A lot of people see making money online as the dream while others don’t even believe it’s possible for most people, at least no the point where you can ever quit your job. It’s true that making any kind of income is always going to take some work no matter where you go or what you do in the world. However, in certain countries, the money you make online can be better than a regular show-up-to-work 9-5 job and the economy is so bad in others that many people simply cannot guarantee that they will have a regular job down the road. Maybe you just want to make a little extra money on the side. Whatever your reasons are, it is very possible to make money online if you know where to look – It has it’s own advantages like working from anywhere, and disadvantages like being in competition with the entire online world but it is a real thing that people are doing. Here are 53 real ways you can use to make money online in 2015.
This was the option that I first started with. As long as you are good at English, you can work on a variety of different sites in order to make some money. However, because of the massive competition from people in other countries, it can be hard to market yourself as a professional who deserves to be paid highly. If you can demonstrate a nice portfolio, then certain clients may be willing to pay more and give you recurring work as well.
1. Freelancer – In my mind, one of the best looking freelancer sites. You can bid on projects and set up a profile so that people can find you on the site. It’s a little slow going using normal methods at first since you have to deal with competition, but at least you can set your own rates. You can prove your value by taking multiple choice skill tests for either $5 or their on site credits which you earn by filling out your profile and doing work. They also have the ability to create searchable $5 services you can perform and people will come to you with their projects. Freelancer takes 10% from your hourly pay and the greater of $5 or 10% off of any projects. They take 20% for their beta $5 services though just like Fiverr.
2. Fiverr – The original creator of the searchable $5 service idea. It is quite easy to find people willing to hire you on this site if you can offer a service that provides a lot of value. By having these custom service pages describing your advantages, you can sell people over the other 5000 people. However, Fiverr takes a 20% cut and they do not permit taking any of your business off the site.
3. oDesk – oDesk is very similar to Freelancer. They both have the same bidding system, the same 10% fees, and using tests to make individual freelancers stand out. The best advantage of oDesk in my mind is that all their skill tests are free to take.
4. Elance – Another option in the same vein as Freelancer or oDesk. Like other sites, most of the people and jobs on their relate back to programming, website design, and content writing.
5. Constant Content – A very interesting site for freelance writers. You make articles about whatever you want and sell rights to them through the website. I’ve heard some people manage to make sales upwards of $30 or more. However, the site takes a hefty cut of around 30% and you must be approved first by writing a 250 word sample article.
6. Break Studios – With Break Studios, a certain number of article topics that need to be written each day are announced. From there, freelancers can log into the site and claim the article topics. You write the article, submit it, and they make a deposit into your PayPal account when its accepted.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advetising
Either to send traffic to other sites and get paid for it or to bring traffic somewhere else to sell something. The internet runs on traffic, and it’s up to you to monetize it. Keep in mind that terms of service can be pretty strict when it comes to this, so make sure you’re not doing anything fraudulent if you don’t want to get banned.
7. Google AdSense – The most obvious option for selling adspace on your site. You can make decent passive money if you have the traffic for it. Generating the traffic to monetize is the hard part though. They are fairly strict with their terms of service so don’t break it by doing something dumb like clicking your own ads.
8. Google AdWords – Buying ads is a quick way to get traffic to your website. However, you are paying for them so you better make sure that whatever your users do on your website is profitable for you. There’s also an keyword research tool that you can use for writing articles with better SEO.
9. Contextual Ads – Through the Bing and Yahoo Network, you can also run ads through your website. This is very similar to the Google AdSense program. I would recommend doing an A/B split test between the two and figuring out which one has better results for you.
10. BingAds – Just like Google AdWords, you can use bing to purchase ad click traffic through to your website. When they land somewhere, it’s up to you to monetize the traffic.
11. Amazon Product Ads – People go on Amazon to buy products. If you have a specific product to sell then you can get traffic referral through Amazon Product ads as well. They currently have a $75 in free ad clicks sign up promotion.
Although you would normally combine this with your website, email marketing certainly has a dollar sign associated with getting certain information and calls to action in front of a subscriber base. Nearly every major company in the world uses newsletters to remind people about their existence and news related to their company. There are simple ways of doing this like WordPress’s Jetpack addon but there are also several good online services that maintain your lists and let you set up very professional and customized emails.
11. MailChimp – A very highly regarded email list service, if not at the very top of the marketplace. MailChimp does a lot to make list maintenance easy and they also have a free option up to a certain number of subscribers.
12. Aweber – Right up there with MailChimp is Aweber. They offer a 30 day free-trial.
13. GetResponse – Appears to be another decent option. Has a 30 day trial.
When dealing with website, email, or social traffic, one of the most obvious and popular ways to make money is to pursue affiliate marketing. There are many organizations out there which let you provide affiliate links to products and get a cut of the revenue just by sending traffic that leads to an eventual purchase.
14. Amazon Affiliates – As far as I know, Amazon’s affiliate program is the world’s most popular. You can post image, carosel, or text links of literally any product in their library. If people click through and make a purchase, you get a small cut that increases in percent with the volume that is being sold through you. They also have special programs like the audible referral program where users signup for a 30 day free trial and get two free audio books.
15. ClickBank – It’s a very popular way to find some affiliate programs that you can promote. Most of the products are digital in nature so you can get very large commission rates when compared with other sites like Amazon. It takes a little work to find products worth promoting though.
17. LinkShare – Refer traffic to physical products in categories like fashion, gifts, and lifestyle from your website.
18. Commission Junction – Looks professional, claims to have very good tracking on referrals and a wide product selection.
There are many other programs out there as well but a lot of them seem low quality and not worth mentioning. You might be able to look up specific products you trust and find out that they have their own affiliate programs offered through a larger service like ClickBank or Commission Junction. I would recommend promoting products or companies that you actually believe in so that your recommendation is credible and trustworthy. It’s an old strategy but it’s still an incredibly viable way to make money online in 2015 if you have the traffic to monetize.
Make Videos Online
Something you need to know is that video producers do not get rich and make huge bucks overnight. As a video content producer, you get paid as people view the ads that go along with watching your videos. The better quality your videos, the quicker you generate a subscriber audience, and the more money you can make as a result. It’s also worth noting that other sources of revenue like affiliate marketing and sending users to your main website are great ways of monetizing your viewership as well.
19. YouTube – To a degree, YouTube has become famous for people becoming self-made e-Celebrities and making a living by producing videos on a daily or weekly basis. What you don’t see though, is that for every one person who succeeds is 1000 wanna-bes. To succeed on YouTube, you not only need content that is relevant, consistently put out, and of good quality. It’s a lot like writing for an ad revenue sharing website, except with videos and building up a follower base for yourself.
20. DailyMotion – Daily motion is a French video sharing site that has revamped its theme and added some nice features for video game content creators. Their interface is fairly good and they have a mass uploader tool which YouTube doesn’t.
22. Vimeo – This site is really more for professional videos like high quality animations or documentaries. If you want to get the most out of it, you need to sign up for a paid premium account. However, I love seeing vimeo videos embedded in web pages because they generally look great and professional.
Monetize Social Media
It should come as no surprised that social media is another source that many businesses like to use to generate traffic and income. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of outright trying to sell products or do affiliate marketing through social media like twitter but the option exists. If you do decide to run something like sponsored tweets, just keep in mind that some real subscribers or followers will not like it if it’s unrelated to what your account’s niche is.
23. Sponsored Tweets – As the name implies, send out tweets and get paid for sending traffic through to sites. Sort of like Adsense for Twitter
24. MyLikes – Similar to SponsoredTweets, but works with other social media platforms like Facebook as well. You drive traffic and get paid for it. You can also set up your own website through them but keep in mind that you may not have as much control as you’d like if you do that. They also accept custom domains though, so you can use your own site as well.
User Experience Testing
If there’s one thing a website owner wants to know, it’s what you do with your website, what you think about it, and what they could do to make their website better. A few awesome companies decided to set up their own program where people can sign up to take tests using their software apps to record user screens, microphones, and in some cases microphones. The pay can be quite good too. $10 or $12 USD for a well done twenty minute session where you use a website and provide feedback is actually standard. The only thing that keeps this from being a full time job is that there are a limited number of studies out there for you to take each week. The more sites you sign up for, the more paid testing you can get to do. It’s best if you have a PC and a mobile device since certain tests require certain hardware.
25. UserTesting – I’ve actually found that these guys hand out the most surveys for each user to test. They pay $10 for a full test, and $3 per 5 minute mini-screener test.
26. YouEye – They pay a nice $12 per study typically but they do require and record your webcam. They do this to analyze user eye movement as they work their way through a website.
27. Userlytics – $10 a test but you may not get many tests.
28. WhatUsersDo – They also do mobile app testing as well.
29. uTest – Leaning more towards the highly professional side of things. They have work available for real IT professionals who have security, programming, and administration skills but they also do user experience (UX) testing.
Take Online Surveys
This is similar to doing user experience testing using your microphone and webcam, but simply requires you to fill out surveys. I haven’t personally tried it, but companies do want to know what you think. I recommend checking any of the privacy policies out before you sign up to make sure that no personal information of yours will be sold. The more information you’re willing to tell the company, the more surveys you are likely to get. Since I’m not confident recommending it, i’ll link a few of the best posts the subject that you can read and decide if it’s right for you. Although it’s not a new idea, I still see a lot of people claiming to make some money using it as a strategy so it may still be a viable way to make money online in 2015.
Micro Work and Jobs
I honestly think this is scraping the bottom of the barrel. You can make a tiny bit of money doing these tasks, and perhaps if you are super good at it then the money would not be terrible. From what I’ve seen looking through the payout rates though, way more work is being demanded than the pay could ever justify. The upside of these tiny projects is that they are generally mindless and could be done while doing something else like watching TV. From what I understand though, the more tasks you do and get high ratings on, the better tasks will begin to be available to you.
33. Mechanical Turk – This is one I’ve personally checked out. Since it’s by Amazon, you know that they have a relatively robust system for setting up tasks for workers to do. However, don’t expect that you will make big bucks doing this just because Amazon is a very profitable company. It might be worth trying for a while to see if its worth doing to you since there seems to be a nearly unlimited number of tiny tasks.
34. Microworkers – With this method, the employers can choose between the microworker they want and assign many of the tiny tasks to people they see have a high rating. There’s a review of this site here.
Write an eBook, Guide, or an Educational Course
Some people are able to make a significant amount of money by writing ebooks or creating website guides and courses where people pay a fee to access. You have to have good content that people are actually interested in and it takes a lot of upfront time investment but the payoff can be worth it. Once you’ve established a book, guide, or course as an income stream, it’ll remain there as long as you keep pumping traffic and referrals into it. Examples of this can be found on the other end of affiliate marketing where someone else already has a virtual product that you sell for them.
35. Write an eBook or Guide – When you write an eBook, it can be about anything that you are knowledgable or enthusiastic about. You may need to go ahead and research the topic further, but there is very little upfront cost aside from the time investment. If you produce a quality product, then you have the potential to get it selling well on sites like Amazon.com. Amazon lets you keep 70% of the sale revenue if you sell each copy of your book at a $0.99 or $2.99 price point.
36. Produce an Educational Course – There are a lot of these out there where people create exclusive courses that promise to teach you how to do something. While many of these courses, especially in the past, have been put out to physical DVDs, newer courses provide login or premium access once a customer pays the fee. Depending on your skill level, you may need assistance in setting up a website but it’s entirely possible to do this all on your own. There are also sites where you sell the course through them, and they keep a fee just like Amazon does with books.
Make Your Own Website
Making a website is one of the most theoretically lucrative ideas, but also one of the hardest to implement. It’s not too complicated to sign up with a Web Host and install a content management system like WordPress, but making a successful website takes a lot of time and effort. In my experience, the hardest part about making successful websites is generating the traffic. Remember, you can always buy ads for webpages but it’s usually only worth it if that traffic makes you money in sales or referrals off the back of those clicks.
You will need a fast and reliable web host to keep your site online
37. DigitalOcean Virtual Private Server – If you like having full control over your website, then you’re going to want to use DigitalOcean. You get your own space on their servers known as a Droplet. Prices are as low as $5 a month and everything is hosted on solid state drives for better performance. The best part is that they have an excellent community full of documentation to help you get started.
38. Dreamhost – If you don’t want to manage your own servers or use the terminal, then you probably want to go with a company like Dreamhost. Their site managed website hosting starts at $8.95 and I’ve used them in the past. I would recommend them if you want simplicity or are not very skilled with server management. They also have their own virtual servers like DigitalOcean but I’ve never tried them.
39. HostGator – An alternative to Dreamhost which I tried in the past. Their web hosting is cheaper and still pretty good.
Content Management Systems
Unless you are crazy good at programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, and JS, you will want to use a content management system to easily set up the frameworks for logging in, posting articles, adding in widgets, and applying a website theme to make everything look pretty.
40. WordPress – The super popular and super easy blogging system. For most simple sites that post articles on a regular basis and nothing more, WordPress can do wonders. This site is hosted on WordPress using a custom theme for the record.
41. Drupal – More for the professional and robust websites. It’s a bit trickier to work with for a newbie but I’ve heard that it’s very powerful once you understand how it works.
42. Joomla – Haven’t tried it much personally, but it’s always struck me as the middle ground between WordPress and Joomla.
Buying a Domain Name
If you’re going to host your own website instead of getting one of those cheap free websites, then you will need to buy a domain name.
43. Namecheap – The guys I like to use. They offer a good deal on buying .com domains which is made even better by the fact that they offer a free privacy mask for your domain. You want that mask unless you want people to know your private address by running a whois check.
43. GoDaddy – Another very popular choice for buying and maintaining domains.
Blog on Someone Else’s Site
I don’t recommend this because you won’t have full control over your content. If their business goes down, so does your blog or the articles you’ve written. The same thing could be said about YouTube channels though.
44. Tumblr – A lot of the world’s blogs are put on sites like Tumblr. It’s attractive because most things are set up for you the moment you sign up for free. It is possible to monetize these blogs as well with affiliate links or adsense, though adsense needs a little bit of theme editing skills to get working. Here’s a great link on other ways you can use Tumblr to make money.
45. Blogger – It’s been there since around the beginning of the blogosphere. What’s nice about blogger is that since it’s Google operated it’s also extremely easy to monetize it through Google Adsense.
46. Weebly – It looks a lot more professional these days. You can upgrade from a free account to more professional accounts that come with some very good looking themes. Might be a good choice for those who would like to dip their toes in blogging, but have room for scaling.
Sell Your Physical Products Online
I already mentioned affiliate marketing where you sell other peoples products and creating virtual products like eBooks or educational courses. You can, of course, also use the internet to sell physical products online as well. Keep in mind that with physical items, you will have to find a way to get the product sent off to the customer which can take some extra time and effort.
47. Amazon / Amazon Marketplace – You have a couple options here. You can be a company that sells your own regular product through the website or you can sell stuff you have lying around or that you’ve purchased from places like garage sales. Amazon is good for selling stuff because it’s one of the places everyone goes to buy things.
48. eBay – If you prefer selling through auctions, then eBay is an obvious option. There are plenty of guides out there on how to do it profitably, and some people have made it their full time job when combined with picking products from garage sales and other markets.
49. Etsy – For people who like to make cute artsy crafts, there may be no better place than Etsy. The site is particularly popular with female audiences, but has cool items for sale for all audiences. Generally, the people who sell products on etsy are also the ones making them out of their homes.
50. Shopify (Setup an Online Store) – This can also be done by creating your own website from scratch, but is generally easier and potentially easier and more effective by using a paid store service. You would have more control over your online store than a site like Etsy without the pain of managing your website, errors, and handling credit card transactions. They provide a nice visual interface for controlling how your store looks and have a 14-day free trial.
This works similar to making videos online. Build up an audience which enjoys your content and then sparringly market to them at the beginning or end of your broadcasts. The nice thing about audio is that you can be one hundred percent focused on the audio rather than needing to spend a lot of time messing with video too.
51. Podcasting – If you know me, then you know I’m pretty much a podcast adict. Listening to the spoken word is one of the most effective and trusted ways of acquiring information and opinions. This also applies to products or programs that the host recommends. Podcasts are also a great way to find ideas on how to make money online in 2015.
52. Online Radio Station – Another option would be to start your own online music or talk radio station. Once you have a stream up and running, you just need to get the notifications about the stream uploaded to clients like Winamp’s Shoutcast system.
53. Make an Online Audio Ad – On the other side of the equation, you can record an audio advertisement for your product or an affiliate product and then have other podcasts, radio stations, or YouTube creators broadcast it. Send the traffic to where you need people to buy the product or service.
Comment Your Own ‘ Make Money Online in 2015 ‘ Ideas
As you can see, there are actually a lot of different ways that you can make money online in 2015. None of them will make you rich quick, or get you something for nothing, but if you’re willing to put work in then you should at least be able to make a supplemental income. Remember though that the internet is constantly growing and the possibilities are open to almost limitless potential. Do you have any good ideas on how to make money online in 2015? Let me know down in the comments below. I’ll update this post as I come across any new good ideas.