Tuesday, July 1

Make money online

There are two main ways to make money online: Participate in online programs and monetize your site(s).

Neither will get you rich, but both can be a nice source of additional funds. Obviously, referrals help in both areas.


Participation is pretty self-explanatory. You can choose how much or how little you want to do. Some campaigns offer you points/money for reading emails. Others let you get cash back for shopping. Many also offer rewards for completing free trials.

The one caveat here: Try not to over-diversify. I learned the hard way that there are only so many companies that work with these rewards programs. If you sign up for a bunch of them, you end up limiting yourself. That's because you may find that you've completed most of the money-making offers before. So you can easily get stuck at an amount below redemption level.

My advice is to choose 1-3 programs, and stick with those. Of course, to make an informed decision, check out all of your options. Still, I would wait on actually completing any offers until you have had a chance to look at all the sites carefully.

That said, if you don't mind some inbox clutter, you can accumulate points from several of these programs simply by reading emails. It's slow going, but generally it's just a matter of knowing where to click and you're done. Then you really are getting something for (almost) nothing!

I started with Ebates because it's the most upfront.

  • When you sign up, you get $5. Easy.
  • Shop through the site.
  • Get $5 for any referrals you make
  • Get paid quarterly (once you have gotten $5.01 worth of cash back)

I find this program useful for purchases I was going to make anyway. (For example, I got my mom's gift subscription to More magazine from there and got 26% back. That was over $4, in just one purchase.)

Even better, you can sometimes combine a referral and money saving. Tim needed to buy a media reader from Best Buy. So I referred him to Ebates. We each got a $5 credit, and Tim got started on his own $5.01 minimum. The next time I need to buy something through Ebates, we'll put it in his account. Once the checks are in our hands, the media reader will go from $17 to $7.

Search & Win

  • Search as usual and win Swagbucks, anywhere from 1 - 100
  • Get a code and redeem for even more
  • Redeem for a gaming console, iPhone, video games, gift cards and more

Also pretty straightforward: Swagbucks. It's a search-and-win site. The bucks are given out randomly, and spamming doesn't work. (Only your first 20 searches per day count.) They also give out codes most weekdays. So be sure to become a fan on Facebook (or a member of one of the many groups that track codes) and check out the blog at least once a day.

Be sure to check out MegaFridays, when the company gives away extra swag bucks. Refer friends, then every time they get a buck, you get a buck (up to 100).

Update: I've been with Swagbucks for a little over a month now. I'm up to 102 bucks already -- all through searching and codes. That's more than enough for 2 Amazon $5 gift cards. Eight more and I could get a $10 Barnes & Noble GC. With 22 more, I could get a $10 Starbucks card.

I got those points without referring anyone, and I've missed a decent chunk (at least 1/4) of the codes offered on the Swagbucks blog/Facebook. In addition, through searching, I've only gotten as high a denomination as 3 Swag bucks -- and then only twice. So it really is surprisingly easy to accumulate these rewards.

  • You get money for:
  • Completing surveys
  • Trial offers
  • Playing games
  • Clicking on emails
  • And you get a $5 bonus for signing up

This is a little more complicated. You can make money in a bunch of ways. The emails may seem paltry at 2 cents a piece, but you can store them up (there doesn't seem to be an expiration date) and just click through them while watching TV. It's pretty quick. So far, I'm up over $6 on just those. The payout is a little high ($30) but overall it's still an easy way to make a few bucks. Just be sure to compare cash-back percentages with Ebates before you buy. Depending on the store, the percentages can be different.

  • As the logo says, you get paid to take surveys.
  • Get $2 for filling out your profile
  • Most of the surveys are trial offers. So have a calendar handy and write down when you need to cancel. But it can be pretty lucrative, if you're on the ball.
  • This does have a high payout, at $50.

  • Squishy Cash gives you a $3 bonus for signing up.
  • You can do 100% free offers.
  • You can do free trials.
  • You also earn chips with most offers. These can be traded in for prizes.
  • The upside of this site is that they always seem to be giving out bonuses.
  • Bonuses are usually things like an extra $1 for 5 approved offers in one night, or an extra $1 for every $2 in offers you complete. It really encourages you to keep going.

  • Cash Crate is one of the wider-known sites.
  • You can choose which items you want to participate in.
  • There are 100% free items (usually pay up to $1)
  • There are free trials (just remember to cancel in time)
  • There are bigger-paying offers, such as DirecTV or Blockbuster Total Access.
  • Some offers also pay in tokens, which can be redeemed for gift cards or other prizes


There are three main ways that you make money from a site: pay-per-click (PPC), affiliate and flat-rate ads.

PPC: Google AdSense is probably the best-known PPC program. And pay-per-click programs are exactly what they sound like: You get paid each time a reader clicks through. Generally, your own clicks will not count and will even penalize you/endanger your account.

Affiliate: You make money when readers either make a purchase or become a lead. For example, credit cards pay you for each person who fills out an application. Or if a reader fills out a form for more information on a program, that can be considered a lead. While these do tend to pay reasonably, their revenue isn't exactly reliable when you don't have many readers. The more readers you have, the more likely it is that some of them will be interested in various services.

Flat-rate ads: Advertisers pay you to place text or image ads on your site. They pay generally on a per-month basis. These are, at least to me, the most desirable, as you can count on a set amount of income.

I am loving this program! I have been with them for under two months, and already I have two advertisers. That's $21 a month!

Okay, I'm not exactly close to independent wealth, but I happen to think it's a pretty great start. And I know that as my numbers grow, more advertisers will be interested.

There are actually a lot of reasons I like Linkworth, though:

  • It has a combination of PPC and flat-rate ads, so it's not limiting.
  • There are several kinds of advertising approaches to choose from, some of which may actually help you increase your traffic.
  • You can choose your own price range, which gives you some freedom.
  • The lowest you can get for a text ad is $15 a month. (The split is 70/30, so you get $10.50 a month from a $15 ad.)

PJN Promo

This is an affiliate network. They recruit stores, you decide which ones to advertise on your site. Some pay for generating leads, some give you a commission on any click-throughs that turn into sales. Currently, the company is offering new members $10 to get them started.


Blogger kasandria said...

Love your blog!

March 17, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Anonymous Betsy Bargain said...

There were a few online money-making opportunities here I hadn't heard of before. I'll check them out. Thanks!

June 4, 2009 at 10:54 PM

Blogger Laura said...

I love your blog and read it regularly. Thanks to you I'm finally going to sign up for swagbucks. Is there a way to give you some credit with a referral or something? Thanks!

December 2, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Blogger Abigail said...


I'm really glad you like the blog! As for Swagbucks, just follow the link in any of my posts or go through the address http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/seattlegirluw


December 2, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Blogger eemusings said...

Hey Abigail, I've just joined Linkworth and am trying to navigate my way around. Once your blog's accepted, what next? Do you just have to wait until advertisers contact you?

February 15, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Blogger Abigail said...

Linkworth is mainly about advertisers contacting you. It shouldn't take too long, depending on your stats. I think I had around 150-200 readers when I signed up. Maybe less.

Just make sure you fill out all the information about monthly views and visits. It can be a little frustrating doing the waiting; but I've gotten some good results.

February 15, 2010 at 10:21 PM


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