12 Killer Ways to Make Extra Income On the Web

By Josh Catone
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If the tumbling world economy has you worried, don’t despair: we’ve got your back. The Internet, as you may have heard, is a wonderful place, full of money making opportunities if you know where to look. Our list of 12 ways to make extra cash online will point you in the right direction. None of these ideas will likely net you a full time income on their own — though there are certainly people who have managed to do so with each — but a couple of them in tandem, or in addition to your usual freelance work or day job, can make you some much needed extra cash.

If you know of any others, we’d love to hear your money making tips. Please share them in the comments.

Freelance Projects

Even as companies are laying off workers left and right, that work still need to get done by someone. Often times, companies will turn to freelancers on a per project basis as a way to save money and get things done quickly. Further, for smaller, one-time projects, it doesn’t make sense for many companies to hire a full-time employee, so frequently they will turn to the freelancer marketplace. There are many places to look for freelance jobs, but the large bid-based job boards are a good place to start. eLance, Guru, ScriptLance, and sologig are some of the best known.

Become a Topic Expert

About.com provides users with a guided tour of the web’s best sites in a wide range of topical areas. Each area of the site is maintained by a paid guide who is an expert in that area. The job of a guide is one part blogger, one part directory curator, and one part columnist. There are always openings for new guides and compensation starts at $725 per month. Guides are paid based on the amount of traffic they bring in and some make in excess of $100,000 per year.

Moonlight as a Designer

More and more smart companies are turning toward design contests to crowdsource their design work and get professional-quality results more efficiently. For designers, contests offer a steady stream of potential clients and a way to build up their portfolios. The clear market leader in the space is SitePoint’s own sister site 99designs. With almost $3 million in prize money awarded, and hundreds of open projects at any one time, you’ll never lack for work. ReadWriteWeb has a good list of other contest sites for designers to find even more opportunities.

Sell Your Stuff

Becoming an eBay millionaire is far from a piece of cake, but making some extra money in tough economic times is definitely doable. We all have some stuff in the attic that we never use, have outgrown, or just no longer need. Put it up for sale on eBay or Craigslist and make some extra cash. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, after all.

Cash in on Your Photos

Amateur-produced stock photos are a huge business. Last year iStockPhoto paid out $20.9 million in royalties to contributors. So selling your photos is indeed a possible way to make some extra, passive income, and there are a number of places where you can try to sell your pictures. We recently published a list of 15 such stock photo web sites, many of which give bonuses for exclusivity.

Flip a Website

Buying and selling web sites has also become big business, and unlike the house flipping market, the bottom hasn’t fallen out of the web site market. SitePoint’s Marketplace has grown into the web’s number one place to buy and sell web sites, and many people make a living doing just that.

Help People Search

If you’re good at finding things on the Internet, then you can make a few extra bucks helping people locate the information they need. Web search site ChaCha employs an army of search guides that help people do web searches. You won’t make big bucks doing it, but it’s not a bad way to make some spare change in your down time.

Sell Your Writing

Finding a full-time job as a writer isn’t easy (trust me, I should know!), but selling your freelance writing (and audio, video, and images) has never been easier thanks to Associated Content. AC is a network of content producers that allows anyone to submit content and be paid for it when it is distributed to their partner sites. The site says it has paid out over $1 million to content producers.

Name a Product

Even if you’re not a designer, you can still get in on the crowdsourcing action. NameThis is a contest site similar to 99designs, but rather than competing for design projects, users compete to come up with names for new products and services. If you fancy yourself a clever wordsmith, there is money to be earned at NameThis.

Design a T-Shirt

On the other hand, if you’re a design star, you may want to try your luck at t-shirt design for Threadless. Winning designs get $2,000 in cash, and $500 worth of free t-shirts, plus all the prestige that goes along with being a Threadless winner. Non-designers can submit slogans for a shot at a $500 cash prize.

Do Odd Jobs

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a people-power API from Amazon that lets companies easily outsource tasks to humans. These tasks are often mundane, and don’t pay much on their own, but they can be a good way to make extra cash just by doing things like reviewing restaurants, evaluating search results, and rating videos.

Shill Products on Your Blog

Have a blog? If you want to make a little extra cash, PayPerPost offers a way to write sponsored blog posts about products and services for money. There are some ethical ramifications here, so we’d advise that you always clearly disclose when a post is paid and avoid jobs that require a positive review.

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  • Thanks for the article, Josh. ChaCha and NameThis is new to me and I will recommend them to my friends =)

    These 12 methods are excellent way to start and build some initial capital from the Internet. I would advise readers who are trying them out to look at a longer term on how to convert that to a passive income stream. For example, you may not want to sell a site (for site flipping) if you have seen an increased in the passive income streams after some tweaking.

  • Nice rundown expect the payperpost one. It’s well know that Google is cracking down on this service, here is one of many articles found in seconds just by typing payperpost into G

  • Daryl James

    If it would be OK, I’d like to submit these oDesk Developer Trends for those of your readers who are looking for freelance work without having to pay out a monthly fee for the opportunity to bid on jobs.

  • Most of these ways of earning cash online are really sketchy at best. For example, 99designs is a nice concept. But I’ve entered over 20 contests there and only won a contest a total of twice. Keep in mind that I’ve been designing for over 7 years.

  • AB

    Amazon mechanical turk is most definitely not a “Killer way to make extra income.” If you can make even close to minimum wage on that site, I’d be impressed. Last I tried I made about $2/hr.

  • hairybob

    These are ways to help make other people wealthy!!!

    Follow any of these ideas Josh and you’ll perpetually be chasing your tail…

  • Advert Spotter

    So this article is basically just an advert for yourselves?

    At least be honest about it, rather than dress it up as advice!

  • Duke

    You can be Oracle at praxias.com

  • slinky

    13 ways – write articles on how to make money on the web. It doesn’t matter whether they work. People will hope they work in this horrible economy.

  • Josiah

    If you create a blog for the sole purpose of PayPerPost, there is no issue with Google “whacking you”.

    I made thousands of (fully disclosed advertising) dollars with PayPerPost, certainly more than I ever made with any of these other recommendations.

    It is true however that Google will zero your PR, so don’t signup your 5 year old personal blog that otherwise has a good rank.

  • XRumerTest

    Hello. And Bye.

  • JdL

    Contests shouldn’t be considered a way to make money. It’s hit-or-miss — more like gambling. I think the author should make a distinction between actually making money and “pursuing opportunities”

  • Adnan

    hey , is there any home typists job ? couple of thousands dollars in a month by posting the ads on sites ?

    refer me this kind of stuff please .

  • Affiliate programs were never mentioned. You mentioned selling some stuff – but didn’t mention selling specific items. Things like, if you have a web design ad, maybe selling templates (or linking to a template site). For example: Template Monster. But there are plenty around – just Google affiliate programs + your market.

  • It interesting.

  • beinuounk

    dude you know what I’m talking about! soy desole

  • Internet Marketing Consultant

    Josh great ideas. What about writing an EBook on something you know really well and offering it for sale on Clickbank.