This is what many people do as paid online work, which spans across a big range of things – inspecting websites, analysing websites, performing searches and reporting the results, actually writing snippets and or whole pages of websites, writing quiz questions, completing surveys, inspecting scientific data – any small task  that can be done by a human using a computer, which needs a human’s abilities.

The tasks have one thing in common – they are all tedious, and often boring. On the other hand, if you realise what you are doing for other people, you can learn a lot about how they make money as you do those tedious tasks.

What is a HIT?  HIT stands for Human Intelligence Task.  HITs are small jobs which require a human to do the work for small amounts of cash, anything from a cent to five dollars (that is a big HIT).  Sites which provide this sort of work are referred to as crowdsourcing sites.

You need a computer and a web connection to get into this low paid sector.  You can make about $5 to $10 an hour from this sort of work, but what you make depends on your skill set. A good command of English helps a lot, as does writing ability, for the places that give out  the higher value jobs.
Since the www has “gone mobile”, there are two kinds of work these days – “ordinary HITs” which you can do from any computer, and “mobile HITs” for which you need an iphone or tablet.  Having a cheap tablet can greatly expand the work available to you.

The advantages of doing this sort of work are that you do not get tied down to any schedule, and it does not involve lifting heavy things.  You can work at any time of day, and do that  working in your pyjamas at home.

Disadvantages mostly relate to getting paid.  The biggest disadvantage is a slow payout, with a high payout threshold being another disadvantage.
Some sites will pay out after you have done $5/€5 worth of work, some will not pay until the cash you have accumulated is over $50 or $100.  Some sites will let you cash out a few days after you have done the work, some pay out regularly once every two weeks or once a month. With some you have to wait for a set period before the cash is credited to your account – the period is often a week, but can be as long as 60 days.

Some jobs involve social networking -and some jobs involve signing up to websites, with consequential spam.  It is a good idea to make preparations for things of that nature – see the posts on “preparing for working online”.

Whichever sites you work at, there will be qualification tests you need to complete in order to be eligible for some of the work, usually the tasks that pay well. On some sites, eg. MTurk,  these tests may be listed, but obsolete or useless.  A lot of those MTurk qualifications are for HITs that have not been posted for a long time.  On other sites there may be competition to do those tests – the number of applicants is limited, if you don’t take the test you don’t get the chance again for a long time (that also happens on MTurk for some HIT qualifications).

I cannot give general advice on that, this is a changing world. Just be aware that it is a good idea to check for those qualification tests on a regular basis, and that a lot of the tests on MTurk are a waste of time.

This overview of what is happening is intended mainly for UK citizens, but may be useful to people from other nations .