From time to time we’ve talked about how to make money online. And the fact is that anybody can earn money with an online business. I know many folks, for example, who not only make money blogging, but make enough to quit their regular jobs.
So today I thought we’d look at 5 real-life examples of sites started by individuals (not huge companies) that make good money online. Each site is very different from the others, and how they make money differs, too. But that’s what is so exciting about the online world. There are literally thousands of ways to start an online business. So let’s get started.
Blogussion is a blog about blogging started by Alex Frais, a 16 year old high school student. He was 14 when he started the site, and we interviewed Alex about one year ago. Alex designed an incredible website at Blogussion, and he earns money online in several ways. Most notably, he designed a WordPress theme that he sells for $44.95. While creating your own product to sell online is just one approach to making money, it can be extremely profitable. Alex’s theme is designed around another WordPress theme called Thesis, which is what Dough Roller runs on. Thesis is itself another example of how to make money online, but it would take far more coding experience than most of us have.
Chris Guillebeau is the personality behind the Art of Non-Conformity. In his words,
I write, travel, and help people take over the world. This site hosts the Art of Non-Conformity blog and the diary of my travel adventures in 100 countries and counting. If you’re dissatisfied with conventional beliefs and want to do something remarkable with your life, I’d love to welcome you to the revolution.
And his revolution includes some highly successful ebooks on everything from travel, freelancing, and most recently, empire building. His Empire Building Kit, for example, is designed to teach you how to build your own small business. I confess I’ve not read the material, but I’ve heard good things about it. Regardless, like Alex of blogussion, Chris has built a business around products he’s created. The difference is that Chris sells informational products.
With Prepaid Reviews, we move away from sites that have created their own products. Instead, Prepaid Reviews and the two sites that follow make money promoting products for other companies. In the case of Prepaid Reviews, the site promotes prepaid cell phones offered by the likes of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Cricket. These companies offer what are called affiliate programs. Sign up for the program and you are given a special link to their site that tracks visitors from your site. If a visitor you sent to AT&T, for example, buys a prepaid phone, the referring site get a small commission. With enough traffic, these small commissions can really add up.
Prepaid Reviews is part of MFE Interactive, which runs numerous affiliate websites. Rae Hoffman runs MFE Interactive and blogs about affiliate marketing at Sugarrae. Her site is definitely worth following. One article I highly recommend was written all the way back in June of 2007: The Affiliate Evolution. The article is as relevant today as it was when Rae wrote it.
One of the things that I like about Digital Photography School is that it’s a great example of making money from a hobby. DPS is run by Darren Rowse, how is the blogger behind Problogger.net. Through DPS, Darren has done a great job of building a community of folks that love photography. There is an active forum and DPS sends out one of the best weekly newsletters I’ve ever seen. But what about making money?
DPS makes money a couple of ways. First, Darren publishes reviews of cameras and camera equipment, with links to Amazon where the products can be purchases. Amazon has an affiliate program, and DPS makes money each time a reader clicks a link to Amazon and makes a purchase. Like Art of Non-Conformity, DPS also sells eBooks focused (pun intended) on photography tips. While I don’t think all hobbies are great candidates for making money online, many are. DPS is a great example of a hobby that has been very profitable for Darren.
Our last example of a money making site shows that you can make money selling just about anything. Unlike DPS, which is much more than a product review site, Coolest Gadgets sticks to one thing and one thing only–gadget reviews. Most gadget reviews include links to various online websites where you can buy the gadget. For each sale, Coolest Gadget earns a small percentage of the sale price. The folks at Coolest Gadget also monetize the site using Google Adsense and Chitika.
So how much do these sites make? Truth is I don’t know. But from what I can tell, several of them certainly make 6 figures a year. If you have a great idea and want to try you hand at making money online, here are a few articles and web hosting discounts to get you started:
- How to Pick a Money Making Blog Topic
- DreamHost Promo Codes and Coupons (Special discount for Dough Roller readers).
- BlueHost Promo Codes and Coupons (The web hosting service I used when Dough Roller first launched).
- GoDaddy Promo Codes and Coupons
Published or updated January 22, 2012.