This is a continuation of the Make Extra Money with Multiple Streams of Income series. When I started blogging in 2012, Amazon was one of the first affiliate marketing programs I signed up for. I was just starting out and wasn’t too sure about the most effective way to use it but I was so proud of myself when I made $3.63 the first month of blogging. My income has grown over the years as I’ve learnt more about blogging.
This article will discuss what the Amazon affiliate program is about, how to sign up, the best tips for getting more sales, creating a website, how to get paid if you don’t live in the US and much more.
How Amazon Affiliate Program Works
Almost everyone in the world is familiar with that smiling from a – z logo because Amazon is the most popular retailer online. Amazon is a well known trusted brand, and they sell everything. It’s one of the first places people look at when trying to purchase something online including me.
As an affiliate, all you have to do is place links to products on your website. When people click the links, they’re taken to Amazon and once a purchase is made, you get a commission. Your primary job is getting the customers on Amazon. Amazon does a fantastic job of converting the customers for you even though the cookie lasts only 24 hours.
It’s a simple and effortless program to set up but the big question is how do you get those people from your site to Amazon? Read on…
1. Pick a Great Niche You’re Interested In
Pick a niche that revolves around topics people are searching for online but you’re also interested in it. If you don’t love your niche, it will become tedious to continue creating content over time. The fine line here is picking a niche that doesn’t already have a billion other people doing the same thing. I started with hair care and beauty but I’ve branched out to other subjects I’m passionate about over the years. The hair and beauty website remains one of my top earners today.
If you’re confused on picking a niche, there are several free tools online that can help. You can also use Google Keyword Planner to get some ideas. Make sure it’s something people are searching for online.
2. Build the Right Site
The greatest niche in the world won’t matter without a great site that converts effectively. Your site should be professional, clean and come across like you know what you’re talking about. Get a good hosting package through a reliable company like Bluehost. Install WordPress and a theme with a clean look like the Genesis Framework. You can find more tools you need on How to Install a WordPress Blog in 30 Minutes or Less for Beginners.
3. Content, Content, Content
You need good content to convert visitors. Don’t think you can just right some claptrap, put links and you’ll get sales. That’s far from the truth and will likely annoy your readers or drive them away. Create valuable content that is relevant to your audience then refer them to where they can make a purchase but quality content comes first. This is why you should choose a niche you’re passionate about so you never run out of content ideas.
Relevant images are very important. They’re great for breaking up content and providing a visual of what you’re talking about. It also increases the chances of visitors clicking through. You can find out where to get free images on How to Install a WordPress Blog in 30 Minutes or Less for Beginners.
5. Driving Conversions
When you choose your niche, focus on one where the products are between $10 – $100. That’s the sweet spot for conversion given the 24 hour cookies when a visitor clicks your link (A 24 hour cookie means when someone clicks your link, they have to make a purchase within 24 hours in order for you to be credited for the sale and make a commission). It’s easier to convert an average sized item than a huge priced item like a TV for instance. This doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen but it’s unusual.
7. Work Harder During the Holidays and Sales Periods
My conversions go through the roof on Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Black Friday, etc. People spend more money during holidays so create content that addresses those holidays. Buying guides, recommendation lists, bestseller lists, etc convert well during these periods. Start a few weeks in advance to maximize sales.
6. Basic SEO is Great But Focus on Organic Visitors
Practice the basic SEO concepts on your website but focus on getting visitors organically through Google and other search engines. Don’t try to do funny things or install questionable plug ins to artificially boost your rankings. Google employs extremely smart software engineers every year to figure shit out. You can’t outsmart them and you can’t game Google. It can get your site dropped from search engines. Focus on quality content, good SEO practices and natural links and your site will start to grow and see traffic.
How to Sign Up for Amazon Associates
Once your website is up and running, visit Amazon Affiliates page HERE. A website is required before you can apply for the program. Before you start, choose the right country in the top right hand corner. If most of your traffic will come from US, then choose Amazon US and vice versa.
Create an account or if you already purchased from Amazon previously, you can use the same account.
You will need to enter your account information, your website details, etc. Click the agreement then finish the sign off process.
Once complete, you can visit the tools page to start creating links and getting widgets and other great product tools. Amazon also has an option for creating a store on your site but the conversion was not that great from my experience. The best conversions remains links within your blog posts, native ads and cpm ads.
Below is the basic commission structure for the Amazon Affiliate program. They also have bounties and promotions that pay whenever some signs up. These bounties converted well on my sites.
Before you start placing links on your site, go through the Affiliate pages and really get to know what tools and opportunities are offered. That way, you’ll figure out what’s best for your site and how to engage your audience.
Receiving Money from Amazon Associates Program
There are 3 ways to receive commission through Amazon. Via bank transfer, checks or Amazon gift card. Bank transfers are only for US based associates while associates outside US are paid via checks. Depending on your country, this could prove to be a headache. You also need to reach a minimum of $100 before you can receive commissions via checks. A great alternative to this issue is creating a Payoneer account.
You can receive your commission as from $10 with a Payoneer account. Payoneer charges a minimal amount on every transaction and you can withdraw your money to your bank account any time you like. Below is a screenshot of my Payoneer account with my current balance. I’ve blurred out confidential information:
Top Tips for Succeeding as an Amazon Associate
In addition to the six above, below are some other tips that will help you go a long way in succeeding as an Amazon associate:
– Sign up for reliable hosting through a company like Bluehost and install an effective WordPress theme like the ones offered at Genesis Framework, one of the most popular themes online. Great hosting and a fantastic theme makes a world of difference.
– Create bestseller posts based on Amazon’s best seller lists. They convert very well. One of my sites creates a few “Top 10” posts every month, which generates great click through and conversions.
– Utilize your social media channels as well to drive traffic to your site. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours a day and you can only do so much so focus on one channel at a time and build up from there. The most popular remain Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter but don’t ignore SumbleUpon & Reddit.
– Build an email list from day 1. I didn’t really start doing this until I’d being blogging for nearly 2 years. I know, terrible. Put sign up links and boxes in obvious places on your site so people who are interested in hearing more from you can sign up. The money is in your email list.
– Don’t get distracted by “get rich quick” schemes and courses and manuals and what not. You will waste a lot of your money on this and might end up not learning anything useful. There are a few resources that will help but tread carefully. You can have a look at my resources page for my recommendations.
– Try out many different things. Test and experiment to find out what works best. Don’t just give up because you’re not making money as fast as you envisioned.
Final Word on Making Money Through Amazon Associate Program
This isn’t a route to instant riches. It will take time, a lot of effort, creativity and smashing content to get to the place where you’re making good money from the program as well as other programs you’ve signed up for. I’ve come a long way since the $3.63 days and I still have a long way to go but I’m learning and doing better everyday.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section. For more tips and tools for breaking into affiliate marketing, check out the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. It’s the only course I recommend for learning about affiliate marketing.