other Ebay plugin for wordpress that is pretty decent.

For more information read  my 1,000 word guide on how to make money from BANS

Anyway, here’s the monthly breakdown for July’s online income:

Direct Ads were a huge portion of the income as well. But this number goes up every July! Check out last July’s online income numbers. This July, the online portion is almost 40% higher while my dividend income is 40%! Speaking of dividends, I need to write a post about that!

My “other affiliate” is pretty low. It’ll probably be higher next month since I won’t be working and can devote more time to it. Lets see how that works out.

In the past year I’ve experimented a lot on different sites and I’ve found that Ebay’s affiliate program is pretty easy to implement. I’m also experimenting on new things, many of which just don’t work so I scrap them and move on. One of the things I did try a while ago was automated blogging. You create a site that pulls content from other sites and you put adsense around it. Not only did I get little traffic, the site was de-indexed from google and adsense blacklisted the site. Essentially I was warned that my adsense account might be shut down if I continued such blatant theft of content! While I don’t make much money from Adsense, it’s still $1000+ a year.

Anyway, let me know how you guys are doing and what seems to be working for you (or not!).

hp-DV6series-16-inch-intel-core-2-duo-laptop

Check out the new laptop I got courtesy of Ebay.com! No, I didn’t buy a laptop on ebay, but I did use the money ebay sent me to buy a really nice notebook. You can learn more about the configuration of the 16 inch intel core 2 duo HP laptop here. With the recession going on and unemployment soaring, its nice have someone sending me a few dollars now and then for my discrentionary purchases.

As I reported previously, I’ve made around $15,000 in the first 6 months of the year through various online income streams. Last month was no exception. I’ll report the exact amount later, but again ebay was a major portion of this number. I won’t know the exact amount until Saturday but so far it’s just over $1,000. I’ve outlined the steps to create ebay income, but if that’s too technical for you, you might want to check out this new program called NicheDevil that looks very promising. It comes with a 60 day refund policy so there’s no downside. If you are unable to make any money online with it, just get your money back. The creator is the same guy who turned me on to BANS which has made me $10,000 so far so I’m more than happy to throw a few dollars his way to check out the product.

Is anyone else making money selling real estate, sports cars or gold coins on ebay or through BANS? If so let me know your success stories!

Update: I bought NicheDevil and I set up a few sites with NicheDevil. While it took me considerably longer than the 36 seconds advertised it was a considerably easier than setting up a comparable BANS site. I also liked the automatic pulling of tweets, youtube  videos and images based on your target keywords. The only drawback was I had to get HostGator hosting. I used the online chat help and asked if they had any current promotions – they said they had a 20% discount with the code “Beach” so I used that to get Baby hosting which cost $95/year for unlimited domains. I still actually prefer Dreamhost but they didn’t support the installation of IonCube loader so I had to use HostGator instead (well, I didn’t have to but I’m too busy to figure out how to install it myself). I also bought a few domains from 1and1.com since they offer free private registration and currently have .com domains for $6.99!

Overall, it was a quick and easy setup. The sites look pretty good. I downloaded GIMP and made some minor modifications to the layout of the site (just background color and header image which I borrowed from someone else!). I’ll let everyone know how they work out.

Every month there are 673,000 searches for the term ‘make money online‘ and over a million for various combinations such as ‘earn money online‘ and ‘how to make money online‘.  Apparently there’s a lot of money to be made in this niche and there are tons of people who will sell you ebooks, CDs, DVDs and monthly subscriptions on how to make hundreds of thousands of dollars by pimping stuff online or through secret google-checks. The sad truth is that is difficult to make $100,000 a year but it is not impossible. With a little bit of effort I’ve been pulling in a little over $2,000 a month for almost a year. I wish I could devote more time to it, but with my MBA, job search and some part-time consulting (and now summer internship) I barely get any time to try new things. In fact, I barely get time to post on this blog either.

Here’s my breakdown for the 2nd quarter. I made $7,353.84 in online income I made between April 2009 through June 2009. For comparison, I made $6,760.85 in online income during the 1st quarter.

On average, I made just over $2,250 a month.  As usual, Ebay was the largest income producer.  Till date this year, I’ve made just over $5,000 from Ebay affiliate commissions and over $8,000 since I started last year. (click on the graph twice to see a larger image).

Ebay-build-a-niche-store-earnings

As you can see from the graph, the earnings (in yellow) have steadily increased each month (with a big surge before Christmas followed by a huge drop right after!). Read this post on How to make money from Ebay without selling anything if you want more information about starting your own niche sites.

One of my fellow blogtrepreneurs makes over $3,000 from his BANS sites so there is decent money to be made.  However, the few $100k/year guys I know make it from selling ebooks and other online products. From what I gather, that is the most likely way to make a real living from online marketing and sales. Towards that end, I’ve been working on a project to create and sell some online ebooks. Within the next several weeks, I divulge more information about it. Until then, all I can say is that the idea was motivated by this $7 ebook!

At periodic intervals, I post my passive income revenue and other articles about creating passive income. One method I’ve heard about was creating articles on HubPages.com. If you have decent writing skills but no technical expertise it offers a way for you to make some online income.

I was able to ask the CEO of HubPages.com and YieldBuild.com, Paul Edmonson some questions about his entrepreneurial experience and passive income.

How did you begin in online marketing?

I started in online marketing back in 1999 when I first started working on the search engine optimization strategy for MongoMusic. Since then I’ve started numerous sites that range from lead generation to niche content, been an SEO consultant and am now the CEO of HubPages.com and YieldBuild.  Both technologies are geared toward helping publishers optimize their online ad revenues.

How many sites, blogs, hubpages do you maintain?

I have made a few hundred hubs personally, but there are over 367,000 Hubs published now and more getting added every day.

What are your different source of online revenue?

HubPages revenue is driven by the YieldBuild ad optimization service that come primarily from optimizing AdSense, and Microsoft PubCenter through our service.

What are the most difficult challenges you face?

I think the biggest challenge of online businesses is getting to scale.  It generally takes time and several iterations to get a product or service fit to the market.  Generally, you won’t know how good a business will be until the product is fit to the market.  I think this process is the most difficult for every web based business I’ve bee apart of.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start making money online?

It starts with quality.  You have to make a quality product or service.  This take time and lots of hard work.  And.  You have to continue to improve and iterate.  If you are starting out online, I’d suggest make something extraordinary well, and keep iterating until it gets fit to the market.

How much money do you make through online residual sources?

Personally my wife and I have Hubs and a few sites that make about $2K-$3K per month, but our YieldBuild business will gross over $3 Million this year and is growing quite quickly.

Would you like to plug your company?

Yes, people should check out HubPages.com if they are interested in starting with earning revenue online by creating and sharing content. Make high quality Hubs and overtime, you will start to generate revenue.  For people that have sites, they should take a look at YieldBuild.com and try our ad optimization services.

While he mentions that he makes $2-3k from his hubs, he didn’t tell you that he has nearly 250 hubs. This must have taken serious effort. Creating online income, passive income or any sort of income for that matter isn’t easy. Its takes time and effort. Many people give up before they even get started. If you expecting to see quick results, you will likely be disappointed.

What online revenue streams do you have? What has or hasn’t worked for you?

As I’ve mentioned in how to make money on ebay, I’ve set up several Ebay affiliate sites to generate passive income. Typically you make a percentage of the sales price which ends up in the 4-8% range. However, when buying cars, you only get a fixed price which is currently about $100-$130. But if you can sell a few cars through your site every month, it soon adds up.

Well, someone finally bought a whole car (as opposed to spare parts or accessories) through one of my sites. And not just any car – an antique 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow!

1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow

Of course, $130 in affiliate commissions isn’t exactly earth-shattering, but it’s the largest sales commission I’ve received from Ebay so far!  And coupled with the sale of an antique seiko watch, a few designer bags and cheap ipods, it almost pays the rent!

Several of my long time readers have asked me to post my online income. I didn’t realize that I haven’t posted the passive income and online revenue numbers since December. A few reader are just starting to make money online and are particularly curious!

So here’s a quarterly breakdown for online income only. I haven’t had time to calculate the dividend income.

Quarterly Online Income:$6,760.85

Dividend Income: No Clue

The largest segment was the income from Ebay which was about $1,875.  Over the course of entire 2008, I made a total of $3,332.55 from the Ebay sites, so this income has increased quite a bit.  The sites target people who want to buy online businesses, cheap real estate and timeshares, gold coins and other niches.

I also made an additional $3,800 from online marketing & SEO consulting!

Remember, this is quarterly revenue from January through March.

I just ran the totals for passive income for December and I found out that it was the 3rd most “profitable” month of 2008.  The other two were October and June.

Monthly Passive (alternative, online & dividend) Income was $3,276.07.

The total online income was $2385.20 which broke the previous record by ~$130.

Here’s the breakdown of the $3,276.07:

Online Income:$2385.2

Dividend/Alternate Income: $890.87

The largest segment was the income from Ebay which was over $900, probably due to Christmas. Over the course of 2008, I made a total of $3332.55 from the Ebay sites. Adding a storefront on this site has helped boost this income.  The store targets people who want to buy online businesses, cheap real estate and timeshares, gold coins and other income producing ventures.

In another post, I’ll list the total income for 2008 and a break-down by category.

I’ve been busy with Business School and it’s been an insanely hectic month. Forget about writing posts, I haven’t even had much time to sleep!

I just ran the totals for passive income for October and I found out I’ve broken my previous record for monthly passive income that I set in June.

Monthly Passive (alternative, online & dividend) Income was $3,454.99.

The total online income was $2160.67 which is lower than my record by ~$95. However, my investment in a Japanese REIT paid a quarterly dividend that pushed up my dividend income over the usual $1000/month to a total of $1259.18.

Here’s the breakdown of the $3,454.99:

Online Income:$2160.67

Dividend/Alternate Income: $1259.18

  • ING Savings Account: $111.18
  • Direct Oil Drilling Investment: $397.53
  • Dividends from Canroys: ~$412 (after tax deducted at source)
  • Other Dividends: $338.47
  • The affiliate income from Ebay was almost $650 last month. Year to date, I’ve made $2,220 from my Ebay sites. Adding storefront on this site has also helped my income.  The store targets people who want to buy online businesses, cheap real estate and timeshares, gold coins and other income producing ventures. I recently added a go-kart for sale page.

    Some of the other ebay affiliate sites are .info sites that I bought .info domains for $0.99 from GoDaddy and created them using BANS software, which automatically pulls the relevant content from Ebay. They’re all hosted on Dreamhost, for which I pay under $119.40/year for unlimited domains, 500GB of bandwidth and some couple of TB of data. Dreamhost is currently running a special, where you get four times the usual disk-space and bandwidth! Also if you prepay for 5 years you get $150 off.  They’re currently running a special where you get unlimited bandwidth and disk space at no extra cost for the next 11 years. Use code PassiveIncome to get $19.40 off your hosting or Dividends to get a free domain registration.

    Note: Setting up BANS on Dreamhost requires a little bit of tweaking. If you’re not very familiar with setting up websites then I strongly suggest using HostGator for your hosting. They cost about the same and have pretty good compatibility with the BANS software. But don’t ask me for support!

    If you want more info on how to generate passive income from sites, look at the 2nd half of this post (look for the section on Niche Sites). I also recommend  the secret cash plan ebook. It’s a primer on the different methods to create online income. It has a very good section on finding niche market segments. It only costs $20 and it has a money back guarantee.

    For more info on the other online sources of income, check out my previous passive income updates.

    But while my passive income is up, my stock portofolio has been almost decimated. While it’s actually update 20%+ from the lows of last month, its down 50% for the year. Luckily I barely have any leverage, otherwise the account would have been wiped out!

I made $2,884.13 in online & passive income for the month of September, 2008. After the somewhat lackluster income over summer, this was a welcome increase.

Here’s the breakdown:

The affiliate income from Ebay has been growing steadily. It’s more than doubled from August and the total revenue for this year is $1847.67. I think that’s a pretty good return for a little bit of effort (most of which took place in May). In July I added a storefront on this website which focuses on business, cheap real estate, gold coins and other income producing ventures. I recently added a Ferrari and Sports-car for sale page. I don’t expect to sell any Ferraris’ or Lamborghinis’ but I sure enjoy looking at them!

Some of the other ebay affiliate sites are .info sites that I bought .info domains for $0.99 from GoDaddy and created them using BANS software, which automatically pulls the relevant content from Ebay. They’re all hosted on Dreamhost, for which I pay $110/year for unlimited domains. Dreamhost is currently running a special, where you get four times the usual disk-space and bandwidth! Also if you prepay for 5 years you get $150 off.  Use one of the promo codes below at Dreamhost:

333373609023
986060012222
593944613024
436480227416
972055933830

Note: Setting up BANS on Dreamhost requires a little bit of tweaking. If you’re not very familiar with setting up websites then I strongly suggest using HostGator for your hosting. They cost about the same and have pretty good compatibility with the BANS software.

For a little more info on how to generate passive income from sites, look at the 2nd half of this post (look for the section on Niche Sites).

For more info on the other online sources of income, check out my previous passive income updates.

Last month was a massacre for my oil and gold stocks. One of them, Tortoise Energy (TYY) was trading under $6/share for a brief period and yielding 36%!. Unfortunately, I missed the buying window and it’s now trading over $15 again. TYY is an American MLP (Master Lease Partnership); dividends are counted as return of principle making them tax-free!

Anyway, its time to wind up this post. I have 3 midterms next week.

As of July 20th 2009, I’ve received over $8,500 so far from Ebay. But the beauty is I didn’t actually sell anything. That’s right, Ebay sent me the money for referring buyers to their site. Since several of my fellow bloggers have asked me how to go about making money from ebay, I’ve put together this short how-to article that I hope will help you.

How Does the Ebay Affiliate Program (EPN) Work?

Back in April I built several niche sites to that specifically targeted to specific niches like gold coins, iphones and ipod batteries. Several weeks ago, I also added an “investment store” on this site that sells cheap timeshares, real estate and income-producing websites.

Ebay pays a commission based on the final sales price of the item. It usually varies between 5-10%. For items like cars and real estate, there is a flat fee which is over $100! I just received $175 from the sale of a $4,000 rental property in Ohio and another $135 from the sale of a used car. And it wasn’t any old used car, someone sold a rolls royce on ebay!

Additionally, if someone signs up as a new user, Ebay pays up to $35 (although its typically only $25). It also gives up to 75% (although 50% is more usual) of it commissions to affiliates who refer buyers. You can get more affiliate information here.

How Do You Create A Niche Site?

The toughest part of creating a niche site is identifying the niche. Ideally, you want a well-searched for niche that doesn’t have a lot of competition. For example, “discount designer doo-dahs” is a niche. But is it a good one? Good luck figuring that out on your own. However, there are a lot of tools to help you do this. Some people recommend Keyword Elite and I have it and use it. But there are several other tools, some of which require a one-time fee and others that charge a monthly subscription to use. If you already have one and are seeing good results with it, then it should be sufficient.

The niche sites aggregate the RSS feeds from Ebay for related products and display them. Luckily, I didn’t have to do the programming. In fact, creating the site is the easiest part of the whole process. I just bought the BANS (Build-A-Niche-Site) software that does everything for me. It did cost $97 but considering that I’ve made over $8,000 from ebay so far (as of July 2009), I’d say it was a pretty good investment.

Several people have told me that they were rejected or they had accounts and got banned. While its not widely understood why a lot of people have been rejected, its not too difficult to understand. If you submit thin-sites to the EPN there is a higher likelyhood of getting rejected. (A thin site is a site with no content, just affiliate links).  Always submit your flagship blog to EPN. If you’re using BANS on another store (as this blog does) make sure you’re selling related products. Note that this blogs’ store doesn’t anything that I don’t have at least 10 posts on. (Of course, I have 800 posts so finding a related product is pretty easy!). But if you’re blogging about cooking and trying to sell bicycle parts, it just doesn’t make sense. Effectively, you’ve conveyed to the EPN team your complete lack of experience in online marketing and understanding of how online traffic conversion works. Once you’ve been approved, then you can start multiple sites on different products. But make sure each site is targeted towards a specific product and make sure you understand the marketing part (which I’ve discussed below).

So make sure you have relevant content. How do you create relevant content? Either you write it, you pay someone to write it, or you use a tool to aggregate other people’s tweets or posts. Make sure you don’t just outright steal content – that will not only result in bad karma, you will also get flagged by the search engines for duplicate content!  One tool I’ve seen been used on sites that Google has not banned (de-indexed) is WPanswers.  It’s only $29.99 and comes with a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. I just bought it and I’ll let you know if I see any adverse effects from it.

Buying A Cheap Domain With Cheap Hosting

I also had to pay for domain names, but Godaddy had a 99 cent sale on domains so that wasn’t much of a cost. I also use 1 & 1 for domain name registration because they sometimes have specials. I usually go with whichever is cheaper, although 1&1 does offer free domain privacy for which Godaddy charges an extra $9.99 a year. However, Godaddy’s interface is significantly easier to use and their customer service is pretty stellar, so there’s some definite value in that, especially if you’re new to the online world. ( Also,  .org sites are usually much cheaper at 1&1 than Godaddy and may have better street cred than .info sites. )

I also use my own hosting. I like Dreamhost a lot and highly recommend it. It’s incredibly easy to install and update the sites. I’ve been using them for 4 years and they also have an affiliate program which pays out 100% of the first years hosting (sometimes 175%!) for new referrals. (Use code “PassiveIncome” for a decent discount). For $120/year you get 1 free domain registration and unlimited hosting. HostGator is another well-respected hosting company and many people with BANS sites use them too. Their affiliate program is also supposed to be excellent, but I wouldn’t know!

Marketing Your Niche Site

The most important part about making money online is the online marketing of your newly created sites. If you’re like most newbies and you build several sites thinking that you’ll automatically get traffic, you’ll be very disappointed. You need to understand how to create content that attracts search engine traffic (also called organic traffic). Again, Keyword Elite will help you with this. Its a pretty good tool and the videos on the landing page are worth a watch if you don’t know anything about harnessing the power of internet traffic. Another key factor that is often overlooked is building back-links to your site. I have personally gone to hundreds of blogs and left real, relevant comments on them with links back to my site. Some of them are nofollow links, but I don’t think it really matters. I believe all links matter, its just that nofollow and links from low-quality sites matter less than than links from a top quality site.  However, a cool way to get a lot of social media love is through a Social Bookmarking Automation Tool.  I highly, highly recommend this tool and it is in fact the one I use the most often. Most of my sites rank very well on various search engines for certain keywords and I get excellent organic traffic. As you can see from the Ebay affiliate sales figures, the conversion rates are pretty high.

Here’s another tool I highly recommend. I tells you what keywords you rank for and what your position is in the search engines. Its incredibly useful, especially when you see someone new bump you from your spot on Google. You can use this (along with some other tools) to see if its a fluke or they’re actually planning to take over your position!

If you’re still floundering, you need a guide with step by step instructions. The 9 Step Make Money Online Guide is an excellent resource written by the creators of BANS software. You should definitely read it if you’re new or if you have sites that aren’t generating much income.

Here are my earnings below:

Ebay-build-a-niche-store-earnings

As you can see from the image, the traffic (in blue) and the earnings (in yellow) have been increasing over the past year. As I’ve becoming more focused in my selection of keywords and as my search engine rankings have improved, the conversion of the traffic has gotten a lot better too.

While it took some initial effort to set up the stores and market them online, I haven’t done anything for at over 6 weeks. Making nearly $1,000/month from several sites that don’t require much effort is really cool. Finally some residual income that’s really passive! So don’t give up! It might take a few months to see any fruits of your labor but it will be well worth it!

I’ll post my monthly passive income update sometime this week.