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How to Make Money Online

The Ultimate Free Guide, by Gary Simon

Beneath, you will find a very elaborate guide (22,000 words) I personally wrote about making money online. I wrote it with the anticipation of selling it, but because I'm so giving, I decided to make it free (the same day I launched the version that cost money.)

So if you really want to learn how to make money online and quit your lame job, just read my guide and you will have a very good understanding of where and how to begin.

Table of Contents

How to Make Money Online

The Design

    Whenever you visit a website, everything you see is a part of that website's design.  From the colors, content (text/images), to the layout, it is all considered the design.  The design is hugely important and plays a major role in the success of your website.  The main purpose of the design is to help your visitors access your content as easily as possible, in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  The design is not about you and which photoshop filters you love to use, it's about your visitors.  More often than not, a simplistic design will out-perform a complex design.

    Entire books are spent on website design alone, so I'm not going to attempt to cover everything in this one.  Instead, I will link you to a website design tutorial that I wrote myself awhile ago.  It currently attracts the attention of hundreds of visitors a day through search engine traffic.  This tutorial will teach you the very specifics of designing your own website if that's the route you choose to take.  But first, here is an excerpt from the design tutorial that I wrote:

Website Design Principles

Many webmasters wish they could design great looking sites, but simply can’t. They’ve given it a few attempts, but either due to lack of application knowledge (with apps like photoshop), or lack of “artistic talent”, they give up. And that’s fine, because it keeps the market for design healthy! ;) But no, it really doesn’t have to be like that. If you’re an aspiring designer, there are a few key principles that I want to outline first. They are what helped me through my path to becoming a good designer, and they should help you too if you follow them.

  • It’s not the 90’s anymore
    When the early pioneers of the internet age began designing websites in the 90’s, they became fixated on the filters offered by programs like Photoshop. Lens flares, bevels, drop shadows, glows, were used to their fullest extent. You need to avoid abusing these filters, or I should say, you need to avoid misusing these filters. There are instances in which these filters can be a great benefit, but you have to know how to use them properly and not just slap them on anything and everything.

  • Usability, Not clutter
    Usability is all about making the visitor’s experience a good one on your site. Things should be easy to read, easy to access and most importantly, easy to understand. When a visitor visits your site, they should know exactly what your site is about within the first couple seconds. This is obviously where design, and layout come into play. You need to avoid cluttering your site in the physical sense. I’m not talking about having “too much content”, but rather how you choose to display that content. Things should be laid out with spacing and margins.

  • Text Do's and Dont's
    One of the really big fads that was prevalent in the early part of this decade, was the use of small fonts. I was one of those idiots because I thought it “looked” cool. But for all practical purposes, I always scorn people for using size 10px or less for fonts. Never go below 11px font - and even 11px should only be used sparingly. Size 14px (which is what this is) seems most ideal for paragraph’s of text. You can get away with 12px of course, but as screen resolutions are increasing, 12px suddenly becomes smaller.

    Line-height is very important. Line-height is the spacing between each line of text in your paragraphs. Standard line-height I find is a tad bit too thin, and I like to expand it a little more. It makes it easier for people to read.

  • Colors and Contrast
    The color theme of a site is obviously important. A lot of aspiring designers have a tenancy to use too many colors, simply because they’re there. But I like using no more than 2 primary colors and a third “secondary” color that I will use sparingly throughout the design. A simple color theme is easier on the eyes, easier to “comprehend” and overall just looks better. Of course there are exceptions to this, but 9 times out of 10, it’s always better to keep the color theme simple.

    The color theme also needs to connect with the visitors and the purpose of the site. For example, I wouldn’t use blue and florescent green/yellow for a site about health - it simply doesn’t make sense and I think that’s a given. :)

    Contrast is hugely important. It’s very important that your content and navigation are correctly contrasted. The foreground text needs to either be very dark, or very light in comparison with the background color. I see a lot of sites where the text will be a light gray and the background is white - err! That’s very annoying and hard to read.

  • Design around the purpose of the site
    A lot of designers, those experienced and not, always use the same “formula” for layout and design elements. To really make an impressive and effective site, you need to fully understand what the purpose of the site is, and what the goals are. Whether the site is based around selling memberships, or just general ad-based content - the design should cater most effectively to the purpose. And that’s what I will be demonstrating in the tutorial proceeding this page.

  • Learn by example
    A common mistake for the aspiring designer is thinking they should be able to open up photoshop, and design a great looking site on their first try. Nope, doesn’t happen like that. You wouldn’t pick up a guitar and start writing music without first learning a few songs right? Right, and it should be no different for web design. I recommend that beginners simply try to recreate existing designs that they think look good. If you do this a few times, it will (1) help you learn the application, (2) help you become a better designer. You subconsciously learn when you recreate an existing design. You automatically pick up design sense when you do this, and it really helps and goes a long way when it comes down to designing your own sites.

But I'm Terrible at Design

    That's fine, most people aren't all that great.  And secondly, even those with design talent must take time to develop it into effective web design.  Fortunately, there are alternative ways of achieving a great looking website.

  • Pay a Designer
    This is the most obvious, so that's why I'm listing this option first.  You have to be smart about who you choose to design your website.

    1. Portfolio
      Make sure they have a decent portfolio.  A designer is only as good as the work they show in their portfolio, so you can't expect an A level design from a C level designer.

    2. Don't restrict yourself to local designers
      The vast majority of "local" designers are almost always amateur.  For this reason alone, you must consider designers who aren't local.

    3. Know what good web design is
      Many well-designed websites are featured at different galleries online.  Take a look at Best Web Gallery, this is a great site to view well designed websites.

    4. Pricing
      Web design is no exception to the saying, "You get what you pay for".  If your budget is *very* limited, I don't recommend paying a designer.  I would instead recommend one of the other options mentioned below.

  • Buy a Template
    There are many services out there that allow you to purchase pre-designed websites.  One of the most popular of these services is TemplateMonster - They feature thousands of templates in which you can buy exclusively, or non-exclusively.  This option is almost always cheaper than paying a professional designer.

  • Download a Free Template
    Believe it or not, there are plenty of free templates out there.  Do a search at google for "free website templates".  If you're going to use a CMS (Content Management System) like Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.., you can do a google search for "Free (Insert CMS) Templates".  This way you can have a great looking website without spending a dime on the design.

  • Do it yourself
    If you're a DIY kind of person, then do it yourself!  I run which are a set of video tutorials that show you exactly how to design logos and websites.  If you currently do not have access to them, I strongly recommend making the purchase.  It has helped hundreds of others learn the ropes of logo/website design.

Technical Web Design Terms

    Your website's design is referred to as the frontend.  The frontend is composed of images, HTML and CSS.  The frontend is also inclusive of other technologies, but in terms of frontend design it's only images, html and css.

  • The Images
    A website's layout is composed of individual images.  Usually these images are either GIF and PNG files.  Sometimes JPG files are used for images that are more like photographs.

  • HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language)
    Most people have heard of the acronym HTML.  HTML is the coding you see if you visit a website and View the Source (In Firefox it's View/Page Source) in the menu.  HTML coding provides the necessary framework that supports the layout and images.  Proper HTML markup works in conjunction with CSS to form the design.

  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
    CSS is used to graphically stylize the different HTML tags, selectors and classes.

If you're new to this, you're probably confused right about now.  But that's not a problem, there are applications called WYSIWYG HTML Editors.  These are applications that function much like a word processor that automatically generate the HTML for you.  The most popular editor is Adobe Dreamweaver, but it does cost money.  There are free html editors though, do a google search for "Free HTML Editors".

Now that we've discussed the design aspect, in the next section we will discuss the coding and what it is.
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