Expanding from a physical location to an online presence has never been easier. It is truly a globalized era. Those looking to start a business from scratch, depending on the model, will most likely consider operating fully on the internet. The cost difference between a brick and mortar store and a website really makes the decision rather simple. Web hosting and domains have advanced a lot over the years with costs being very reasonable. With jobs and the economy up in the air, starting your own online business can be a feasible means of making ends meet.

Let’s take a look at five tips to start your own online business.

1. Online Surveys

You don’t always need a website of your own to make money online. There are many websites that will pay you for your input. Sites like Survey Scout, Inbox Dollars and Panda Research, just to name a few, will pay you to take surveys, read emails and more. A word of caution, though, that there are sites out there that may not be legitimate, so please do your research first before joining one of these sites.

While we feel you wouldn’t be able to completely replace your salary with this online business method, it could very well bring in a decent amount of extra cash from month to month and become a nice little side business for you. This is even something you and your significant other could do in your spare time!

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the concept of promoting someone else’s business, or product or service, and if you make a sale, you get paid a commission. It’s kind of like being a car salesman. The nice thing about this business method is that you can promote a wide range of products/services all at the same time.

Clickbank, for example, is ripe with products you can start promoting right now. There are many avenues to promote and advertise affiliate offers. Some are free, and some would require a fee. For example, forums are a great place to get your affiliate links out there, and many are free to join and allow you to place links in a signature file that is attached to each of your posts. Google Adwords would be an example of a service where you bid for ad placements and pay for each click you receive. While it’s not free, it could be a low-cost advertising solution.

Spending money on advertising and promoting affiliate marketing isn’t necessary, but it is a quick way to get people to your offers. If you’re short on cash and want to spend money on advertising, a small business loan may be an option. If you own a car, title loans in Tampa or other title loan companies could help you get the cash you need. If done right, paying for advertising could pay off in the long-run.

3. Social Media

Social media has evolved so much over the years and is a viable outlet to create and run your own online business. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, the various social media sites are equipped to help you make yourself, your product(s), or service(s) visible to the online masses.

A key tip here, and this applies in general, is to not be spammy. It’s important to make connections and build trust with others; this is harder to do online when no one knows you.  It will take time to get established, but if done right, this avenue can be very profitable.

Some of the top sites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We recommend familiarizing yourself with each site and researching how to use each site to market yourself and services.

4. Blogging

We’ll segue right in to the next tip to start your own online business… Blogging. Blogging along with social media can be a powerful combination.

Blog platforms like WordPress make it easy to link your blog with the popular social media sites. Why is this useful? When you publish a post to your blog, a snippet and/or link of that post can be automatically posted to your social media accounts. Your content is being distributed to your network and drawing people to your blog to read the full article.

The end goal with this type of business is to get people to your blog. Your blog should direct people to your product(s) or service that you’re selling. Again, you don’t want to be spammy in your tactics. Most likely they came to read the content on your blog, and if they like what they’ve read and find it useful, chances are they will browse your blog for more helpful content.

5. Website

If you’re utilizing the blogging model, there is little doubt that making your own website will be a no-brainer. Hosting your own blog using WordPress, for example, will allow you to have your own custom domain name that you can direct people to.

Your domain name should be catchy and relevant to your online business. Great care should be taken in regards to your website’s theme. Navigation is also something you will want to pay attention to as you want your site visitors to easily find what they’re looking for.

Other things to consider with a website would be marketing, monetization, search engine optimization and visitor retention. We have a lot of articles right here on this blog regarding these topics, and there are many other authority sites that cover these topics in great depth. Don’t be afraid to delve into the unknown and take the time to learn and educate yourself when it comes to making money with a website.

So, there you have it… Five different ways to start an online business. Whether it’s to supplement your existing income, or you’re looking to quit your job entirely and work from home, perhaps one of these struck your fancy. Of course, there are countless other methods and business models out there to choose from. We recommend you take the time to find out what interests you and see if there is some sort of gap that you can fill or service/product you can offer that will meet people’s needs.

There is a huge market online for selling used equipment. The web offers many to-sell services tailored to various equipment types, from car and computer parts to used hardware tools. The wide assortment of websites offering to sell your used equipment make the selling-online waters a bit tricky to navigate, so it’s worth keeping in mind the five tips below that will help you sell your used equipment online quickly and securely:

Identify the Part as Specifically as Possible

It’s extremely important to identify the specific model and/or year of the used equipment part you’re trying to sell. Not only will it ensure the person who buys the equipment will not request a refund, but being as specific as possible when identifying the part can increase the chances a prospective buyer will stumble across it.

For example, if you’re selling used air compressors, you should identify the year and model in addition to niche-specific attributes – such as whether the air compressor is reciprocating, rotary screw, or rotary centrifugal. This means someone looking for a specific part, such as a year-old rotary screw air compressor, can find it easily. Selling used equipment is largely contingent on demand, so it’s important to target the small demographic of consumers searching for the precise equipment.

Consider Various Selling Sources

There are a wide variety of to-sell services online, so it’s best to find one that’s both well-regarded and specialized toward the niche of the equipment you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling used car equipment online, Partsme is a reliable source. Memorabilia items and computer parts are more appropriate to list on Craigslist or eBay. Niche-related communities, such as Tom’s Hardware forums for selling technology parts, are also recommended.

Take Clear Photos

Once you find the appropriate place to list your used equipment, it’s important to take clear photos that represent the equipment as accurately as possible. This means taking photos of:

  • Any label on the equipment clarifying year and/or model.
  • Any defects, so the buyer knows exactly what they’re receiving, reducing the potential of a refund.
  • Optionally, a piece of paper in the photo with your name or user name to prove it’s truly you selling the product.
  • A size comparison, such as by placing a soda can or coin next to the equipment or part.

Be Patient

Face the reality and realize your used equipment may not be an immediate commodity. These types of sales require patience on the part of the seller. It may take one day, one week, one month or even more. However, once someone is seeking your specific equipment type, they are likely to find it very quickly, just as long as you list the part as specifically as possible and place it on trusted to-sell sites relevant to the equipment’s industry.

Ship Promptly and Follow Up

If any potential buyer emails you with a question about the equipment you’re selling, you should try to reply immediately – or at least within 24 hours. If you take longer to reply, their interest may wane. Once you have a buyer, ship the item promptly and securely by using the right amount of packing material. Use “stuffing” such as newspapers or bags to ensure the equipment will not break during the shipping process. Also, follow up with the buyer to confirm they received their product, especially if you wish to sell parts in the future on the same web site.

Selling equipment online requires patience, since used parts are typically not an immediate commodity. Regardless, one can quickly and securely sell their equipment online via accurate listings, clear photographs and prompt follow-up/shipping. Some can even make a career out of selling used equipment online, just as long as they abide by these standards.

Mechanical Turk is an Amazon.com-owned property that allows users to make money by completing Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs. These HITs are found over a variety of different categories and pay once you complete them. Before working on these projects with Mechanical Turk, it is a good idea to learn about how the entire process works and consider a few tips that will give you the best chance of maximizing your earning potential.

Don’t Get Scammed

Since Amazon does not regulate Mechanical Turk, you could come across some scams. In the worse-case scenario, you could even become a victim of fraud, so use your common sense on every HIT you come across. Never give out your real name, your email address or your home address to anyone. In addition, there is no reason for a requester to ever need your credit card information, so ignore any requests that ask for this.

Complete Tasks Quickly

The faster you can complete a topic, the more money you can make. This means that it is smart to avoid topics that will require you to do a fair amount of research before you can begin. If you can complete the task right away without having to read up on it beforehand, you can complete it and then start your next task immediately, allowing you to make more money throughout the day.

Avoid Low-Paying Tasks

Even if you can complete a task in just a few minutes, your overall pay will stay at a low level if you take poor-paying tasks. For example, if a task only pays you about 50 cents, you would have to complete 16 of them in an hour to average $8 per hour. These low-paying tasks are not worth your time, unless you can complete them in just a few seconds, and even then you can probably find better options by searching the site more thoroughly.

Consider Taking Tests

In some cases, you will have to take a test to become eligible for a certain assignment. While this might seem like a waste of time, it can actually open up the door to a number of new assignments, with many of them paying well. The people who set up these tests want to ensure that they are getting high-quality applicants, and are usually willing to pay for this quality.

Be Patient

Just because you do not see anything worthwhile the first time you visit Mechanical Turk does not mean that these assignments do not exist. Hit the refresh button a few times to see what comes up before giving up completely. You can also return later on in the day or week, as this can prevent you from getting frustrated. The more desirable jobs are taken immediately, but persistence will allow you to earn some of these jobs if you stay on the site.

Read the Instructions Carefully

One of the easiest ways to have your work rejected is by not following the directions. Always read what the requester wants and return every item to these exact specifications. Failure to read these instructions usually wastes your time, as it is highly unlikely that you will ever be paid for this work. In addition, regularly having work rejected limits the number of assignments that you can accept in the future.

Look for Reputable Requests

Look at each job and consider how realistic the request is. When a request seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is and you are unlikely to receive payment. Surveys are often requested by reputable organizations like universities, hospitals and drug rehabs, so you are much more likely to have a positive experience when you go with one of these requests.

By following this advice, you can make the most of your time and maximize your earnings on Mechanical Turk.

Ali Express is an extremely popular online merchant service that allows users to purchase goods at low prices. Consumers have the opportunity to buy goods on this website in low denominations, making it easier for the average person to use Ali Express as opposed to similar websites like Alibaba, which happens to be Ali Express’ parent company. Before attempting to sell items on this website, however, you should come up with a business plan. Follow your plan to ensure that customers are able to find you and trust you as a retailer when they do.

Find a Niche

Do not try to sell a wide range of products, which can be overwhelming for the customer. Generally speaking, sellers who provide one type of product tend to offer lower prices because merchants with a variety of products on the market are usually trading companies.

When customers realize that you are potentially part of a trading company, you will see your sales drop; customers know that they can find better prices elsewhere. By focusing on one particular niche, you can establish yourself as a trusted source and increase your overall performance.

Keep in mind that visitors to Ali Express are looking to save some money and are often willing to sacrifice quality to do so. Someone who is in search of a water quality monitoring device, for example, probably isn’t looking for a top of the line device like the YSI 63 meter from Environmental Equipment & Supply. Instead, this individual would want something less expensive, even if it is lesser in quality.

Tell the Truth

Never try to trick customers into purchasing from you, as this strategy always backfires in the end. Provide the customer with your real location. Do not claim that you sell brand name goods if you do not. Most of the goods sold on Ali Express are not real brand name products, so customers are generally not looking for these items.

The customer does, however, want to save money on whatever he or she buys. Be upfront about the quality of the goods that you are selling. Attempting to convince customers otherwise could lead to negative reviews.

Be Realistic

Set your prices in a way that appeals to the customers and is similar to the market value for your products. If you charge too much for your products, the customers will obviously go elsewhere for a better deal.

You might be tempted to use the Wal-Mart business model, where you undercut all of your competition and hope that you can put them out of business, but this is unlikely to work online, especially since most of the sellers are based in China and are prepared to offer even lower prices. Instead, focus on providing your customers with an overall great experience and be realistic about what you expect from your online store.

Provide Customer Service

When a customer asks you a question, answer it as quickly as possible. If you do not answer the questions that customers ask before the sale is made, the customer will view you as being unreliable and will be unlikely to bother with you further.

Customer service is often ignored online because there is no face-to-face interaction, but by making great service part of your brand, you can separate yourself from many of the other sellers on Ali Express. The money is there to be made; you just have to come up with a strategy that will work.

Be Patient

While you might find it difficult to compete with some of the other sellers on Ali Express right now, patience is key. This is because global expansion is likely in the coming years, due to the company’s recent level of sales and its desire to become a publically traded company.

Expansion is sure to drive the prices up in the marketplace. The website will be forced to start selling premium goods, much like eBay and Amazon do today. The combination of ultra-cheap goods and high-quality brand name products will attract a much wider segment of consumers, which is sure to bring more traffic to the products that you wish to sell.

If you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money online, YouTube may not be on your radar. As a video sharing service designed like a social network, it’s probably something you see as a place to go for entertainment. Could it be more? Could you make a profit on YouTube? The answer is a simple “yes.” Keep reading to learn more.

How It Works

For YouTube, the real profit is in advertising. Because of this, the network is willing to share advertising profits with users who are interested in the opportunity.

Quite simply, YouTube pays users – who have enabled the AdSense feature – when someone clicks on an ad showing on one of their videos. Think of this as an advertising commission for posting YouTube videos that draw attention.

Setting up AdSense on YouTube

The only catch to this opportunity is that a user must take a few steps before taking advantage of the program. They are outlined below:

  • Sign into your YouTube account. If you have not created one, sign up to get started.
  • Once you’ve signed in, click on your username in the top right corner of the screen and select “Settings.”
  • Under Settings, click on the “Monetization” option.
  • Click “Enable My Account” and take a look at the terms and conditions. When you understand and have agreed to them, click “I Accept.”
  • Go back to the “Settings” option under your account name and click on “Monetization” once more.
  • Choose “Create a new AdSense account.” This will link a Google AdSense account to your YouTube page. If this option does not appear, your video has yet to generate any revenue for YouTube; check back in a few days or once you get your account up and running.
  • If the option is available, complete the required fields to complete the set-up process.
  • Read the terms and conditions for AdSense and “Sign Up” to agree.

It’s important to note that AdSense account creation is subject to review by Google. Once the above process has been completed, you should hear back from Google in three to five days to learn if your application was approved.

Creating Content to Make Money

Once you’ve completed the AdSense set-up process, it’s time to get rolling, literally.

Take the time to become familiar with YouTube, especially with the videos that are most successful. In many cases, content doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just interesting. From there, think about your own business–what information could you share in a new way that attracts attention?

For example, if you’re a company with a new Mosquito Magnet that attracts and kills mosquitoes in a 1 acre radius, think of how you could attract attention for your business as well as for entertainment – increasing the odds of AdSense revenue. Maybe an entertaining cartoon with your product front and center could meet both needs, providing a little humor with a factual base.

Creating content on YouTube that has the highest chance at success is like creating a company blog. Your videos should be easy to follow, relevant and sharable. You want visitors to want to share your videos with their own networks.

Use decent quality film equipment with excellent sound capabilities for the highest quality recordings. From there, do some editing and share your film with a test audience – friends, family or coworkers. Pay attention to their reactions and take the time to gather honest feedback. Make modifications if necessary; you want your final product to be the best it can be.

Once you’re happy with your video, take it live. Upload it to YouTube and share it on your social networks. Invite your friends and followers to share it with their networks and to leave comments. Focus on making one video successful, and then consider repeating the process. In the meantime, watch your profits escalate.

Making money on YouTube is possible; it just takes a few steps and some creativity.

So you’ve been blogging for a while, and your blog has readers, traffic and some amount of notoriety in the blogging world or within your industry. You probably already get a lot of guest post offers and you may have even considered accepting compensation for posting them in order to supplement your income.

What should you do?

There are actually a number of things you need to consider before accepting payment for guest posts. Read on to learn whether or not sponsored post income will suit your blog. Although accepting payment for sponsored posts will not alone be enough for a livable income (unless you are an A-list blogger), it can be a helpful addition to your income.

Quality Control

If your blog has gained a following, it is probably because of something you do well that is unique and hard to find elsewhere. Perhaps you’ve got a really strong voice about your topic of choice, or you bring to the table a great sense of humor which shines through in your prose. Now, consider the consequences to an interruption in that voice. Are your readers going to get out of a guest post the same value that they generally get out of your regular writing?

Sometimes, of course, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Fresh writers can offer a new perspective or provide expert advice on a very specific subject that you may not know too much about. For example, if you run a self-improvement blog, you may benefit greatly from hosting a specialized post about addiction and recovery by someone who has their own rehab blog. In these cases, it’s generally not a great idea to charge; you are already being compensated with high quality content. You may even opt to pay the writer, especially if you approached and invited them to write for your blog as opposed to the other way around.

How Much Promotion Is Okay?

Without exception, if a blogger is offering you money to publish their blog post, they are looking for some level of promotion. In some cases, this may simply be a link to their own blog or website in the byline, or the website of their client. In others, they may be looking for contextual links within the post. Links within the blog post are generally worth more to the guest poster than links from within the byline, so if you are charging for guest posts you might consider charging more for a post with an obvious contextual link. However, make a point to clarify that you are not selling links, but rather you are selling a platform from which someone else can make contact with your readers.

Charging for Crap Content

All too often it seems that guest posters offer up payment to share their content to make up for the low quality of the writing. Charging to host this drivel will make you some quick cash in the short run, but in the long run you are jeopardizing your audience by serving them garbage. If you lose your readers, nobody will want to pay you to host their posts.

No matter what you decide, remember to always keep your readers’ best interests in mind. Never sacrifice the quality of your content just to make a few bucks.

So now this begs the question…

Do you charge a fee for your guest posts? Have you accepted payment for a guest post?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Blogging has become a mainstream outlet in today’s generation, with bloggers writing on topics ranging from fashion to cars to food. Blogging, however, can also be a source of revenue. Just about any site can be made profitable through the use of cunningly placed and topical advertisements.

One preferred ad service is Google Adsense, which provides topical advertisements based on keywords gathered from your website or blog. Setting up the service is simple and intuitive, but the real question is…

How can you make the most of it?

How Adsense Works

In a nutshell, Adsense functions via a pay-per-click system. In other words, every time someone visits your site and clicks on one of the ads, you receive a percentage of the money Google makes from the advertisers benefiting from the exposure. The amount of money you receive per click varies from a couple of cents to a few dollars, but the average amount is about 20 cents.

The types of ads Google places on your site are directly related to the keywords used in your site copy. There are two types of keywords: commercial and non-commercial. Commercial keywords, naturally, tend to be more profitable.

But what are the differences?

Words That Pay

Non-commercial keywords are those that people search without having the intention to buy something. An example of non-commercial search words could be, “How do you send picture mail?” Because sites containing this type of information typically don’t deal with commerce or shopping, advertisers rarely place ads there, or may only place low-paying ads.

Commercial keywords are just the opposite — these keywords mention products or services and can lead to profits for both website owners and advertisers. An example of a search query involving commercial keywords might be, “Where can I get the best mustang parts?” Someone searching for this obviously intends to purchase car parts, so advertisers would be smart to place relevant ads on pages that feature these keywords.

In fact, advertisers are willing to pay more to have their ads shown on pages featuring commercial keywords. Featuring a few can bring in more opportunities — and more money for the savvy webmaster.

Location, Location, Location

Since Google Adsense is pay-per-click, it is important that website visitors notice your ads. Look at other people’s websites and think about which areas your eyes are drawn to. Your ads should be placed in those areas. Research shows that ads located at the top and right side of the page do not generate as much revenue as ads placed on the left side. Advertisements shown at the bottom of the page are fairly unprofitable, as well.

Alternately, try positioning your ad so that you can see only a part of it without scrolling down the home page. This could cause people to click on the partially visible ad to see what it is they are looking at. Don’t forget to consider differing screen sizes, browser windows, and so on!

Other Factors to Consider

One of the ways that strategic ad placement helps you augment your revenue is through increasing your click-through ratio. However, placement isn’t the only way to maximize the amount of clicks you receive. Other ways to strengthen this number include choosing colors that stand out on your page, or picking styles for your advertisements that are easily seen.

Unsurprisingly, the amount of visitors your site receives also plays into the determination of how much each click is worth. Increasing your ad impressions can be done by increasing your traffic — something you’re probably already working on! One way to beef up your traffic is by promoting your website via social media platforms. If your blog or website hasn’t already branched out into Facebook or Twitter, consider it — it’s a quick, easy way to self-promote and show what your blog is all about.

Advertisements are also worth more per click if the other links on the page are less numerous. The more links you have on a page, the less likely it is that your reader will choose to click on your advertisements. If your page is peppered with outgoing links, consider trimming them down to give your visitors a little less to chew on.

Your blog may already be a place for you to write about topics you love. However, with only a little effort and the help of Google Adsense, you may find that your interests can pay big dividends. By following the above tips, you can help maximize your income from any blog or website. Give them a try and see if Adsense can work for you!

Let’s face it…

the mobile app market has become one of the biggest sources of revenue on the Internet. Apps can reach such a large audience now that you’re almost guaranteed to get a lot of attention, providing the app you create is of good quality and is a somewhat original idea. Making money off of an app is also relatively easy, if you’re willing to take the time to research something new and you already have a little knowledge of how advertising works.

Research Your App Idea

Before you even start making money off of your mobile app, there’s work to be done. It’s not enough to have a great idea for an app, you really need to do your homework. Research is important at all stages of mobile app development and, depending on what sort of app you want to make, you could be spending night after night at your desk researching.

Flesh out your idea for an app and do some research into similar apps. At this point, there’s a good chance that something similar already exists, but that doesn’t mean you should lose hope. In most cases, the same idea can be implemented differently and the end results can be very unique, indeed. Spend a few hours on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store to learn what kind of competition is out there for your app idea.

Start Creating Your App

If you know very little about programming, or what it takes to build an app, there are places you can go for help. If you’re looking at creating an iPhone app, you can get tips here and you can even find people to build apps for you – charging a fee of course.

Android is a different beast altogether, with many different programming languages being used but Google has some tips for your first Android app here. However, if you’re really looking to go the easy route, there are services like The App Builder out there that should cover all the bases.

Promote Your App to Gain Attention

This might seem like an obvious step, but it’s certainly not something you should overlook. Promoting your mobile app is one of the most important things you can do. There are many ways you can do this but there are some almost fool-proof ways to get the word out.

Write for Android/iPhone/Windows Phone Blogs

This is going to get you mixed results and will depend on exactly what sort of app it is you’ve created. If it’s something these sort of sites have seen before, they’re going to send your e-mail straight to the spam folder. Which is an uncomfortable truth, but you’re dealing with a very crowded market.

However, if you have something that stands out from the crowd and you can quickly and efficiently communicate this, then you could get blogs all over the web writing about your new app, which can end up being free, or inexpensive marketing for the product.

Hit Social Media, Hard

By figuring out the social trends with regards to social media and apps, you can muscle in on the big guys and their marketing. Again, this requires more research and you’ll have to be up to speed on your hashtags and your Facebook trends. If you can make it big on social media, though, you’ll instantly see some more attention heading your way.

How to Make Money with Your App

As with most things in this process, this will require some research of your own. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to almost guarantee results.

Charge a Small Fee for Your App

Charging a dollar or two for your app or game can work well, but you’ll have to sell a lot of installs in order to make much money. It’s definitely a tricky balancing act: price the app too high and you won’t get many buyers; price it too low and you’ll need to sell a lot of installs to make any money.

Charging a fee works best for game apps as they’re often easier to promote using trailers and screenshots. However, utilities such as estimation software can be paid apps, too. And keep in mind that paid apps often earn more money on iOS than they do on Android.

Introduce Ads into Your App

This can be huge, and it’s what will probably make you the most money, especially on Android. After all, there are so many apps out there that by now, there’s almost always an app that functions similarly for absolutely nothing. Your app could become one of these free alternatives and by including ads you’ll still earn money.

Ad networks like AdMob are used to gain money from in-app ads, and you should be able to take a fair amount of revenue from such networks. Again, research is required to see just how much the ad networks will offer you per click and so on, but for the most part, this is the best route to take. Just be careful that the ads you’re using don’t get in your users’ way too much and that they don’t ruin the app experience.

Thanks to Etsy, crafters can turn their passion into profit. The online marketplace allows you to open a storefront and sell your creations to buyers around the globe. Although the site is extremely user-friendly, the best practices for sellers aren’t always crystal-clear. Whether you’re a hobbyist or full-time artisan, follow the five tips below to make your Etsy shop the best it can be.

1. Post Eye-Catching Photos

One way to break through the noise on Etsy is with unique, high-quality photos of your products. Searching for “jewelry” or “Xtrema cookware” will yield countless results. A good set of photos that do justice to your work will help customers zero in on your shop’s creations.

The good news is that taking high-quality photos isn’t that difficult to do yourself. For example, taking your photos at an angle creates a more dynamic image that will be more likely to catch someone’s eye than a straight-on image.

2. Spruce Up Your Storefront

When customers come to your storefront, will they be greeted by a cheery banner and tagline or a stark and generic listing of items? Shop owners who take the time to personalize the look of their shop will reap the rewards of their labor in the long run. There are several options when it comes to customizing your shop: creating a banner, writing a befitting tagline, organizing your shop’s stock into easy-to-digest sections, or uploading a friendly-looking avatar. These little touches will make your Etsy shop stand out from the crowd, which will, in turn, draw more eyes to your merchandise.

3. Consider SEO

Anyone selling anything online should learn a thing or two about search-engine optimization, or SEO. The proper SEO strategy can improve your shop’s visibility in search engines, whether on Etsy itself or on sites like Google.

In order to improve your shop’s SEO, you need to depend on a combination of your instincts and resources like the Google Keyword tool: what keywords might someone search if they are looking for something similar to your product? Is it too broad or narrow? How many other sites use this keyword — is there too much competition?

For newbies, it might be best to use a keyword that’s less frequently searched so your shop can rise to the top of that small pack first; however, it’s up to you to determine which keywords best suit your growing business.

4. Ship Internationally

Customers from all over the globe peruse Etsy’s offerings. If your shop doesn’t ship internationally, you’ll greatly limit the number of people who check out your products.

Adding international shipping to your repertoire isn’t adding much work for you, either. Share the average rates to send your goods to far-off places, such as Australia and Europe, with your customers. Then, take the products they pick to the post office, fill out a customs form and send them on their way. It doesn’t take much more of an effort than domestic shipping, and your shop will benefit greatly from it.

5. Do What You Love

This should be a no-brainer: in order to run a successful business, you have to sell high-quality products that customers will love and tell others about. It’s equally as important that you find something you love to create in order to keep your motivation high.

Let other shops and creations inspire you, but, at the end of the day, the most successful products are the ones that are completely unique. Find what you love, and find your niche. From there, you’ll be just fine.

We’ve all been caught in a bidding war over that hard-to-find book or that last-generation electronic on eBay. As arguably the first household name in e-commerce and most definitely the biggest player in the “sell it yourself” market, eBay needs no extra introduction.

But, if you’re a web developer, a tech tutor or even a cabinet hardware expert, what you’re selling can’t be found in a dusty box in your attic. If what you sell is a service, how can you get yourself a slice of eBay’s buyer market?

Here are 5 tips for positioning your services online.

1. Does Your Service Make Sense for eBay?

The first thing to consider when selling services online is, well, whether or not it even makes sense to sell your service online. In most cases, virtual offerings are best (logo design, an online tutorial on how to us Microsoft Office, etc.). This extends your reach, allowing you to offer your expertise to everyone—not just people in your geographical area. Of course, if your service requires in-person interaction, it doesn’t count you out. Just make sure travel expenses are factored into cost.

2. Simplicity

Your goal is to get people to buy your service, right? Well, the most common drop-off point for most people online is that they don’t understand, first, what the ad their reading is for, and second why it’s relevant to them. So, make sure your title is as clear and concise as possible (i.e. “Small Business Logo Design” not “Want a Cool Logo?

3. Why Should I?

By entering the online sales sphere you’re stepping up against literally millions of banners, websites and offers. So how do you fight through the noise? Your best bet is to employ some basic marketing and copywriting standards. Don’t answer “What am I selling?” but rather, answer “How does what I’m selling solve a problem for my consumer?

So, in the description, make sure you sell them on it, based on what they actually want. For example “I can help make your business’ logo pretty,” while true, might not be the best way to describe your services. Instead, clue them in on how the logo will help their business stand apart and ultimately serve their business needs best.

4. Clarity, Clarity, Clarity

As with the title, make sure your terms and logistics are as clear as possible. You don’t want potential customers coming to you with tons of questions about your rates and timelines (or worse, turning away before even asking those questions). If you’re offering to design a website, give customers your price breakdown. How much does it cost for a single-page design? How about a multi-page site with animation and interactivity? Your customers won’t dig deeper to find your costs. You need to tell them front-and-center.

5. Follow the Rules

As with most online platforms, eBay has a set of user guidelines and an agreement that you signed when joining. These user contacts can be complicated, sure (and honestly, who has time to read page after page of legalese?). But a simple way to check if you’re following the rules on eBay is to find a reputable seller and make sure your ads are set up like theirs. In general, eBay supports honest, reasonable sellers who conduct transparent business in a fair way. Don’t direct people to your external site to make the purchase, and certainly don’t offer any services that are against the law. Most of the rules are common sense.

So there’s a decidedly unexhaustive list of tips when you’re selling your services on eBay. Most people turn to a classifieds-style site for this (i.e. Craigslist), but eBay can be a really powerful tool for selling your expertise. After all, you’re good at something—and you presumably love to do it. So why not get paid for it, using the Internet’s biggest network of personal sellers?