I started building websites in 2004. My first site was on a small niche that no one had covered before. Around the same time I bought an established site that had some great content but had not been monetized. Adsense was just starting to get some publicity and fortunately for me, that website owner hadn't yet discovered Adsense.

After creating a new design, creating some more content and finding affiliate programs to monetize the site, it paid for itself in six months. I tried repeating this successs, but suddenly as webmasters discovered Adsense there was little motivation for them to sell their websites.

After these small successes I tried so many different things to make money online. Most of them didn't do so great. I think one problem I had, like so many internet marketers face, is that you tend to jump from one money making scheme to the next without giving just one idea the proper chance to work.

Having tried so many ways to make money, if I had to choose just one thing to someone starting out, this is what I would suggest.

First pick one topic that interests you. You don't have to be an expert, but you need to be interested in the topic and at least have some knowledge. Start a blog on the topic using your own domain. Wordpress is probably the easiest to get going and build your site.

Write some articles on sites such as Infobarrel linking back to your site. Find forums and other related blogs in your niche and start engaging people.

Start an email list, using a service like Aweber. Create some kind of free report or ebook, which people will get when they subscribe to your list. Start writing some follow up emails for your email list.

To monetize your list and blog, I would suggest creating your own information products. An easy way to get content for your book is to interview experts in your field. Sell your information product on a site like e-junkie. Promote your product on your website and to your list. Connect with similar websites who might be interested in selling your product through your affiliate program.

You can use the site Survey Monkey to survey your readers and find out what interests them. Create additional products based on the results of the survey.

I don't think you need to be the expert in your chosen field, but you need to be an active participant. People love to read real stories that unfold over time, like someone getting out of debt or losing weight.

Your niche should be based on a topic that is not going to go out of date. Iphones for example are hot right now, but who knows in 1-2 years. The niche shouldn't be too broad. Say for example you choose scriptwriting, you might want to focus on a particular genre of scriptwriting like 'horror'.

One of the problems I see with people trying to make money online is that they concetrate on programs like Adsense, which pays you money when people click on your ad. The inherent problem with Adsense is that people need to leave your site for you to make money. You should be doing everything you can to keep people to stay on your site and build a small community based on your site.