If I Did Earn Money Online, Here’s How I Did It. A Guide to Building Residual Income. Edition 1.0 by Wayne Finley aka. nethopperz Copyright 2009 Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Basic Online Earning Ideas 3. How to Begin 4. Legitimate Websites that Pay 5. Writing Articles for eHow 6. Socialization and Driving Traffic 7. Using Referral Links 8. Spreading the Wealth Message about Affiliate Marketing Chapter 1 Introduction First let me begin by saying that the purpose of this book is not to make you wealthy overnight. It also won’t cost you anything other than free time and some brain power. The information that I will share with you is an ongoing testament of my experiences building tangible wealth online without investing a penny and without having to sell anything to anyone. I promise. The Internet provides infinite opportunities for eager entrepreneurs to earn honest money, but it is also home to many unscrupulous characters whose only motive is to deceive you and earn a quick buck and let’s face it, they’re doing very well. We are going to rise above all of that and educate ourselves so that we do not become a victim of their games. This book is presented at no charge, so if anyone sold it to you for a profit, now would be the time to press them for a refund. This is my intellectual property and it is my decision to share it for free. Now, on to the good stuff… Chapter 2 Basic Online Earning Ideas Earning money on the Internet works in similar fashion to earning money in the real world. People often fail to realize this simple fact and assume that there is some magic involved. The only magic here is the sheer number of people you can impact at any given hour, whether you are actively working or sound asleep. The key is to have a good product or idea that the general population is interested in. I do not like the idea of purchasing and storing products in an inventory that people may or may not buy. I have neither the money nor the space to do that. No, I am going to teach you how to share your knowledge and earn good money doing it. Notice I didn’t say “sell” your knowledge. This isn’t about writing eBooks and selling them or about writing Google Adwords ads to advertise and sell products. Following my advice will not cost you anything other than time and a strong commitment to improving your family’s future. The first online earning idea that I will share is my favorite; writing articles for websites. This is not as intimidating as it sounds. Anyone who has a routine of writing to a blog or journal will find this type of work to be second-nature. For others, writing may be the difficult part, but the reward is the same so keep reading. Why would a website pay you to write for them? The explanation is simple. They want to attract visitors to the site and at some point, divert the attention of the reader towards some paid advertising. Most article-driven websites use Google Adsense ads that are matched with the content of your article. In theory, you could build your own website, write articles, post Google Adsense ads and capture 100% of the revenue, but then you would miss out on the immense numbers of people who already use the established websites. If you are familiar with the term “reinventing the wheel,” it applies here. As a beginner in the online income race, start slow and build your way up. Write several articles and socialize them well. We will discuss article writing and socialization in a later chapter. As you build an audience and a reputation for yourself, you will find better ways to introduce new ideas to your readers, including redirecting them to a personal blog or to a website. The second online earning idea that I would like to share with you involves reading paid emails. In addition to advertising through websites, many companies also channel their ads through companies who send targeted emails to members. You actually earn money for spending a few seconds each day reading these emails. The amount that you earn and the technique that the company uses to deliver the emails to you will vary, but expect two to five cents per email. This doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised how fast it accumulates when you participate with several different providers at once. My advice if you decide to try this method is to use an email account that is separate from your everyday account. This project will, most likely, generate a healthy portion of spam for your inbox. Consider yourself warned. Now, it’s time to clean out your closet and that cluttered garage. It’s eBay time! I’m not kidding. This is idea number three. I have made some crazy money selling things on eBay. It serves two purposes. One, you make money and two; you clear out some space in your house and begin to de-clutter your life. If you’ve never tried eBay, don’t discount it as a powerful money-making tool. If you don’t have a lot to sell, offer to help friends and family clean out their garage or attic and sell things for them. Take a portion of the sale to pay eBay’s fees and to give yourself a small percentage. You will both benefit! For your own sake, though, do everything in your power to keep your eBay customers happy. EBay uses a feedback system to rate your performance. If you make too many people angry, you won’t be in business long. Chapter 3 How to Begin It’s time to get this process started and that begins by designing a new identity for you. Think of a cool screen name to use. Be creative! It will serve you well to have a unique name that nobody else has claimed so that you can use it on all of the websites that you sign up for. Also, you need to design or find a cool looking avatar (or picture) to use with your screen name. Think of this as your brand. How many Joe Smith’s or Andy Jones’ do you think there are in this world? Somebody out there has the same first and last name as you. I guarantee it. I chose “nethopperz.” I do a lot of “hopping” around the Internet and I imagined a frog hopping around in cyberspace. I designed an avatar for this identity too. When you sign up on the websites that I suggest throughout this book, look me up and send me a friend request for each one. I’ll be glad to assist you as much as I can on each site. Look for the nethopperz seal of authenticity! Now let’s set up a new email account. There are a number of hosts who provide email service for free, like Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. My favorite is Google’s Gmail. Signing up for a free Google account gives you access to Gmail and an incredible selection of free online tools, some of which you can use to further your online earnings later. You will need a bank account to receive and hold your earnings. I strongly suggest opening a checking account that is separate from the account that you use to hold your life savings or pay your bills. This is a no-brainer. If this account is compromised for whatever reason, the only money at risk is the money you’ve earned from your side projects. Also, you are free at any time to move money from this account into your main account. For more tips on keeping your money safe, please read my article “How to Protect Your Money.” I chose Bank of America because they have a no-fee checking account that can be setup entirely online. They will send you a debit card through the mail and you can perform all your transactions online or at an ATM and never have to set foot in the branch. Choose a bank with an account that is right for your needs. Once the checking account is established, you will need to set up a PayPal account. PayPal is the preferred company to use for online payments because they shield your account information from the rest of the world by only performing transactions through your email address. Hey, if eBay trusts them, so can you! PayPal should be linked directly to your new checking account. I use a different email account for PayPal than the one I use for correspondence and to receive paid emails just in case I ever need to change that address. In order to link your PayPal account to your checking account, PayPal can deposit two small amounts of money into your checking account. You then verify both amounts with PayPal and you’re all set. EBay is next on the list. Set up a free account with them and link it to your PayPal account. While you are waiting for all of these account approvals and for the small amounts to be transferred between the accounts for confirmation, start making a pile of things that you want to sell. Checklist 1. Setup free email account 2. Setup free checking account 3. Setup free Paypal account 4. Setup free eBay account 5. Link checking account and email account to PayPal 6. Link PayPal to eBay. Chapter 4 Legitimate Websites that Pay Paid Article Websites eHow has become one of my personal favorite websites. This is a site that allows you to join for free and write how-to articles for money. They pay monthly and they have a huge following. You can track article views and earnings per article on a monthly or yearly basis. The eHow community is dedicated to helping each other succeed. In addition to finding new income, you will find some new friends who share your common interests. Bukisa is similar to ehow in that you can write articles for money, but they also offer a “pyramid” type network that allows you to refer people and then earn money from their work as well as your own. For an example of this, click the link that I provided and join my network. Associated Content pays you for articles in several ways. They provide “display only” rights as eHow and Bukisa do, but they also will pay you more money for exclusive rights. If you agree to give them exclusive rights, you may not publish your article on any other websites. See the “Disclaimer” below. Helium is similar to eHow and Bukisa. You publish articles for them and earn money. They have a referral program like Bukisa. Disclaimer: I cannot express how important it is for you to make friends on these article-writing websites. Send friend requests and read and rate other people’s work. Clicking their paid links is also nice to do, but don’t go overboard. NEVER click your own paid links! You will be banned from these sites if you are caught clicking your own links! Paid Email Websites InboxDollars offers several ways to make money. You can read paid emails, complete surveys, or complete paid offers. Be warned that some of the paid offers require you to share credit card information. I have not participated in any of those. When your earnings reach $30, InboxDollars will mail you a check minus $3 for processing fees. SendEarnings looks and acts exactly like InboxDollars. Paid emails, surveys, and paid offers. Hits4Pay provides paid email ads, but they do not deliver them directly to your email inbox. You have to sign into their website and then they require you to keep each ad open for a certain amount of time. You can minimize the ad and then check it periodically to see when the “next” button appears. DealsNCash works just like Hits4Pay. I think they were created by the same company. Chapter 5 Writing Articles for eHow The example framework that I will share in this chapter has been designed specifically for articles written for ehow.com, but it may be altered slightly and used to submit your writing to almost any article- driven website. Decide what subject you will write about. The best topics to share are the ones you are knowledgeable about and the ones that excite you the most. If you only attempt to target the money-making topics, you will miss out on an opportunity to really express yourself and you may also miss the opportunity to find your niche. Articles written for eHow.com must be written in a “how-to” format. Guide your reader through accomplishing a task by following at least three steps. Use proper grammar and punctuation and use either eHow’s spell check or the one provided with your word processor. I use Microsoft Word to write my articles before publishing them on eHow. That way, I have a backup copy in case I need it in the future. Also, MS Word has several cool features, like a spell check and a word count tool that are very useful. Once you decide on a topic, search eHow for this topic and see what articles have been written. Don’t be surprised if you find that someone else has already written about your idea. If this is the case, you don’t have to abandon the idea altogether. Think of a way to make your topic a little different or find an interesting way to present it. The following are suggestions for how to complete each section of an article written for eHow. I suggest copying the framework and pasting it into your word processor. Leave the headings and replace my instructions with your own words. Disclaimer: Do not plagiarize anyone else’s work for any reason! This includes pictures, recipes, or instructions that you did not create yourself. It will get you into trouble and, quite possibly, cause you to be banned from any and all of these sites. eHow Article Framework Title - Create a title that begins with “how to” and be sure to use meaningful keywords that relate specifically to your article. Don’t say vehicle when your audience will probably search for “car” or “truck”. Article Description - Write a short summary for your article. This part is very important. The article description is the hook that will either attract your visitor’s attention or send them to read someone else’s articles. Things You’ll Need - Make a list of items that your reader will need in order to thoroughly complete the steps outlined in your article. Difficulty - Pretty obvious. How difficult are your steps for the average person to follow? Picture - You do not need to include a picture to publish an article on eHow, but it will increase your chances of being featured on the front page of the website, which will give you major traffic. The standard size picture to use on eHow measures 218 x 144 pixels. Do not use copyright-protected pictures unless you have written permission. It is best to either design your own picture or just publish the article without one. Pictures may be added later. Step 1 - Articles should be at least 250 words. That’s approximately 84 words per paragraph for an article consisting of three steps. If possible, limit your article to three steps unless it is absolutely necessary to add more. Step 2 – Include supporting information for Step 1. Step 3 – Supporting information for Step 2 and a conclusion. Additional Steps - Don’t use 1000 words when 250 will do. Also, don’t leave unfinished instructions. If you need to include more steps, then add them, but try not to add so many that you lose the reader’s attention. Tips and Warnings – Adding tips will give readers who skim your article a brief taste of the message that you are trying to share and may hook them the same way the article description does. Warnings are a good idea if your information could be used in a harmful way. Keywords – EHow instructs you to pick 5 keywords. Pick the five words that best describe your article to people who will be searching for that type of information. This helps the search engines to bring those people to you. EHow does seem a little lenient on the 5 word maximum, so add a few more, but be sure to list the top five first in case they ever do decide to enforce the rule. Categories – Look through the list of available topics and try to pick five categories and sub-categories that best match your article. This will help eHow to place your article appropriately. Resources – This is a very important section that you can use to send readers to external websites or to some of your other articles. For those of you interested in making money, this is where your affiliate or referral links go. Just be sure these links are completely relevant to the content of the article or you may have problems with the eHow editors later. End of Article Framework That’s it! Once the article is written, log into your eHow account. Copy / paste the new article and publish it. Go to the finished article and proofread it one last time. If you find mistakes, don’t worry. You can edit them at any time. Once this is finished, log into your Bukisa account and then your Associated Content accounts and write similar new articles for those sites as well. The requirements may differ slightly, but it will be easy to adapt the Article Framework in this book to their specifications. In those new articles, reference your eHow article and include a hyper- link back to it. This will help you to earn money from each site without hurting your ranking with the search engines. If you have any technical difficulties with publishing your work, it may be your Internet brower’s fault. Search the eHow forums for posts relating to the problem and see what others have done to correct it. Try downloading one of the following browsers and see if you get better results. Both are free. Google Chrome Internet Browser Mozilla Firefox Internet Browser If you are having a difficult time deciding on article topics, eHow has a section devoted to “requested articles.” When you chose to write a recommended article, you have 24 hours from the time the title is claimed to publish it or it will be added back into the pool. When the article has been published, it’s time to promote it to the world! Time to socialize… Chapter 6 Socialization and Driving Traffic Socialization is a crucial element for generating the traffic that’s going to make you money. By socialization, what I mean is that we are going to use the power of the popular social networks to post links to our articles and hopefully capture some traffic, some critiques of our work, and ultimately some clicks on our paid links. Sign up for each of the following websites for free and then follow the directions to post links to your articles. Think of this as posting free signs and an ad in the paper for your yard sale. Without advertising, how will anyone know where to find you? Blogger is now owned by Google. You can set up a free blog and post links to your articles or to whatever you want. Digg will bring people to your articles in waves. Not only will it help you to promote your work, you may even be lucky enough to receive some feedback from visitors. They can “dig” or “bury” your submission. You can probably figure out which is good and which is bad. Delicious is a social bookmarking site that allows you to post links to your articles. Propeller is another social bookmarking site. Nothing special, but it gets the job done. Reddit is similar to Digg and Delicious in many ways, but they are strict about how often you can post. Xomba lets you use your own Google Adsense account and you receive a portion or the revenue commiserate to how many people you refer to their website. If you are a member of MySpace or Facebook, it is a good idea to post links to your articles from these social sites as well. Chapter 7 Using Referral Links Give credit where credit is due. Some websites adhere to this and they will pay you in their own way for introducing new members. Most pay you a small portion of the earnings that the new member generates. Some may offer a “finder’s fee.” Either way, it’s worth your time to include a link back to these sites through your own referral link. These links are usually found in your account information or in the earnings section, once you’ve logged into the site. Some websites don’t participate in this yet. I include referral links in my articles from time to time as long as they are relevant to the article topic. To see examples of this, please read my article titled, “How to Make Money Risk-Free Online without Spending Your Own.” The referral links are at the bottom under the category “Resources.” I thank you for your support! Chapter 8 Spreading the Wealth Once you’ve experienced the difference that residual income can make in your life, how could you possibly keep it all to yourself? I have been spreading the word for several years now about earning money online and have included my friends and family. Those who have applied their full energy to the suggestions in this book have seen results and have started telling everyone they know how easy this is to do and how lucrative it can be. You don’t have to go to great lengths or write an eBook, but for every person you refer through a referral link, you will make just a little more money each month and it takes nothing away from them. Think of elderly people who live on a fixed income and don’t go out very often. How could extra money each month benefit them? Think of students in college who have a little free time here and there. Anyone can do this and the sooner they start the better. If this information has been helpful to you, please let me know. I invite you to send me an email at the following address. You are welcome to share this eBook with whomever you choose. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org God bless you and your family! Message about Affiliate Marketing This is not part of my personal plan because it will actually cost you money to participate, but it is powerful, nonetheless, so I want to touch upon it for those who may already be considering it. This idea is to harness the power of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing can be a difficult way to earn money because it requires you to do a lot of preparation, a lot of foot work, some investing, and ultimately, it only thrives on high traffic websites. There is a very high failure rate associated with affiliate marketing. The concept here is that a company will pay you a small percent of each sale that you generate for them. This is done through driving traffic to the company or one of their partners through affiliate links (hyperlinks.) You sign up for the affiliate program with the company and they provide you with personalized links. You insert these links into a website, a blog, or any other area where you suspect people might be tempted to click the link and then make a purchase. Another popular idea is to write custom Adwords ads for Google and use their pay-per-click system to deliver people to a “landing page” which uses strong sales rhetoric to try and convince the visitor to make a purchase. There are many fishing analogies that may be applied to affiliate marketing. All of that said, the short-term potential for earning is much greater with affiliate marketing than what you will probably achieve through writing articles or reading emails, but only if you are able to spend enough money, find the right person to teach you, and be at the right place at the right time over and over. When you see advertisements including pictures of 100K sports cars, huge mansions, and mountains of cash, you have just encountered either an affiliate marketer or one or many scam artists. It’s so hard to tell the difference anymore, I just opt to stay away from it altogether. For a huge selection of companies who will pay you as an affiliate through referral links, visit the websites for LinkShare and Commission Junction.