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How to make money online in 2021: complete guide



How to make money online in 2021: complete guide

Table of Content

How to make money online: the first step to success is choosing a “niche”

Methods, techniques, and strategies to make money online

How to make money online with a website: the necessary skills

In this guide on how to make money online with a website, you will find practical tips that will help you make your online business successful.

Please do not hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions. This guide is in fact constantly updated and your questions are useful and appreciated!

Generating your first earnings online will take at least a few months of work. Quite often, the profits are minimal at first. Identify the right product and the suitable techniques to promote it, with a good presence on the web you will have a very large audience to turn to and ample room for growth.

How to make money online: the first step to success is choosing a “niche”

The niche concept has been explored by all the top internet marketing and online sales experts, from Brian Clark and the CopyBlogger team to Tim Ferris in the 4 Hours a Week book.

Understanding what a niche is is the foundation for the success of any online business!

Rather than creating a site that covers a multitude of different topics, or an eCommerce that sells hundreds of product categories, in most cases, it is better to identify a specific topic and a well-defined audience to target.

If your industry is too general, you will reach out to everyone and nobody. And you certainly can’t hope to compete with the likes of Amazon or Zalando.

First, identify your niche, determine the type of users you will target, and define your brand.

Here are the top 3 reasons why spotting a niche is a great strategy:

  • By targeting a very specific target in the right way, you will increase the chances that your potential customers are qualified (that is, that they are interested in your product and actually need it).
  • If you have limited resources, you can use them for the promotion (and if necessary also the purchase) of a single product category. This way your efforts will be much more effective.
  • Focusing on a specific niche will help you create a well-defined brand. This is essential to position yourself in the market and be recognized online.


Once all this is done, you will have to decide specifically how to make money online with your website. In the next section, you will see that there are many different ways to monetize your web presence.

If you think that eCommerce sites can only make money, you are wrong. In this sense, the web offers many more options than traditional commerce. In fact, there are strategies to generate income without selling anything!

To learn more about the strategies for making money online, continue reading the next section.

Methods, techniques, and strategies to make money online

There are so many ways to make money online and maybe you haven’t thought about some of them yet. In addition to the classic sale of physical products through an eCommerce, in fact, you can sell consultancy, services, and digital products.

But the beauty of web activities is that you can also earn passively, that is by taking advantage of automatic sales systems that allow you to dedicate yourself to your business and marketing instead of creating your products. Let’s see how you can use passive earning techniques such as affiliation or placing advertising on your pages, and techniques for online sales of digital products, services, and products.


The first strategy that I present to you will allow you to generate income with affiliations, that is in a passive way. Affiliations are a very powerful technique for monetizing blogs and sites that aren’t actively selling any products.

Unlike what you can guess from the term “passive”, it is not true that with affiliations you can earn by doing nothing (far from it). You will still have to promote your website through Search Engine Marketing and SEO techniques to attract as many customers as possible.

First, let’s see how you become an affiliate:

  1. Find a product or service that is sold online and that your readers may be interested in;
  2. Check if there is an affiliate program for its sale;
  3. Submit your request to become an affiliate;
  4. Get custom links and banners to use on your site.

If one of your users clicks on the link or banner you inserted and, once they arrive on the eCommerce site, actually completes a purchase, you will receive a commission on the cost of the product that was purchased.

In fact, your personal link will allow the seller to know that a certain product has been sold through your website, so you will be awarded a commission. Usually, the percentage is quite high (on average, from 10% to 50% of the cost of the product, of course, it depends from shop to shop), and this, therefore, is really one of the most used tools to make money online.

As you may have already guessed, the way to generate profits through this monetization strategy is to offer products and services as close as possible to the tastes of your users. At the same time, the higher the traffic volume on your site, the higher the likelihood that sales will be generated.

An affiliate strategy must therefore be supported by excellent content: only this will allow you to generate the traffic necessary to achieve a good conversion rate.

Furthermore, be careful to promote in affiliation only products whose effective quality you have tested not only of the product but also of the assistance service and pre-and post-sales services.

Which websites have an affiliate program to make you money online?

If you’re trying to figure out how to make money online through affiliations with a particular site, try searching the main menu or footer for a link called “ Affiliates ” or “ Partners ”. From this area, it is usually possible to find out how the site manages this type of relationship, what are the commissions, and what are the constraints that are imposed.

Among the websites that have an affiliate program are Amazon and Envato (a site where you can buy themes, plugins, etc. – useful, for example, to promote the theme you are using on your WordPress site).

Activating an affiliate program with Amazon is certainly a good idea.

But what are the pros and cons of this strategy to make money online with a website?


Affiliations are easy to implement within your site. Just subscribe to one of the available programs and insert and use the personalized links.


It’s undeniable: no matter how great the products you recommend, this strategy depends a lot on the volume of traffic on your site.

Online sale of physical products

How to make money online in 2021: complete guide

Now I’ll tell you how to make money online by selling products, a very profitable system if done right.

A case in point is the Chinese eCommerce Alibaba, valued at a whopping 450 billion dollars (its IPO was the largest ever in the United States).

However, selling physical products is probably the riskiest strategy for making money online. In fact, it involves investment, more or less high depending on the product, for the purchase of warehouse goods.

Here are 5 valuable tips for starting your online store:

  • Choose to work with a well-defined product category;
  • If you open an eCommerce as a completely new business (therefore, not relying on a local store) choose products that are easy to keep in stock and to ship, and that do not deteriorate easily;
  • Make sure you find a shipping method that is fast and cheap enough and, above all, reliable. There are many options between postal services and private couriers. The most important thing is that your customers always receive their products on time;
  • Find an efficient way to take pictures. This is the Achilles heel of many eCommerce. Often, those who manage an online store spend whole days photographing products, sometimes without even achieving a professional result. You can choose whether to take the photographs yourself, ask for permission to use your supplier’s catalog images, or rely on a photo studio. The important thing is that you find a way that is well balanced in terms of cost and time;
  • Make sure you have a site with an easy to use and reliable payment system (more information in the following paragraphs).

Surely you’ve seen dozens of eCommerce sites. Here are three that sell in Italy and are market leaders:

  • ASOS, the undisputed leader in low-cost fashion online commerce;
  • Forzieri, a highly successful Italian eCommerce, now operating all over the world;
  • La Feltrinelli, the site of the famous bookshop.

You can take inspiration from these examples, but never forget the niche concept I told you about at the beginning.

Tools to create an eCommerce and make money online

If you want to create your eCommerce site using WordPress, you have a wide choice of plugins and themes at your disposal:

  • WooCommerce is the best eCommerce plugin ever. With this you can configure all the pages of your eCommerce and the shopping cart for payments;
  • WooThemes eCommerce themes, these are the WordPress themes specially developed for use with WooCommerce;
  • If you don’t like WooCommerce, to implement the shopping cart features I recommend you try other tools to sell online (although WooCommerce remains the recommended solution);
  • Table Rate Shipping, a plugin to add custom shipping methods and costs.

Our WordPress video course could definitely help you, where you will also find many useful tips and practical demonstrations to create your online shop and learn how to use WordPress in a really simple way.

Finally, let’s see the pros and cons of this strategy:


  • Ability to sell products to a very wide audience.
  • Not having the expenses of a real shop, you can have higher margins than those of a traditional merchant.


  • The success of the store depends on many factors. Aspects over which you have no control (for example, shipping) could compromise the quality of your service in the eyes of the end customer.
  • Buying inventory products requires a higher initial investment than other strategies for making money online with a website.
  • Photographing all products takes a long time.

Sale of information products

Now let’s see how to make money online by selling info products, or virtual products.

Info products are a very powerful monetization strategy. In fact, they allow you to generate a theoretically unlimited number of sales of the same product (for example, an e-book, a video course, a series of podcasts, etc.).

Again, the key to success is the quality of the information you provide: obviously, the subject matter must be of interest to users and everything must be explained in a clear and professional way. Whoever buys your info product must actually be able to learn something.

The niche concept is extremely important in the information product sector.

As with selling a physical product, if you are selling a digital product, you must also provide quality service. Activate a customer support service and don’t forget to offer guarantees.

Tools to sell information on WordPress

You have several options, all valid, to sell information on your site:

  • If you only have one or two products, the easiest solution is probably PayPal buttons.
  • If you need more options to manage payments and downloads, I recommend using Easy Digital Downloads. This is a free plugin with tons of features for selling your digital files.
  • A third option is to use WooCommerce, which I already talked about in the previous section. Specifically, WooCommerce has specific features for selling digital products.

If you want to be successful with this strategy, I recommend that you create a Blog section where you will post free resources in a style similar to that of your info product. In a way, the blog will act as a “preview” of the premium product, helping you build your credibility. For advice on this topic, read the ultimate guide to building a successful blog.


  • You can sell an unlimited number of the same product
  • It is easy to implement the features to sell information products


  • To promote an info product and get people to buy it, you need to do a lot of content marketing (blogs, social media activities, newsletters, etc.)
How to make money online in 2021: complete guide

Membership and Continuity Programs

Memberships and continuity programs are similar to selling information products. However, they do extend over time.

Through the continuity programs, the user subscribes to a fixed-term subscription (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly…). With each payment, he can have access to new resources or renew a service.

Tools for creating membership sites and continuity programs

If you use WordPress, you can create the structure for your membership site and/or continuity program with ad hoc themes and tools.

  • Among the best plugins to implement members’ area contains Membership of WPMUDEV and wishlist. We have been using WishList for a while and have enjoyed it very much.
  • If you want a complete solution, specifically designed to create sites with member areas, try Optimizepress. It is software (available in both theme and plugin versions) to create landing pages, sales pages, member areas, etc.

Optimizepress has tons of options and a nice design. However, once installed, it limits you a bit both in regards to installing other plugins (it is incompatible with several tools) and in regards to page design. I, therefore, recommend it to those who need a lot of features but do not yet have a lot of knowledge in using WordPress and plugins. With this program, you will be able to implement your site in a completely guided way, without having to work on the codes.

Here are the pros and cons of creating a member area site and/or continuity program:


  • By signing up for a membership, each new member provides you with a regular source of income.
  • You can propose the same contents to one, a hundred, or a thousand subscribers. You, therefore, have ample scope to increase your earnings with a single product.


  • Unlike the sale of “simple” information products, continuity programs require you to always produce new content.
  • If you have a lot of subscribers, be prepared to invest several hours of your time answering questions and support requests.

Sale of Software, Graphics, and Digital Products

Are you a programmer, a graphic designer, a musician, a photographer, or do you like making videos, and are you thinking about how to make money online with a website? The answer may be to sell the license to use your creations!

Again, you have several options at your disposal. In fact, you can sell licenses on a personal site or on a marketplace dedicated to this type of product, or both.

If you want to try partnering with a marketplace, I recommend using Envato.

Envato manages various sites: Themeforest for themes, Graphicriver for vectors, images, and graphics, Codecanyon for plugins, scripts, and snippets, and more.

An Italian company that has been very successful in this market place is YourInspirationThemes, which offers WordPress themes.

If you want to sell digital files on your website, try Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce which I already talked about in the previous sections.

The pros and cons of this strategy:


  • If you choose to use one of the already established marketplaces on the web, you will have access to a huge audience and you will not have to worry about processing payments.
  • By selling digital products, you won’t have to think about shipping as the files are downloadable online.
  • Obviously, the products don’t have an expiration date.


  • It often happens that digital products, especially graphics and photographs, are taken from the web and used without a license.
  • If your style becomes popular, others may try to replicate it.
  • If you sell your creations on a marketplace, you will have to pay a commission on the selling price.
How to make money online in 2021: complete guide

Keep transactions safe on your site

If you sell physical or digital products or services through your website, it’s even more important to protect your customer data. Make sure your site is protected:

  1. Activate the SSL certificate to protect the information sent by users;
  2. Keep themes and plugins always updated;
  3. Use a secure hosting like SiteGround (it has 7 levels of protection);
  4. Contact our Site Security Service to prevent external attacks.

Selling services online

Now let’s see a strategy to earn online of an active type, that is, that requires your time and intervention for each new sale.

If you have special skills, which may not even require an in-person meeting with customers, you can use your website to sell services.

This is a strategy that I also use. In fact, we offer website development services, consultancy, and training via Skype.

Other services could be virtual assistance, copywriting, research, data entry, and many more.

Whatever service you want to sell online, don’t forget these two key points:

  1. Present your services in a professional way – use a quality theme, provide your users with all the necessary features for a beautiful experience on your site and pay attention to the performance of your pages ;
  2. Leverage testimonials – Posting testimonials from past customers has been proven to significantly increase the number of conversions – it costs nothing, but produces great results.

Like all other monetization techniques, selling services online can have pros and cons. Let’s see what they are:


  • Taking advantage of particular expertise, it is possible to offer personalized services at a higher price, for example, than info products


  • Earnings are proportionate to the time invested. Once you reach your maximum capacity, to increase your income you will have to raise prices or work with collaborators to be able to manage more customers.
  • Offering services places restrictions on working hours. In fact, you will need to be reachable for any requests from your customers

Activate advertising programs on your website

This is one of the best-known strategies for making money online with a website. In my experience, however, I know of very few sites that are capable of making a substantial profit using advertising.

First, let’s see how these programs work:

  • By subscribing to Google Adsense, your site becomes part of a network for displaying advertising banners.
  • When someone buys an advertisement from Google, Adsense may make it appear on your pages.

As for pay per click advertising, every time someone clicks on one of the banners displayed on your site, you receive a small fee.

There are also pay per view advertisements, for which you receive a fee every time a banner is displayed.

If you use WordPress, there are several useful tools to manage the placement of banners on your pages.

Now let’s see the pros and cons of this monetization technique:


  • This strategy is easy to implement and requires little management time.


  • When you sign up for an advertising program, you won’t be able to decide which banners to display on your site. Rather, this will be at the discretion of Google or the program you are using. You will therefore not be able to control the content and quality of advertising messages and some may appear that are not in line with your topics or the tastes of your audience.
  • To generate revenue, you need to have very high traffic volumes. I recommend that you start evaluating this type of monetization technique when you reach at least 1000 regular daily visits.
  • The success of this strategy largely depends on the advertising program you work with and the performance of your site. It is therefore very volatile. So I don’t recommend using advertising as your only source of income.

If you have reached a high volume of traffic (which in any case will require a lot of work in terms of content and marketing) it may be more effective to make direct agreements with those who want to advertise on your site.

Obviously, this would require a lot more work than placing banners through advertising programs, but it would allow you to have more control over what is displayed on your pages. Additionally, it could form long-term partnerships with brands who value your site as a platform to promote their products.

How to make money online: what is the best strategy?

Of course, the answer depends a lot on the industry you operate in, the website you run, and the type of product you offer. In general, however, I suggest using several strategies at the same time.

At the base of everything, there will still be the contents that will serve to promote both your site and your services.

In addition, I recommend implementing passive monetization techniques right away. For example, to sign up for affiliate programs (without exaggerating) and to create an info product.

This will allow you to have income that does not necessarily depend on the time you invest on the website, and that will not force you to work on it every day (if you think passive gains and freedom in managing your time are an unattainable dream, read the book I have mentioned at the beginning, 4 Hours a Week by Tim Ferris, available for purchase on Amazon ).

However, I also recommend that you specialize in a particular sector, and offer premium services at a higher price than your information products.

This will allow you to make yourself known, create a network of customers, collect testimonials, and, above all, gain experience.

Finally, only when you’ve hit high traffic volumes, consider ads.

But don’t think that making money online is easy. You will need to be prepared and have a specific set of knowledge. Read on to find out what they are:

How to make money online with a website: the necessary skills

Whether you work alone or with a team of collaborators, it is imperative that you have diverse knowledge and skills, as these will make you a well-rounded online entrepreneur.

How to make money online in 2021: complete guide

Market knowledge: 100%

It seems obvious, but to be successful online and make money with a website, you will need to be a real expert in your sector for a very simple reason: surely there are already sites that deal with the same topic as you or that sell similar products.

Whatever the case may be, you will need to shine through as an industry authority.

Not only that: you will need to know your competition, regularly monitor the monetization and marketing techniques they use.

You will need to know the type of user or customer you are addressing: everything, from the product to the communication style, must reflect the needs and tastes of your audience.

Web Marketing Techniques 90%

Have you created a beautiful site? Very useful and pleasant content to read? Great! Now you need an audience if you want to make money with a website. Website, posts, and info products are useless if there is no one visiting your pages.

For this you will have to learn how to do web marketing: in detail, I refer mainly to email marketing (that is, sending newsletters, a very powerful tool) and promotion on social media.

These are the two main web marketing techniques (with a very low cost) that will allow you to effectively promote your site and products.

WordPress management 80%

Have you created your site yourself? Have you turned to a webmaster? In any case, I recommend that you learn how to use all the main features of WordPress.

Check out my WordPress video course to learn quickly and with practical exercises.

Also, I suggest learning how to backup and update properly.

It is very important that you are able to manage your site independently, without having to depend on a web agency or external technicians.

Knowledge about how your server works 60%

This point connects to the previous one. You probably won’t need to work on your hosting plan or server on a daily basis, but minimal knowledge will allow you to be independent in case of need, and be able to optimize resources if you want to make money online.

Most importantly, it will allow you to choose a viable hosting plan that will support you in the long term. Switching from one provider to another is not a small step, which is why it is important to make the right choices right away. In fact, the speed of the site depends a lot on the performance and quality of the hosting plan you use, and it has been proven that a fast site allows you to increase the sales of any online business.

To all customers who want to create an online business, I recommend SiteGround, a really good hosting service.

No less important, knowing even a small part of the functioning of the servers, will allow you to know how to relate, asking the right questions, to the assistance service of your provider.

Knowledge of SEO 70%

How do users find your website? Would you like to have a good ranking on search engines, and be able to make money online? Then you need to know SEO!

Again, having SEO knowledge will allow you to start your online business in the right place.

When you create content, so that it can be easily found by those who surf the web, it will need to be optimized.

It seems obvious to me that most users who do a Google search click on the first three links on the SERP page. For this, it is essential to bring your site to the front page.

To learn the basics of SEO, I recommend you visit our ALL SEO Facebook page, where every day we share useful tips and answer users’ questions to improve their positions on Google.

Finally, I suggest you read the TagliaBlog website, where you will find many interesting articles on this topic.

Copywriting and persuasive writing techniques 70%

That’s right, there are writing techniques that can persuade potential customers to buy, and in this way be able to make money online.

They are apparently simple techniques, which however often bring great results.

Obviously, your sales pages and the newsletters you send to your list must be well-curated, contain all the information about the product, be written in correct Italian, etc. But learn some copywriting and persuasive writing techniques to make them more convincing and increase sales!

To get closer to this topic, I suggest you read the persuasive writing guide posted on WebHouse.

Accounting and tax aspects 70%

Web activity is to be considered as a real business, with all the necessary tax burdens, and if you want to earn online you must also evaluate this aspect.

From the very beginning, research in detail all the regulations applicable to your type of business. If in doubt, consult your accountant.

In this regard, I recommend a series of very interesting guides published on YourInspirationWeb (for those who want to become freelancers).

Employee management skills 90%

If by now you have understood how to make money online and your site is starting to grow, you need more resources and, inevitably, sooner or later you will have to turn to external collaborators, employees, or freelancers.

You may need help with content creation, sales administration, customer support, etc.

Especially if you decide to work with collaborators remotely, it is essential that you know how to organize and monitor their work.