At any given time there are thousands of different sites online promoting the idea of making money online. Some of these sites are legitimate, but many of them are filled with hype and no substance.
In this post I present a FAQ and a glossary, focusing on some of the key questions and challenges about affiliate marketing and making money online in general.
Hopefully I will answer your question, but if not, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post.
Answers to Common Questions
1. Is it actually possible to make money online?
Making money online seems like a pipe dream to many people. After all, there are so many products out there that claim to help people make money, but don’t really do anything of the sort. However, there are many people who do successfully make money online, either as money on top of their regular income or instead of having a job.
The most important thing to understand is that making money online is still work, and sometimes it can be hard work. There is no way around this. Can you imagine how saturated the market would get if making money online was really as easy as many of the product owners and ‘gurus’ claim?
The truth is that many people will give up before they ever successfully make profit, because they don’t anticipate the amount of work involved or they don’t have adequate training. Making money does take dedication, but for people prepared to do this, it is very possible.
2. What are the advantages of making money online?
Making money online isn’t for everyone, but it allows people to set their own schedule and to be their own boss. This is particularly important in the current economy, as many people struggle to find jobs or to earn enough income to support their needs.
However, making money can also be challenging. Some people find that they have a tendency to work more than they should, while other people keep getting distracted by websites and don’t get as much done as is needed.
Making money online does require some level of discipline and it can get a little lonely – but for most, this is a worthwhile trade-off for a reliable and independent income.
3. How long does it take to make money?
It’s easy to be unrealistic about how much money you are going to make and how fast you are going to make it. Being successful online involves developing a long-term business, and this does take time to set up.
How long it takes varies from one person to the next. Some people start to make profits within their first couple of weeks, but for most people it will take months. This is particularly true for people who only have a few hours a day or week. Both traffic and profits will grow over time, so don’t be impatient if you don’t see profits immediately.
4. How do you make money online?
On this site I’m promoting a specific approach to making money online known as internet marketing. This involves promoting the products of other people and earning a commission, as well as earning money through advertisements (e.g. Google Adsense).
Personally, I focus primarily on promoting products, which is a process known as affiliate marketing. This is a very effective way of making money, and it can turn into a long-term consistent business.
Internet marketing is not the only legitimate way of making money online, but it has the advantage of being reliable and doesn’t force people to rely on other websites for their money.
Unlike some other ways of earning money online (such as freelancing), internet marketing doesn’t require any specific skill set and just about anyone can be good at it with a little practice and training.
5. Is there an easier way?
Not really. Building a business from the ground up is never going to be easy and there is no easy button to simplify the whole process.
At best, you might be able to find a quicker and easier way of making short-term income, but this will never last, then you are back to searching for something else. Internet marketing is a long-term approach, and it is one that gets easier over time.
6. Why are there so many products offering ‘quick and easy’ income?
Because they make money when you buy the product – so they will say just about anything to get you to purchase.
Here’s a hint – if the product owner doesn’t tell you exactly what you are paying for before you buy it – it probably isn’t any good.
7. Does making money online cost?
Strictly speaking, you can make money through internet marketing without ever spending a dime, but it isn’t recommended. Instead, most people choose to purchase a domain and hosting for a website.
There are free alternatives out there, but they will not rank as well, and you don’t have as much control over your own business. This can be a problem down the line, particularly as you are subject to the rules and regulations of the free platform and may also have to host their advertising.
Realistically, the main cost of internet marketing is time, not money. It takes time to learn how to earn money and to actually write content as well.
Training can be expensive, but there are also some forms of free training and I personally recommend starting out with the free membership at Wealthy Affiliate and going from there. Wealthy Affiliate is targeted at new users, and the free membership alone will give you a good idea of what is involved in making money online and whether it is a good fit for you.
8. What can I promote as an affiliate marketer?
Pretty much anything. There are affiliate marketers in every field imaginable, and there are a huge number of products that provide affiliate opportunities. This includes large companies like Amazon, as well as companies like Clickbank and Clicksure that have a range of products to choose from. Additionally, smaller companies and individuals often also offer affiliate opportunities.
9. Do I need a website?
There are ways to earn money online without a website, regardless of whether you are doing affiliate marketing or something else. However, having your own website tends to be more reliable and more effective in the long-term.
For this site, I will be focusing almost exclusively on internet marketing using your own website. However, it is important to note that this is nowhere near as difficult as it seems, and you don’t need any previous experience to make and run your own website.
10. What is this site about?
In this site I take an honest and direct approach to making money online through articles and product reviews. I hope to show you the reality of earning money online, including the challenges that come with the process and how to overcome these.
Glossary of Common Terms
Affiliate Link: The link that people use to promote affiliate products, normally containing a code for the user. Purchases made using this link will be credited as being promoted by the person whose code was in the link.
Affiliate Marketing: Involves promoting a specific product or service and receiving a commission based on performance (normally a percentage of the total sales price).
Affiliates: People who are actively promoting a product through affiliate links. Many affiliates will mask over the negative aspects of a product to convince people to buy it.
Backlinks (or Incoming Links): Links on other sites that point to your site. These can come from many different sources (e.g. Facebook, YouTube or other blogs).
Bounce Rate: Percentage of website visitors ending up on one page of the website and not visit any more. The aim is to keep this number as low as possible.
Content Writer: A person writing content for a website. This can be the publisher of the website, a guest poster or a person who is paid to write content.
Cost-per-Action (or CPA): The general term for services where website publishers are paid for actions that people carry out, such as filling out a form or providing an email address.
Cost-per-Click (or CPC): The general term for services where website publishers earn money by hosting advertisements on their website. In this case, money is earned based on the number of people who click on the advertisement. People can also pay the company to have their advertisement hosted.
Domain Name: The name of a website, such as google.com.
Google Adsense (or just Adsense): One specific service where users are paid to display Google ads on their website. Can be used in conjunction with affiliate marketing or independently. There are other services that offer similar features.
Google Analytics: A service by Google that lets users monitor their website statistics.
Google Website Tools: Another Google service, this time focusing on checking the status of a site and finding broken links.
Guru: Title often given to people who claim to be experienced in internet marketing. Normally applies to people who are intentionally manipulating their website visitors to try and maximize sales.
Keyword: A word or phrase that people use to find content online.
Keyword Research: Finding what keyword(s) to use for content or a site based on level of competition and traffic. There are many programs that support this process, such as Jaaxy.
Niche: Refers to the specific area that a website is focused in, such as photography. This can be very broad or very specific.
Paid Content Writer: A person who is paid to write content for a website. Paid content writers may work for a company or for themselves and can be a way of decreasing the workload of a website publisher. Additionally, some people chose to use paid content writers for their experience in the field or because they personally have poor writing skills.
Private Label Rights (or PLR): A product that some companies sell where users purchase a range of products that they then have the right to edit and resell. Will often consist of a large number of low quality products. Can be effective, but this approach often requires more time in editing than actually writing the content in the first place.
Search Engine Optimization (or SEO): Using keywords and other approaches to optimize website so it ranks well in search engines.
Squeeze Page: A specific type of webpage designed to capture the attention of the reader and pressure them into sales. Commonly used by gurus.
Subdomain: A website with unique content that does not use its own domain name. Often free hosting services will provide users will subdomains, such as wordpress.com/username.
WordPress.com: One of many blog platforms that offers free hosting on a subdomain. Affiliate marketing is expressly forbidden in the terms and conditions of the site, and can result in blogs getting removed (exceptions are made for sites with more than 25,000 views each month). Additionally – WordPress is known for removing the blogs of authors without warning and sometimes without reason. This can result in the loss of months or years of work.
WordPress.org: Support site for self-hosted websites. Users must pay for domain names and hosting, but can make use of WordPress themes. No restrictive terms and conditions, and users are free to monetize the site if they want to.
Through this FAQ, I’ve tried to define many of the common affiliate marketing concepts and answer as many questions as I can.
But, affiliate marketing is a huge field and realistically I can only scratch the surface.
Throughout this site, I post a range of training and support to help you get started in affiliate marketing and to make money. However, to really be successful, you should have community support and access to a larger database of training and information.
These factors are why I recommend that people join Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is an online training community where I learned how to make money online and where many others have learned to be successful as well. It is an amazing service because it takes a subject that can seem complicated and presents it in a way that is manageable, even to beginners.
The site also offers a lively and helpful community of members who support one another and can help you figure things out every step of the way.