Can you earn money from the web to help you survive, even prosper, doing so legitimately and without ripping people off or by indulging in illegal activities? The answer is yes, of course, otherwise there wouldn't be much point in writing this article, would there? :-)
You can earn money legitimately by providing information of high value to internet searchers seeking information on that specific topic.
Know that I am not a computer programmer. I do not have extensive knowledge of html, though since I've been "playing" on the web I couldn't help but learn some. I am not a graphic artist but I like to experiment with paint programs on my computer. I like digital photography, and it is gratifying to use my own pictures on my own site should I wish to. My software library does not contain much in the way of programs for web page development. I couldn't build a website from scratch of my life depended on it. My "expertise" is solely related to the areas in which I have earned my living in the years before becoming a web site publisher.
I believe that the internet will continue to grow and that every person in the world that logs on for the first time increases the potential for anyone else that wishes to generate an income from the web to be able to do so.
I believe that the major players of the web (Google, MSN, Yahoo etc.) will continue to develop their web programs to continuously weed out those that try to take advantage of folks via the internet.
So how? How does one make legitimate money? The usual way; hard work, honesty, hard work, simplicity, hard work, and a methodical approach. Oh, and did I mention hard work? :-)
All kidding aside, the 'work' involved with making money from the web entails writing down information about a subject with which you are already quite familiar. You will be telling folks about a passion you have. So, it's not hard, but it does take time. There is no get rich scheme that works - that, death and taxes are the only certainties in life that I know of.
One way to be in business on the web is by offering a virtual "store". Many companies world wide now offer their products on-line, and this is a legitimate method of generating revenue. Providing you have something that others want, and that you are positively positioned (price / service / product mix etc.) you will make money as folks will order from you. I have no interest in creating a virtual store, as I'm not interested in having inventory, a warehouse, shipping and receiving facilities etc.
There is always web site consulting as another web site revenue source. From my web wanderings it would seem that there's almost one consultant for every web site on the internet! Far too much competition for me, though the good consultants can profit, the bad ones will not. Like those that sell hard goods, a consultancy needs to be well positioned to survive. I do not have the skills to be an effective consultant to people seeking web expertise, so I don't even try.
You may consider a web site with the sole purpose of selling advertising on it as so many of the "fringe" web sites out there do now. How many times have you gone to a site to get information on a subject only to find ads, and links to more ads? Very frustrating, isn't it? Those that undertake this type of venture will find that the major search engines are doing everything in their power to ensure that "fringe" sites like theirs aren't listed with them. If the site isn't listed, no one will find it, and if no one can find the site, revenue will disappear. I choose not to be involved with this sort of chicanery.
So what is it that I do to legitimately earn money via the internet?
Using software I found on the internet I "fill in the blanks" with knowledge. I use my knowledge of a particular subject and the system turns that knowledge into a web site. The software allows me to create the site in plain English using simple word processor software. It helps me determine if there is a market for the information I want to provide about my subject, and then it converts what I write into a pretty neat internet web site, if I do say so myself!
Arriving at my site will accomplish two things for the visitor. As they wander through it they will see what an ill-skilled web site builder has accomplished using some readily available and inexpensive software. They won't know that I'm ill-skilled however, because the site looks really good. Further, as they read the content in my site they will see ads that appear from time to time on those pages. Not many, not intrusive, but ads none the less.
The ads are positioned for me courtesy of Google. Google provided me software that can "read" my site, and position "content" ads on the pages, ads that relate to the general content of that particular page and to my site in general.
Google pays me when folks legitimately click on the ads on my pages. And Google does pay me. Regularly.
The more people that visit, the more potential for visitors to click on the ads on my site, and the greater potential for earnings for me, and more importantly, earnings for the advertiser's that trust their ad budget to Google.
Folks visit my site because I write high content value pages about my subject. They find my site by using search words relating to that subject because they are interested in getting information about those words. I write pages about the search words people use, because my software tells me which words that they are using to find information on my subject. No tricks, it's a simple as that. If you write pages about things that people are looking for, they will find your pages.
When folks get to my site, I try to ensure that they will find enormous, useful content about the subject they are interested in. The content they find will entices them to stick around and visit other pages on my site. As they do this, the ads that appear will encourage them to visit those on-line advertisers, as the ads refer to the goods and services that they were already looking for, or they wouldn't have even found my site in the first place.
See how it all ties together?
Ask yourself, what is your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What is your work history? What hobby do you have that you already know scads of people are interested in? What can you write pages of information on that really and truly provides valuable information to the people that read it?
Oh, don't worry about writing your pages in a meaningful way. The software shows you how to do that, too.
If you write words that offer valuable content about any topic, and that topic is one that people are interested in (with a world population in the billions, try to find a topic that some folks aren't interested in!) and you use a simple program to turn your written words into a pretty neat web site (helping you avoid taking the time and expense to become a web site developer yourself) then you can make money on the web.
As I've said, putting the words to paper takes time. Placing those pages into your site takes time. Research to ensure that you are targetting your page content to the words that people are searching for about your topic takes time. And if you are saddled with a "dial-up" internet connection as I am, waiting for data transmission sure takes time! :-)
Looking for a fast buck, an easy ride to get lots of money from the net? Then please look elsewhere.
Are you considering earning some money for honest work, perhaps thinking about working from home, maybe facing retirement and looking for something to fill your days, maybe a stay-at-home Mom or Dad, or you just want to help others learn about your special interest? You can earn money doing so.
Whether those earnings are a lot or a little depends on how many people are looking for information on your subject and how many pages of valuable information you give them when they find your site.
Whatever the amount is, know that you can make money on the world wide web. That's certain.
Now, get writing!