Top money-making websites
The internet has revolutionised how we manage our money. We can keep our bank accounts in check at the click of a mouse; save money by shopping around for everything from holidays to DVDs, and compare the best deals on a whole host of financial products - all during our lunch hour or while sitting at home in our PJs.
It makes you wonder how we ever managed before the worldwide web came along.
The internet is not only useful for saving money; it’s great for earning some extra cash too. Here’s my pick of some of the best ways to make money on the web.
If you can take a good photo…
Sign up to a stock photography website and you could get paid for your pictures.
Stock photography websites are used to source photos in the media by other websites, blogs, articles and advertisers. Lots of sites accept good amateur photographs in addition to professional shots, and pay on a per-download or a per-sale basis.
Popular, well-established sites include Fotolia, 123RF, iStockPhoto and Alamy.
Commission rates and copyright issues vary from site to site, so be sure to research each site thoroughly before signing up. Each site looks for a different type and style of photography so don’t get disheartened if your shots aren’t accepted by one - it’s worth trying them all.
How much money you make will depend on how often your photos are viewed and purchased, so it’s important to carefully consider the type of photos you take and the keywords you use that will lead buyers to your shots.
If you’re crafty…
Etsy has taken the craft world by storm. It’s like an online craft fair where you can sell anything handmade – think jewellery, art, ceramics, knitting, furniture - the list is pretty much endless. You can also sell vintage items, which need to be more than 20 years old, and have 'vintage appeal’.
Etsy is the biggest player in this market, but it is based in the US. So the downside for UK crafters is that the site operates in dollars and you’ll need to factor in the extra cost of shipping to American buyers.
The UK alternatives are Folksy and Coriandr. Both are smaller than Etsy, as they’re pretty new and still in development stage. But this could work to your advantage because you’ll face less competition in your chosen craft. Misi (Make it Sell it) not only offers an online community for craft-lovers, but also an opportunity to make some money from your pastime.
Once registered, you can build a profile and ‘shop window’ with your products, and you get your own web address. Both are free to join, but charge 20p to list an item, plus commission of 5% on Folksy and 2.5% on Corinadr on any sale you make.
If you shop online...
Signing up to a cashback website is one of the easiest ways to make some extra cash if you already buy goods and services online.
Cashback websites like Quidco, GiveOrTake and GreasyPalm are essentially advertising sites that link through to hundreds of popular retailers. When you click through to a retailer’s website to purchase something, it pays the cashback site a lead fee for generating your business.
You’ll get a portion of this fee, so you’re effectively being paid to shop.
The amount of cashback you can earn depends on how much you spend, and it varies between each site and retailer. Read the small print before you sign up as each sites works a little differently.
If you can write…
If you’re a budding writer or perhaps just want to share your views on life or a particular topic, you can earn money through blogging. It won’t make you rich, but you could build up some extra pocket money from writing about your interests.
Writing a blog in itself doesn’t pay - you’ll need to introduce advertising in order to earn money. Google’s AdSense is one of the most popular programs. It allows you to run relevant ads alongside your blog, which will generate revenue on a per-click or per-impression basis, The more traffic your blog gets, the more money you’ll make - so when you start a blog you’ll have to work hard to publicise it to attract regular readers and followers.
You can also invite 'sponsors' to advertise on your blog. So for example, if you write a food blog, you could try approaching supermarkets or popular food brands.
If you’ve got junk…
eBay is nothing new but it really is a handy way to turn your clutter and junk into a money-spinner without the hassle of organising a carboot sale or going to an auction.
Even if you think no one will be interested in your ancient, bulky TV or that slow cooker you’ve never got around to using, try it out – you’d be surprised what people want. eBay estimates the average British house has about £450 worth of unwanted items that could be sold on the site.
If you’ve never used eBay before, it may take a little time to familiarise yourself with the site but it is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to open a seller account and create a separate listing for each item you want to sell, with a description and photo, and information such as postage costs, or whether it’s collection only.
You’ll pay a listing fee of between 15p and £1.30 depending on the starting or ‘reserve ‘ price of your item, and commission of 10% of the final selling price.
If it seems like hard work and you’d rather not pay to sell your stuff - you can advertise and sell for free on Gumtree.com.
Rather than shopping online directly with a retailer, if you go to the retailer via a cashback website (you have to register as a member), when you make a purchase the cashback site gets a commission and rebates some – or all – of this back to you. The cash being paid back to you will vary wildly from site to site and even from product to product, so check you’re getting the best deal before you buy.