You’ve got a blog. You publish great content regularly, you share your stuff on social media, and you’re growing your email list. Your subscribers open your emails, and sometimes they even reply and tell you that you’re doing a great job.
But there’s something missing. You started your blog with the hope that you’d be able to turn it into a money-maker down the track. And you’ve decided that time is now. But, you’re not sure what you need to do. You know there are bloggers out there making passive income from Amazon, but how are they doing it?
It’s called affiliate marketing and it’s an easy way to get started making money from your blog or site. Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of affiliate marketing so you can see just how simple it is.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way many bloggers and site owners monetize their sites. Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
- You sign up for an affiliate program with a retailer.
- They provide you with special links that contain a tracking code so they’ll know when a buyer comes from your site.
- You publish content and share your link, convincing people they need to buy the product.
- The sale is accredited to you and you earn a commission from it.
Typically, the commission rate is anywhere from 4-40% with the lower end of the price range usually reserved for physical products and the higher end for digital products.
Introduction to Amazon
Amazon is an online retail giant that has an extensive affiliate program covering millions of products.
No matter what niche you’re involved in, Amazon will have products that suit your audience. Are you a mom blogger? Amazon has a huge range of kids toys, clothes, and even diaper subscriptions.
Fitness blogger? Amazon sells fitness equipment, clothing, and exercise DVDs. Not to mention all manner of supplements as well.
Travel blogger? Amazon has travel accessories galore.
In short, Amazon sells pretty much anything you could think of.
The Amazon Affiliate Program (Amazon Associates)
The Amazon Associates program gives you access to a huge range of products that you can market on your site. Its affiliate commission rates are generally between 1% and 10%.
Some types of items attract a different commission rate:
For other types of products from Amazon, the number of products you sell determines your commission. The more you sell, the better your rate becomes.
Here’s the table from Amazon with the details:
Amazon also pays out bounties for new signups for Kindle accounts, Audible accounts, and more.
How to Join Amazon Associates
Joining the Amazon Associates program is a simple matter of signing up.
- Navigate to the Amazon Associates home page.
- Click Join Now.
- Log in if you have an Amazon account, or create one if not.
- Complete the registration forms with your and your site’s details.
Once you’ve completed registration, you can get started immediately with Amazon affiliate links.
Terms and Conditions of the Amazon Associates Program
It’s worth noting that Amazon’s affiliate program is infamous for its stringent and strictly enforced rules. If you’re going to be an affiliate, you must read their terms and conditions and ensure you aren’t in violation. Amazon can and will terminate accounts that don’t comply with their rules.
There are too many conditions to list here in full, but some you might find surprising are:
- You can’t use Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest (unless you’re in the UK).
- You can’t use affiliate links in a PDF document, or in your emails to your subscribers.
- You must disclose your affiliate relationship with Amazon using specific wording.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re complying with Amazon’s terms. If you aren’t sure if something’s allowed, ask Amazon directly.
Use a plugin to make affiliate marketing easier
Why use a plugin to manage your Amazon affiliate links? If you’re manually adding affiliate links to your site, you need to generate, copy, and paste the code for each product. This is extremely time-consuming and there’s plenty of room for error.
Using a plugin saves you time manually inputting links. Most plugins have a built-in search function that you can use from your WordPress editor. Simply search and click on the product to add it to your post. It’s fast, easy, and accurate.
How to obtain Access Keys for an Amazon affiliate plugin
No matter which plugin you choose, you’ll need an Access Key ID and a Secret Access Key from Amazon. Here’s how to get one.
- Log in to your Amazon Associates account.
- Navigate to Tools > Product Advertising API.
- Click on Sign Up Now.
- You’ll be prompted to sign in again.
- Follow the steps to register.
- On the Success page, click on Manage Your Account.
- Click on AWS Security Credentials Console link and you’ll be prompted to sign in again.
- Click Access Keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) and click on Create New Access Key.
- The Access Key ID and Secret Access Key will appear in the pop-up – click on Show Access Key and copy and paste both codes into the appropriate fields in your plugin.
What Amazon plugin should you use?
There are loads of different plugin options to choose from. Here are five excellent options, starting with Amazon’s own plugin, the Amazon Associates Link Builder.
Amazon recently released their own Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin. It’s currently in open beta mode.
This plugin allows you to search for Amazon products from your WordPress content editor and add them to your post or page using shortcodes. Display options include product ad, price link, product carousel, product link, or product grid.
- It’s Amazon’s own plugin, so you know you’re not going to be violating the terms and conditions of the Associates program by using it.
- It makes it easy to add single or multiple products to your site.
- The plugin is in beta, so they’re still working out all the kinks.
There are several alternatives to the Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin from third-party developers. Many of these plugins have been around for years and are popular with Amazon affiliate marketers.
This plugin is designed for a specific purpose – to create an eCommerce-style store with products imported from Amazon. It has features like automated content spinning to avoid being penalized for duplicate content, a product stats module so you can see which of your products are popular, and you can add multiple affiliate IDs (for each locale) to maximize your commissions by sending visitors to their local Amazon site.
This is a premium plugin and costs $49.
- Uses localization to maximize your commissions.
- There’s no free version of this plugin.
This plugin allows you to add links to Amazon products right from your WordPress editor. It allows you to search for products and add links as a “Buy from Amazon” button, banner, carousel, image link, MP3, and more.
- Plenty of display options.
- Interface is clunkier and less attractive compared to other plugins on this list.
EasyAzon is one of the more well-known plugins for Amazon Associates. Using this plugin, you can set your affiliate links to open in a new tab, apply a “no follow” attribute, cloak the links, enable a product popup on hover, and automatically localize the link so that your customer is sent to the Amazon site closest to their location.
EasyAzon has a free version that gives you basic link functions, however, if you want to use images or any of their more advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade to their pro version, which is $47.
- Well-designed interface.
- Pricing is one-off and enables you to use the plugin on multiple personal sites.
- Uses localization to maximize your commissions.
- Free version doesn’t allow you to use images.
Amazon Product in a Post plugin allows you to easily add Amazon products into your posts or pages in a number of different positions. It doesn’t give you a way to search Amazon from within WordPress however, you’ll need to locate the ASIN (product identification number) on Amazon.
- Can add your own styling to the plugin.
- Can’t search Amazon from your WordPress editor.
|Price||Search for Products from your WordPress Editor||Display Product Images?|
|Amazon Link Builder||Free||Yes.||Yes.|
|Amazon eStore Affiliates||$49||Yes.||Yes.|
|EasyAzon||$47||Yes.||Yes (Pro version only).|
|Amazon Product in a Post||Free||No.||Yes.|
Wrapping it up
Affiliate marketing is one method many bloggers and site owners use to make money. Amazon Associates is one of the best affiliate programs to join because of the huge number of products available.
Manually copying affiliate links for multiple products can be a tedious job, which is why many serious marketers turn to a plugin to help them out. There are a number of plugins to choose from, including Amazon’s own new beta plugin, the Amazon Link Builder.
Whether you choose Amazon’s plugin or a plugin from a third party, these plugins are designed to make it easier for you to monetize your site.
Over to you – are you in the Amazon affiliate program? Are you using any of these plugins?