The digital economy continues to grow and expand. Recently, it just hit a new milestone.
Pew Research Center recently released data that shows roughly 25% of Americans now earn some form of income via the web: an all-time high. The research group, based in Washington D.C., discovered that there is a renewed push behind the trend for people to find various forms of extra work via the internet.
While millions are now finding opportunities to work via the web as freelancers and in other paid forms of employment, the growth of people selling their own products and services continues to increase as well. From used clothes on local Facebook groups to electronics on online auction sites, everyday people are finding ways to make money in the gig economy.
Virtually everybody knows someone who has sold products or services on the internet. Many would like to know what methods people are using to earn a bit of extra income via the internet. We'll cover some of the most popular methods below.
SEO – short for search engine optimization – relates to the practice of improving the visibility of websites in various search results. The general consensus is that the more prominently a website is ranked in search, the more traffic that website receives. This, in turns, translates into more money.
Countless businesses enlist the services of SEO professionals in order to improve visibility. This has created an entire industry for digital services such as content creation, marketing and programming. A variety of job titles – such as keyword planner and on-page technician – that didn't exist 10 years ago are now in hot demand.
Businesses, blogs and brands of all sorts can be found on the web, but without content, most people wouldn't give them a second glance. For many of these entities, it is more economically sound to pay contracted professionals to produce that content rather than do so via in-house solutions.
Freelance writing is one of the most popular forms of content creation, with an estimated two million Americans providing some level of service in this niche. Businesses in need of content for their websites, blogs, social media profiles or other platforms will usually pay a fixed rate for each piece of content written, with the rights to that content being transferred to them upon payment. Freelance writing has taken off in large part because of the flexibility it provides to people who may wish to just work part-time and from home. It also is appealing because individuals can earn anywhere from $10 to $50 per hour while working from home.
There are other popular forms of content creation. One look at Fiverr, a popular freelance service platform, will provide you with an endless stream of service listings for as little as $5. From professionally recording audio clips and radio ads to introductory animated videos, it is very easy to procure services – and provide them – in the world of freelance content creation. For businesses, it is a dramatic cost saving. For many freelancers, they make more than they would working for companies doing the same work.
Another popular way through which people are building incomes for themselves online is affiliate networking. Through this practice, everyday people put together one or more websites. These websites offer reviews, guides, tutorials or simple shopping interfaces for people to learn more about products and services.
Whenever anybody clicks on a particular product link, they are taken to the manufacturer or service provider's website via an affiliate link. If the potential shopper in question makes a purchase, the person who built the website gets paid a percentage of the revenue.
This is one passive way to earn income via the internet, as the website can continue generating affiliate commissions for as long as it is visible and active.
Long known as one of the most common ways to make a living online, the use of online auction sites and marketplaces has continued to grow in recent years. While a few sites like eBay were once the only contenders in town, an entire armada of online marketplaces now allow everyday people to sell items.
Even websites like Amazon, New Egg and Walmart allow most individuals to sell products via their websites. Some people sell products they actually create, while others resell products that they have purchased elsewhere.
A few people even make money by drop-shipping items. Once a buyer purchases an item, the seller turns around and buys the product from someone else, shipping it to their buyer directly.
Social Media Marketplaces
Sites like Facebook are offering small-scale entrepreneurs yet another way to make a quick buck. You've no doubt seen – and may be a member of – various yard sale and swap groups on Facebook. The idea is simple and compares to long-standing sites such as Craigslist: post a picture and description of an item, list its price, haggle (if necessary) and meet up with the person to exchange the goods for cash.
This method gives people a quick and easy way to make money as opposed to having a yard sale or listing the item through a marketplace that requires you to ship it. The simplicity of it all – combined with the fact that it costs nothing to list – has made it very appealing to more traditional internet users. With Facebook's new Marketplace feature now live as well, selling products is easier than ever.
In the same way that millions of people provide content services to people on demand, there is a group of entrepreneurs proactively creating digital products to sell. Whether it comes in the form of an e-book or a mobile app, people seeking to earn passive income for a one-time effort can be found everywhere.
Due to the internet's ability to serve content offerings like this directly to people from all over the world, those willing to cut out the middle man with respect to selling digital products stand to make more profit. Those who find success in this particular field of online income generation generally have extensive skills or experience in one or more fields, making it a more difficult endeavor than many other online business methods.