Making money online

Hanifa Hanid provides some tips on how to set up your own shopping website to earn money on the side.

In the current economic climate, many mums are looking for extra ways of boosting their income.

In this article, Hanifa Hanid, a mum of three who  has set up several websites while working full time, shows how you can use a tried and tested solution to earn some extra cash each month. Indeed some people have used the techniques as their main source of income.  

The Internet, where millions of people go online to catch the latest news, follow the latest trends and spend hundreds of pounds on buying items from popular online retailers, is a place where you can make money simply by sharing the things you love most, says Hanifa.

"You might not realise, but for virtually every item that is sold online there is small percentage to be made!" she says. 

Here are her five quick and easy steps to get you on to the bandwagon:

1. Focus on an area of interest
The first step is to choose whether you want a fully-fledged shopping website that offers deals and voucher codes for all, or whether you want to focus on a particular product, brand or topic. Doing something you enjoy or where you have an interest helps a lot!

2. Get your website/blog up and running
The next step is to get your site built. Depending on your level of expertise and requirements, there are many ways of going ahead with this, from developing your own site to hiring developers to using off the shelf solutions. My advice for hassle free blogging at zero cost is to go with WordPress.com (http://wordpress.com/) or Blogger (http://www.blogger.com). Both have a great community base with loads of support and walkthrough guides to get you up and running in a flash.

3. Build your content
Next you need to start thinking about the content that will appear on your new website/blog. If you’re savvy then you can set up an automatic feed (also known as RSS – Real Simple Syndication) which will update your site on a daily basis by pulling content from other websites. This is great for giving your visitors a single place to get all the news and updates on their areas of interest, but could have a negative impact if you’re looking to get good search engine ranking in search engines like Google. To be successful in Google you’ll need to have content which is unique and which includes top keywords that are searched for.
To get the best of both worlds it is possible to have a combination where some content is pulled from other sites and some content is created by you.

4. Monetise your site with ads
Once you’ve got your content sorted it’s time to get some ads on board.
A popular and easy way to do this is by using Google Adsense (http://www.google.com/adsense). Google Adsense will display advertisements on your site from the Google Ad Marketing programme. The two great things about Google Adsense are that each ad that appears is related to the content of your website and best of all – Google will pay you every time someone clicks on an ad from your website. The cost for each click varies depending on the popularity of the keyword for the ad, but can range from 15p to £5.00 per click. There are some homeworkers who rely solely on their income from Google Adsense and rake in a handsome monthly salary just by displaying these ads.
If you want more control of your advertisements and products then you’ll need to sign up with an affiliate programme. There are many available, but the top ones to consider which have a lot of the well-known high street retailers signed up include Affiliate Window (http://www.affiliatewindow.com), Tradedoubler (http://www.tradedoubler.com) and Linkshare (http://www.linkshare.com).
Once you’ve signed up and been approved by the affiliate merchant you want to work with, you’ll have access to their products, feeds and more. Each item you add to your website will have your unique ID attached to the link that is given to you so when a sale happens it gets tracked back to you automatically and you get paid a commission.

5. Publicise your website
Social networking is a huge and proven method of spreading the word and letting people know about your website. Use popular tools such as Facebook and Twitter to let your followers know what’s new and hot with your blog. Start off with your friends then grow your followers by asking for recommendations and using tools such as Twiends (http://twiends.com).
Become an active member of other blogs and communities and post your comments on areas related to your topic with a link back to your blog.

I hope you find the above list useful. It’s not by any means an exhaustive list, but it will help you get that ball rolling towards a whole new revenue stream. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to add it in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to respond to them.

Hanifa Hanid is a busy working mum with three children, the youngest being only nine months. Recently she embarked on pursuing two of her passions by starting related websites, www.healthyindianrecipes.co.uk and www.deals4girls.co.uk. She is fortunate to have the support of her husband who knows the web like the back of his hand and manages two of his own websites, www.laughingdeals.com and www.deals4boys.co.uk.




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