How to make money online

Get rich quick

We're going to help you make some money online and thanks to the internet and your PC, all you need is a good idea. If you don't even have one of those, you can transform your spare time into cash – legally.

This isn't a guide to selling old vinyl on eBay or flogging knackered paperbacks on Amazon. We've done our homework, trawled the web and put together a list of new, exciting and innovative ways in which technology can help you make money.

We'll explore topics such as human intelligence tasks – jobs that computers and software can't do, but are essential to the functioning of an electronic business.

How to make money online

Computers have removed lots of boring and repetitive tasks from the workplace, but they've created a fair few, too, which gives us an opportunity to make money online quickly and reasonably easily.

For example there's Amazon's Mechanical Turk comes in. Small tasks that can't be performed by software are farmed out to its subscribers, who turn the job around for a few cents at a time.

That name? It's from an 18th century sideshow attraction. A chess-playing robot was toured around Europe, amazing audiences with its apparent skill. It was, however, controlled by a human hidden from view.

How to make money online

The micro-jobs that are tendered at Mechanical Turk (called HITs or human intelligence tasks) could be any quick, computer-related duty.

In a typical session, a user might do a bit of data entry or fill in a questionnaire. The more HITs you complete in the allotted time, the more you earn. With many HITs offered at just a few cents a task, it requires dedication to earn a crust – but there are advantages, too.

You can work from home doing as much or as little as you want, at any time of day you want. And tasks that require more thought and effort pay more.

If Mechanical Turk's rewards seem too paltry, there are similar, more specialised services to choose from.

MicroWorkers offers higher rates, but the tasks are in the grey marketing category, with HITs requiring that you sign up for dating sites and blogs, or review items on Amazon.

Meanwhile CloudCrowd is an unusual-looking enterprise. You sign up through Facebook and much of the work on offer is proofreading and translation-based.

Human intelligence tasks pay up to $3, though many of the jobs on offer are less. Payment is through PayPal and support is offered through Get Satisfaction.

Finally, there's Just Answer. The model here is a little different, but still nestles in the same broad category as other HIT sites. Here, you get to use your expertise to answer live queries from users.

Of course, you need some qualifications in the field you choose and your credentials are displayed to users. The system works on a bidding basis. As a provider, you scan the listings for live questions you can answer.

If you can help, you set a price. It's up to the user whether they agree to pay that price or continue looking for a better deal. New providers take 25% of the fee, while more seasoned experts get a 50% cut.