I can’t believe it, but it’s been almost a year since I started this blog so I thought it would be a good time to look back and see what I have achieved, what I haven’t achieved and whether it was possible to make money online in 2016.
I’m also going to be fully transparent about my earnings from this year, just as a benchmark for the future.
My intention last year as described in my first article was to dedicate my time across 3 ways to make money online:
In this post we'll look at each of these in turn as well as my latest business venture with eBay Dropshipping
Well I came into this as a complete newbie and a year later, I’ve got 2 websites up and running and have learnt an incredible deal about internet marketing, SEO and how you can make money through websites online.
I always knew that you could make money through advertising if you had a successful site, but wasn’t sure about the details of:
- How you make a site successful
- What a successful site looks like
- How you make money through a successful site
I’m no expert but I think I’ve got a much clearer picture of all 3 of these things now, and after a year of learning, I need to start applying this knowledge to my sites.
In my mind the answers to these 3 questions are:
- Through keyword research, great content creation and link building
- High quality interesting content, generating over £1k of income per month with growth potential
- Pay per Click (Adsense), Affiliate Revenue (Amazon), Building e mail lists
From the information that I have digested I’ve learned that making money in this way is a lot more complicated than it was a few years ago, where you could just throw up a website that focused on long tail keywords, create some product reviews, generate some links from a Private Blog Network and you’d be in the money.
Now, the focus is much more on providing great content that is actually useful and solves people’s problems rather than just promoting products.
There’s been a shift in thinking from creating niche websites to building broader authority sites that you grow with time, and as they grow in size they have the potential to bring in much bigger revenue streams.
This shift largely came after a couple of Google updates, that basically wiped out the traffic of a lot of the niche sites.
Your typical site such as ‘bestpaintbrushes.com’ that was made up of review articles and was stuffed with affiliate links would have got one of Google’s ‘Thin Content Penalties’, which effectively removed it from the search listings as part of Googles purge on poor content.
The key now seems to be really finding a niche that you can develop and grow over time, and put systems in place so that others can do a lot of the more labour intensive work for you.
This includes outsourcing things like content creation, link building and formatting of blog posts to free up your precious time.
Website Monetisation 2016 Summary
It’s been great learning so much, but I really need to put this in practice. The main issue here has been time.
I’ve had so much going on that trying to write, publish and promote articles is something that I’ve had to neglect and hence I’ve made no money at all from this idea this year.
I think I’ve got a solid base to move forward, next year and with a bit of luck I’ll have more time to dedicate to this next year as it’s definitely something I want to pursue.
Money Made this Year:
I’d never heard of Social Trading before I stumbled across an article on it and thought that it looked like an interesting idea.
I’ve got a bit of experience with investing in the stock market, but Social Trading seems like a novel way of investing your money.
I’ve done a full review of my year here but if you haven’t heard of it before, social trading or copy trading as it’s also known, is where you invest in traders and make the exact same trades that they do, in proportion to the amount you invest.
This means that you don’t necessarily need to know too much about markets, commodities and forex trading as you can leave that to the experts, but rather you invest in traders based on their performance and other indicators such as their attitude to risk and the maximum amounts they’ve lost in a single day or week.
There are a number of sites out there but I’ve been using eToro as it’s got a really great user interface and is easy to start to use.
They have a virtual portfolio that you can use to start with where you can invest virtual money in your traders before you throw your hard earned cash at it.
I do quite like the Fantasy Football nature of this idea and it makes trading a lot more accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise be interested, however, I can see how people could get carried away and lose a lot of money as well.
On an initial glance you can see a lot of the traders reporting really high yields, however, when you drill into their stats you soon find that a lot of these investors have lost big at some point as well.I invested $2500 at the start of the year and am probably going to make a maximum of $100 at the end of the year, which isn’t a great deal, however, at least I haven’t lost anything.
Social Trading 2016 Summary
Realistically, I don’t think this is a great money making scheme and out of everything I’ve tried this year it feels a bit like you are investing more out of hope than judgement, so probably isn’t something that I’ll pursue in the future.
By the same token I didn’t spend much time on this after my initial research into the shortlist of traders.
Money Made this Year:
This time last year, I'd barely heard of matched betting and thought that this was either some kind of scam or was a gateway into gambling.
I'd read lots about people reportedly making thousands each month from this, so thought I'd give it a go, and a year later I can say that it really does work, and IT'S NOT GAMBLING!
The process is quite simple and is built on the principle that bookmakers are giving away lots of free offers, and by placing bets on both results happening you can extract a certain percentage of that bet as your profit.
For example, Betfair have a sign up offer where if you bet £10 they will give you £30 in free bets, so if you select your bets well at the bookmaker and the betting exchange you'll be able to extract about £25 out of that total bet. I explain this in more detail in my Matched Betting Beginners Guide.
There are heaps of accounts that you can sign up to and make up to £1500 just by working through these accounts, but then you get to the next level.... reloads.
For every given day there are 10 - 20 different offers available across the different bookmakers, that you can keep earning money from. For example today, there is an offer with Ladbrokes where if you bet £20 pre-match they will give you a free £10 in-play bet. The trick is to keep repeating these offers and you'll be suprised how much it adds up at the end of the month.
If this wasn't enough for you, then you can go a step further and make money from the horse racing offers and things such as the Oddsmonkey Eachway Matcher which will guarantee you returns from races, regardless of the results.
Matched Betting 2016 Summary
Not only have I made money through matched betting this year, but I've actually enjoyed doing it. There is nothing more rewarding than getting money for free and as long as you are careful and gradual learn what you are doing this is a great way to earn a little extra money.
The only downside is that it can start to become a bit time consuming, but overall if you're looking for a bit of extra pocket money, then matched betting is a great choice for you.
Money Made this Year:
When surfing the web and looking into ways to make money online, you come across a lot of rubbish and a lot of people claiming their idea will make you a fortune. In most cases, if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.
However, every now and then you come across something that might just have potential and in my mind, as long as you're not investing a lot of time or money into that stream to test if it works or not, then some times its worth a shot.
... so that's how I got into eBay dropshipping.
I've been listening to a podcast called Travel Like a Boss (which is awesome by the way) and on one of his episodes he talks to an entrepreneur called David Vu who offers the following course on UdemyeBay Drop Shipping with No Inventory Guide
His course teaches you the basic principles of dropshipping and how you can list a product on eBay, and when someone buys the product from you, you buy it from someone else (at a cheaper price) and they send it to the person who bought it from you.
Sounds complicated? Well it isn't and the best thing about it is that you get to keep a healthy mark-up on each product and you never have to worry about stocking products yourself.
eBay Dropshipping Summary
I've been doing this for a couple of months now, and yes, this really works and after you have done the hard work to set up all of your products in eBay, it becomes fairly passive.
The only work you need to do on an ongoing basis is processing your orders, responding to any queries, and making sure you can always purchase a product somewhere if someone purchases it from you.
The model is simple... the more products you list, the more sales you make, the more money you earn, and you don't need to invest a penny up front.
Money Made this Year:
Overall 2016, has been an amazing year and I've learned soooo much, and discovered so many things that are both interesting and are potential ways that you can make money online without necessarily being tied to a specific location, or needing to slave away for 8 hours a day.
I feel that I've put the groundwork in this year, for some of the ideas that I want to focus on in this next year and the more that I have learned, the more options and business models that I have discovered that have been proven to work, and are attainable if you just put in the hours to start with.
If anything, the hardest thing that I've struggled with this year is having the time to dedicate to the different streams of interest, especially as I have a demanding full time job to attend to as well.
I guess the main thing that people care about is how much money I made this passed year. It's not a huge sum at all, but it's given me money to invest and build on next year and is a great starting point..... drumroll please......
I had planned to take 3 months out in February so I could focus on these business ideas, but my work has declined this request, so instead I've requested to go down to 4 days a week. This is probably the safest option in the short term, until I can get these ideas fully off of the ground.
I'm swamped with ideas at the moment and there are soooo many things that I want to get working on, that it is driving me crazy, however, my shortlist is:
eBay Dropshipping - Build my store up to 1500 products and employ a Virtual Assistant to work on the product listings to build the store even further and automate the processes. Once this is set up this should give me a steady stream of income, which will allow me to work on other things.
Focus on Niche Sites - I have 1 Adsense site that I have already built and written 10 articles for and since neglected, that I really want to dedicate time to and see if I can start to get this to rank.
I also have 1 site that I have bought from Human Proof Designs which they are currently building and will need some of my time to market.
If all goes well with this, then I've got another great niche that I want to get into
Amazon FBA - This has been pretty much the buzz and excitement of the year, with many people making a great source of income by whitelabelling their own products from China and selling them via Amazon, who also hold your stock and manage all of your distribution. Could have huge potential, but requires a bit of up front investment and research.
Drop Shipping Store - I've heard a lot about setting up a dropshipping store with Shopify and would really like to take the Drop Ship Lifestyle course at some point. Again, this one will consume a lot of time, however, I really like the idea and am interested in learning more about this business model, especially as more and more business is going online!