Updated for 2012! This list is under constant revision. Know of a site that should be on here? Let me know!
Want to learn more about how to earn an income online? Like the idea of generating a second income through hobby blogging? Or just looking for the best MMO resources that you’ve never heard of?
This jumbo resource list aims to pick out the key sites that you will want to check out, great for beginners, great for those looking to build up their bookmarks – this is the number one resource list on the web.
All sites here are ones that I have enjoyed and found useful. No one has paid to be on this list (although some have tried!).
Note: I have not set out to build a comprehensive list of every site out there, the goal is to build the best list of the top sites.
Content Management Systems
Nobody builds their site out of HTML any more, you want to use content management system. Here are my preferred free platforms:
- WordPress: If in doubt, the ever popular blogging platform is the place to start. With a tonne of plugins, books and sites dedicated to WP you’ll have no shortage of support. This site is powered by WordPress.
- Joomla: Need a more comprehensive content management system? Joomla is a great piece of free software for running more complex sites. Needs more time to setup and manage, but more flexible than WP.
- Drupal: Don’t get on with Joomla? Drupal is another popular alternative for a more complex site.
- MediaWiki: This is the software that runs WikiPedia, but anyone can download it and setup their own for free. For example I run the wiki: SammyWiki.com.
- e107: Included for old times sake, although has been reborn for 2012. The new version is looking very competitive.
Blogs are a great learning resource, entertaining to read and keep you in the loop. Here are they ones that I follow.
Blogs about blogging: These are the sites I enjoy reading. Good for keeping up to date and learning some new ideas. They cover a range of topics from social media to marketing.
- ProBlogger: Blogger Darren Rowse gave up his career to work full time as a blogger, find out how he earns a living from blogs.
- ViperChill: Brit Glen Allsopp talks about his marketing efforts in great detail. Genuinely interesting posts from a likeable guy.
- Seth Godin: Progressive marketing ideas from the chap who founded Squidoo.
- Griz: Only occasionally updated but some amusing outspoken posts on the “make money online” blogging arena
- Aggregated Blog Feed: Want to follow a load of affiliate marketing blogs in one place? Then this aggregator is for you.
The MMO Blogs: These guys are the ones with big followings and make big money. They tend to be less cutting edge as they can rely on existing momentum and I also find the style a little brash for my taste – too much emphasis on the capitalist idea of “money = success”. But definitely still worth knowing about.
- Shoemoney: Jez Schoemaker’s blog rose to fame thanks to a big cheque from Adsense.
- John Chow: Will relentlessly persuade you to sign up to Aweber (earning a life time referral fee), seems a good guy but I really don’t care what you had for lunch John!
Tracking how people use your site is an important means to optimisation. See how traffic is effected by the choices that you make:
- Google Analytics: The popular free analytics platform from Google. Thanks to a recent update this is packed full of reports and tracking options. Nicely linked in with Adwords and Webmaster Tools.
- WordPress Stats: Run a WordPress site? This Stats plugin from the WP authors is a great way to add stats right into your dashboard.
Search Engine Optimisation
Everyone wants to get to the top of the search engines, and although ultimately this means creating a great site, there are ways to make sure you get ahead of the competition.
- John Battelle: Thoughts on the intersection of search, media, technology, and more.
- Yahoo Blog: Long since eclipsed by Google, but still an Internet giant, read Yahoo’s latest on search.
- Google Blog: With Google so dominant, the official webmaster blog is still a must read.
SEO Information and Tools
- Google Starter Guide: If you only ever read one SEO doc from start to finish, pick this one! This doc contains pretty much everything that Google wants to share about search engine optimisation. There are no real secrets to SEO, you just need to go and do it!
- SEOMoz: Great blog with detailed analysis and a scientific approach to search engine optimisation. Also a number of commercial tools, but I’ve never used them.
- SearchEngineLand: In their words “the industry’s leading online publication for the latest search news, research and anaylsis, commentary and expert advice”
- SubmitEdge: I’ve recently been trialling a number of their services and will be blogging the results once I’ve had a chance to monitor the impact. These guys offer a range of SEO services at entry level prices.
Let’s be honest, we all want to make a little extra money online! For that you are going to need to look at some revenue sources.
Automatic Revenue Systems
These are systems that, once installed, will automatically monetise and manage your earning potential.
- SkimLinks: I have recently started using Skimlinks and have been impressed with the results. This system allows you to easily monetise existing links on your blog without having to do any extra work. They do take commission but this is extra money I wouldn’t have made otherwise. You can read more about my experiments in the SkimLinks area of my blog.
- Adsense: Even if you’ve never used Adsense before you’ll be familiar with Google’s ad network. These are the little text ads you see on websites around the world, similar to the ones you see on Google search results. When you have them on your site you paid a small fee every time someone clicks on one of the links.
- Amazon Associates: The worlds biggest online store has a very lucrative affiliate scheme. This has been my biggest earner since my very first experiments with making money online. The great thing here is that you earn money from everything that a person buys in the following 24hrs, which can sometimes be a big basket full – especially around Christmas.
- Ebay Partner Network: The world’s biggest auction site is also a popular place to promote even though their earning system is a bit unusual – you get paid based on the “traffic quality” you refer.
If you want to promote a specific store which doesn’t run its own scheme in house you will normally have to sign up to an affiliate network to join up.
- Commission Junction: Large international network, good for US and UK stores.
- Affiliate Window: The biggest UK network, you’ll find most of the big online stores available here.
- Affiliates4U: A great forum for UK based affiliate marketers, with many experienced professionals, amateur hobbyists, and everything in between! Plenty of market information and aggregated blog feeds available too.
- WebmasterWorld: Forum dedicated to webmaster’s around the world, covering a broad range of topics from site development through to marketing.
To get your site online, you’ll need a host, here are some of the options.
If you want to install your own software and have full control you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan, here are a the ones I use:
- eUKHost: Most of my sites are running on a shared server. Given that I have a vBulletin install on there my current plan is holding up well.
- UK2: This site is hosted on UK2 and I bought my first ever domain through them. Their Cloud hosting offering looks like the right balance between affordability and flexibility.
If you don’t want to shell out any cash, you can get started on a free hosted platform. Note that you have less flexibility here and it is harder (although not impossible) to migrate your content in the future.
- WordPresss.com: WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the planet. Probably.
- Blogger.com: The Google owned blog host.
- Tumblr: Simplicated blogging.
You probably have accounts on these already, but social networks can be a good source of traffic and even surpassing search engine traffic. If you don’t have accounts on the following sites, it’s worth setting them up. But remember not to spend all your time on these sites at the expense of developing your own
- Twitter: Probably best left to the true fans, if you don’t enjoy using it continuously it’s a hard one to get into. But if you are an addict then I’d recommend setting up an account for your site.
- Facebook: It’s fairly easy to set up a page for your site, but with limited resources you might be better off building your own web property. Still, worth having a presence.
- Flickr: You might not think a photography site belongs here but it is massively popular and a well targeted niche photo group could be a good source of visitors.
- YouTube: YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the web and getting videos to the top of the YouTube search results can be a big boost to traffic.
Thanks for checking out our jumbo list of online earning resources. I update this as and when I come across new sites so bookmark and check back from time to time. Before you go, sign up to our RSS feed for more useful information.