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Ways To Make Money From: The Internet

The Internet

HAVE YOU WISED up to the Internet and the millions of business opportunities it offers? You don’t need to be a computer boffin to get involved – in fact you can profit from the Net even without a PC or modem.

If you do have the basic equipment there are plenty of ways to profit from people all over the world, and if you know the Web coding language HTML (which can be learned from many books that are available on the subject) the world of opportunity opens out even more. Here are 20 ways for you to surf the Net for profit:

  1. Finding Internet customers

The number of people using the Internet continues to grow, as they begin to realize the full benefits it brings. Internet service providers are competing desperately to sign up customers, which has resulted in a need for middle men to sign up non-Net surfers on behalf of the company, and / or attract customers away from their current service provider.

You’ll either receive a payment per person you sign up, or will get a percentage of their subscription for as long as they use the service. You’ll probably get a free Internet account too!

Finding new customers is not difficult. Word of mouth will generate a certain amount of custom, so inform friends and work colleagues: explain what they’ll gain from going online, plus the benefits of your particular service provider.

Business customers will be even more lucrative. Target firms likely to benefit from the Internet, attracting them via direct mailshots, leaflet drops, newspaper ads and articles.

  1. Renting out Web space

Clients will pay highly to have a site on the World Wide Web, earning big money for large internet service providers who rent out nearly all Web space. For smaller operators there is a market for buying Web space and ‘sub-letting’ it at a profit. For example, you could buy Web space for $X per megabyte and ret it out to a company at double the price.

First you need to find a reliable provider of web space (note: some services offer a certain amount of free Web space for your own personal use, which you may lose by renting it on.). Next you need to promote your business potential customers. You can set up a Web site to do this, highlighting the benefits for your service (quality of service, speed of access, reliability or price, for example) and giving testimonials from satisfied customers. Also target non-Web-using company by direct mail and other means, explaining the benefits of being on-line.

  1. Online classifieds

The Internet is essentially one great big virtual advertising hoarding. But it’s costly to purchase space, and many firms and individuals either don’t want or can’t afford a website. However, they may wish to pay to put a small classified ad on the Net.

Setting up a Website featuring lots of small classified ads is a lucrative opportunity. You can charge a certain rate per word, for a standard run of a week or a fortnight. All you then have to do is update the site when necessary.

As well as basic classifieds you can charge extra for boxed ads, links to customers’ own Websites and so on. It’s a good idea to charge reduced rates initially in order to get your first few customers. To advertise the site, leave messages in classified ad newsgroups.

  1. Internet job center

For someone desperately looking for job it would be an excellent idea to advertise their skills and experience on the World Wide Web. It would probably reach far more firms and cost far less than mailing out CVs directly. However web-browsing firms looking for prospective employees would need to know where to look.

This is where you come in, with and Internet job center. Get people to send in their CVs and charge them for posting up a few brief details regarding their experience, qualifications and the work they are looking for. Interested companies could then contact you, with you charging a fee for sending out each person’s full CV.

Try to group people so that companies can find what they are looking for quickly. You can also offer a service to companies trying to fill a post, matching up people with their particular job requirements – this would be useful for firms without the time or equipment for Net surfing. You need to make your site well known to companies: as well as advertising your presence via the Internet, contact the personnel departments of large companies and use mailshots to attract non-Net users.

  1. Monitoring websites

Businesses are always keen to find out what their competitors are doing online. You can charge clients for keeping an eye on certain websites – the information featured, number of ‘hits’ (people visiting the site), and changes made – and presenting it as a report which shows how the company could update their own site to make it better than their competitor’s.

You can charge upwards of $20 per hour for this service, plus telephone expenses, but you need to keep your customer informed of what you’ve been up to. Use targeted e-mail, letters, ads in the various Internet magazines, plus your own web site, to attract custom.

  1. Web page design and copyrighting

When companies go online it helps that their site is attractively designed and well laid out. A site that’s interesting to look at and not too complicated, with plenty to offer the reader, will keep people coming back for more, so many companies will require the services of a Web page designer in order to maximize their Web potential.

As well as artistic talent you’ll need to be familiar with HTML, the coding language used by Web but there are lots of books on the subject available. Approach design companies, who may be looking for people with web design experience. Another good marketing method is to contact companies already on the Net and (tactfully) offer to re-design their pages.

  1. Copywriting

To really make a web page or an e-mail sales letter sell it needs to be snappily and persuasively written. For this reason there are excellent opportunities for copywriters.

Web site copy needs to be short, sharp, keeping the reader’s attention, gradually attracting them through the pages of the site and prodding them towards purchasing that particular product or service. This is not quite as straightforward as writing a standard mailshot or sales letter, but a multitude of helpful books are available. You can charge by the hour, by the project or by the page.

  1. Public relations

Organizations use public relations for a variety of reasons – boosting their company profile, beating off competition and increasing prestige, as well as selling products – and maintaining a strong Internet presence can be an important part of this. There is money to be made in Internet-based PR, handling the on-line PR requirements for a variety of businesses.

You need to build up a list of contacts and publications, their editors and journalists, and their e-mail addresses. Directories with the contact numbers of UK-based publications are available, some in computer disk format. You can then issue press releases by e-mail, as well as utilizing websites, charging either by the release or on a retainer basis.

  1. Publishing

Whether you require a little light-hearted reading or some serious information, you might be able to get it in the form of an online publication. This is another lucrative area of the Internet you can get involved in. The simplest form of publishing is to issue small newsletters by e-mail. Alternatively, you could set up an in-depth web-based publication, which will involve more work, but you can charge more for it. You don’t necessarily have to charge – by carrying advertising a free publication should make a profit.

The content is up to you, although business, financial and sex-related magazines are popular. Include things like up-to-the-minute news, competitions, interviews, features and reviews of other relevant Internet sites. Charges will depend on how long the publication is and how specialized the information is, but you can make customers pay by using a password system, or by taking credit / debit card details. Don’t forget to advertise your publication extensively on the Net, and use mailing lists to mailshot potential readers and contributors.

  1. Lonely hearts and personal sites

The Internet is a great way of unattached people to communicate, perhaps aided by the anonymity it offers. However, it’s not the sort of place that encourages people getting together, so there’s a great demand for lonely hearts and personal services that operate via the Web or e-mail.

Feature short descriptions of each person, along with what they are looking for, and encourage people to contact you, paying a small fee to see someone’s details and picture. Don’t give out contact details though – if the other person is interested they can pass on a message to confirm a ‘date’.

If you wish you can charge people a membership fee to join your service. Vetting your clients will help improve their chances of finding a suitable partner, boosting your success rates and attracting more customers. Advertise your site in newspapers, magazines and through specialized mailing lists, as well as on the Net itself.

  1. Games and competitions

People love games and competitions, which is why they are so profitable. The simplest form of Net competition is a quiz – music, general knowledge and film are popular – where people can obtain the questions by e-mail. But it’s possible to set up virtually any kind of competition if you use your imagination. Prizes can be obtained by asking companies (not only those on the Net) to donate a prize in return for advertising space, with profits being earned by selling additional ad space, plus mailing lists of customers and advertisers.

Dedicated games services are also popular. Software companies now have facilities to play their games over the Net, but can be slow. Far better to set up a dedicated game server (with hard / software that allows people to play against one another, such as BT’s Wire Play), charging by the hour. Rent space from your local Net service provider, offering a dedicated game service with favorites such as Doom or Quake. Your charges will therefore be added to customers’ monthly online bills from their providers.

If you don’t have the necessary technical expertise to set up a game or competition site contact your service provider – they may help you in return for a percentage of your charges.

  1. Information sites

Do you have a special interest or area of expertise? If so, you could set up and information site on the Net. More and more people are making significant cash doing this. Your site should carry exciting and enjoyable features to draw in your captive audience, who can then be encouraged to register for your information. These are protected by a password which only give out when your customer has completed the relevant forms.

You could write the site yourself. Or get writers to contribute articles. Remember you can make more cash by featuring adverts too. Publicize your site via other Web pages and links from those pages, and mailshot organizations who may be interested in your service.

  1. Teaching

Anyone with a good grounding in computing and the Internet will be able to earn a healthy income passing on their knowledge to others. Businesses will want to know to set up on the Internet, how to develop a Website and how best to make money. Home users will want to benefit from all the different areas of the Net particularly leisure and fun pages – as well as discovering how to go on-line.

You could begin by teaching at home, or in companies’ own offices. For a particularly up-market business related course, where you include lunch and an expert and / or guest speaker, you can charge well upwards of $100 per day. If you have little computing knowledge but are good at organizing, you could hire teachers and just handle the school’s marketing booking and admin. You’ll still pocket the profits.

  1. ‘How-to’ newsletters and disks

A helpful service for organizations looking to either set up or improve a website is to provide an information service or newsletter analyzing what the most successful sites are, how many people access them, and what actually makes them successful.

You can charge around $100 per year for a basic five page monthly newsletter, although it depends how specialized your information is. You could also produce CDs and disks featuring examples of Web sites, along with links, plus Internet software and more. Don’t forget to ask permission before using anyone’s Website as an example, although you can charge for the privilege, since the organization might view it as a good source of advertising.

Putting ads in magazines and setting up your own Web site will be the most effective way of marketing this service.

  1. Bartering on the Net

Bartering is a great way of saving money, and is enjoying a huge growth in popularity thanks to the advantage offered by the Internet.

Contact your local service provider and set up a newsgroup where people can advertise good wanted and offered. You act as the middle man, putting together buyer and seller and taking a commission on each transaction. The club can be promoted via press releases to Internet-related magazines and on the Net itself.

  1. Online auctions

It’s possible to set up instant online auctions via the Internet or your local bulletin board. You can sell anything you like, although the best items are computer and electrical equipment.

Contact local shops to obtain stock. Stress that not only will they sell their goods quickly, they’ll get free advertising too.

Using a website you can display details of goods, along with a picture, the last big received, the amount the bid can be increased by ($5 is a good amount), plus the cost of sending the goods to the winning bidder. Accept new bids by e-mail and update your site accordingly. Set a two-week limit per auction, so that the highest bid at the end of the fortnight get the goods. You can then pass on the details of the winner to the shop, who will send the items out and pay you your commission (at least ten percent) on the sale.

  1. Installing Internet software

Anyone au fait with the Internet technology can make a good living installing software. Although the basics are fairly simple, getting the right configurations and settings can be time consuming, so you’ll help organizations save time and money by providing this service. You’ll need to know how to set up the most popular software and help with any problems they encounter afterwards.

Advertise your service to local businesses via direct mail and leaflets drops. Also you could approach computer stores to pass on your leaflets, or perhaps hire you to install their products.

  1. Internet consultancy

If a company wanted to know how to set up on the Internet, how to market itself via the Net, or how to get the most out of it, they’d probably turn to and Internet consultancy. Depending on the service provided they might have to pay between $25 and $100 per hour for the information – precisely why consultancy is such a good earner.

You can either offer a general service or specialize in areas such as advertising, marketing or public relations.

  1. X-rated sites

There’s no doubt about it: sex sells. You’ve probably heard horror stories about computer porn, but as long as steer clear of anything remotely dodgy you can make a lot of money from ‘sex sites’. Lingerie, books magazines and toys sell very well, as buyers and sellers benefit from the cloak of anonymity the Net provides.

The goods themselves are easy to sell – put a catalogue on your website and open a ‘cardholder not present’ account with MasterCard and Visa to accept credit card details.

  1. Net security

The nightmare of hackers gaining access to sensitive files, changing codes and spreading computer viruses is one shared by many organizations that use the Internet. Net security, although complex, offers substantial rewards to those able to install security-protecting software and / or assess companies’ computer systems and recommend ways of preventing unauthorized access.

A good way of generating clients is to collect stories of security break-ins and mailshot companies offering your services. Do security reviews for local firms to generate testimonials, as these will be a brilliant advertisement. This is one of the most lucrative Net-related opportunities: you can charge upwards $300 a day for this work.

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