While you could seek an office job that earns you a regular paycheck, in the digital age, it's also increasingly possible to find a job you can do entirely online. From running your own online store to developing websites or managing social media campaigns for other businesses, start looking around and you'll find plenty of ways to make a decent living on the web.
Web Design and Coding
Someone needs to create and maintain all the websites companies use to manage and promote their businesses -- which means a healthy market for web developers and computer programmers. Developers design websites, while programmers write code. While many programmers and developers work in traditional office settings, many also work remotely, connecting to the wider world through the Web. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 25 percent of web developers worked on a freelance basis as of 2012. As of 2013, web developers earned a mean annual salary of $67,540, while programmers earned a mean wage of $80,930, according to BLS.
There's also a demand for professionals who can create the content that is used on websites and blogs and in advertising materials. That includes writers who write the content, as well as editors who curate content and ensure material is of high quality. According to the freelance marketplace Elance, the skills most in demand among its clients in 2013 were information technology and programming at 37 percent, multimedia and design at 23 percent, and writing and translation at 17 percent. While writing and translation came in third, it still represents a large market that can offer a steady income. According to BLS, writers and authors -- whether working online or for more traditional publishing channels -- earned a median income of $69,250, while editors earned $62,820 as of May 2013. Photographers can also earn money selling photos to websites, online magazines or stock photo sites. Across the board, photographers earned a median income of $37,190 as of May 2013, according to BLS.
Advertising and Social Media
You have several options for making money in advertising and social media on the web: You can run online advertising campaigns, sell ads or run a company's social media campaigns. Alternatively, you could maintain your own blog, YouTube channel or or website, and then solicit advertisers to pay for ads on your sites. In the more traditional route of running ad campaigns for others, you'll tend to earn a steady income more quickly. According to BLS, advertising and promotions managers earned a median income of $112,870 as of May 2013. While the other route might not pay much at first, having a popular site can eventually pay big. Business Insider estimates the most popular YouTube stars earn between $100,000 and $2,000,000 a year in ad sales -- even after the video sharing site takes its cut.
If you have crafts, vintage antiques, books or pretty much any other stuff to sell, you can make money by selling it online. Post your stuff on an aggregate site such as eBay or Etsy, or create your own website that sells niche goods. While it's tough to estimate across the board how much you can earn, a niche site that sells popcorn makers with $416,643 in sales earned its owner a profit of $39,956 in 2011, though other businesses can earn significantly more or less than that. To make your e-commerce business pay, you'll need to do what other business owners do and consider the costs of doing business and the demand for your products -- but you'll also need to be skilled in search engine optimization and how to generate new traffic to your site.
2016 Salary Information for Web Developers
Web developers earned a median annual salary of $66,130 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, web developers earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,580, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $91,600, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 162,900 people were employed in the U.S. as web developers.