Making Money Online 1

Making Money Online – With Information

Is it possible to make money online without investing first any? The answer is a loud and resonating “YES”! I will show you a simple way of making money online, for free – and legal. This is not the only method that exists, but it is a great place to start. I will try to keep it as simple and step-by-step as possible, later on you can expand on this foundation, but for the moment lets keep things K.I.S.S., ok? I will also include some paid alternatives and shortcuts, but the main focus of this blog post, and others that will follow, is to show you for free how to make money for free. To follow this method, you don’t need to spend any money at all. The only thing you have to do is to read, learn and apply what you have learned. You will need to work (I know that one is a “four-letter-word” for many 😉 ), but if you do nothing you will earn — nothing. So, lets get started:

This is a blog post aimed at absolute beginners, but I hope that I can give also the more experienced of my readers some helpful information. And you are obviously always welcome to chime in the discussion in the comment section 😉

After having worked through this blog post you should know what a niche is, known how to evaluate a niche and be able to find your first own niche. Additionally you will have a rough idea how making money online works in general and become familiar with some technical terms.

As I set out in my “making money online adventure” several years ago, I hadn’t a clue about how it works! I had no idea how to build a web site or how and if I could make money online. But I knew how to use Google and other search engines to find the information I was after. I set out on a quest of finding free information about making money online. And I was not willing to spend a dime, cent, penny for it. Call me stubborn 😉 I will not bore you with all the hoops and loops and sidetracks I managed to navigate, but will share what I have learned to far. There are many, many ways of making money online, lets start with the simplest – providing information.

But before we come to that, some pros and cons for going down the “only free” road and some background information.

Only if you own your own web sites and seo host them yourself, you have full control over your content. This sets you back around $10 / month, not more. If you go down, partly or completely, the “free route” you need to understand:

Pros

  • It is free completely free (obviously 😉 )
  • Many free platforms like wordpress.com, blogspot, infobarrel, hubpages, squidoo and the like carry an inbuild “Google trust” that makes it easier to rank articles and the like high in the search results of Google.
  • A lot of these free sites are already optimized for getting visitors and require little to no extra work (apart of writing and compiling the content) on your part to get started.
  • The software / platform used is usually well documented plus help is available when you run into problems.


Cons

  • Whoever offers the free blogging / website platform will in most cases take its share in the earnings, i.e. you will get less as when you host the content yourself.
  • Some platforms make it difficult to backup your content.
  • You don’t control always additional content like ads and the layout of your site / article.

Summary

If you just are getting your feet wet and want to try out if “making money online” is the right thing for you to do, then going down the free route is certainly a good idea. If you know already a little bit about internet marketing and web site building, you might want to consider of putting some of your content on sites you wholly own. But for a start, the free route will do just fine.

Personal Blog

There are two types of internet marketers out there when it comes to having a personal blog. The ones who do and the ones who don’t have a personal blog. If you want to maintain a personal blog where you write about your experiences in the make money online world, that is fine. The main advantage for this is that you can “brand yourself”. And if you want to do that, you should use either your name or your internet nickname as the domain name. But more to that later.

Not having a personal blog

That has a lot of advantages! The most important one being that nobody can copy your ideas easily and that you are less vulnerable to competition. And when you make a mistake, nobody will notice it whilst if you write something that is utter rubbish on your personal blog people will notice it for sure 😉


Making money online with information – How does it work?

The basic idea is like this: You publish useful information about something people are interested in on the internet. People search for the information they need and find your content. Together with your content you have also ads on your site. These ads is how you will make money, but more to that later. First you have to find out about what you should write!

Making money online with information – Finding your NICHE.

The word NICHE will keep creeping up every time when internet marketing is discussed, so lets look first what a niche in internet terms actually is:

An example: “Dogs” is not a niche, “small dogs” is more of a niche and “West Highland White Terrier” is a niche.

Next example: “Scotland” is not a niche, “Jura Scotland” (a small Scottish island) is one.

And one more for good measure: “Camcorders” is not a niche, “Flip MinoHD Camcorder Review” is a (micro) niche.

Do you see the pattern? A niche is a limited subject you are knowledgeable and can write about, without that this task (and the competition) becomes overwhelming. A profitable niche is one that

  • A sufficient number of people is interested in and
  • That can be monetized by selling ad space or products related to that niche.


So the first thing you need to do is finding your niche(s) and finding out if and how you can make money with it. Take a piece of paper and write down all things you are knowledgeable and could talk the whole day about. Don’t worry for the moment about how “niche” these things are or how to make money with it. Write down in which fields you can provide valuable information for others! If you want to can follow my example and put all in a table.

To keep it easy I restricted myself a bit 😉 in reality I am interested in a lot more things. But I choose animals and travel as examples. Now, those are by no stretch of imagination “niche”, so I have to narrow it down in the next column. Again, for ease of use, I have chosen only one example for each General interest. And then I brainstormed for each of those which further, related (micro) niches are possible in the same context.

General Interest

Middle Ground

(Micro) Niches

Animals

Ferrets

Ferret toys

Ferret cages

Ferret food

Travel

Scotland holiday / vacation destinations / activities

Isle of Jura

Islay

canal boat hire Scotland


Now comes the next step, evaluating how competitive and how profitable a niche is.

Free Tools needed for this task:

Alternatively I recommend using this Paid Tool:


You can do all this by combining several free tools (see list above) or you can go and buy Market Samurai. But honestly, if you are just starting out, it might be a bit overkill 😉 So lets use the free tools.

Go to good old Google and its keyword tool. Put your first possible niche in, I choose “ferrets”. Now I have to solve the captcha and click “search” and then I am presented with a rather confusing screen 😉 So lets narrow that one down a bit like the screenshot below:



Keywords: That are keywords that Google thinks would compliment your main keyword. Great source for micro niche ideas!

Estimated Avg. CPC: This is the amount of money an advertiser would be willing to pay to show a matching ad for this keyword. Don’t get hang up for the moment how that works. Just remember that the higher the amount here, the more valuable is your niche potentially.

Advertiser Competition: Shows how many advertisers are interested in this keyword, the more the better.

Global Monthly Search Volume: Shows how many people actually search for this keyword / niche per month worldwide.

Match Type: Set to exact.


Evaluation of a possible niche idea

All these factors have to be seen together and taken with a pinch of salt 😉 They are only indicators of the possible amount of money you can make with a website. Especially “Estimated Avg. CPC” and “Global Monthly Search Volume” have to be seen together. The more people search for this keyword / niche, the higher is the chance that you earn money with it. But it will be also more difficult to compete with other sites.


So far, so good. Ferret related keywords have search traffic and advertisers. Great! Lets have a look at the competition!

Here comes the important bit:

You will only make a substantial amount of money (more then a few cents) when your content turns up on the first page of Google’s search results! That means you have to beat all the other sites that try to get there also. So, choose your battle wisely.

By now you should have the Seo for Firefox Addon installed. If you are still not using FireFox, go and get it and come back when you are done, please.

To see how competitive a niche is go to Google’s search engine and, whilst having the Seo for Firefox Addon activated, search for — Ferrets! You see now a long list of different values below each website found. Don’t worry to much about all this, we are, for the moment, only interested in is the Pagerank of these sites. And, oops, that looks competitive. The first ten pages have an average Pagerank of 5! That is far too high for a first timer to attempt to break into a niche. In general I would suggest that the average Pagerank of the first ten websites in a Google search result should be less then 3, better even lower, to make the niche easy for a beginner.

I would most likely, provided I have the time, try to get into this “Ferret” market. For somebody that starts just out with making money online it might be to be a bit “premature” 😉 So, you are looking for a niche that fulfills the following requirements:

  • It is something you know about and can provide a lot of information about.
  • When you multiply the values “Estimated Avg. CPC” (in US$) with “Global Monthly Search Volume” the result (I call it “Money Index”) should be 1000 or higher.
  • When you search for it on Google, the average PR of the first ten websites (excluding videos, images, etc) should be 3 or less.
  • Your planned niche contains a lot of micro niches you can tackle.


Micro Niches

So, you have found your first main niche! Now you have to repeat these steps to find micro niches inside this main niche.

Playing around with Google’s Keyword Tool will you provide with an nearly unlimited supply of those. Now you have to sort them. The easiest way to do this is to import your keyword list into Excel or Word (to do this just add the keywords you are interested in to the field at the right in Google’s External Keyword Tool and then download them as an excel or text file).

Lets stay, for the sake of simplicity, with the “Ferrets” example. I choose the following possible micro niche keywords to look closer at:

Keywords

Average Page Rank

Money Index

Cheap ferret cages

1,5

2300

Ferret odor

2

350

Ferret play

2,5

550

Ferrets for adoption

2,5

1300

Ferret supplies

4

4900


Remember, Money Index is “Estimated Avg. CPC” (in US$) multiplied with “Global Monthly Search Volume”. It is only an indicator for, not the exact amount of money, you could earn if your content is on the first position of the Google search results. As a very rough estimation and rule of thumb you can expect 25% of it to land in your pocket each month if your content is on the top position in Google.

Now, look at this table above. “Cheap Ferret Cages” is a great candidate to build on. Easy to rank for and with decent earning potential. “Ferret supplies” is far too hard to rank for, despite the nice money potential and the others are somewhere in between.

Now go and do the same, with your own keywords. Find a niche, find related micro niches and evaluate them for competition and earnings potential.


One or two words of warning:

Niche and keyword research is the single most important step you do in internet marketing when you want to make money online. So don’t try to save time on that one! Do it right, or everything else what you do afterwards might be put in jeopardy. Oh, and don’t fall into the temptation of the usual “internet marketing hunting grounds” and try to find a niche in fields like “weight loss, make money online or debt management” and the like. Just believe me, far too difficult for your first project. Think outside the box and look where you have actual knowledge and skills that you can transmit to others. In what are you an offline expert and could establish yourself also as an online expert?


So, that is the bit of how to find a good niche out of the way. Now you have to do the task yourself in finding your own first niche by repeating my steps above, but with your own keywords. You keep investigating your niches and micro niches and have a list of those ready for when my next blog post is published!

In case you are now completely confused, my friend Lis from Passive Money Online is a huge fan of the Keyword Academy. It is not a free course, but their trial offer for the first 30 days is a whopping low $1! Just make sure to cancel your subscription if you don’t want to continue with it, from the second month on the subscription fee is $29 or $33/month! The material they provide during the first 1$ months is excellent. And 1$ is nearly as good as free 😉 And you can cancel your subscription whenever you want to, directly from your Paypal account. BTW, just a little disclaimer: If you subscribe to it using this link: Keyword Academy my friend Lis might earn a few dollars, just that you know 😉

Take your time, do your research and feel free to ask anything that puzzles you in the comment section of this blog. Whilst you do your keyword and (micro) niche research, I will write the next blog post in this series for you 😉 and try to answer all the question you might have. So fire away and leave a comment!

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ 😉

44 comments to Making Money Online 1

  • Good overview! I wish I had that when I started!
    Although Market Samurai is not free, you can use the trial version and when that expires, the keyword research tool still works, all the other tools get disabled though.
    .-= Claudia@calories to lose weight´s last blog ..Best Way to Lose Weight: Best Tips! =-.

    • hospitalera

      That is true, the keyword research still works after the trial has expired and you still can save your projects and don’t have to start all over again like with the Google keyword tool. I think this was the most difficult blog post of the series to write, the next ones are easier. SY

  • Ahmad

    I see what you mean, i would try it too…but what will happen if my blog have several niches, is it OK?
    Here’s my blog : [URL=”http://otong123.0fees.net”]http://otong123.0fees.net[/URL]

  • hospitalera

    Good grief, you have nerve! You are not in several niches, you are only in one: The niche of copyright infringement! If you ever want to have success online I strongly suggest that write your own content instead of copying entire articles from John Chow, Problogger and the like. I suggest you take the stolen content down asap before one of them calls his lawyers! SY

  • Thanks for the great starting-out tips!
    As you might know/remember from my today.com blogs, I have two pretty good identified niches (travel/expat and divination/spiritual) but I’m short on motivation/ideas at the moment.
    I’ve not paid much attention to the whole niche/keyword/SEO realm, but now that I signed up for Google AdSense I’m seeing the need to properly capitalise on it, otherwise it’s going to take me years to see a payout! :p I’ll bookmark and reread this a few times this week to let it all sink in 😀
    .-= *lynne*´s last blog ..Plane vs bus/train/other options =-.

    • hospitalera

      You are welcome *lynne* 😉 Travel / expat life and spirituality (also if I am pretty sure we differ in the last one quite a bit ;-)) are great niche markets. The first one is easy to “corner” by localization. So, in your case, all what would make life easier for people that move from Malaysia to the USA or vice versa, would make a great authority niche. You have the advantage of that you have already a well defined internet presence you can build on. Do some keyword research into the whole “Malaysians in the USA” market and I am sure you find a profitable angle. Shout if you need some help, SY

  • First of all I liked your classification of Internet marketers with personal blogs. That way things are pretty vivid and ensures complete awareness. Having said that, I am actually shocked to learn that do not having a personal blog has so many advantages? And regarding Market Samurai, I have tried it couple of months back and I am totally lost. I personally feel that its not for the beginners. They have to get used to all type of free tools and then hit on such paid services. Thanks for the screen shots and brilliant illustration. I am sure a newbie cant ask for anything else 🙂

    • hospitalera

      I agree, Benjamin, that Market Samurai has quite a steep learning curve, but when I compare the ease of use of it (being able to save everything in projects and going back to the research whenever I need to) to juggling between Google Keyword Tool and excel spreadsheets, I know which tool wins 😉 But as I started to plan this series of posts, I had one goal in mind of showing people how to make money on the internet without having to invest any. A lot of people try to sell all kind of stuff to newbies and I feel very strongly about this. When somebody already knows a bit about internet marketing then s/he can easily decide where to invest their hard earned cash. If you haven’t a clue what you are doing online, you are bound to make costly mistakes. As for not having or having a personal blog, I think that depends entirely on ones personality, I have one because I simply can’t keep my mouth shut 😉 SY

  • Thanks for this, I have been toying with more ideas from home. I have been hitting my blog pretty well this past week or so with greeting cards but am lost when it comes to
    some of the other options online, such as squiddo, stumbleon etc. I think I am most comfortable blogging .if anything.

    • hospitalera

      Hi Denise, lovely to see you here. Blogging can be be a powerful tool to market your own products, but what is wrong to market them also through other channels such as Squidoo, Hubpages and Infobarrel? Just a note, Stumbleupon is great fun, but it doesn’t really provide “buying traffic”, SY

  • Wow that is a pretty in depth article thanks. I’ve used the Google Keyword tool before but I never even thought about the CPC metric because I am not buying ads. That’s simple but brilliant.
    .-= Ned Carey´s last blog ..WBAL Channel 11 Report on Tax Sale =-.

    • hospitalera

      Yes, butt bear in mind, it only gives you a rough idea of the money-earning-potential a keyword has, but at least it helps you to find out which ones are worthless from the beginning and that is a good start! SY

  • oliviya

    As an internet marketer, you should embrace the fact that there is no such thing as perfect internet marketing SEO strategy. It takes a lot of work to gain surefire search engine placement that is definitely on the high ranks but with proper planning you would be able to gain the status that you are aiming for. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it certainly has to be the right approach when it comes to internet marketing strategy.

    • hospitalera

      Correct, but please bear in mind that this blog post is written for absolute beginners, they have to start somewhere 😉 SY

  • Thanks so much! Your post came at the perfect time, just as I was figuring out the link structure and page names for my new site, and also what my main keyword for the site was going to be. I use the Adwords tool all the time and know it well, but didn’t know how to find out pagerank. The SEO for Firefox plugin is amazing, and helped me figure out the best keyword for my new site.

    Which brings up a question: Do you distinguish between one keyword which applies to the whole site, and then other keywords which you assign to other pages and posts? Does my question make sense? I’m just thinking that a site will have multiple levels of keywords. Is that correct?

    I’m really looking forward to your future articles, which I’m sure will go into more areas that are new to me. Thanks again!

    • hospitalera

      Thanks Carl, you have a great site as an example. In your case “Beijing” would be the main keyword you have chosen, correct? Now you have to research what people are searching for when they are looking for information about “Visit Beijing”. Now you turn this keywords in urls for your pages. You will have to invest a lot time and effort to get your site on the first page of Google for “travel Beijing” etc, so I would suggest that after you have covered the basic information about Beijing, you go more niche and break it down in smaller areas of interests and parts of the city. It will be easier to rank for “hotels in xyz part of Beijing” then ranking for “Hotels Beijing” in general. Also make sure that your website structure doesn’t get too deep. No page should be more then maximal two clicks away from the homepage to allow for Google to index it properly.

      Bear in mind also that this blog post is written for people that want to make money without spending any, you have a self-hosted website and have already written a lot of content for it, now you have to continue to do so and to build backlinks to your website AND its pages. Have a look here http://hospitalera.com/how-to-write-your-own-backlinks/ for some tips on how to do that. Hope that helps, SY

  • Hi Hospitalera,
    This is a great guide where you’ve provided some much helpful information! My Czech blog is on Blogger, for now, till I can branch out to owning my domain name. I wish I had had all of this information when I set up my blog. But this info will help in setting up subsequent blogs.

    Thank you and have a great weekend!
    Sher :0)
    .-= Sher´s last blog ..Happy and Successful Expats =-.

    • hospitalera

      You can always set up another blog with decent keywords in the url and with a more defined niche market in mind. Nobody says you can only have one blog 😉 SY

  • Like many things in life though, this may be free in terms of money, but what about time?

    This whole process already seems so time consuming. As much as I can understand that it’ll be easier once it’s up and running, but I’d like to know if there’s any way of getting it all of the ground with a bit of a snappier turn-over time?
    .-= MrShotBag´s last blog ..The white-van-man =-.

    • hospitalera

      Two points, yes time is money, but this is a “set and forget” system. Once your websites / articles are up and running they require very little maintenance work. The time you spend doing a good keyword research will pay out nicely. Imagine you build a whole network of sites around one niche only to discover that the max earning potential of said niche is $5/month??? As for snappier, you can always use http://www.marketsamurai.com/c/hospitalera to do your keyword research, even the free module (after your free trial has expired) will save you time. The paid version even more. So, give it a go, it only costs you an email address to try it out: http://www.marketsamurai.com/c/hospitalera
      SY

  • Work from home

    I use the Adwords tool all the time and know it well, but didn’t know how to find out pagerank. The SEO for Firefox plugin is amazing, and helped me figure out the best keyword for my new site.

  • Hi SY,

    I’m very impressed by this post. Where were you when I was starting to learn this stuff?

    I could have used this and learn so much faster and for free.

    I’m even more impressed by the fact that you put your friend’s affiliate link in your own post. I’ve never seen that yet. I wish I had friends like that online.

    I’ll read with interest your following posts. But this one is surely the most important post in the series covering the foundation without which nothing will work.

    Vance
    .-= Vance@List Building Helps Any Business´s last blog ..Email List Building, Opt in List, Not Just for Internet Marketer =-.

    • hospitalera

      Where was I when you learned this stuff? Learning it myself 😉 ! I used Lis affi link as I am not a Keyword Academy member and affiliate myself. I did try out their “first month for 1$” offer and was very, very impressed with the quality they provided. I didn’t stay on because I am already a member of so many communities and forums that I am lacking the time for one more. So, that is one of the few exceptions where I promote something that I don’t use (anymore) on this blog. The Keyword Academy is great for two groups of people, beginners that still have difficulties to find and evaluate keywords and for people that need a “networking community”. The first one I think I know by one and for the second one, lets say, I have already a network of online friends 😉 Not that I don’t need more, but I am a bit of an individualist, I am not really a group person. As for using her link, she actually will do something similar with one of my affi-links, so I am not completely selfless 😉 But even if not, I would leave the link up, why not? I mean what does it hurt me to help somebody? SY
      PS I put up a long page with http://hospitalera.com/free-make-money-online-resources/ check it out, you might find something useful!

      • Hi SY,

        I think that you already knew how to make money online before I learned how to copy and paste. (And I don’t mean to imply anything about age. It’s just that I started much later than you and was pretty ignorant about what can be done online as well as with a computer other than surfing and reading emails).

        Be it as it may, I’m glad I can still learn from you now.

        As for the friend’s link thanks for the good explanation but I think that it’s still very generous of you.

        I’ve checked your resources link and there are some good tools there.

        Vance
        .-= Vance@Make Money Blogging´s last blog ..MAKE MONEY BLOGGING, A New Daniel Scocco’s Ebook Review =-.

  • Thanks for your comments, SY. I think I goofed, in the sense that I was thinking “visit beijing” was my main keyword, not just “beijing.” But I am trying to create content about neighborhoods and other things people want to know about. This is my first keyword-driven, “passive income” site, so it’s definitely a learning process. Love your post on backlinks that you suggested, and will follow your instructions faithfully. ;->
    .-= Carl@Visit Beijing´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

    • hospitalera

      You are welcome Carl, have a look at possible profitable and less competitive (micro) niches inside the “Beijing” market. Do your keyword research and concentrate to get pages ranking that concentrate on such niches, that will be easier to achieve as when you try to get the whole site ranking for “Beijing”, SY

  • Tjene Penger

    Great blogpost for people wanting to get their blog of to a good start. It’s all about which keywords you choose to go for, and go for it! By having the right tools – it will make all the difference! Nice to see someone making a thorough “walk-through” – not just 1-2-3-finish. Seen alot of that kind!

    • hospitalera

      Thanks, but keywords are not only important for blogs, they are important for really everything you publish on the internet, SY

      • Hi SY,

        I couldn’t agree more regarding the importance of keywords.

        For some reason there are still plenty of people publishing online, and some say it’s the majority of them, who pay no attention to keywords whatsoever.

        It’s OK if they aren’t aware but I wonder about those who say they just don’t bother with it.

        After one learns how to use the tools, keywords can even be fun with a stretch of imagination.

        Vance
        .-= Vance@Gurus Nightmare Report´s last blog ..Marketing With Alex 3.0 Preview, Gurus Nightmare Alex’s New Ebook =-.

  • Wow, that’s all I can say. This is by far the best article I’ve read on keyword research. Everyone tells you, research keywords, research keywords. But very few tell you actually how to PICK a keyword like you do. The ‘money index’ is money for sure. This is a must read for any noob for sure. Heck, I’m sure many ‘experts’ could learn a thing or two as well.

  • I use google adwords most of the time, but I don’t know why the traffic of my site is very low even though my keyword on the first page of google. While the google adwords report that “keyword” or keyword has huge visitors.
    .-= Johnkitty@ Trading Metals´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

    • hospitalera

      You do know that the external keyword tool refers to monthly visitors, not to daily? Another reason for your low visitor numbers might be in the summary of your website that is displayed in the Google search results. Check if the summary is either “already giving the answer” to the search request or if it is putting people off in any other way to click through to your web site. SY

  • […] Hospitalera from Making Money Online […]

  • Jack Colt

    Thanks for the info. It has helped me a lot. Can you also write a bit about how to determine competition please.

    Determining if a niche is good enough to focus on also depends on how strong the competition is. I am poor at that. I’d very much appreciate if you can share us some of your knowledge on this.

    Jack

  • Good post! A lot of information for the beginners! It is truly deep in content. One needs to be aware of this ‘niche’, ‘keyword’ area if one is out to make money online. Thanks for sharing. Its certainly not easy to keep on writing articles in one’s niche area continually. One does get stuck with ideas. Would you recommend variety in content sometimes?

    • hospitalera

      Variety is always good, but not on the same site, always stick to one niche per niche web site 😉 SY

  • I didn’t quite understand the cons of having a personal blog. Can you elaborate please? Further, the concept of niche is understandable. However, there isn’t a doubt that there would be other sites featuring the same content that one has thought of considering as his/her niche. In that case, how could one make one’s content appear unique or better?

    • hospitalera

      Hi Peter, if you want to have a personal blog or not depends mostly on your personality. The cons are outlined in my blog post, especially here: “nobody can copy your ideas easily and that you are less vulnerable to competition. And when you make a mistake, nobody will notice it whilst if you write something that is utter rubbish on your personal blog people will notice it for sure”. As for how to be more successful then others in the same niche, the answer is again easy: Better value for your readers and better backlinks to your site. Hope that helps, SY

  • After reading your post, I made a list of all those topics that I am good at. I still have a question. How easy is it to make money online considering the fact that there would be scores of persons writing on the same niche topic?

  • A lot to read from this post! You say that people search for information and find our content. Can you also write on tips and ways to make one’s post visible amongst hundreds and thousands of similar others.

    • hospitalera

      It is all about great content and good backlinks! As for “… ways to make one’s post visible amongst hundreds and thousands of similar others.” Just dare to be different 😉 SY