There are plenty of ways to make money on the internet from the comfort of your own home. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, presents its own options and challenges. Five of the more common ones are as follows:
Your Product or Service.
This can be the best possible option if you have a good one. Maybe you have a product idea that you think is useful, an invention you have patented, a skill you can offer. Something you are good at or passionate about selling. Something, perhaps, you want to see succeed for a greater reason that just to make money. The reason this is a great option isn’t so much because it is inherently better than reseller products or affiliate marketing, but because it’s something you are both legitimately interested in and presumably knowledgeable of. This means you have some additional insight about what people are looking for, what they need, and you are more likely to stick with the project rather than, as many new online entrepreneurs do, abandoning it after the first two months don’t result in any sales.
Of course, not everyone has a product or service of their own to sell. Fortunately, there are thousands of websites out there that do, and that want as many potential revenue streams as possible. These sorts of sites allow you to sell the product for a commission or at an upcharge. The trick here is to go above and beyond what other resellers are providing – and if you can, what the parent company itself offers. This can be possible by selling multiple related products on the same site, or offering benefits (such as reviews, help, or interface) that aren’t around elsewhere. Or, of course, strategic marketing. Some cheap SEO to rank for niche terms that the parent company isn’t high on, for example, lets you get a steady stream of clicks without having to worry about potential customers just buying from the source first (since most reseller SEO efforts aren’t going to beat those of the parent company in their own area). Another, perhaps even better, option is to do retail sales for wholesalers that don’t actively market their product, or that don’t do so online.
Affiliate marketing is similar to product reselling, but instead of selling the products yourself and letting the main company just handle distribution, you provide traffic to the main company’s website and get paid a commission on any resulting sales. Affiliate marketing is usually best for content-based or related sites, which typically have several affiliate partners to get a wider range of leads. Generally, sales aren’t your problem – traffic is, so you want to attract a lot of people to your website. Of course, you don’t usually get paid unless your leads actually buy, so any sort of pre-selling you can do can also help.
If you aren’t confident in a partner’s site being able to sell, you may want to use advertisements rather than affiliate marketing. Companies might pay to have their ad displayed on your site for a certain period of time, or for each time the ad is viewed or clicked, regardless of sales made. In this case, traffic is all you really care about, especially with the first two methods.
Finally, some companies will pay for qualified leads, either a commission or a flat rate. Here, you aren’t doing the actual transaction, but you are playing a larger role than just sending traffic to another website. Usually, these sort of sites provide the information and you might even talk to the client, learn what they are looking for and get them ready to be closed. In other cases, you might just take the initial calls and emails and forward them on to the parent company.
Dustin Schwerman is the head web designer for Truly Unique Website Design. Truly Unique works on websites of all varieties, their clients offer services ranging from SEO to information on how to legitimate work at home.