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Looking for a side hustle that pays well, but doesn’t require any special skills? Consider website testing jobs.
You don’t need to be a college graduate, an expert, or even particularly tech-savvy to be good at website testing. Website testing requires only a stable Internet connection, basic observation skills and a web-connected device, such as a smart phone, computer or tablet that has an internal microphone and, sometimes, a webcam.
For the most part, the jobs also pay pretty well. Testers typically earn about $10 per 20-minute test, or $30 per hour. And the tests are done online, usually within 20-minutes to an hour, from home.
How it works
Typically, when you sign up as a website tester, you’ll be asked about your background, hobbies and family status. That’s mainly because they’ll want to match you with a website that suits your interests. A baby-gear site, for instance, would prefer testers to have small children. A sporting goods store is likely to prefer athletes. And remodeling sites are looking for people who are doing — or recently completed — home construction.
When you’re matched with a test, the site will explain how long the test will take, what it pays and what you’re expected to do. Usually, the client will ask the tester to accomplish certain tasks — these might be to find a particular item or section on the site, or to go through the checkout process to see if it’s intuitive.
If you’re asked to check a site’s checkout function, you are cautioned to never use your accurate personal information in the test. That’s because website tests are typically recorded and sent to clients. Revealing your personal information, such as your credit card number, could subject you to identity theft. Instead, you’re advised to use fake information during the test’s checkout process and to stop the checkout process right before completion.
Talking out loud
Generally speaking, the testing sites want testers to talk their thoughts out loud as they navigate the site. This process should help the website operator understand when a consumer would have trouble finding something, understanding something or if they find elements of the site jarring or confusing. You may compare a certain feature of a client’s site to a competitor’s site, and so on. This helps site owners find and fix usability issues.
Most of the time, website tests simply record the tester’s voice, cursor and screen movements. However, some tests also use webcams to record the tester’s expressions while they navigate. Ultimately, the goal of website testing is to make sites more user-friendly. That’s why they’re not looking for experts — just regular people who have a little free time.
Where to sign up
Though website tests are done every day, website testing is only an occasional side hustle. That’s partly because it’s tough to get matched with a site looking for your particular experience. Thus, if you want to do website testing frequently, you’d be wise to sign up with multiple website testing companies to boost the pool of clients you’d get access to.
Here are several website testing firms worth signing up for and a few worth avoiding.
You must complete one qualification test, which is not paid. Userfeel gives you a rating based on this sample. That rating will determine how many tests you receive in the future. The higher your rating, the better.
After that, you get paid $3 for 5-minutes tests, $10 for 20-minutes tests, $20 for 40-minutes tests and $30 for 60-minutes tests. (The most common test takes 20 minutes and pays $10.)
Like many of these sites, your first sample test will not be paid. But the sample test is used to assess your ability to do the job. Once you pass that, UserPeek will match you to clients looking for feedback on their websites.
Each assignment comes with a list of things you’re supposed to check, the amount of time it’s likely to take, and the pay for the assignment. Testers typically earn $10 for each 15-to 20-minute test.
You will need to complete a short practice test when you apply to become a UserTesting tester. If your practice test is approved, you will start receiving email invitations for tests that match your demographic information. Tests typically pay $10 and take about 20 minutes to complete. Pay comes via PayPal within a week.
Userlytics enlists freelancers to test websites, as well as prototypes, games, advertisements and videos. The site promises payments ranging between $5 and $90 per test. The most common payments are $5 to $10.
With some tests, you’ll need to download Userlytics software, which is occasionally glitchy — seemingly particularly on Android devices. However, some tests are done with moderators and do not require additional software.
PingPong hires website testers from all around the world. You sign up and fill out a profile, which aims to match you to clients wanting tests. You will receive an email invitation from the platform if a test matches your demographics.
In most cases, 30-minute tests pay 15 euros; 60-minute tests pay 30 euros. (Since the euro and the dollar currently exchange at a near 1-to-1 ratio, that works out to about $30 an hour.) However, clients will occasionally seek out someone with specific expertise and pay premium rates for a one-on-one interview with that person. In these cases, the site can pay considerably more — as much as $200 per hour.
TestingTime is one of the few testing sites that SideHusl.com does not recommend. It’s a product and market research firm that enlists freelancers to do user experience audits of websites, participate in focus groups and provide feedback on advertising and videos.
The main problem? TestingTime’s primary markets are in Europe, so there are relatively few U.S. tests. And the site imposes payment thresholds that stop you from cashing out before you have accumulated a set amount of money. Given the scant availability of tests in the U.S., that could make it difficult to get paid at all.
uTest is also not recommended. The reason: Unlike the other sites that simply want your thoughts on user experience when visiting their sites, uTest is all about finding bugs in the software. And you only get paid if you find a bug. The amount you get paid is also somewhat mysterious. It depends on what you find and your “tier” rating on the site.
If you’re good enough to identify bugs in website software, consider signing up with Toptal or Braintrust. Both sites pay generously for tech experts who can work on a wide array of projects, including coding and trouble-shooting.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website on the gig economy.