Make Money Online With Free Websites*
Make money online with free websites
If you’ve read (we suggest that you do, if you have not already done so) the following articles: Is It Time To Host Your Own Website? and Top 10 Reasons To Own Your Website, you might have drawn the erroneous conclusion that we are fundamentally opposed to free websites. Far from it.
No free lunch
Let’s face it: there is no free lunch. If you want to make money online, you must engage in a productive activity: creation and sell of digital goods or tangible products, intermediation for arbitration’s sake (buy and sell, then pocket the difference – profit), or creation and publication of content (articles, photos, videos, music, etc.), which, if done well, will put money in your pocket for years to come.
Free monetization of your content and creation of a few free e-commerce sites will be the focal points of this article.
What to write about
If the thought of writing and publishing scares you to death (fear of negative reviews and criticism) and paralyzes you into inaction, let us allay your fears: you need not be Shakespeare incarnate, intellectually speaking, to produce a compelling article.
Just obey basic grammatical rules and figure of speech, be coherent and concise, spell-check and proofread your work, let your ideas flow freely and, before you know it, you’ll be the creator and author of a literary masterpiece: your first article!
If you’re wondering which topics to tackle to make money online, it would be wise to write about Evergreen Topics; because of their timeless nature, they are never out of date and are virtually perpetual income generators.
Let’s take fashion: styles may come and go, but fashion, as a topic, will never be out of style. Love is another evergreen subject: romantic souls may fall in and out of love, but love is perennial. Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life (Conficius).
Have the same philosophy about writing: tackle topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about, and you’ll never write an article a day in your life!
To intellectually stimulate and to spur you into literary action, here is a panoply of topics you can write (blog) about: Automotive, Fashion, Dating, Romance, Travel, Sports, Health, Diet, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Photography, Technology, Renewables, Cell Phones, Electronic Gadgets, Telecommunications, Finance, etc.
Always research and reference your topics before you publish any related articles. Create original content; for plagiarism is not an option (See “Resources for young writers/bloggers/publishers” below).
Without further ado, here is a list of carefully chosen free content-publishing and web hosting platforms, which you can leverage to make money online.
Disclosure: Tpublish.com (Tpublish Inc.) may earn compensation (at no cost to you) from transactions conducted through affiliate links. Thanks in advance.
HubPages is a very popular free publishing platform where you can write and publish almost anything (within reason, read the fine prints for exceptions). If you are new to online publishing, then a plethora of tutorials and a host of generous souls are at your disposal to guide you along the way. To sign up right now for HubPages and start earning money online, click this link to join.
The beauty of content-publishing on HubPages’ platform lies in its revenue sharing program and other money-earning opportunity. You can make money with HubPages four (4) ways:
- Google Adsense (60/40 split),
- HubPages Earnings Program,
- Affiliate Programs, and
To participate in the Google Adsense revenue sharing program, you need a Google Adsense Account, which is free. But before you sign up, get acquainted with the Adsense approval process by reading: How to sign up and Help to get your application approved.
The first step you can take to increase the likelihood of getting your application approved is to create and publish spellbound contents (articles, videos, photos, etc.) prior to submission of your application.
Google Adsense’s golden rules (forbidden fruit rules)
- Do not click on your ads (ads displayed on your site or on your content), and do not encourage friends, family members nor any third party to do so either. Ad-clicking must be genuine and organic.
- Do not display ads on nefarious websites with dubious contents. As long you abide by the rules, your Adsense Account will be in good standing and won’t be banned. For further details, read the Adsense program policies.
If you have any artistic talents, if you enjoy making tutorials and how-to videos, if you take pride in sharing with the world your pet’s, cat’s or dog’s acrobatic prowess, then YouTube is a fantastic platform to showcase your informative and hilarious videos for free and earn some advertising money in the process.
Blogger is Google’s free publishing platform where you can design your blog, create and publish your content, and, as icing on the cake, monetize it too: earn money from Google Adsense! If you want to expand your fan base and broaden your audience, then connect Blogger to Google + (Communities and Hangouts).
To start earning money online, create a brand new Google Account. If you already have one, you are good to go then. You get to keep 100% of your Adsense revenue (minus Google’s share).
Squidoo is another popular free publishing platform with multiple revenue sharing programs: Google Adsense, Affiliates, Referrals, etc. The commission split is 50/50. If you are a generous soul, and you don’t need the money, you may donate your earnings (50%) to charity.
You make money with Squidoo 5 ways:
- Google Adsense
- Squidoo’s Affiliate Programs
- Your Affiliate Program
- Sale of your articles (lenses), and
- Referral Bonus
Xomba is another free publishing platform to showcase your articles. Earnings generated by the monetized content (your content) are split into a 60/40 revenue sharing arrangement and distributed accordingly by Google. Your Adsense ID is displayed 60% of the time vs Xomba’s Adsense ID 40% of the time. To participate in Xomba’s revenue sharing program, needless to say that an Adsense Account is required.
Update: Squidoo has merged with Hubpages.
If you are not a prolific writer, you don’t enjoy redacting and expanding on long drawn out articles, and yet need to earn a little bit of money online, there is a niche for you too, a platform whereby you can share and monetize your expertise and life experience: it’s WebAnswers.
On WebAnswers’ platform you ask and answer questions, earn money based on the quality of your content (questions and answers), awarded answers, the frequency of your participation, and other algorithmic factors (Quality Score).
It’s a revenue sharing platform based on a partnership with Google’s Adsense Contextual Advertising Program. The percentage earned is not disclosed. Needless to reiterate that it is imperative to have a Google Adsense Account if you want to participate.
Other ways to earn money are from referrals and traffic driven to the WebAnswers’ site.
N.B. :Inhabitants from a number of countries, ranging from Algeria to…Vietnam, are prohibited from creating a WebAnswers Account. Read the WebAnswers’ Terms of Service before you join.
Infobarrel is yet another content-publishing platform with a twist on advertising revenue sharing. You no longer need a Google Adsense account to earn revenue from your content (articles, videos, photos, music or sound), InfoBarrel will pay you directly through their own advertising program: IB Ad Service. The split is 75/25 (75% for you; 25% for InfoBarrel).
This is good news for publishers who do not wish to jump through Google Adsense’s hoops to qualify for an account.
You earn money from two sources at InfoBarrel:
- InfoBarrel Ad Service, and
To be paid, you need:
- Legal Name
- Mailing Address
- PayPal Account, and “a few more specific details from users”.
Weebly is not a free publishing website, but a web hosting company that gives the opportunity to sign up for free website hosting services to entice customers to do business with Weebly in the future, if and when they do decide to upgrade to a starter, pro or business account, in which case they can connect their own domain (mydomain.com vs Weebly’s free sub-domain mydomain.weebly.com) to Weebly.
Weebly’s platform is easy to use for inexperienced as well as savvy bloggers and publishers. It uses drag and drop capsules (text, photos, videos, HTML, CSS, RSS, social media, etc.) as content building blocks.
How do you make money with Weebly?
Bonus: Weebly offers a plethora of free customizable website templates to suit your hosting needs and a basic free eCommerce plan for up to five (5) products, which you can monetize by selling niche digital goods, physical products and services.
Weebly does not advertise on your free site. However, if you have your own Google Adsense Account, you can integrate it into Weebly’s free website. Results? You get to keep 100% of your Adsense revenue (minus Google’s share).
If you’ve been dreaming of starting a free online store and don’t know where to begin, Tictail offers you just that opportunity: start your free online store in just minutes. Tictail has over 35,000.00 stores on its platform. When you sign up, you get a sub-domain (yourstore.tictail.com, a custom domain name mystore.com is $1.50 per month), and you can sell digital goods, as well as tangible products.
Free, however, has its limits. If you want to customize and upgrade your store features (analytics, sendicate, product upsell, discounts, etc.), you have to buy apps, ranging from $1.50 to $20.00 monthly. Basic apps are free (soundest email marketing, printout designer, retentogrid, etc.).
You can accept major credit cards via PayPal, sell unlimited products with bank level security encryption.
It is not clear whether you can monetize the free Tictail website by displaying Google Adsense ads on it, and if a free or paid Tictail app is needed to that end. If Google Adsense monetization is your goal, inquire about its feasibility and implementation before you join.
While a free store is undeniably a good deal, we think, however, you can get a better deal with respect to customization and features upgrade by buying your domain (not a sub-domain) and your own hosting package. You’ll get to build your website (or have it built) and, as a bonus, enjoy free upgrades and customizations.
Wix is a web-hosting company which offers to anyone (small business owners, artists, photographers, etc.) the opportunity to create a free website, using online website building tools: simple Drag & Drop modules, which is good if your knowledge of WordPress – a Content Management System (CMS) – is limited or challenged.
If you are pleased with the free website (Wix ads are displayed on “your free site”), and want more features, then you can upgrade to a premium web hosting plan.
How do you monetize the free Wix website?
Sadly enough, the only way to monetize the free website is to open an online store (free to try, but you need to upgrade to Wix eCommerce to start selling).
If monetization of Google Adsense is your goal, then you need to upgrade to a premium plan and connect your domain to Wix (yourdomain.com); for ads won’t display on a Wix sub-domain (yourdomain.wix.com).
The best use for this free website, and the likes, is to drive traffic (backlinks) to a revenue-generating free website or content-publishing platform.
uCoz, a free website builder, is another web services company where you can create unlimited free websites. What sets this web-hosting company apart from the competition is the opportunity to connect your top-level domain, a paid-for domain (mysite.com, for example), to uCoz for free. Otherwise, you have to settle for a sub-domain (mysite.ucoz.com). The downside is that uCoz’s ads are displayed on “your free site”.
How do you monetize the free uCoz website?
If you want to monetize your content through Google Adsense, and have uCoz remove its ads (ad-free website), acquisition of a top-level domain connected to uCoz, along with the purchase of a basic hosting package, is necessary to do so. Kiss the free website goodbye! Again, as with any “free websites” offers, uCoz’s does have some restrictions. Read the pricing page for details.
If you are skillful in designing and producing handmade jewelries, artworks, clothes, t-shirts, bags, vintage items, etc., and need a marketplace to sell your authentic creations and one-of-a-kind products, Etsy is the free platform to join to do just that. However, a listing cost ($0.20) is levied, transaction and Direct Checkout fees (3.5% +) are charged for items sold.
To join Etsy’s platform, you need:
- Credit Card, or
- PayPal Account
Etsy guidelines must be complied with to avoid banishment from the platform. Again, those programs should be viewed as a mean to an end. Your ultimate goal is to create your own platform where you make rules, regulations and guidelines.
Alternatives to Etsy
If you want to compare and contrast marketplace features and benefits to get the best deal or value before you join Etsy’s platform, there are alternatives: Aftcra, Artfire, Artisan Connect, Big Cartel, Bonanza, BrandRow, CafePress, Cargoh, Coriandr, CustomMade, DaWanda, eCRATER, Ecomarket, Folksy, HandMadeArtists, iCraft, MadeItMyself, NotOnTheHighStreet, PapernStitch, Silkfair, Storenvy (good value), Supermarkethq, TheCraftStar, Trinksy, Woodindesign, Yokaboo, Zibbet, etc.
Most of the competing platforms charge no listing fees, but do levy transaction, hosting (yourstore.com, instead of yourstore.freemarketplace.com), commission and advertising fees.
eBay is another marketplace where you can sell virtually anything: cars, real estate, electronics, jewelries, clothes, etc. In other words, unlike the foregoing platforms, selling activities are not restricted or limited to niche products on eBay.
Another advantage enjoyed by eBay sellers is a non-competitive environment: unlike other platforms that compete with you by selling similar or identical products at cut throat prices (unfair competition), eBay is strictly a marketplace where buyers and sellers meet to transact business.
eBay makes money by collecting basic, optional, PayPal and other fees. Insertion fees are waived (exclusions apply) for the first 50 listings. Read the Standard Selling Fees page for further details.
Facebook, being the largest social network on the planet, is a marketing force to reckon with. Ignore its platform to your own marketing risk and peril.
- Total number of monthly active users: 1,310,000,000
- Total number of mobile users: 680,000,000
- Total number of pages: 54,200,000
- Total 2013 revenue: $7,870,000,000
But despite the dizzying array of users’ statistics, unlike Google’s ads revenue sharing program, Facebook does not offer any ad revenue sharing opportunity to its members (You’re Helping Mark Zuckerberg Become The World’s Richest Person), to the best of our knowledge (wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook could devise a plan or mechanism to share its multi-billion dollars ($2.59 billion, Q4 2013) ads revenue with its users/members – prolific generators of its free content?).
In light of this obvious financial insult to your monetization intelligence, how do you leverage your Facebook page to earn money on a revenue sharing platform?
Start spreading the news
Let your friends and followers know (you love to share, don’t you?) what you’ve been up to by linking your Facebook page to your peripheral (external) platforms. In so doing, if you make a convincing case, and your content is captivating, your solid arguments may compel your followers and friends to take action: click your Facebook link to visit your free platform, read your articles, thereby increasing your online money-making likelihood (traffic = money).
If you succeed in that endeavor, the countless hours spent on sharing, posting, following, liking, befriending and unfriending your fellow facebookers would not have been in vain.
There are other methods of monetization on Facebook, which we’ll share with you in our upcoming article:
Make Money Online With Your Own Website
Twitter, a micro blogging (140 characters) platform, is similar to Facebook in many respects: the bulk of its content (tweets, retweets, replies, mentions, favorites, etc.) is mostly user-generated, and yet, there is no ad revenue sharing program in place to benefit its users/members, to the best of our knowledge. For your information, Twitter’s Q4 revenue was $243 million, fiscal year 2013.
The absence of a revenue sharing program should not deter you from exploring other revenue-generating options linked to Twitter’s platform. To that end, check out adf.ly, SponsoredTweets, and TwitPub to monetize your membership.
Another way to leverage Twitter is through social bookmarkings (links to web pages and articles -yours, of course- that you want to share with your friends and followers to promote your free platforms). Bookmarkings will result in a traffic boost to your website (the platform’s free website, not your website really; to get your own platform, click here ), thereby increasing exponentially the likelihood of earning money online.
Resources for young writers/bloggers/publishers
As a young writer/blogger/publisher, you need, to begin with, the right tools of the trade to continuously and competently churn out literary masterpieces: content (articles, videos, photos, sound, etc.). Fortunately, most of these tools are free.
Free Productivity Suites:
- The Sage English Dictionay and Thesaurus
- Cambridge Dictionaries Online
- Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Plagiarism: To check whether your content has been plagiarized:
If you care to write an article about fashion for instance, before you put pen to paper you may want to know how the keyword fashion is trending. That’s where Google Trends comes in: it displays a graph of the interest expressed in the word fashion from 2004 to present, its related researches (queries): fashion week, fashion show, fashion games, fashion designer, etc. You can even compare and contrast results of related queries: fashion vs lingerie vs Victoria’s secret (just input and separate each query or group of keywords by a comma).
- Always backup your content before you publish it. Create and save it on your computer, external hard drive, USB jump drive, and/or in the cloud, then upload to or copy and paste it onto the free platform or yours.
If English is not your native language, you can write your articles or create your content in your native language and have it translated into English @ translate.google.com. The translation is not perfect, it’s just a preliminary draft. You can always enlist the service of a knowledgeable English-speaking friend to soften the rough grammatical edges before publication of the final draft.
This article is dedicated to young minds who spend the majority of their time surfing social media platforms or networks and sharing their hearts out (posting), without being given the opportunity to earn any money or to receive anything concrete in return for the very content created as a result of their obsessive activity. You can do both: share your hearts out (which you love to do) and profit from it too. Both activities are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary.
Most social media networks monetize your information (name, date of birth, email address, friends, relationships, hobbies, etc.) without giving you anything in return, other than a free platform to “rant and rave” (with all the implied restrictions it comports), to like and to follow. The social graph is leveraged to the max! We’ll point out the free platforms that do offer an opportunity to monetize your content, and show you how to leverage to your advantage the ones that don’t.
Can you make money online? Proof of concept first
To test whether you can make money online or not, use those free platforms to prove the concept. If you earn any money (be it a derisory amount; remember this is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but an experiment whose successful outcome can radically change your financial picture in the long run), then the concept has been proven. Based on that outcome (proven concept), you can decide to extrapolate: buy your domain, your own hosting package, and start building your website (or have it built for you), if you are so inclined.
The gift that keeps on giving
Online publishing can be a great source of passive/residual income: do it once, get paid a lifetime. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. This is passive wealth building at its best. To illustrate the do-it-once-get-paid-a-lifetime concept, imagine a popular artist who records a CD once, but every time his/her song is played on the radio, s/he earns a royalty. A smash hit can translate into handsome residual paydays. Contrast that with driving for a living, for instance: you drive, you get paid; you don’t, you earn nothing.
Let’s be realistic: earning a living online in the form of residual income is not, to reiterate, a get-rich-quick scheme. It can be time-consuming. But the quality content, once created, published and monetized, can be a generator of infinite returns on the initial time invested to produce it. Don’t get discouraged. Keep at it until a considerable portfolio of content is built, then enjoy a lifetime of happy rewards and reaped benefits: make money online while you sleep!
Ever doubt the compounding power of passive/residual income?
Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, etc.: what do they have all in common? They were all entertainers who left behind a body of artistic work (content), which is monetized to rake in millions of dollars annually after their demise. In fact, most of those artists (their estates) earn more money after their untimely departure than they ever did alive. The passive/residual money-making machine continues to work non-stop.
If you ever question the compounding power of passive/residual income, think again: here is an opportunity to create something of value (content) and to leave behind a legacy for your progeniture (heirs), a generator of continuous passive/residual revenue they’ll get to enjoy after you’ve been long gone. The scope of the ROI- Return On this Investment (time and intellectual capital) is infinite.
You can leave that income-generating machine behind for your family only if you own and control these two key components: content and platform. Which is why the refrain – buy your domain, your own hosting package, and start building your website – comes back as a leitmotiv throughout this article. Your content is invaluable.
How do you get paid?
You get paid by:
- Checks, Electronic Funds Transfer, Western Union Quick Cash, etc. You may have to provide tax-related information.
- PayPal. If you don’t have an account, you can open one by signing up for free.
A plethora of free websites to choose from
If you don’t mind the limitations and restrictions imposed by free web hosting services on number of pages, products (up to 5), file size upload, sub-domain only, bandwidth, etc., then you’ll find a whole host of free web-hosting companies to suit your needs.
To feed your addiction to free web hosting, here is a healthy dose of web hosting companies that will accommodate your vice: DoodleKit, Ecwid (to add a free shopping cart to your site), Google Sites (no Adsense) Jimdo, MoonFruit, Yola, SnapPages, uCoz, Webs, Webydo, Webstarts, Yola, ZoHo, etc.
You should also notice that most free offers are limited to creation of a blog or opening of a free eStore with limited functionality and number of products to sell. Conspicuously absent is the opportunity to monetize your Google Adsense account (if you have one) by displaying ads on “your sites”.
If you want to enjoy the perks of a full-fledged website, you have to upgrade. Google Adsense wants to display ads on top level domains (mysite.com), not subdomains (mysite.wix.com), for example. Which proves our point again: buy your own domain and host your own website, if you can afford to do so now.
The surface only is scratched
Due to time constraint, we cannot afford to expand on every free publishing platform and free website cited in the article. You’ll have to do your homework (researches and reviews) before you join any.
This article has only scratched the surface of revenue sharing websites. If you care to dig deeper, you’ll discover a vast array of reputable revenue split websites such as – askables, bubblews, efloorplan, enotes (for educators and students), experts123, infobarrel, infopirate, mommycoach (live video one-to-one coaching sessions), rewarder, seekyt, stockvault, topicspotter, whatculture, wizzley, etc.
Wait, there is more…
allblogtools, articleincome (with a syndicated network), blogit, bukisa, cracked, createspace (to publish your own book), expertscolumn, firehow, knoji, oondi beta (you get to keep 100% of the ad profits), rantrave, redgage, shvoong, snipsly, storymash, suite101, triond, teckler, wikinut, wonderhowto (by invitation), Yahoo Contributors Network, etc.- to join.
Producing quality content (articles, photos, videos, music, etc.) is a time, energy, and gray matter-consuming process. Therefore, unless you are a prolific content producer, you can afford to join only a few reputable free publishing platforms to achieve your passive income-earning goal.
Remember also that all platforms require unique and exclusive content: you can’t plagiarize yourself, nor duplicate your content. Search engines abhor plagiarism and duplication (unless it’s press releases).
After you’ve earned enough money, and when you are ready to buy your own domain and host your own website, don’t forget to come back to this site, Tpublish.com, to buy your domain and hosting plan. Karma! The Law of Reciprocity in its preeminent application!
Better yet, if you think you are ready to take on both challenges (publishing your content on a free platform and your own platform), buy your hosting package now.
It’s understandable that if you are new to content-publishing you cannot afford to pass up the opportunity offered by a free platform to get your feet (pen) wet publishing-wise. Remember, however, that free platforms do come and go, and can change their policy on a dime, which can negatively (or positively, depending on the policy change) impact what you set out to do and defeat your purpose: earning income from content-publishing.
Once you’ve acquired enough knowledge and experience, do yourself a favor (we can’t stress this enough): buy a web hosting package and start building your own website.
You may not see the merits of our argument presently (due to lack of foresight, probably, with all due respect), but rest assured that if you do heed our advice/suggestion and act on it now or as soon as possible in the future, you will, in hindsight, thank us undoubtedly for our wise counsel.
The choice is yours: would you rather reside in someone’s basement (free platform) or live in your own castle (your website)?
Do not totally abandon the free platforms, though. Remember when your content was homeless, they sheltered it with open arms (to their benefit, of course, and yours). A hybrid or mix approach (your website vs free platforms) is better than that of an isle (your site alone); for no website is an island.
Sow the seeds of compelling content today in a fertile publishing platform and expect to reap the rewards tomorrow. You can only do so by taking action right now: sign up for HubPages and start earning money. Click this link to join for free, if you want to make money online with free websites.
Decisive and immediate action is procrastination’s worst enemy, but success’ best friend. If you’re dying to succeed, you need to act now!
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