Are you looking for the best ways to make money online in 2017?
If so, you’re in the right place.
There are many ways to make money, but today I’m going to share my top 7 strategies to make money online — strategies and tactics that I have personally used to build 6 and 7 figure businesses online for myself, clients and students.
Please note that these business models are not get quick rich schemes and will take some time, money and effort to see great results. But once you do, you’ll have a profitable online business that generates real revenue monthly, passive income and is sustainable long term.
Why build an online business to make money?
Consumers spend on average 1.2 million dollars purchasing products online every 30 seconds. Of this, Amazon does $100k, eBay does $74,424 and Apples does $17,803. These are staggering numbers when you really think about it.
Most of the online purchases made online are for physical and digital products such as ebooks, online courses, etc.
With all the opportunities available online, there is literally no excuse not to make money online if you just find one business model and stick to it for at least 6-12 months.
Without further ado, here’s the 7 best ways to make money online in 2017 and beyond.
1. Affiliate Marketing
One of the best and easiest ways to make money online is through affiliate marketing. You can literally choose any affiliate product you want from one of the top affiliate networks and start making money as soon as you get approved.
If you’re just getting started online and don’t have a lot of experience with business and digital marketing, then starting with affiliate marketing is a great way to start making money online.
Affiliate marketing is great business model because you don’t have to create your own product to sell — you’re essentially selling other people’s products and getting a commission for it. So for example, if you find a merchant on the affiliate network that is paying 40% commission to sell on of their $100 programs, you’ll get $40 for each sale.
They also have per lead vs per sale. Per lead offers is easier to convert because you only need to get people to sign up vs get a sale which can be a lot more challenging and cost more money to acquire.
I’ve used many affiliate networks over the past 7 years, but I’ve settled on using one of the following networks to find great offers:
Make Money with the Amazon Associates Program
The Amazon Associates affiliate program is one of the best ones available simply because of its credibility. Most people trust Amazon and buy things on their regularly.
There are over 300 million active accounts on Amazon. This means that there are hundreds of millions of people ready to buy with credit cards on file. Think about your shopping behaviour and how much you purchase on Amazon. What if you could take a piece of that pie by affiliating yourself with one of the fastest growing and trusted companies in the world?
You can sell virtually anything on Amazon including books, kindle ebooks, games, supplements, and much more. The percentage of commission you make on each sale depends on the product you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling supplements, you’ll get 5%. You can see the standard rates for each product category here as well as the policies.
You’ll need to build an affiliate site around a particular niche. For example, if your niche is weight loss, then you’d focus on weight loss products to review.
The key to doing well with Amazon affiliate sites is to find products that have a low best sellers rank (the lower the better in that category), good reviews, and a price point between $19 - $70 to ensure that you get good conversions and decent commissions for each product sale.
To get started with the Amazon Associates program, simply go to: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ and click on Join Now.
Once you’ve been approved you’ll have access to all the products on Amazon which you can start selling.
Make Money with Clickbank
Another great affiliate marketing network is Clickbank. Clickbank is a marketplace for buying and selling digital products such as online courses and ebooks.
Clickbank is great if you’re looking to sell digital products in specific niches for a high commission. Most of the front-end commissions on Clickbank are very high (up to 90% commission) on the front end sale and 50% on upsells.
This makes Clickbank extremely attractive for digital entrepreneurs who want to build profitable businesses without spending a lot of time and effort driving a ton of traffic to your site. Your conversion rates most likely won’t be as high as selling Amazon products, but because the commissions are so high, your potential earning is higher for each sale.
The key to doing well on Clickbank is to find products with a high gravity, average sale and preferably backend sales so that you can decrease the cost per acquisition.
You will also want to build an email list, landing page and autoresponder sequence for your offers. This way you can follow up with your subscribers and sell to them on the backend. This will increase the lifetime value of your subscribers. The longer the stay on your email list, the more likely they are to convert and buy your affiliate products.
To get started with click bank, goto the clickbank.com marketplace and start looking for the products to promote (should have a high gravity and at least 75% commissions to start).
Once you’ve found a product to promote, then you can create a landing page on your website around it.
Although many publications such as the Guardian and other media outlets have reported ebook sales dropping in favor of print, according to Digital Book World, they never actually declined and we don’t truly have an accurate way to estimate the actual growth of the ebook market.
Amazon ebook sales were up 4% in 2016 compared to 2015 which shows that ebooks are still highly in demand and growing year over year. Many reports on the ebook market tend to ignore kindle unlimited which is an ebook subscription service offered by Amazon. Including this data would certainly increase the growth.
Even if it’s slowed down from previous years, that’s definitely no need to panic. There’s plenty of money to be made online with ebooks and creating and publishing ebooks to your website and Amazon can be great source of income.
To quickly create a high quality ebook, I recommend using a tool like Beacon which converts your blog posts into ebooks. It combines the blog posts — or pages -- you select into a single ebook and then you can modify it by adding a cover, table of contents, calls to action without having to touch Adobe Photoshop, Acrobat or Indesign.
Once you’ve created a high quality ebook, you can offer it as a lead magnet to collect email address, or even use it as a front-end offer or tripwire to get qualified people into your sales funnel.
3. Online Courses
If you want to make money with a proven business model that’s shown potential, then creating online courses is a no-brainer.
The e-learning market is growing rapidly and is expected to exceed 240 billion USD by the year 2023. It was valued at 165 billion USD in 2015 so that’s a 50% increase (or 5% annually) in just 8 years.
Many people want to learn at their own pace without having to spend thousands of dollars paying tuition. So why not start offering online courses that will help them solve their challenges and problems?
The great thing about teaching online is that you don’t have to be an "expert". You simply need to know more than the average person about a topic. Think about your talents and passions. What comes naturally to you that others find difficult? What do people come to you for advice? Is it cooking, technology, weight lifting, nutrition, writing? Make a list of the topics that you know something about or have a strong interest in to start.
There are 3 main ways to sell online courses:
1. Marketplace for Selling Online Courses
The simplest and fastest way to get started with online course creation is to publish your course to a marketplace like Udemy and Skillshare.
Udemy has over 17 million students worldwide and 27 thousand instructors. So you can leverage their massive student database by providing courses in virtually any industry.
The only thing you really need to get started is to sign up for the instructor account. Once your account is verified and you’re logged in to the instructor account you need to:
1) Choose a topic
2) Create a course
3) Connect with students
For your first course, you don’t need to make a massive 10 hour course. A short 1 to 2 hour course covering a particular topic is fine (i.e how to create a membership site, how to create a site using WordPress, etc.)
Although Udemy is a great place for newbies to get started, the downside to using a marketplace like Udemy is that you don’t have control over the profit, pricing and email list.
Udemy is known to run site-wide sales regularly so your profits will be slim. So for example, if your course is set to $199, and Udemy runs a promotion and sells it for $15 (which they keep 50%), then you’ll get $7.50. So to make this model work, you’ll need to sell a lot of courses just to make a good income from it.
2. Self-hosted Solution for Selling Online Courses
If you want full control over your online course business, then publishing it on your own website is the best way to go.
To create a course on your own website, you’ll essentially need 3 things:
1) Content management system (CMS) - A content management system like WordPress will allow you to build a website and backend for your online course for free.
2) Membership Plugin - you’ll also need a WordPress membership plugin to protect your content so only people who have paid for your course will get access to it. There are many membership plugins available but the ones I recommend are Memberpress and ActiveMember360.
3) Learning Management System (LMS) - If you want to offer your students a great user experience and learning environment, then you’ll need a LMS plugin. An LMS will allow you to create quizzes, course progress, course grids, and much more. The LMS plugins I recommend are Learndash, LifterLMS and WP Courseware.
The main benefits of publishing a course on your own website is that you can charge whatever price you like, have full control over your email list, and don’t have to pay a monthly fee.
3. Hosted Solution for Selling Online Courses
If you want more control without having to setup and manage a self-hosted solution, then the hosted solution is probably the best for you. You'll have to pay a monthly fee for using a premium service, but you'll save a lot of time and stress creating and publishing your online course.
Create Courses With Teachable
One of the best hosted platforms for selling online courses is Teachable.
Teachable currently has over 50 million students worldwide using it, 20k + active courses, 10k+ instructors and $50 million dollars earned by instructors.
I first started using Teachable in 2015 after they had rebranded and changed their domain name from Fedora to Teachable. It's come a long way since, and they've added a lot of features such as 1-click upsells.
What I appreciate about Teachable is how quickly you can create an online course. You can create a mini-course within a few hours.
To get started with Teachable goto teachable.com and sign up for an account.
4. Membership Sites
If you want to build a long term sustainable business then look no further than a membership site as your business model. Membership sites allow you to create recurring revenue so you don’t have to worry about having to keep launching your product to make sales. As long as you provide valuable content, courses, support each month, you’re highly likely to keep your members long term.
What you’ll need to build a membership site with WordPress:
To build a membership site with WordPress, you’ll need the following:
1. Membership Plugin - there are many membership plugins available but the one I recommend using if you’re just getting started is Memberpress or ActiveMember360 (if you’re using Active Campaign as your email marketing software).
2. LMS - An LMS is a learning management system which allows you to build robust learning environment for your members. You can create badges, online courses which will help enhance their learning experience. I recommend using Learndash, WP Courseware or LifterLMS as your LMS.
3. Payment Processor - You’ll also need a way to accept payments. I recommend signing up for both Paypal and Stripe (to accept credit cards payments on your site). You’ll get charged a 2.9% + 0.30 fee for each transaction.
5. Done-For-You Services
Another great and simple way to make money online is to sell done-for-you services. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners don't want to do everything themselves, so they're looking for freelancers and agencies to delegate this work to. This includes web design/development, graphic design, blogging, web content writing, SEO, and PPC campaign management.
To get started Freelancing, you need to have a skill in just one area to do well. If you have good experience writing then start with that. If you don't have any experience, then you can learn most of these skills online using Lynda, Udemy, Pluralsight, Udacity, Treehouse and others.
Make Money with Upwork
If you want to make money online with jobs, then using Upwork can be a great way to earn income.
Upwork is an online workplace where freelancers and business owners can go to find jobs and hire for work online. It currently has 14 million users in 180 countries with $1 billion in annual freelancer billings.
To do well as a freelancer on Upwork, you'll need to have some experience in a particular area such as writing, graphic design, etc.
If you're just getting started here's some tips on how to improve your profile and attract more work:
- Get at least 2-3 quality reviews from clients
- Become a rising talent
- Take tests to show your competency in your area of expertise (make sure you score high)
6. Google Adsense
Google Adsense is another way for bloggers to make money online. Google Adsense is a program that’s run by Google that allows publishers to monetize their content by placing ad blocks on their pages. Relevant ads are served up depending on the content. This way, the ads are very relevant to what the visitor is reading and more likely to click the ad. When the visitor clicks the ad, you’ll get a percentage of the cost per click. For example, if the cost per click was $3, a percentage of that would go to you and Google.
Google adsense is one of the first online marketing strategies I used to make money online. It was very easy to setup and start making money without doing a lot of work upfront. It was just a matter of signing up and placing ads on relevant places on the website.
If you want to get Google adsense to work for you, then you’ll need to generate a lot of traffic. It’s not enough to drive a few hundred visitors per month to your site. You’ll need to get a ton of traffic to make it worth it in terms of ROI. So I would only recommend doing Google adsense if you plan on building authority sites that drive tens of thousands of sessions each month.
To sign up for the Google Adsense program, goto adsense.google.com and sing up for an account.
7. Sell Goods on Ebay (Arbitrage)
One of the simplest and fastest ways to make money online is to do arbitrage. Arbitrage is simply buying products at a lower price and selling it for a higher price for a healthy profit.
Gary Vaynerchuck -- a well-known American serial entrepreneur -- is a big proponent of the arbitrage business model.
Every time someone asks him how to make money fast in an interview, live on stage or on his Gary Vee show, he'll usually recommend doing Arbitrage -- especially if you're just getting started and want to see results quickly.
The eBay / etsy / amazon arbitrage is a real thing for people who educate and put in the 200 hrs to be great https://t.co/orrBEI2jjL
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) December 31, 2016
To get started with arbitrage, you can start with selling what you have that you don't need or want (i.e electronics, books, etc.). It doesn't take much time to setup an account and start selling on Ebay or Amazon.