How to Make Money Online (For Beginners)

how to make money online for beginners"I am trying to figure out where to start with internet marketing. I just read your post about lifestyle and I know the kind I want for my family, I just don't know where to start..."

-Lynn Woolums Smith

Hi Lynn! I actually hear this question a lot, so you're not alone. In fact there are 161 searches every day for "how to make money online for beginners" and more than 700/day for "how to make money online"...

Read through this post carefully, and then see the 10-Step Checklist at the end for getting started! πŸ˜‰

There are a number of ways to make money online. Options range from creating your own product to sell online, making money as a professional blogger, managing an online community, developing a content site on a hot topic - just to name a few.

All of these are just various ways to deliver content online. Your first step will be choosing a niche, which is the market or topic you are going to focus on.

Speaking of focus, with so many options to make money online - focus is key. You want to choose a niche and a business model, and work on that one project all the way from start to profit. Don't let all the other options distract or derail you. πŸ˜‰

Once you decide on a topic or niche, you should sit down and map out a plan for your internet business model. What market are you targeting, and how can you best serve that market? This is the angle you want to work from, vs the more common: how can I make the most money from this market? (Most people get it backwards and then get frustrated when that doesn't work out for them)

See: How to Become a Market Leader in Your Niche

So you choose a niche, create a blog or website, set up social media profiles to interact with your target market on the topic, and you create and share useful content that will build your reputation and readership in that niche.

I can hear what you're saying...

"That all sounds great, but how do I make money from it?"

How to Make Money Online (For Beginners)

The absolute easiest way to make money online is with Affiliate Marketing. You don't have to create a product, set up a shopping cart and merchant account, do customer service, work with clients, etc. It's very much like a traditional commission-based sales job where you earn commission on any sales you refer. Just as one example, you can promote a web hosting affiliate program and earn commission on every new account sign-up.

The difference is that you're doing it online, and you can do it from home without ever doing in-person or phone sales. You simply recommend products and/or refer people to specific merchants through the content on your website.

The method I prefer is creating SEO Content, or content that is optimized to rank well in the major search engines. People find it when they are searching for that, click through, and buy what they need or want. This works really well because you write the content once, and it continues to rank well and earn you money for years to come. As long as you maintain your search engine rankings.

"How can I make 3-4k a month or more?
What steps will it take to get there?"

I know this is stating the obvious, but it should be said:

It takes time, work, and being both persistent and consistent. An online business is the same as any other business in that it requires an investment on your part to get it up and running. The positive side of online business is that it takes a lot less time and money than most traditional offline business models.

Do these 10 steps, in this order, to get started:

Once you get all this set up and you're making money as an Affiliate, you can look at other ways to monetize your site. You might create short reports on your topic to sell, test contextual advertising, or look into even more methods to make money.

Yes it's work. And yes - it's worth it! πŸ˜€

If you do these steps, and continue to learn & tweak as you go, you'll start earning money. You can increase your traffic (number of visitors) and your income as you continue to grow and market your website.

It takes time to get to a consistent $3-5K per month in revenue, but you could easily do that within the first year.

If you need ANY help at all with the steps above, come by the ClickNewz Forum and simply ask. We'd be happy to help you get started! πŸ˜‰


p.s. Lynn was referring to my Lifestyle & Income of a Super Affiliate post. Give that a read if you haven't already as it will give you a sneak peek into my life and success doing the exact things I outlined here.

Also See: Online Jobs - Work From Home

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Danny Cutts says


    But dont forget to actually start and stick with your ideas and even after a couple of weeks with no sales dont give up!


    • "a couple of weeks" - LOL Danny!

      It's typical for people to get discouraged so soon, but not realistic to expect big success in that amount of time. Not that you can't make your first commissions in the first few weeks, but it seems people expect to "strike it rich" or "win the lottery" with Internet Marketing as if it's magic. πŸ˜›

      • Danny Cutts says

        he he

        what you mean I not going to make Β£3k over night....? Damn!

        I have built sites in a few hours and have had them in profit in the first week.. thats exciting then have had some that take 6 months to break

        I do pretty extensive research but sometimes it just does not work.


        • LOL - you're funny! Cracking me up over here πŸ˜‰

          I wonder what kind of issue you're having with the sites that "don't work". Is it a traffic problem, or a conversions problem?

  2. Todd Temaat says

    Excellent advice, Lynn. Two things I would add about picking a niche, though. First, you want to make sure it's something that has people willing to buy products that you can feel good about selling. Second, you need to be able to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there in the niche. And the easiest way to do this is by going to smaller niches. For example, instead of going into the fitness market, go into the fitness for pregnant women market or the fitness for people that travel market to start with.

    • I agree that you want to make sure it's a buying market. I address that in many posts here at ClickNewz about market research & keyword selection. Here's a good example of just one of those posts:

      As for micro-niches, I do tend to go for niche depth and so I'm more on the "overachiever" side of that coin than the "underachiever" (for those of you that remember that reference). I build sites around topics that are broad enough to give me plenty to write about, both for site content and for content marketing.

      I do think it's good to target a very specific market though, and am not disagreeing with you on that point. Good addition to the discussion!

  3. Focus is the key in this business. Especially as a newbie there are so many distractions. All the people telling you "buy this and you will make 1000$/day tommorow". The best tip really is just start something and take it till you make profit. The lessons learned through one focused project are amazing.

    Love the summary for beginners. Everything you need to get started.

    • Thank you, Alex. Focus is definitely important. Another topic I touch on quite a bit here at ClickNewz. One of my favorites from the archives: πŸ˜€

      • Marguerite Vail says

        I still do not understand how the marketer is paid. Does the person commit to buying product to you or do you refer them direct to manufacturer? In either case you would need a contract with them. with Are most companies open to working with Internet marketers
        If so, how do you find them And what % fee per product do you ask for? Marguerite

  4. Matthew Zinda says


    I absolutely love your blog. It is so personal, so helpful, and so relevant to my own business.

    One of the first things I do when I get online is go to your blog to see if there are any new posts.

    You always write about things that I know about, but only do most of the time, subcontiously. After I read your posts, I do them all of the time, contiously.

    There are 2 big points that I took from this post:

    1. I have been working on a new landing page for one of the services I am affiliated with. The reason I am making a new landing page for it is because the onpage SEO on my current landing page "sucks" in a word. The first thing I am going to do when I get done commenting is download, "SEO Fast Start" and read whatever the link pointing to "Optimized Content" says.

    2. I have an associate that has told me they have had good look with text link ads. This post gave me a kick in the butt to get started with that ASAP (as soon as I am done with my new landing page).

    Thank you for delivering top notch value every time.

    Matthew Zinda

  5. Robert Somerville says

    There are so many ways to make money online and the strategy outlined here is as good as any.

    The key is to take action. The world doesn't lack for strategies that work, it lacks for people that make it happen.

    Start now, what have you got to lose!

  6. Jigisha Bengali says

    Thanks Lynn, your blog was very helpful. It is very informative and encouraging.

  7. AirHammer Music says

    I'm about to put this method into action on THURSDAY!

    Wish me luck πŸ™‚

    Be listening to Eben Pagan, Wake Up Productive to help with focus.


    • Is it good? I've been interested in checking out Wake Up Productive but haven't had opportunity yet. I'm too busy being inefficient! LOL j/k πŸ˜‰ Seriously, would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  8. I want to thank you. A friend of mine had suggested you. I just stated my own business, i am now selling healthy coffee and tea online. I have a web sight and i have been getting a lot of hits due to my face book page. But do buys. What do you suggest? My web sight is let me know what... i need to do to get people to buy. Oh and today i started selling on Ebay. i hope that helps. Thank you
    facebook healthy organic coffee and green tea

  9. Mike Hays says

    I would add one thing to your list, Lynn...setup a YouTube channel and when you write the reports/reviews make some videos and put them into your YouTube channel.

    • Good tip. I recommend that when you set up a new site you also set up everything else: youtube, gmail, twitter, facebook, friendfeed, etc. If you don't, it may not be available down the road when you think of it! πŸ˜‰

  10. As always, Lynn you are right there with great information and you give us all something to think about.

    Keep up the great information that you have always provided.

  11. Lynn, Thanks again for all the great info. I learn something every time I come to your blog, whether it's from you or posts from your readers.

  12. Keith Davis says

    Thanks Lynn
    Just the article I've been looking for with tons of links to more detailed info.

    Like the list of things to do. I'm a list man so it suits me fine.

    I'm already set up with a niche market website, need to start thinking about Facebook and Twitter.

    Are there any books that you would recommend Lynn?

    • No books, no - just check out the links I shared above on that, and dive in. The best advice I can offer is that you "join the conversation" with your market and on your topic. A lot of people just push content & promos constantly, but the people who are doing well with social media are those who are engaging readers and getting engaged in the conversations...

      • Keith Davis says

        Checked out the links and they are brilliant - a course on their own and all for free!

        Thanks Lynn

  13. You say the best way to test an affiliate program is to set up a google adwords campaign. But how do you do that without a website

    • You can publish content just about anywhere - a blogger blog,, a guest post on someone else's blog, a squidoo lens. You can even use a direct affiliate link in your PPC ad, though that's a little harder. The best thing to do is create a niche site and then drive traffic to it. You can split test keywords & offers from there. Do your market research upfront and you should be fine. πŸ˜‰

  14. Andrew Stone says

    First, you need to know what you really want before starting any online business. Earning online isn't that easy as many people think about it. You must invest something before you can see the result and eventually get the benefits.

  15. Thank you for answering my question! I especially love the 10 steps, time to get started!

    Thanks again, talk soon:)


  16. Elge Premeau says

    A very important point that I think gets overlooked a lot when telling people how to make money online is to pick a topic, product or niche that you LOVE. It needs to be something you want to think about and work on every day. You're going to put 100's of hours into your successful online business so you better like what you're doing!

    • I agree - and I covered that in the "choosing a niche" post that I linked to above. Otherwise you'll lose interest, which won't get you anywhere at all...

  17. Thanks Lynn Woolums for posting this question and thank you Lynn Terry for the information. People like me will definitely will benefit from this post.

  18. This is a great primer. The main this is to pick something and focus, focus, focus. It's so easy to lose track with all the enticing money making programs out there.

    • I hear that a lot, but it's important to *only* invest in things (software, how-to guides, etc) you need to accomplish what you are working on in *your* business. Anything else is just a distraction and a means of procrastinating...

  19. Great post Lynn. Aspiring marketers need to print it out and read and re-read it. Better yet, get it printed on a tee-shirt πŸ˜‰ The first major lesson I had to learn was that of persistence - make a decision as to what you're going with and stick with it for the long haul. It's so very easy to become disheartened and sidetracked by emails that promise the next great method to make $3k while you sleep tonight. Keep up the great work - love your blog!

    • Thank you Anne πŸ˜€

      Focus is definitely the key - that plus being both consistent and persistent. The prize is never found in the endless distractions, but in seeing the tasks through that take you towards *your* goal.

  20. Really good article. Reminds me of my hard times getting along with all the web business stuff. Just wondering if it is easier or harder to make some bucks out there since the last ten years.

  21. Lynn,

    As always, thanks for sharing this. It has helped me refocus and get moving again. I appreciate all of the information that you share

  22. The first and foremost thing you mentioned is focus. There are always loads of other attractive options always willing to derail you from the track. How to cope with it?

  23. William Gerald says


    Just a quick note to let you know that you never cease to amaze me with your ability to create yet another exemplary article time after time! Just when I think you have exhausted every subject dealing with internet marketing, you do it once again.

    Many Thanks for sharing with all of us!

    Just Plain Bill

  24. Doug Champigny says

    Great advice as always, Lynn! Another question I often get from my coaching program is 'But what will I write/blog/podcast about?' This question usually disappears about the same time as they delve into the keyword research for their chosen niche - there's no end to the creative inspiration once you have a list of profitable keywords to target...

    • Exactly! I have a great set of tutorials and resources on that here in the Web Content Development category. Keyword phrases are the best place to start. That's where your target market tells you what they most want to hear from you on your topic.

  25. You have shared very nice article as usual. I searched a lot in google about how to make money online. but i didn't found its proper suggestion before. I will keep in my mind that 10 steps you have mentioned here. Thanks for this informative article, lynn.

  26. Good article, thanks. I find the one thing that is most oft ignored is keyword research. So many writers and site owners go after KWs without doing the proper research first.

  27. There are so many ways to earn online. All depends on the ability and interest of the person. Moreover, you really need to work hard in order to be successful. However, hardwork doesn't mean you need to spend more time, you simply need to spend your time wisely.

  28. Thank you for providing the 10 step process Lynn, this article is a great one for someone just getting into affiliate marketing.

  29. What a perfect post for beginners who want to learn how to make money online. Fantastic content. I will print this one out.

  30. Just wanted to say that this was a very good post. Anyone just getting started, pay attention to this.

    There are many ways to make money online. The key is to pick just one to start with. Focus on it 100% and don't get distracted.

    Remember results will not come overnight (unless you buy traffic from Google πŸ™‚ ) Be consistent. Make a list of what you need to do each day to build your business and then DO IT! No distractions.


  31. I think it's so easy to start something and then lose interest.

    You have to stick with it and give it a good go and you will see it pick up speed but it won't happen overnight.

  32. Keven McDonald says

    1. If you are new to internet marketing focus on a niche that interests you. It's much easier to stay motivated and enthusiastic when you're not just doing something to make money.

    2. Concentrate on mastering one marketing method at first. You can always add more as you gain experience.

    3. Stay committed. Contrary to what the less scrupulous marketers would have you believe, internet marketing is not a quick path to wealth.

  33. I agree, the absolute best way is to start with affiliate marketing. Once you gain experience, you start adding more ways to monetize you site or blog.

  34. I would also add that people are using Youtube more and more to find information because it is also a search engine. Youtube is now the third largest search engine on alexa and third in traffic.

    Thats a great way to start building a loyal group of followers.

  35. Christopher Welber says

    Thanks Lynn, I started including links to products from affiliate programs in my blog posts and that I think is a good idea.

    Now I was starting to read about the free keyword tracker and I will start using that to create new posts.

    I love hearing your voice on Internet Marketing This Week too!

  36. Interesting that the link to Lynn Smith's blog opens with a Blogger: Permission denied. How does this translate into making money?

  37. Vince Samios says

    The true key to making money online is simply persistance.

    I've been working with a company that was turning over Β£1000/month at the start of the year, and Β£30,000/month at the end of the year. They worked very very hard and didn't allow themselves to be disillusioned.

  38. I'd like to mention a couple of caveats here, regarding this post.

    First, you should expect several months to go by before your website begins to show up in Google with any kind of decent ranking. Unless of course you are in an uncompetitive market, in which case the money could be a while in coming, if at all.

    Not trying to put a damper on things, but making money online is a lot harder than it used to be.

    Anyway, secondly, an important element in making money online is the list building aspect. In fact, many people would say this is absolutely crucial.

    I don't know about crucial, but thousands of marketers swear by it, and it at least should be mentioned, since you're talking about writing content and blogging, etc.

    Why not turn some of that great content into a free report or ebook that you can sell or use to entice a following.

    Just a couple thoughts...


  39. Hi, solid content there. I find most difficult doing the SEO part but your SEO FAST START did give me some ideas. Thanks!

  40. This is a great post for beginners. Simple and clear. All beginners should start with affiliate marketing.

  41. Jason Madsen says

    i really like your step guide to making money online it's great when broken down like that, thanks for the easy to use and read content

    Regards Jason

  42. With so much information out there it is great the way you have explained it. I have cleared my desk and I am going to simply work on the 10 steps.

  43. Thanks Lynn for the orderly steps you have provided as a guide to beginning affiliate marketing. I'll add that to what I already learnt before.

  44. You make it sound so easy. I've been doing this for a while now and can't ever imagine making 3-5K per month like you suggested.

  45. John Bair says

    Making money in the current economy is tough as nails unless you want to work for Mc Donalds and turning to the internet to make money is going to look more and more appealing to many. Thanks for the Great articles Lynn and keep it up! Your website is expanding people's minds πŸ™‚

  46. "Lorraine says

    Wow! Good stuff. I started a website about three months ago, doing affiliate sales for Amazon. I'm doing a course that only focuses on SEO--mainly backlinking in pretty much every form possible. But I have to say, it's not easy. It's hard to repeatedly do something every day for weeks or months without seeing any results. I have not been as disciplined as I should be, but I am starting to realize that this way of making a living requires tremendous dedication and a strong will to keep going even when you can't see what's at the end of the road--something that, if I succeed, will be simply incredible, as I am someone who has always given up easily.
    And I have to say that backlinking is much more difficult and time-consuming than I was led to believe, especially now when there's so many spammers, and as you mentioned in another post, Lynn, and Google will annex your site if you get inappropriate comments on your blogs, so more and more webmasters disallow any links from being posted on their sites.
    So...I hope I don't give up but I have to say I'm starting to be depressed, and getting so many warnings about Google that I'm honestly starting to feel scared. I'm also having a hard time choosing a product and keywords that get low enough competition that I will be able to see any results in even a few months, but still enough searches that it'll make my time worth while, given that the commission rate for Amazon is 4-8%!

  47. Whatever they choose, i suggest they stick to it if they want to succeed. Like the author said, there are many ways to make money online (i'd have said countless), and the only secret is not the method you go with, but HOW you go with it.
    If you're not afraid of work, you'll make it big.

  48. Jeffry Evans says

    Wow. The 10 steps you outlined are incredible, extremely precise and accurate. These are the basics steps that I am taking to achieve rankings, I'm glad you and I are speaking the same kinds of things. Keep it coming!

  49. These 10 steps seem so easy and cheap to start with...I'm jsut confused as to where the licensing and tax ID comes into it. If I'm making money online, don't I need to be doing it under a certain business name with a tax ID? Or can I just declare it on a 1090?

    • Michael Reyes says

      Nice methods. I personally did SEO for micro niche keywords as a beginner, though I don't recommend you do that since it is very time consuming.

      Nowadays I make a living with both YouTube marketing and day trading.

  50. Gary Riding says

    Hi Lynn!

    You really outlined the best information that a beginner would need to start making money online. These 10 steps can really make you money as long as you do them consistently. Thanks!

    Great post! Keep them coming.

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