Residual income or passive income is money that you continue to receive from work or investments performed once. A couple of examples of residual income are royalties paid to an author for writing a book or dividends you continue to receive from buying a stock. There are many ways to make residual income based on your skill level and risk tolerance. This article describes several methods that can be started with just a computer and a connection to the internet. These are easy, low risk methods that require no money to start and very little research to understand. So follow these suggestions and start building your residual income stream today!

The first residual income stream to start with is creating content for the internet. This requires little time investment, no money to start and no previous experience. The payments might be small at first, but they will continue to grow month after month as you increase the amount of content you have on the internet generating ad dollars. Article writing is a good first step for most people. To do this, you write articles and submit them to various websites. As the articles start to gain views, they earn money from advertisements placed in the articles or on the sites. You can write about anything you want and there will always be someplace to submit it.

Some sites where you can submit content and earn money are eHow, Examiner, Xomba, Infobarrel and Bukisa, just to name a few. Each article site has their own style or requirements for submitting content, but you could sign up for all of them to give yourself a range of choices in what you want to write. eHow is probably the most lucrative, but it requires how to articles in a step-by-step format. Examiner is also a high paying site, but it requires prequalification and you have write in a certain category. Xomba, Infobarrel and Bukisa are nice because you can submit almost any kind of content you want. Xomba and Infobarrel pay based on ad clicks through Google Adsense and Bukisa pays based on page views. These sites also have referral programs which is nice for earning more income if people sign up using your referral link.

Another residual income stream that you could start with some time and for very little upfront money is affiliate marketing. This is another online venture that only takes a little bit of knowledge, but could prove to be lucrative in the long run. Affiliate marketing is basically setting up websites to sell other people's products where you gain a commission from these sales.

To get started in affiliate marketing you first need to identify a niche of products that you would like to sell. You want your niche to be big enough that there are lots of people searching for your item, but also specific enough that there isn't too much competition. For instance, an affiliate site that sells books might be too large, but a site that focuses on personal finance books would draw customers who are looking for something specific and are therefore more likely to purchase through your site. There are affiliate programs for just about any product out there, and once you identify a product that you think will sell you can sign up for one of these affiliate programs. Probably the largest affiliate program is Amazon Affiliates to market Amazon products. There is also Clickbank for informational products or Commission Junction for a wide range of other affiliate products.

Once you have identified your niche and signed up for an affiliate program, it is time to build a website that will draw customers and link back to those affiliate programs. The best way to do this is to sign up for hosting and register your own domain name. There are free options out there for building webpages for affiliate marketing such as Hubpages or Squidoo, but they are limited in what you can do, and for the most part you would just be writing articles with affiliate links in them. With your own self-hosted webpage and a registered domain name that is specific to the product you are marketing, you have a lot more options about what you page looks like, how you sell your product and control over other advertising on your site. One site that is easy to use and low cost is Dreamhost. Dreamhost is a web hosting service where you can also register a domain name conveniently in one place. Once you have signed up they have one click installation of content management systems such as Wordpress so you could literally have a website in five minutes.

Creating your affiliate marketing site is pretty easy using Wordpress. Wordpress is the most widely used content management system for bloggers in the world, and with good reason. It doesn't require knowledge of html or any other programming language, but it still has a lot of functionality and customization so your site can look however you want. Here is an example of a basic affiliate site for personal finance books that is self hosted on Dreamhost and built with Wordpress. Once you have the basic structure of your site you want to start filling it with interesting, keyword driven content so that search engines and customers will find it. You also want to have content that customers will enjoy and that contains links to your affiliate programs so that they can buy your products (and get you commissions).

After your site is ready, you can start marketing it to the world. The most important think to do is generate backlinks in order to move up in the search rankings and drive some traffic to your site. You can put links to your site on social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Xomba. You can put the link in your profile on social sites like Facebook or Myspace. You can post links back to your site on your other online content or in forums that relate to the topic of your site. You could write articles with your link on the topic of your product and submit them to article directories like Ezine. You could even send Tweets about your site or use whatever new media evolves.

There are many possible ways to generating residual income. The most important thing to do is to start now! Although this sounds like a lot of work, it is all upfront work that will require little maintenance after the initial set up, and it will continue to generate a residual income stream indefinitely.