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How to (Legitimately) Make Money Online in 2017

Written by Aliyyah Camp - One Comment

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Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for a new career, or a college student hoping to make money on a flexible schedule. No matter your situation, the web is the perfect place to explore money-making possibilities. There are plenty of options out there — which you choose will depend on your interests, skills, time availability, and willingness to put in the work.

Here are five legitimate ways that you can make money online in this coming year, and beyond.

Virtual Work

As more and more businesses are created online, there is a much bigger demand for virtual help. If you have a computer and a reliable internet connection, you can make money doing work over the web.

One popular way is to be a virtual assistant (VA). A VA is someone who provides administrative support to clients outside of their offices, on an independent contractor basis. VAs can also develop specialties in areas such as marketing, writing, transcription, and more. You can find plenty of VA jobs on websites like Upwork.com. You may need to offer your services for a low rate in order to gain your first few clients. Once you receive training, develop expertise, or just build a solid feedback score, you can begin to charge more.

Another area of virtual work is website usability testing. The leading provider of this service is UserTesting.com. You simply complete tasks on a website while recording your thoughts via a microphone, then submit. UserTesting currently pays $10 via PayPal for each 20-minute video you complete. The availability of tests will depend on your demographics and the quality of your videos.

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One more area of virtual work I’d like to discuss is researching. You can actually get paid to answer research questions for businesses. This is probably the most involved way to make money online doing virtual work.

Wonder is currently the leading provider of this service. You have to complete an answer to a sample research request before being accepted as a researcher. After being accepted, how much you make depends solely on how much you’re willing to work. You’ll have access to a dashboard with ongoing requests.

Sell Items

Selling online is a great way to make money. There are plenty of existing marketplaces with large customer bases, such as Esty, eBay, and Amazon, to name a few.

This may seem obvious, but you’ll need to have a quality product. Are you good at knitting and can make fashion scarves? Etsy would be a good website to sell your items. Are you good at finding deals on electronics and want to flip them for a profit? Then eBay would be your best bet. If you feel adventurous and want to have your own new product manufactured, Amazon is a good platform the later sell that product.

When selling items online, positioning is just as important as quality. In addition to having a good product to sell, you have to advertise and place it well. This means that you’ll need competitive pricing, catchy item titles, search-engine optimized item descriptions, and attention-grabbing photos. It’s a good idea to do an analysis of the current market before entering with your items.

Online Surveys

Taking online surveys is a tried and true way to make money online. The problem is there are plenty of illegitimate websites that are looking for your personal information and don’t offer actual paid surveys. Here are five legitimate survey websites for you to make money online:

Opinion Outpost – Points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal or for gift cards to top merchants like Amazon.com. You’ll also be entered into a quarterly $10,000 prize draw.

Harris Poll – Points can be redeemed for gift cards to top sites. You’ll also be entered into multiple sweepstakes with prizes ranging from $250 to $10,000.

American Consumer Opinion – Points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal or donated to several different charities.

Swagbucks – Points can be redeemed for gift cards from top merchants. Swagbucks also offers other ways to make money from your online activities, including shopping and watching videos.

Inbox Dollars – Redeem your earned cash via gift cards for top merchants, prepaid Visa cards, or a check. Inbox Dollars also offers ways to make money from your online activities, including playing games and signing up for offers.

Membership to all of these sites is free. You won’t get rich taking online surveys. But if you sign up through enough different websites, you can have an ongoing income stream that provides you with even a few hundred extra dollars each month.

Blogging

Starting a blog is becoming an increasingly glamorized way to make money online. Although it may seem simple, there’s a lot that goes into creating a profitable blog. You have to write quality content on a regular basis, generate traffic to your blog, and then monetize that traffic.

Three typical ways to make money blogging are: affiliate marketing, display ads, and sponsored posts. To get started with affiliate marketing, sign up with affiliate networks such as FlexOffers.com, ShareASale.com, and CJ.com. These networks should offer affiliate programs for many of the products you want to promote. If you can’t find the product you want to promote on one of these networks, it’s possible that the company may have its own separate affiliate program. You can check on the company’s website, and sign up there instead.

Once you’re accepted into the programs, link to relevant sign up offers in your blog’s content. You’ll receive a commission whenever a sale is completed — the actual terms will vary by company.

Google Adsense is one of the largest display ads providers, and is responsible for many of the banner and in-page ads that you see on the websites you visit everyday. You can customize where these ads appear on your website when you sign up for Adsense. You’ll be paid a certain amount based on the number of views per ad, and an even larger amount for clicks per ad. The more traffic you have, the more money you’ll make in ad revenue.

A sponsored post is an article on your blog that you’re paid to write on behalf of a company, product, or service. It could be a full endorsement or simply linking to their website within the article. You’ll need to disclose whenever you’re paid to write content on your blog, from an ethical standpoint. A couple of websites that connect bloggers with brands for sponsored posts include IZEA and Influence Central.

Once you become popular enough and have grown your site’s traffic, you can even leverage your blog to create digital products or offer consulting services.

Freelance Writing

If you have basic writing skills and are knowledgeable about a specific subject area (or willing to learn), you can be a freelance writer. There are so many publications on the web looking for qualified writers to produce their content. Here are three excellent websites where you can find new freelance job postings on a daily basis:

Most editors will want you to have some sort of writing experience before hiring you. You can build your portfolio by writing for smaller publications and blogs for free. Once you have a few writing samples, editors will look at you more seriously. Another option is to create a blog around your topic of interest and use those blog posts as your writing samples.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to make money online. In today’s day and age, anyone with a computer and internet connection can find a way to earn extra cash from home that fits their lifestyle. While you’ll need to be cautious of scams and dead ends, there are numerous sources for legitimate (and lucrative) web-based income.

Whether it’s taking online surveys to make a few hundred dollars or creating a full-blown blog, the potential to make money online is definitely there. It’s up to you to take the necessary steps to start.

What are your favorite ways to earn cash online? Or, if you’re considering trying to make money from home, what are your reasons?

Published on December 5th, 2016 - One Comment
Filed under: Online,Self Employment,Working

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. I have been blogging and a freelance writer for quite some time. Though its requires great self discipline and tremendous patience, I do agree with you that it’s a great way of making money online especially with something that I love doing.
    I also love the flexible life it provides , helps me have a comfortable living without the stress factor.

    Comment by Michele Cooper — Dec 15th 2016 @ 2:35 am

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