5 Easy Ways to Earn Passive Income Online

A wild guess is that you created your website or blog with the intention of making money online. If this was not the intention, it probably will be in the future. To be honest, when I had created The Polyglot Developer, it was more for building an online reputation for myself rather than for making money. Now it is both.

The best kind of money you can make online is money you don’t have to pour your life into. This is better defined as passive income.

Passive income defined via Wikipedia:

Passive income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.

I’m going to share the ways I’m generating passive income. The best part of this is that anyone can take advantage of these steps.

Going forward I’m going to start by saying that a variable amount of time must first be dedicated towards the setup of these passive revenue streams. Once setup, they should require little to no further attention.

Include Advertisements on Your Website or Blog

I’ve talked about it numerous times on this blog, but in my opinion this is probably the easiest forms of passive income. Adding advertisements to your website or blog is free to do and can be done in minutes.

The most popular ad network is Google AdSense. With Google AdSense you’re entitled to have three advertisements on any given page of your website or blog. As of right now AdSense is primarily cost-per-click (CPC) oriented, but certain publishers will offer cost-per-impression (CPM) payouts.

Cost-per-click (CPC) via Google:

The cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you earn each time a user clicks on your ad. The CPC for any ad is determined by the advertiser; some advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others, depending on what they’re advertising.

Regardless of the payment model, you’ll be earning money from ads without doing anything.

If your website or blog receives a lot of monthly traffic there are premium ad networks such as BuySellAds that let you auction your ad space to whoever wants to pay your rate. This is generally a CPM model or monthly subscription that you charge publishers.

Become a Member of Relevant Affiliate Networks

Affiliate advertising is, in my opinion, the easiest way to earn the most passive income online.

How it works is you first determine what online companies offer an affiliate program. Let’s use the web hosting company, BlueHost, in this example. As an affiliate partner you try to encourage people to sign up for particular services. If someone signs up using your affiliate link, you get a commission.

In the case of BlueHost, any sale made through my link would generate me $65.00. Of course all affiliate networks have their own rates. Some are percentage based, some are flat rates, and some are service credit.

Some things to note about affiliate marketing that make things a little more complicated than just throwing Google AdSense ads on your website or blog:

  1. You should only advertise companies that you believe in. Your followers trust you, and if you are having them sign up to places just so you can make a buck, things won’t end well.

  2. You should only advertise companies that are relevant to your website or blog. If you have a business about beauty cosmetics, it probably won’t make sense to advertise sports cars. You won’t be penalized for it, but your audience probably won’t care about the ads.

  3. Follow the rules of each affiliate program.

To boost your affiliate advertising sales you should include them where relevant. For example, if I were to write a blog article about setting up a blog, I would include the BlueHost affiliate link. I am doing this because I’m giving you information about building a blog and recommending where to host it.

Create an Online Course Relevant to Your Website or Blog

I recently got into creating online courses and I’m glad I did. Online courses are usually video courses with more than an hour of content. The content duration could be more or less depending on where you’re going to host them.

Let’s use my programming courses as the example here. As of now, I’ve developed three development courses, Ionic Framework 101, NativeScript 101, and Native Android 101. Each course is roughly three (3) hours long and listed on the learning website Udemy for $25.00 each. Every month my courses generate a few hundred dollars and I don’t have to do anything.

You can make a course for just about anything. You can create courses in physical fitness all the way to cooking. Come up with a lesson plan regarding what you want to accomplish and then pick a website to publish on. I chose Udemy, but there are so many others.

A popular course website to publish to is PluralSight. The review process is long and tiresome, but you’ll probably get the most sales there. You can even host your own courses if you want.

If you’re looking to create courses that show your screen, you can check out a tutorial I made for recording your desktop:

Create A Screencast With QuickTime And iMovie 10

From there you’re good to go!

Re-Purpose Your Content into a Paid eBook

If you’ve got a blog, you’ve got a ton of great content. Why not re-purpose this great content into book format? You can take your published content, clean it up, and compile it in a linear fashion that makes sense in an eBook.

When you’ve created an eBook relevant to your brand, you can choose to self publish it or go through a publisher.

If you go through a publisher, you have plenty of options. Some of the popular publishers are O’Reilly, Manning, and Packt Publishing. The benefit to using a publisher is that you’ll get a ton of exposure without having to work for it. The negative (and not so bad) is that you’ll get royalties on your book rather than a full sale.

If you go down the route of self publishing you can publish to iTunes, the Amazon Kindle book store, or Google Play Books. You’ll lose a bit on fees, but for the most part keep all the earnings. At the start it is a bit less passive to self publish because you’re marketing and submitting to book re-sellers, but once the momentum is there, you can sit back and let the money flow in.

Create a Paid Mobile Application Relevant to Your Brand

This was the first form of income I started generating online. Before I had a website or blog I had a mobile application. It was, and still is, called SQLTool Pro Database Editor and it can be found on Google Play and the Amazon App Store.

SQLTool was never a quit your day job kind of mobile application, but it generates a steady few hundred dollars per month and only gets an update one or two times per year.

If you’ve got the ideas and skills, having a paid or freemium Android or iOS mobile application can be a great source of passive income after it has been released.


There are many ways to earn passive income online. I listed five great examples that have proven successful for me. You can use an ad network, becoming an affiliate partner, publish a course or eBook, or even create a mobile application.

Sure I’m not making millions from this, but I’m making a very nice amount every month without doing much.

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