If it’s not for sale on the Web, it’s probably not for sale at all. It’s no secret that the Internet is a global bazaar with more merchandise than a decade’s worth of garage sales. Web surfers generate huge amounts of traffic hunting for travel discounts, discussing hot deals, and scouring eBay for bargains. So how can you get your share of web capital?
One obvious option is to sell a real, tangible product. The Internet abounds with specialty shops hawking art, jewelry, and handmade goods. But even if you have a product ready to sell, you still need a few specialized tools to transform your corner of the Web into a bustling e-commerce storefront. For example, you’ll probably want a virtual shopping cart, which lets visitors collect items they want to buy as they browse. And when they finally head for the virtual checkout counter, you need a secure way to accept their cash—usually by way of a credit card transaction. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to implement both of these features on your site using PayPal’s merchant tools.
Even if you aren’t looking for a place to unload your hand-crafted fishbone pencils, your website can still help fatten your wallet. In fact, just about any website can become profitable, either by selling ad space or by recommending other companies’ products. In this chapter, you’ll consider how to use two of the Web’s most popular affiliate programs—Google AdSense and Amazon Associates—to collect some spare cash.