So, you want to make money on the Internet

Some features in this article can be apply to information sites, merchandise, podcast or blogs. In my case, it was software and I will mention it when it's "software related". I only started to mass distribute my free software in February of 2007. With this experience fresh in my mind, I taught that I would write about things that you should think about. Where will it live? It's important to get a website obviously and maybe a second. It will show that you are serious about your shareware or freeware. You can start with a few simple pages and grow from that. If your software can eventually be translated, you should consider naming your page accordingly. For example, I have "_en" for English pages and "_fr" for French pages. Think big! Think globally! And why a second site? Because you can use the second site for a mirror for the setup file and for other uses(test). At the moment, I have a server based on Linux(this blog) and the main site on Windows. I have taken over the Linux server back in December of 2006 and now realize that I made a good choice. I have options not available on the other Windows server and vice and versa. The monthly bandwidth allowed is lower on the second one thus costing less. Depending on how well it does(short term), it can cost you $10-$30/month for 1 or 2 sites. I will mention other ways later on. At that cost, it will be on a shared hosting solution thus many sites on the same server box.
Good evening, I will be your Host tonight When the numbers of visitors/day will have outgrown your needs, then it will be time for a new type of hosting. If you have enough revenue/month, you can move to a managed server. It's like shared hosting, without the hassle of maintaining it, but only you is hosted on it. It will you cost around $100/month for a basic server. If you want to offer a forum, many forum owners suggest to be on a dedicated server. I supposed a very, very small forum could be hosted on a shared hosting plan. Think about the software name (software related) When I created Info2MIS, it was originally called "IMDB 2 MIS" and then "Info 2 MIS". Searching for it on the Internet gave me too many hits. Just by removing the space, that task is much simpler now. For MIS Info Video, I still have the trouble and will change the name later on. Plus, it does more now than when it was created. An original single name is the key. If it's more than one word, try to be less generic. And don't start with a number because shareware/freeware sites don't like it.

Think about the software setup name (software related) Ever wonder why it's MISInfoVideo_setup.exe and not MISInfoVideo_v24.exe. Simple! If any site link back to your site, the user will always get the latest version. The original site might still show v2.4 but the user will get v2.5+ Think about the website name (software related) If you go with the software name, you can't add another application but it can be simpler for your users. Or, you can also use a subdomain or be traditional like I do now. Depending on your host, you can have a few domain names included for free in the plan. Think about the user name When I took over, the person had i2mfan for a user name on many sites/forum. For me, it gave me a little traffic but for the ex-owner, a change of user name was required to lessen the confusion between him and my new site. I was lucky to be able to recycle the meaning of I2M to my needs. I still have a few emails from time to time but I forward them to the ex-owner. So, open a Gmail account with a new name if you want to go on other sites/forums. You may want to sell your site later on and those places might not be in direct relation to the subject of the site. To be Freeware or to be Shareware? (software related) Info2MIS was free from the start but not MIS Info Video. I tried different method before I finally decided to go freeware. I started with:
  1. 10 days with all the features and then it stop working
  2. 10 days with all the features and then entered Basic Mode with random nags when starting
  3. 30 days with all the features and then entered Basic Mode with random nags when starting
  4. 30 days with all the features and then with all the features Basic Mode with random nags when starting . A new Free Basic version with no nags and less features was launched.
  5. Now freeware and eliminated the Free Basic altogether thus having not to do test again.
I also played with the price in relation with what the competition offered. I did some special(50% off)
  1. $14,95
  2. $ 9,95 with free upgrades until v2
  3. $ 9,95 with free upgrades for v2, v3...
  4. $ 5,95 with free upgrades for v2, v3...
  5. Now free but I count on Adsense or donations(more on that later)
When it was at $5,95, it was more trouble to register than it was worth for most users and me. I don't have to mess with serial numbers anymore. Plus, I was almost giving it away at that price. If you go the shareware route, look at Regnow and calculate your software price on the fee they will take. Me, I wanted to keep the price low for users and be able to keep the rest for me minus the Paypal fee, of course. Money don't grow on trees! Except for the time to program the application, make a podcast or write a blog, people forget that other cost can be involved. The money will help pay for:
  1. third party tools(submitter software, plugins, audio recording...)
  2. future upgrades to software
  3. domain hosting/extra bandwidth
  4. third party mirror sites
  5. Internet connection from the house
  6. hardware(good mic, reviewed hardware)
  7. movie tickets or books for blog
  8. some publicity with AdWords but that's when you are starting out ...
Of course, try to find free alternative but sometimes, you will have to open your wallet. Give me the money! Unless you sell something, you will want your site(s) to pay for itself. One way is to ask for donation. Just ask for anything above $2 because Paypal will get it's fee. So, if people like what you offer, they can make this very, very nice gesture. This way, you can continue to give them what they want. Paypal don't have a minimum monthly fee but take a little more(%). You can start with that. This method is mostly for product based(freeware/poadcast) site because people knows they get something tangible. Click me the money! The other way is banner ads like Google Adsense(see my sidebar) or something similar. Basically, if you don't know, Google pays a few cents each time someone click on the Google ad banner. So, when you visit a site and you click on an ad that you like, the site receive a few cents. You will get from $0.01 to a few dollars, if your are lucky, but it's mostly a few cents. Don't worry, those ads are often about the subject of that page. Most sites don't have millions of visits per month(cost-per-1000-impressions) so they hope people do click on them (cost-per-click). This method is mostly for information site like this blog and don't cost money to your visitor. Are you affiliated with ...? Many companies are willing to give a certain percentage back to you. This method also work if it has a relation with your site. Don't sell "vacation time share" if your site is about movies but sell DVD. Can I offer you my host? Just kidding or am I? Show me another way When your site becomes bigger(500,00 page views/month), you will have access to other types of revenues. Text link ads is an example. When a visitor's mouse is over word, a small definition about the word will appears with a Sponsored by type ad. I'm sure they are other ways but those are the most popular. And don't click on your ads/affiliates because it's frown upon. Please, PAD Me! (software related) Back when I created those applications, I taught I would distribute MIS Info Video on 2-3 big sites and be done with that. Big mistake! I did got more hits but only for a few days. It takes an hour or so to enter the many fields in a PAD file but it's worth it. You can give a second download URL for the file thus my suggestion of a second site above. You need to create a thumbnail, screen shot .... Using a PAD file, you can have your application listed on 1000+ sites. Some sites are big and some are small. One thing is for sure is that it will lessen your overall work load. You just need to give the location of the PAD file on your site. 3 methods to submit a Pad file:
  1. do it yourself but it's very time consuming and you have to find the sites first
  2. you can buy software to semi-automatically do it for you. It's far than perfect and you will have to chose a submission software. It's faster than method 1
  3. you can use a service that will charge between $30 to $250+ depending on the number of sites they do.
Is it Mr. Roboto or Robosoft? (software related) I started with "1" above and then downloaded the Robosoft software with a 30 day trial. The application will:
  1. updates it's database of sites often(a site change will break the Robosoft submission script)
  2. has a feature that if the PAD file is not supported, it will autofill the web form for you(nice job)
  3. keep track of the sites and what version was found and date submitted
  4. many sites ask that you register first and this is much easier with it. It will remember your passwords. It also works with auto submission mode.
  5. it's good for only 6 months of updates and I don't know how much after that
  6. Pay 30% less if your are a member of the A.S.P.(shareware)
It's a good program for shareware authors who want to do it themself but not for the freeware market unless you use the first 30 days or get enough clicks/donations to pay for it. They are free submitter solution available. For example, Softcab Submitter is linkware thus forcing that your home page contains code linking back to them. I did not test it because my page is in a frame and I wanted to place it in my link page for MIS Info Video. Other free solution might be limited in the number of sites or features. Men are from Mars and sites are from Alpha-Century (software related) The majority of small and a few big shareware/freeware sites will only list your file. So, when a user download a file, it's downloaded directly from your site(s). Here what I found out:
  1. some are copies of each other or look very much the same
  2. some are not English but you can submit from an English page
  3. some offer many things(reviews, downloads, user rating, awards... I created an Awards page) and some just list
  4. some ask for a backlink or your submission will be delayed. I created a backlink page
  5. some don't accept shareware but most accept freeware
  6. some will host your file but updates can take many days or weeks unless you pay a fee. This can become a primary download URL when the user is on your site. It will save you on server load and bandwidth
  7. some ask for a RegNow or similar ID. Look into it if it's shareware.
  8. it can be hard to find a category to select
  9. some will grab the PAD file(XML) from directly from your site(daily, weekly) to update their own database. You will not need to submit again.

Link to me, pretty please

Depending on the type of site, you should link to other sites IF it make senses. I received an offer to link to a fishing charter site thru a third party link company. If the fishing company would had mention on their site that:
  1. my software was the only one they used/proposed to their clients
  2. created a .MIS(metadata file) with a description, location, people in it, goofs, chapters... for the video of the fishing expeditions
...then I would had be more than happy because they would had given me a real life example. But if someone do link to my site because they like my software, I don't mind. It's just your ordinary link page. And don't be part of a "link farm" because it will hurt you. My name is Rank, Alexa Rank? I never taught of how well my site was doing. I just used Google and if I found many results, I taught I was ok. I also used the Adsense Page impressions to see how it performed. I knew it was low because I never made real publicity so far. Boy! was I surprise. Before, I started mass distribution a few days ago, McGrath Info Solution was near the 3 millions mark on Alexa. In just a few days, I gain 300 000 to 2.7M. I think it takes a few days/weeks before it updates your rating. My software was submitted on many places but they still have too look at it first(backlog). When they do, I'm sure my ranking will improved even more.

Analyze this ... with Google Analytics

I think it's a good tool to get information about what's going on your site and it's free for small site. It will not track the bandwidth but what page your visitors go, how many page, from where.... Plus, it's done on the same day with a few hours(2-3hrs) delay. You need to add code to every page that you want to track. It's better (features) than most stats you get from your host and don't have to wait 24 hours.

The End or is it?

In retrospect, I should had started to look at mass distribution more closely when I started out while adding new features to my software. Only time will tell but do learn from my mistakes. Good luck and have succes with you site! Found the information useful?
Keywords: Business, Entrepreneurship, Freeware, Hosting, Money, Passion, Ranking, Shareware, Software, Traffic


[...] a "old" post(Feb. 26, 2007), So, you want to make money on the Internet, I wrote about looking at your Alexa Rank. Even if it's far from perfect(more later), advertisers, [...]


Website URL:
Enter Captcha:
Case Sensitive Captcha Image
Note: The Captcha Image Is Case Sensitive