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9 ways to make money online in 2023 (and tips to get started)

Whether you're looking for a casual side hustle or a full-time career, monetizing your skills to make money online leads to new business opportunities, a sustainable income stream, and personal fulfillment—all from the comfort of your home.

With so many different opportunities available, however, it can feel overwhelming to know how and where to start.

Last updated

2 Jun 2023

Reading time

7 min


In this article, we evaluate nine ways to begin earning money online. You'll walk away understanding:

  • The advantages of each online money-making option

  • Strategies to get started

  • Tools and resources to support your journey

Let's dive in.

1. Launch an ecommerce site

According to an analysis by Digital Commerce, U.S. ecommerce sales reached a whopping $1 trillion in 2022. And it's no surprise—selling products online is more attractive than ever, offering online business owners benefits like:

And with so many high-quality ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce now available, it's easy to find one suited to your business goals.

Practical ways to make money with an ecommerce site

  • Track content trends: get inspiration for what products to sell by analyzing competitor data, market trends, and popular content. Use platforms like Jungle Scout and BuzzSumo to identify product niches and track content trends. 

  • Improve SEO: use tools like SEMrush to increase your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking and drive more web traffic and higher-quality leads to your site

  • Leverage user insights: use product experience insights tools (like Hotjar 👋) to deeply understand your customer's shopping experience and boost your bottom line

💡 Pro tip: create a sales funnel to understand where and why users drop off your ecommerce website. To do this, use a tool like Hotjar Funnels to track your customer's start-to-finish journey so you can:

  • Visualize why users get stuck

  • Measure conversion rates

  • Identify customer drop-off points

This helps you quickly spot and fix conversion pitfalls on your ecommerce site, improving the user experience (UX) and driving sales.

The Hotjar Funnels tool lets you visualize the conversions of your ecommerce website and shows you the relevant session recording of each step

Still feeling unsure about selling your products online? Hotjar has an entire ecommerce guide to get you started off on the right foot.

We monitor our sales funnel to see where people abandon signup without converting, and one day we noticed a huge drop in conversions from our signup page. We discovered that the autocomplete feature was broken, so we fixed it and conversions went back up immediately.

Juan Fernandez
Head of Product, Audiense

2. Develop an app

With over 86% of the world's population owning a smartphone, innovative and user-friendly applications are in high demand. 

App development has the advantage of scalability, allowing you to begin with a small user base and gradually expand as your app increases in popularity—and revenue. 

What's more: you don't need developer or coding skills to create your own app. Tools like Toptal connect you with experienced app developers who turn your vision into reality. Alternatively, use no-code platforms like Bubble or Thunkable.

Practical ways to make money by developing an app

  • Optimize app visibility: use App Store Optimization (ASO) tools like data.ai or Sensor Tower to increase your app's discoverability and drive more downloads 

  • Set up a subscription model: offer additional features or content to users who are willing to pay for enhanced app functionality on a recurring basis

  • Consider licensing: allow other businesses to license your app under their brand. For example, Snapchat licensed its augmented reality (AR) technology to Nike.

Nike licensed Snapchat's app technology to launch their back-to-school 'Swoosh High' marketing campaign

3. Flip websites and domains

Flipping websites and domains involves acquiring underutilized or undervalued websites or domains, improving their value, and selling them at a higher price. This approach to making money online offers benefits like low initial investment costs and scalability.

Practical ways to make money from website and domain flipping

  • Leverage market research tools: identify profitable markets with tools like Google Trends or Ahrefs, which provide insights into search volume and competition

  • Acquire valuable domains: use tools like Expired Domains or Namecheap to purchase domains that are expired, have potential branding value, or contain valuable keywords

  • Fix website problems: identify, fix, and optimize common website problems to maximize the site’s value and flip it for a higher price

#Expiredomains.net displays website domains available for purchase, including their age, traffic, and estimated value
Expiredomains.net displays website domains available for purchase, including their age, traffic, and estimated value

4. Start freelancing

Freelancing offers a flexible and accessible way to earn money online by offering your expertise to clients from all around the world. 

Whether you have advanced skills in UX design, copywriting, web design, or translation, freelancing allows you to capitalize on your talents and work on projects you're passionate about.

Practical ways to make money freelancing

  • Join freelance marketplaces: register on websites like Upwork, Fiverr, 99Designs, or PeoplePerHour to connect with clients in need of your skills

  • Upsell and cross-sell: identify additional services that enhance your overall value for your current customers. For example, if you're a freelance UX designer, also consider offering UX research or information architecture services.

  • Launch a website: showcase your work and establish credibility with potential clients by creating a professional and optimized website

💡 Pro tip: watch session recordings of users browsing your freelance website to visualize how visitors engage with your content—and identify opportunities to improve. If you’re using Hotjar, you can even filter recordings for rage clicks and u-turns to quickly find and fix issues, like bugs or broken links.

Recordings show you playbacks of user sessions on your website, so you can determine which elements need improvement

Every time I make a significant change on my site I jump into Hotjar Recordings. Data might reveal if something has gone wrong, but Hotjar will tell me why.

Gavin Bell
Founder, Yatter

5. Offer virtual assistant services

If you have excellent organizational skills, becoming a virtual assistant is a lucrative way to make money remotely, by offering administrative or technical support to clients from all different sorts of industries.

What's more: the potential for long-term customer relationships makes it an attractive option for those seeking a flexible and remote working opportunity with a potentially regular source of income.

Practical ways to make money as a virtual assistant

#Clockify is a free tool that supports virtual assistants by tracking billable and non-billable hours
Clockify is a free tool that supports virtual assistants by tracking billable and non-billable hours

6. Start a blog

If you fancy yourself a wordsmith, blogging offers a wide array of online monetization opportunities, while simultaneously showcasing your creativity. 

By establishing yourself as an authority in your niche and consistently building a loyal and engaged audience, blogging may also lead to new business opportunities. 

For example, Julia Berolzheimer began blogging about fashion during college. As her blog and Instagram reach expanded, so did her business scope: a collaboration with Pottery Barn, her own dress line, and eventually an online lifestyle and clothing store.

Practical ways to make money blogging

  • Incorporate affiliate marketing: use affiliate links in your blog posts to recommend products or services relevant to your audience, earning commission for sales or referrals

  • Create sponsored content: collaborate with brands and businesses in your niche to develop sponsored blog posts, reviews, or promotional content

  • Leverage your audience: use behavior analytics tools to dive deep into customer behavior. For example, if you host your blog on WordPress, use the Hotjar plug-in for WordPress to refine your blog's content and unique value proposition.

Caveat: sponsored content and affiliate marketing is an excellent way to enhance the revenue your blog generates, while sharing products you love. (In fact, Hotjar has its own Partner Program tailored for precisely that purpose!) Just be sure to transparently disclose your partnership to readers to maintain your user’s trust and your brand’s authenticity.

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar Heatmaps to see user engagement zones and identify what content on your blog resonates best with readers—and then use it to drive your content marketing strategy.

Engagement zones combine heatmap data—clicks, scrolls, and hovers—to reveal the most engaging parts of your blog, like:

  • Attention-grabbing headlines users hover or pause over

  • Content buried at the bottom of a page that still—when seen—gets engagement

  • Content, like images, that impresses your users overall, despite not receiving clicks

Prioritize and repurpose this content into your marketing plans—paid ads, social media, email campaigns, supplementary blog posts—knowing it will capture your target audience’s attention and drive even more traffic to your blog.

Use engagement zones to see what content resonates with your users

7. Create a YouTube channel

With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, YouTube is one of the most prolific and wide-reaching platforms. In other words: more than a quarter of the world's entire population uses YouTube every month. 

With such an expansive user base, leveraging YouTube offers significant exposure for your content, giving you ample opportunities to connect with a global audience and capitalize on the platform's monetization features.

Practical ways to make money with a YouTube channel

  • Join the Partner Program: monetize your content through paid ad revenue by joining YouTube's Partner Program

  • Offer channel memberships: incentivize viewers to become paid subscribers by offering special, members-only perks like exclusive content or badges

  • Sell merchandise: link branded merchandise like clothing or digital products to your YouTube channel shop and tag the relevant products in your videos for purchase

#The LoFi Girl YouTube store features branded clothing and plush toys that fans can purchase
The LoFi Girl YouTube store features branded clothing and plush toys that fans can purchase

8. Launch a podcast

In today's fast-paced, on-the-go culture, podcasts are flourishing, with listeners tuning in from anywhere, at any time.

Similar to YouTube, podcasts cover nearly every imaginable topic, making it an easy way to find an audience to share your unique insights and interests with—all while earning an online income.

Practical ways to make money with a podcast

  • Monetize premium content: use platforms like Captivate to create valuable bonus episodes, behind-the-scenes content, or extended interviews available only to paid listeners

  • Host live events: charge attendees for admission to live workshops, webinars, or interactive Q&A sessions related to your podcast's niche. (Psst! Hotjar has a free webinar and livestream library overflowing with conversion-boosting hacks.)

  • Capture listener support: offer a voluntary donation option through platforms like Buy Me a Coffee, where listeners can contribute funds to support your podcast

#Buy Me a Coffee is a popular way for listeners to financially support their favorite podcasters
Buy Me a Coffee is a popular way for listeners to financially support their favorite podcasters

💡 Pro tip: use Hotjar Surveys to learn more about your listeners and the kind of content they enjoy.

Customize your questions based on campaign goals and then publish the link in your show notes or launch a pop-up survey on your website, inviting listeners to complete it.

Use the resulting data to sharpen your content strategy, understand your audience demographics, or identify potential areas for monetization based on your users’ interests and preferences.

Use Hotjar to create a free website survey within a matter of minutes

It takes me 10 or 15 minutes to put a survey together, then it goes live and, by the next day, I've got at least some data to answer my questions. This was the big surprise for me—surveys alone make the subscription worth it.

Conan Heiselt
UX Designer, Techsmith

9. Teach online

With the advancement of technology and the increasing demand for remote learning, becoming an online educator offers flexibility, a global reach, and the potential to impact the lives of students worldwide. 

Teaching online also fosters a more student-centric approach to education by empowering teachers to build personalized learning experiences and cater to individual student needs and learning styles.

Practical ways to make money by teaching online

  • Offer personalized tutoring: search platforms like Tutor Me, Chegg Tutors, Tutor.com, Yup, and Cambly for 1:1 tutoring opportunities targeted to students' needs and your interests

  • Build online courses: develop courses on platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Coursera, incorporating video lessons, quizzes, and assignments to create an engaging learning experience for your students

  • Create educational resources: develop educational ebooks, study guides, lesson plans, or instructional videos—and then sell them on platforms like Teachers Pay Teachers to generate passive income alongside your teaching services

#Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) is an online marketplace where educators sell their digital classroom resources and teaching materials
Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) is an online marketplace where educators sell their digital classroom resources and teaching materials

Capitalize on your skills and interests to earn money online

With so many options available, starting your online money-making journey may feel daunting. However, strategically aligning your approach with your skills and interests significantly increases your prospects for long-term success. 

Whether you're seeking a part-time gig or a full-fledged profession, proper research, the right tools, and a learning mindset will help you navigate the ever-evolving digital space and establish a lucrative online career.

Ready to launch your online business?

Use Hotjar to optimize your website, attract customers, and drive revenue.

FAQs about earning money online