A large proportion of those seeking new and profitable business opportunities are also looking for ways to earn an extra income based from home. This may be out of necessity as they are unable to find a job, or it may be that they simply are looking for an extra income for whatever reason – to enhance their current lifestyle, support a hobby or raise cash to invest in more business activity. Whatever the reason, businesses that can be started and run from home are the easiest and cheapest to establish – and for that reason they are very popular. The trouble is that this leads to a massive market in other businesses offering “work at home” programs and “easy ways to riches” that the unwary are so vulnerable to.

However, there are many ways to earn extra cash from home using the Internet. Without fail they will require effort and diligence in order to make them work and there will be no quick route to riches. However, starting small and building up was the route taken by every self made millionaire (and there are many of these working on the Internet alone) and so if you can find something you like or are interesting in, it is possible to invest time and any profits you make growing a home business as far as you like.

Internet marketing

You can earn extra income from home with nothing more than a computer and Internet connection. However, this is one area where there is so much hype and promise and the reality is very much different. You cannot simply pick up a program advertised on some web site, pay your up front fee or first monthly subscription and expect to be earning money within days. It is simply not possible to even start raking it in within months. What you do need is a more strategic and methodical approach. It is possible to start seeing some revenue from the Internet after a couple of months, that then grows month on month as a result of regular and targeted work – but only if the course or mentoring program you have selected is realistic, achievable and reasonable. In fact, although it may take a little longer, it is quite easy to find out “how” by doing your own research – using the sort of information that is freely available such as this “start up” guide as a starting point.

Those successful at Internet marketing will tell you of many months and years earning a few pounds or dollars every month. However, with persistence and willingness to learn, experiment and monitor results carefully they were able to rise to the surface and earn a significant level of income.

One piece of advice at this stage will not go amiss. To succeed at Internet Marketing you must be computer literate, happy to type away for hours at your keyboard, keeping detailed spreadsheet records and be prepared not to see fruits of your labour immediately – but often months and even years after you have done the work. In other words, your time at your keyboard is cumulative, every hour adding in to the potential of a useful (and in some cases big) future recurring income.

WordPress blogging software

As an example a WordPress blog can illustrate the potential for making money. You need a specialised niche which will have an associated number of keywords attached to it.  For example you might be interested in angling and decide to target keywords such as “fly rod” and “fishing fly”.  If  Google’s Keyword tool tells you that such a key word is worth $2 every time somebody clicks on it and that there is traffic of around 10,000 people using that keyword (on Google alone) then you can see that some $10,000 is paid by Google every month to the various web site owners that host Google adverts for that single particular keyword. You can see how it must be possible to build a great web site and get a share – say 1% of the traffic who will click on an Adword on your site and make you a share of that $2? However, in order to build a blog site into a business that earns you say $1000 every month there is a long road that needs to be taken. Those that can turn an area of real interest into such an earner, will likely be more successful than those get rich quick hopefuls trying to exploit the Google system.

1. Setting up a WordPress blog is very easy. You buy a web site domain name and arrange web hosting with one of the many providers on the Internet. You set up a SQL database on your new hosting account. You download a free copy from the WordPress web site onto your computer. You make a few simple changes to the underlying file structure of the program and upload it to your new web hosts. Then you configure your blog by downloading and installing a suitable and freely available theme to your site together with a number of other “plugins” (pieces of software) that are freely available on the Internet.

2. You now have a web site that you can write some useful and interesting content for, that you hope will attract people to your web site out of interest and curiosity. As it is your area of interest or expertise, you can add authoritative content regularly thus attracting more visitors and which will help you web site move up the rankings for the search engines.  You can begin to see why it can take a long time to eatablish a web site with a continuous healthy stream of visitors who are also looking to “click” on the fishing keyword related advertisements you provide.  Therefore, you now need to set up an account with Google so that you can install Adsense advertisements onto your site in order that you visitors will click on them to earn you you commission. Once you have done this you have a “monetized” web site that can make you money – if only people will visit you.

Getting to this stage is incredibly simple, and currently takes me an hour or two which also includes writing 2000 to 3000 words of interesting content to go on the site and finding maybe a couple of relevant photos to add in also. However, to get to this stage for the first time took me around 18 months!

Now that I know what I am doing it is easy, but initially I went down so many wrong and wasteful paths that my enthusiasm waned on a regular basis. So finding the correct route can take time – everybody will try to sell you the best and quickest method but even the basics as described above can take time to master. For me the turning point was visiting the forums, learning from others and not trying to do it alone.

3. Ok, that was the easy part. You have a web site that is capable of making money but no visitors. Is the keyword that you are working with suitable – and is your site optimized for that particular keyword?

4. You have a great keyword and your site is completely relevant to it – you add content every week and update existing content regularly. Why are you still not getting traffic and hence earning any money?

5. You need to impress on Google and the other search engines that your site is the number 1 site for the keyword you have chosen. With some keywords this is easy to do, with others, usually the more valuable in terms of earning capacity for you, can be extremely difficult if not impossible to do. However, again there are ways to boost your search engine ranking without spending huge sums of money that take time and effort but do work.

Getting to this stage has been something of a slog – don’t you think? And instead of earning $1000 from the keyword every month, after two years at it I am earning only $30. What to do?

6. I need to boost my site with many other suitable keywords, so that they all help to boost each others ranking and start to generate substantial combined revenues. If I want $1000, or maybe $5000 every month from this site – I might need 100 or 500 suitable keywords, each of which will require time and patience to individually boost it in Google and other search engines. As individual keywords begin to be noticed by Google, they will in turn support other keywords within separate content on the site thus increasing traffic overall.

Boosting a web site requires active Internet links from other sites to yours. These are called “back links”. But beware, one quality back link might be worth 1000 or more low quality ones! Google does not like web sites that have links from low quality sites that are easy to post links to. For example, you can write an article and post it to an Ezine directory. Your “author’s” box at the bottom of your article will have a link back to your site which will assist your site in the rankings. You need an awful lot of these links (perhaps 1000s) to assist your site and some “directory farms” might even have a detrimental effect on your site. Yet if you had a link back from Wikipedia, by posting a useful, original and informative link here, this might quickly provide the support you need to achieve higher status with the search engines.

Eventually perhaps after 2 or 3 years, working full time with content writers writing for me (at a cost) I might be turning over a respectable business – then suddenly without reason Google decides to “sandbox” my website and my earnings dwindle to nothing. This would indeed be a late stage in the game to realize that in Internet Marketing it pays to spread you effort over several web sites and use different hosting companies for each (what happens if your hosting company goes bust?).

I have described the simplest form of Internet Marketing business that can be established quickly and cheaply but needs a lot of work to make even a little money. Serious players will move onto affiliate marketing using adverts for suppliers directly rather than “pay per click” type Adwords. However, as discussed in the previous chapter, having something to sell will increase your chances of making money through web sites on the Internet a hundred fold!

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