This article may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please read our disclaimer for more info.
If you’ve heard of affiliate marketing, you will no doubt have heard of Amazon Associates. Amazon’s affiliate program allows users to earn referral fees by placing Amazon product links on their sites. One of the keys of its success is the millions of products that people can promote. Whatever niche site you have, there will be relevant products which you can market and earn commissions if a sale is made.
Using Amazon Associates to monetize your site can be extremely lucrative if done right. There are many affiliate marketers using the program who are earning over 6 figures per year.
So, what’s the secret of creating a great Amazon Associate site? Well, in this comprehensive tutorial we will help explain what Amazon Associates is all about, how you create a niche site and what are the secrets that will allow you to make a monthly income from your affiliate site.
- 1 Why Become an Amazon Associates Affiliate?
- 2 How to Become an Amazon Associates Affiliate
- 3 Signing-Up to Amazon Associates Steps
- 4 Creating Amazon Associates Affiliate Links
- 5 How to Choose a Good Niche for an Affiliate Site?
- 6 Is Your Niche Profitable?
- 7 Setting Up Your Amazon Associates Site
- 8 Types of Content to be Added to Your Affiliate Site
- 9 What to Avoid With Amazon Associates
- 9.1 1. Never Cloak Links
- 9.2 2. Don’t Include Affiliate Links in Emails
- 9.3 3. Don’t Include Affiliate Links in eBooks or PDF Documents
- 9.4 4. Never Make Purchases via Your Affiliate Links
- 9.5 5. Don’t Display Product Prices
- 9.6 6. Always Include an Amazon Associate Disclaimer
- 9.7 7. Never Download Images Directly from Amazon
- 10 How to Be Successful with Amazon Associates
- 10.1 1. Don’t Forget Your International Visitors
- 10.2 2. Don’t Include Dates on Your Articles
- 10.3 3. Always Track
- 10.4 4. Use NoFollow Affiliate Links
- 10.5 5. Perform Split Testing
- 10.6 6. Concentrate on Buyer Intent Keywords
- 10.7 7. Use a Call-To-Action
- 10.8 8. Use Comparison Charts
- 10.9 9. Perform Link Building
- 10.10 10. Build an Email List
- 10.11 11. Receive Amazon International Affiliate Payments
- 11 Final Words
Why Become an Amazon Associates Affiliate?
If you’re an affiliate marketer, there are thousands of different affiliate programs and networks which you can use to monetize your blog. A popular affiliate program amongst site owners is Amazon Associates.
You may be asking yourself what makes Amazon Associates such a popular affiliate program?
Millions of Products to Promote
Whatever site you may have, however small your niche is, you will be sure to find a wide array of products on Amazon to promote.
There are literally millions of products listed on Amazon. If you have a photography blog or have a blog about keeping gerbils, you won’t need to look far to find products related to your niche which you can promote and earn money from.
Great Conversion Rates
Amazon is a trusted and familiar brand. It will be extremely rare to find anyone out there that have not heard of the online retailer.
It is so popular that over 50% of U.S. households now are Amazon Prime subscribers and 46% of all these purchase something from the retailer at least once a week.
Make Money on Other Products
The commissions that you can earn from the Amazon Associates program are not just limited to the products that you are promoting. For example, if someone clicks on your Amazon affiliate link for a slow cooker, and they then decide to purchase a laptop instead, you will still earn a commission from that sale providing they purchase it within 24 hours of you sending them over to the retailer.
As Amazon sells everything from groceries to TV’s, it means that there is a high likelihood that visitors that you send over to Amazon will purchase a wide array of products so the potential commissions that you can earn can quickly grow.
Earn From Multiple Regions
Another great aspect of the affiliate program is that it allows you to sign-up to a number of Amazon Associate programs for a range of countries. This will allow you to earn more commission without doing any extra work.
At the time of writing, Amazon Associates has 12 programs in operation for the following countries including United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, India, China and Japan.
Amazon Associates is Easy to Use
Setting up Amazon Associates on your site requires limited technical knowledge. Amazon provides a number of ways to quickly create affiliate links which you can then add to your blog. There are also a number of third-party plugins which will allow you to easily display Amazon affiliate products and also allow you to create great looking comparison charts.
Amazon has also some great reporting tools where you can track your sales, the number of clicks you’re receiving and you can see how well your traffic that you’re sending over to Amazon is converting.
We’ve covered the main advantages of the Amazon Associates Program, but what are some of the negatives?
Cookies Only Last for 24 hours
Tracking cookies only last up to 24 hours which means any visitor that you send over to Amazon will have to make a purchase within the timeframe in order for you to be liable for a commission. This is on the low side compared to other affiliate programs where the norm is around 30 to 60 days. If however the user adds an item to their Amazon cart within the timeframe, the cookie is extended to 90 days.
Low Commission Rates for Certain Categories
Commission rates for some categories are extremely low. If you’re thinking of creating a review site on televisions, you might be disappointed to know that the rates for televisions and video games is only 2%. Commission rates on average are around 5%.
Despite the commission rates, the high conversion rates on Amazon will make up for the low percentages in some categories.
Strict Terms of Service
The Amazon Associated program has a number of strict terms of service which you must follow. Falling foul of these may mean that you will get your account terminated.
How to Become an Amazon Associates Affiliate
In order to use Amazon’s affiliate program, you first will need to sign-up to the relevant Amazon Associate program. Before signing up, ensure you have an active website/blog or YouTube channel with at least some content on it.
If you want to promote multiple countries, you will need to sign up to each Associate program individually.
Signing-Up to Amazon Associates Steps
1. Visit the Amazon Associates homepage click on the Join Now for Free button.
2. Next, if you have existing Amazon account, log in within that account, otherwise create a new account.
3. Once logged in, click on New Customer.
4. Enter your account information, including your name, address and phone number.
5. On the Your Website and Mobile Apps page, enter your website address/es.
6. Next, you will be asked to choose a preferred store ID. We would recommend that you provide the name of your website here. You will also need to give a brief summary about your site as well as select the relevant Amazon categories that you will be targeting.
7. On the Traffic & Monetization page, you will need to specify how you drive traffic to your website, how you use your site to generate income, how you normally build links, the total monthly unique visitors to your site as well and the main reason for joining the Amazon Associates program.
8. Amazon will now need to confirm your identity. In order to do this, enter your phone number and click on the Call Me Now button. Amazon will then call the phone number that you have provided and you will be provided with a four-digit pin. Enter the pin that you have been provided and Amazon will then approve your account.
9. On the final page, you will be asked if you would like to provide your payment and tax information. You can either do this now or you can enter this at a later date. Depending on what you would like to do, click on either the Now or Later button.
10. Once you have created your account, Amazon will redirect you to your own personal Amazon Associate page. Here you will be able to see such information as your earnings, total clicks and a monthly summary.
Note: Your Amazon Associates account will be approved for 180 days. Within this period, you will need to make at least three sales. If you’re unable to make a sale within this period, Amazon will close your account. Don’t worry too much about this as you can simply reapply again to the program.
Creating Amazon Associates Affiliate Links
Once you’ve signed-up, you can start finding products to promote. You will then need to create affiliate links for the corresponding items so that you can include these on your site.
When a visitor to your site clicks on any of your Amazon affiliate links, they will be taken to the corresponding Amazon product page. Amazon will place a cookie on the visitors PC and this cookie will last for 24 hours.
If they purchase anything on Amazon before the cookie expires, you will be paid a commission. The commission amount that is paid will depend on the product’s category.
Your aim as an Amazon affiliate is to get as many people over to Amazon as possible by clicking on your Amazon affiliate links. This way, your users will get cookied, which means the more likely someone will purchase off Amazon and you will receive a commission.
There are a number of ways you can create affiliate links on Amazon, below we have covered the three most popular ways:
Option 1 – Site Stripe
First you will need to launch the relevant Amazon marketplace and login. You will then need to locate the particular product you’re interested in promoting. For example, let’s say you run a golfing blog, you want to promote a particular golf club, you will need to find the product just as you would normally do if you were shopping on Amazon.
Once you have opened up the product listing, you will see a new bar appear at the top of the product page.
This bar is called the Site Stripe. It displays a number of options, including Text, Image and Text+Image.
If for example, you just want to display just a text link on your blog, you would select the “Text” option. Your Associates Store ID and tracking ID will be included in the generated link. Copy the link and paste it on your blog.
Option 2 – Product Link
Another option in order to generate an affiliate is by using the product link tool.
In order to do this, log into your Amazon Associate account.
From the main toolbar, select Product Linking > Product Links.
Next, enter the product you’re looking for in the text box and click on Go.
Amazon will then display the relevant products relating to the keyword you’ve entered. Locate the product and click on the Get Link button.
A pop-up will now appear with the affiliate link, copy it and paste it on the relevant section of your site. If you want to shorten the affiliate link, simply click on Shorten URL with amazn.to.
Option 3 – OneLink
Amazon also provides another way of generating affiliate links which is called OneLink.
If you’ve signed-up to multiple Amazon Associate accounts for a range of countries, you should be using OneLink. With OneLink, Amazon allows you to link different Amazon Associate accounts.
For example, if you’ve signed up to the US, Canadian and UK Associate Programs, you will be able to link all accounts. When someone then clicks on your affiliate link, depending on where they are visiting from, Amazon will send them over to the relevant countries product page (i.e. Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com etc). This will allow you to earn affiliate commission from users who visit from several countries which importantly means you get to earn more.
You can also specify redirect preferences. For example, if you choose Close Product Match (default option), users will be redirected to their relevant local storefront if an exact or similar product is found or otherwise to the search results page if no similar product is available.
If on the other hand you choose the Exact Product Match option, visitors will be redirected only when there is an exact product, otherwise they will be redirected to Amazon.com when no exact product exists.
In order to use Amazon’s OneLink, follow these steps:
Log into your Amazon Associates US account and click on Tools > OneLink.
Under the Getting Started section, click on the Click here to link in order to link your accounts.
Next, select the relevant county/countries you want to link your US Amazon Associate account to. In this example, we’ll be selecting United Kingdom.
Enter the corresponding Store Id for the relevant Amazon Associate accounts you’ve selected and click on the Link Store button. If you don’t have an account to any of the countries you’ve selected, you’ll need to sign-up for one.
Now go back to the Amazon Associates US OneLink homepage, and under the Getting Started section, click on the Get the code here link (Step 2. oneTag – copy the code).
Tip: If you want to check to see if there are matching products for your relevant country storefronts, you can use the Check matching products tool. This can be accessed from the bottom of the OneLink page.
Simply enter the US Amazon product’s URL into the text box (Enter the URL section) and click on the Check button. It will then display the corresponding products for the relevant countries which you’ve added.
How to Choose a Good Niche for an Affiliate Site?
Now that we have covered how Amazon Associates works, let’s go over how you go about choosing the right niche for your site.
Choosing a good niche is one of the key determining factors to your success with affiliate marketing. So what are the key criteria when deciding on a good niche?
Consistent Search Volume & Lower Competition Niches
As obvious as it may sound, you need to pick a niche that people are regularly searching for. If you decide to create a blog on extreme ironing as it’s your hobby, search volumes will be low and you’re not going to be very profitable. You will therefore need to conduct research on the monthly search volumes for your particular niche to ascertain whether it’s viable (more on this later).
Apart from search volumes, competition is an important factor as well. Less competition will generally mean you will have a higher chance of ranking on Google. Finding low competition niches though can be challenge, even in the smallest of niches there will normally be at least a few sites.
Competition is not always a bad thing, what you need to check out for, is how good your competitors are and how likely you can do a better job than them. If a competitor’s site is already dominating in a particular niche and has hundreds of good quality and lengthy posts, you’ll probably find it difficult to compete against them. This is especially true if they have thousands of backlinks from high authority sites. If however you’re only competing against a couple of other sites, where they have at most 20 short posts which have been poorly written, it will be much easier to compete against them.
Evergreen & Not Seasonable
Choosing a niche which is just a fad or writing about products that will be obsolete in a year or two is not a good idea. You want to select a niche where your content will still be relevant in many years to come. For example, if you have an electronics review site and you write a blog post on the best laptops for gamers, that content will be obsolete in less than 6 months. Obsolete content won’t earn you a commission. It is important therefore that you write evergreen content so choosing a niche that doesn’t go out of fashion is important.
Avoid seasonable niches as well. If you create a blog on the best Christmas decorations, you’re probably only going to make money in the run-up to Christmas.
Good Range of Product & Medium-High Price Points
What products are there in you niche which you can promote? That’s a question you should be asking yourself. A niche with good product depth is vital. Another important factor to consider is the average price point of your products.
If there are products within your niche with a price point of only $5-$10, you’re not going to earn much commission considering the average commission rates on Amazon are 5% unless you manage to sell thousands each month. If however, your average product prices are around the $100 mark it could be a profitable niche to be in.
Interested in the Niche
Being interested in your niche is important. Contrary to what you may read, an affiliate site needs regular content. You can’t just expect to write 20 articles and then just forget about your site and still make money. Some of the most successful and profitable affiliate sites out there update their sites regularly and some even post daily.
Losing focus of your site is not a good idea. If you keep jumping from one niche to another because you’re bored, you’re probably not going to be very successful. Choose a subject which you are passionate about and one that will hold your interest is key.
Even if you’re not a good writer, it doesn’t mean you have to write all your posts, you can always employ freelancers. If you decide to go down the freelance route, be sure to choose a subject that is not overly complex otherwise you may find it difficult finding suitable people to write for you.
Products Available on Other Affiliate Programs/Networks
Yes, you’ve read correctly! While this article is all about Amazon Associates, we would still recommend that you find products to promote from other affiliate programs and networks as well. Never put all your eggs in one basket, try to reduce your risk and diversity.
What happens if Amazon ever decides to reduce the commission rates for one of your categories, it’s happened before. You could see a large chunk of your income disappear overnight! Or worse still, what happens if you got banned from Amazon Associates for whatever reason. If your aim is to build a scalable and successful affiliate marketing site, you should aim to promote products from a number of affiliate networks and programs not just from Amazon.
Is Your Niche Profitable?
After lots of brainstorming, you have finally come up with some niches which you think could prove popular. How do you work out what the level of competition will be and how profitable the niche could be?
Before we go into detail about this, let’s first cover an important topic which is buyer intent keywords.
What are Buyer Intent Keywords
Search queries are normally classified into three different types which include informational, navigational and transactional. Knowing what search query types are being used, will allow you to determine a user’s possible intent.
|Search Query Type||Description||Example|
|Informational||This where the user is searching for a particular piece of information. They are probably not looking for any particular site and it’s unlikely they are going to purchase anything. The user is simply researching and trying to find an answer to their question.||“Is indoor rowing healthy?”|
|Navigational||The user knows what they are looking for and are probably looking for a specific website. Unlikely that you will be able to target these searches as the user already has a clear intent and knows what they are looking for.||“Men’s Health Magazine”|
|Transactional||The user has probably done their research and are now looking to make a purchase. These are buyer intent keywords and are usually high converting.||“Best rowing machine”|
As an affiliate marketer, your aim is go after transactional keywords, the user is probably looking or thinking about purchasing a product and therefore these buyer intent keywords are high converting and can be extremely profitable.
Buyer intent keywords can include such things as:
Review/s + [Product Name]
Best + [Product Name]
[Product Name] VS [Product Name]
Top [Product Name]
Now that you understand about the importance of buyer internet keywords, let’s move onto how we perform keyword research.
In order to narrow down our list of niches, we will need to perform some keyword research.
Good keywords should contain the following main elements:
Buyer Intent Keyword + High Search Volume + Low Competition
You want to be targeting buyer intent keywords which are high converting, these keywords should be regularly searched for and these should not be too competitive so that you can easily rank for them.
In order to determine search volume, we will use a keyword research tool. There are a number of tools out there, in this example we will be using SEMRush which is a great tool. If you would like to try it for free for 7 days check out the following link.
Let’s say we’re thinking of maybe creating a niche site about indoor rowing machines.
We would first launch the SEMRush site and enter a buyer intent keyword related to the niche such as “Best rowing machine” and select the relevant country we would like to rank in and then click on Start now.
The tool will then display the search volumes for the long tail keyword “Best rowing machine”. As we can see below, it has a monthly search volume of 6,600 which means it has good search volume.
We now need to verify how difficult it would be to rank for that particular long-tail keyword in the organic search rankings. In order to do this, we click on “Keyword Difficulty” from the sidebar.
The keyword has a difficulty of 58.63% out of 100%. The higher the percentage, the more difficult it will be to rank for the keyword.
SEMRush also has another useful feature called Keyword Magic Tool, enter your keyword and it will come up with a list of related keywords so it’s perfect when you’re doing keyword research. It also displays a trend chart which is valuable as you don’t want to be picking seasonal niches.
So, what criteria should you be using when deciding on a niche:
|Search Volume||Ideally you want to be targeting long-tail keywords that have over 1000 monthly searches. The ideal monthly search range will be between 1000-5000. |
Anything that has search volumes below 1000 you will probably want to stay away from.
|Search Volume Trend||The search volume trend should be stable throughout the year. You don’t want to choose anything that is seasonal which may only be profitable throughout certain periods of the year.|
|Keyword Competitiveness||Ideally Keyword competitiveness should be in the following range 0-45. |
If the keyword competiveness is slightly above 45 check the search volumes. If they have good search volumes it might still be a good niche.
Now that we have performed the relevant keyword research on our niche, it is time to investigate our potential competition.
In order to do this, we enter “Best rowing machines” into google to see what appears on the first page.
There appears to be a number of sites reviewing rowing machines on the first page.
Let’s load the first entry that appears on Google and review the site and its content. It’s from the UK newspaper The Independent. The article is well written and has over 1,500 words. Clearly the site will be a high authority site as it’s a leading UK newspaper.
Let’s however investigate further and launch SEMRush again. We enter the URL for the article and click on search.
We can see The Independent has over 118 million backlinks mostly from high authority sites so it’s going to be virtually impossible to compete against them.
If we now check the page and domain authority for the site (we’re using SERPChecker for this), we can see it has domain authority of 93 and a page authority of 78 which reflects that it’s a leading website.
In this case, it appears that this niche is too competitive as it has a keyword ranking difficulty of nearly 60% and most of the sites that are ranking on the first few pages are from high authority sites. Clearly this is a niche to be avoided. We now need to perform the same steps for the other niches until we have whittled it down to our chosen niche.
In order to determine how difficult it will be to compete against sites that are already ranking on the first few pages it is advisable that you use the following criteria:
|Competitor Checks to Perform||Comment||Ideal Criteria|
|Page Authority||Ideally you want low page authority sites showing up on the first few pages of Google for your niche.||Any site appearing on the first few pages with a page authority of less than 30 is a good sign.|
|Domain Authority||Ideally you want low domain authority sites showing up on the first few pages of Google for your niche.||Any site appearing on the first few pages with a domain authority of less than 30 is a good sign|
|Number and Quality of Back Links||How many backlink do the sites that are ranking on the first few pages have?||Sites with a few backlinks from low authority sites are a good sign.|
|Quality of Content||What’s the quality of the posts that are ranking?||Posts that are poorly written and ones that are short in length will mean you can easily outrank them, providing you write better content.|
Setting Up Your Amazon Associates Site
Now that you have completed the important step of keyword and competitor research and come up with a suitable niche it’s time to start working on your site.
Here are the main steps:
Step 1: Choosing a Domain
Choosing a domain name for your site is an important step, it plays a crucial part for your sites branding.
When deciding on a name, ensure that it is relevant to your niche and reflects what it is all about. Avoid anything too generic otherwise your visitors may not know what your site is all about.
Keep the name relatively short and avoid numbers or hyphens and also check that it’s not being used on social media as you will probably want to maintain your brand across multiple digital channels.
It is advisable that you go for a .com extension, this is the most widely used and recognized extension amongst users. If the .com extension is not available, you may want to think about getting your equivalent country’s domain i.e. co.uk, .au etc especially if your site is only targeting that particular country.
We would recommend that you either buy your domain name from GoDaddy or NameCheap. If you’re concerned about your privacy, NameCheap offers a WHOIS guard which they provide for free which is a really useful feature.
Step 2: Choosing a Web Host
We now need to select a suitable web host to host our site on. It’s important that you choose a good hosting company.
Never skimp on web hosting, poor hosting companies will often offer inadequate support, not something you want especially if your site ever goes down or you require technical support urgently. Also bad hosting companies may overload their servers. This can mean your site will be slow for your visitors which can have negative impact on your site’s SEO as well on your visitor numbers.
Once you purchased your web hosting, don’t forget you will need to point your domain name to the relevant web host. In order to do this check out our guide.
Step 3: Installing a Content Management System (CMS)
Once you have registered your domain name and purchased your web hosting, it’s time to install a content management system (CMS).
There a number of CMS including Joomla, Drupal, WordPress etc. By far the most popular and most used CMS, is WordPress, it’s used by over 75 million websites. It’s reliable and free to use and it allows you to easily manage your site without any technical knowledge. We would therefore recommend that you use WordPress as your CMS.
Installing WordPress is straightforward. Most web hosts now offer one-click installs which will allow you to install it less than a couple of minutes. If you’re unsure how to do this, check our guide.
Step 4: Selecting a Theme
We now need to choose our theme which will determine the look and feel of our site.
When choosing a WordPress theme, it is important that you consider the following aspects:
A bloated or poorly-coded theme can really slow your site down. A theme that suffers from performance issues, can severely affect your SEO rankings as well as impact the number of visitors that you get to your site. When selecting a theme always check the reviews and ensure no one is complaining about issues relating to performance.
Responsive and Mobile Friendly
More and more users are now using a range of mobile devices to browse the web and the trend is only going to get bigger. A theme should be able to adapt its layout depending on the device that is being used. Make sure the theme that you choose is mobile-friendly. If you’re unsure if it is, you can test this by using Google’s mobile tester site.
Easy to Customise
Being able to customize parts of your site with just a couple of clicks is important, especially if you’re not technical and don’t want to be messing about with code. If you’re unsure how customizable a theme really is, you can always contact the theme developer directly as it’s always wise to do so before purchasing a theme.
Another important aspect is to make sure the theme is SEO optimized. A theme that fails to follow good design practices or one that is poorly coded can severely impact your search rankings.
Theme Recommendations for an Amazon Associate Site
A theme can often come down to personal taste, and it will also depend on the type of site you’re looking to build. We however, have selected four popular themes which will allow you to build an affiliate site suitable for Amazon Associates.
Astra is a freemium lightweight WordPress theme built by Brainstorm Force. It has been developed with speed in mind, requiring only 50 kb in resources. The theme is fast loading which means your page load times won’t suffer.
Apart from being lightweight, it is well-coded and mobile responsive. It’s also multipurpose and it’s fully customizable which means it can be used to build all types of web pages so it’s ideal for creating Amazon affiliate sites.
Astra comes with a library of pre-built professional looking demo sites. If you don’t want to create your own website from scratch, you can import a demo site allowing you to create great looking designs in a couple of clicks.
The free version of Astra comes with a limited number of demo sites. It also offers a range of layout options as well as different header and footer options and it integrates with WooCommerce.
There’s also a pro version of Astra ($59 per year) which provides additional features such as:
- Mobile headers
- Sticky headers
- Transparent headers
- Footer widgets
- Mega menu
- More color and typography options
- Blog layouts
- Scroll to top link
- Custom layouts
- Blog layouts
- Much more…
Astra integrates with popular page builders such as Beaver Builder, Brizy, Gutenberg and Elementor.
We would recommend pairing Astra with Elementor as they’re a great match. Using Elementor’s visual page builder and the Astra theme, you’ll be able to design great looking affiliate sites quickly with drag-and-drop editing.
REHub is a prefect theme for an Amazon affiliate site. It’s been well designed, it’s clean and a highly responsive theme. It’s actually one of the only themes that has actually been recommended by Amazon Associates. Bundled within the theme comes a visual composer which will allow you to easily set-up great looking pages.
It provides a plethora of features including comparison tables, review templates and it provides support for WooCommerce. It also integrates with Content Egg and Affiliate Egg so you can add affiliate products from a number of other programs such as ShareASale, Viglink, CJ Affiliate and many others.
Kingdom is a theme that has been especially developed for Amazon Associate users. It offers a simple design which works well on both desktop and mobile devices.
It is compatible with WooZone so it will allow you to easily create your own store.
The theme comes with a visual composer so you will be able to create new layouts easily using drag and drop and it also comes with Slider Revolution.
4. X Theme
X Theme is a powerful WordPress theme. It includes a front end page builder tool called Cornerstone allowing you to easily customize how your website will look.
It comes with four separate designs which the theme developed refer to as stacks and all have been designed to be responsive. It fully integrates with WooCommerce and you can select from a number of store designs enabling your site to look unique.
If unsure how to install your WordPress theme, you can check out our guide.
Step 5: Useful Plugins
Installing plugins on your site can add useful functionality to it. You need to be careful though not to install too many as these can slow your site down and they can also cause security problems if you fail to update them regularly.
Below we have selected a range of useful plugins which we would recommend you use on your site:
Receiving spam comments can be a nuisance. It can also be time consuming especially when you have to sift through your spam comments. Thankfully Akismet helps you deal with spam comments by catching spam before it reaches your moderation queue.
The plugin comes preloaded when you install WordPress, you will just need to remember to activate it.
2. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is an essential plugin, use it to make your content as SEO friendly as possible. Write your posts and it will display a traffic light dashboard informing you of what improvements you can make to fully optimize it so that it ranks higher in the search rankings.
This is a caching plugin which is really easy to set-up and configure (check out our guide on how to use it). It will allow you to optimize your site’s speed and overall performance and it should help you improve your rankings as Google likes a fast site.
UpdraftPlus is a back-up plugin that will take a copy of your site. If anything goes wrong with your site, you can quickly recover it with this simple to use plugin. Best of all, it allows you to automatically schedule back-ups which means you will never need to remember to back up your site ever again. Check out our guide on how to use UpdraftPlus.
Google favour sites that use an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. Most web hosts now offer a free certificate so we would definitely recommend you install one. You can use a plugin such as Really Simple SSL which will allow you to easily set-up a certificate easily on your site (see our guide on how to do this).
ThirstyAffiliates is a powerful affiliate management tool and one of the best out there. The plugin enables you to easily manage your affiliate links and it allows you to easily add these to your blog posts.
The plugin also provides auto keyword linking capabilities which means you can convert specific keywords/phrases within your posts to affiliate links automatically without having to do this manually saving you time and effort. It also provides geo-targeting functionality so your visitors always get directed to the relevant Amazon site depending on where they are visiting from. Check out how to use ThirstyAffiliates here.
The Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin (AAWP) has been developed for the Amazon affiliate in mind. It’s a plugin that allows you to display your Amazon products in an eye catching manner on your site.
Instead of simply adding boring affiliate text links, it will allow you to create great looking comparison tables, widgets and boxes. This will allow you to increase your click-through-rate (CTR) to Amazon as well as allowing you to earn more commissions which is key to the success of an affiliate site.
The product details are pulled directly from the Amazon API so you won’t need to worry that you’re breaking Amazon’s terms of service. You can set the update period which means your prices and descriptions will display up-to-date information.
The plugin also implements geo-targeting which means you can redirect your visitors depending on where they are visiting from. This means you will never lose out on commissions. If you’re using Amazon’s OneLink functionality, you can simply turn off the feature in the plugin.
Here’s a few examples of what the plugin can do:
Contact Form 7 as the name suggests is a contact form which you can add to your Contact page so that people can send you messages/queries. If you just require a simple contact form, this is the plugin to use, you can create one in less than a minute. The plugin has had over 5 million installs.
Too many large photos on your site can slow your site down. Smush is an image compression and optimisation plugin that will automatically compress your images as soon as you upload them without sacrificing on image quality.
Having an email list will allow you to engage with your visitors. You will be able to inform your users when you publish a new blog post and therefore it should allow you to grow your affiliate revenue and also attract regular visitors to your site.
Amazon does not allow you to include affiliate links in any emails but its great way to promote your site’s content. Creating an email list is a straightforward process so there’s really no excuse not to add one to your site.
We would recommend using OptinMonster which is a powerful lead generation plugin. You can create a number of creating looking sign-forms such as sidebar forms, lightbox popups etc. It also allows you to create personalised popup campaigns depending on your visitor’s behaviour. It integrates with most email newsletter tools including MailChimp.
If you’re interested in creating an e-commerce type website, WooCommerce is the best plugin to use for this. This popular e-commerce plugin allows you to turn your site into an online store.
The plugin will work on any WooCommerce compatible WordPress theme, it’s extremely easy to set-up and configure. With just a couple of clicks you can easily import Amazon products onto your site and it also provides functionality so that you can import products in bulk using keywords or specific categories.
It also synchronizes with Amazon so that it auto-updates prices and descriptions so that they never become stale.
If you decide to create an e-commerce type affiliate website, remember to not simply just create an online store but you will also have to create good content as well, otherwise you won’t be adding any value.
Step 6: Pages Required for Your Affiliate Site
Now that you have installed the relevant plugins on your site, it’s time to add the some mandatory pages to your site.
Here are some important pages that you will need to add to your affiliate site:
1. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
Amazon requires that you display an affiliate disclaimer on your site advising user’s that you’re part of the Amazon Associates Program. Add this somewhere prominent on your site such as your site’s footer or header.
Amazon provides the following affiliate disclosure which you should use:
“[Insert name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert applicable countries i.e. amazon.com, amazon.co.uk etc].”
Don’t forget to always include one as it’s the easiest way to be kicked off the Amazon Associate program if you don’t have one.
3. Contact Page
In order for your visitors to be able to contact you, you will need a contact page. We would recommend that you use the Contact Form 7 plugin which we’ve covered earlier.
4. About Page
It’s important you can create a solid About page, this is especially important as you want your site to sound legitimate. It should give a brief overview of who you are and what the site is about.
If you want to maximise your affiliate commissions, you should build a level of trust amongst your visitors and this is where the About page should help. This is important especially if you’re thinking of creating an authority site.
Types of Content to be Added to Your Affiliate Site
Now that you have set-up your website and added the relevant plugins and pages to your site it’s time to create the all-important content.
You need to concentrate on creating rich and engaging content which your visitors will find useful. Content is everything and it will determine how successful your affiliate site is.
Here’s what we would recommend:
- Before coming up with ideas for a blog post always perform keyword research. Understand what the search volume is for the main keywords that you’re going after and what the level of competition is. If you’re going to be competing against a blog post that is 1000 words long aim to write a better post that is 2000 words.
- Always include your target keywords in your post’s title, contents, meta description and URL this way Google should be clear what your post is all about.
- Include your target keywords within your post but don’t go overboard. Keyword stuffing won’t improve your chances of ranking higher and it could have an adverse effect especially if you get penalised by Google. Aim to keep you keyword density to below 1%. Remember to always write with the reader in mind and not the search engine.
- Find long-tail keyword variations of your target keyword, SEMRush is a helpful tool for this. Including keyword variations within your post will reinforce what your content is about and it should help rank your content.
- Ensure you write in-depth and thorough content if you want your post to rank well. A short blog post of just a few hundred words is unlikely to rank especially in a competitive niche.
- After completing a blog post ensure you run an on-page SEO check to make sure there are no further optimization opportunities that you may have missed. Yoast SEO is the perfect tool to help you with this.
So what type of posts should you include on your affiliate site?
1. Product Review Post
The most common type of post is the in-depth product review. These are normally high converting as the visitor to the article will typically be already interested in the product so they are close to purchasing it.
When creating a review post, ensure that it’s detailed so that the buyer can make an informed buying decision. Don’t simply write all about the product’s benefits but also include things you may not have liked about it. Your visitors will soon realise if you’re just trying to sell them something, so ensure it sounds genuine otherwise it’s unlikely they will trust what they read.
2. Product Comparison Post
With a comparison post, you will normally be comparing several products within the same or similar niche. Instead of simply discussing why one product is maybe better than the other, explain why it might be better depending on different user’s needs.
Use tables to clearly show the main difference between each product and list the good and not so good points. Don’t include the comparison table right at the end of the article but try to include it near the top. This way it increases the click-through-rate to Amazon.
3. How-To Post
Another example of content that you can write is a how-to post. These are normally great types of posts as you have a captive audience as they are looking to learn something or solve a problem so you can add value by creating a helpful tutorial.
For example, you may have a niche site on baking and you have a number of “How-to” recipe guides, you could include affiliate links to cooking utensils that you use in each of your recipes. Or you may have a health site, and you have written an article on “Ways to Get Relief from Arthritis Pain Naturally”, you could then list products which could help your visitors.
4. Roundup and Best-Of List Post
Best-of lists and review roundups are a great way to add a wide range of products to a single post. These types of posts normally have a great click-through-rate due to the wide range of products.
While these types of posts can be more competitive, think “10 Best Laptops” type posts, aim to create more on niche type best-of-lists which will be less competitive and will allow you to rank higher. Simply just listing a range products won’t add any value, so create a summary for each product and explain the main benefits so that it helps your visitor.
What to Avoid With Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates has some stringent terms of service which you should always abide by. If you fail do so, you could see your account being terminated.
Here are some things which you should always comply with:
1. Never Cloak Links
Never attempt to obscure/cloak your Amazon Associate links. If it’s not obvious that you’re linking to Amazon, you could be in trouble. This is one of the easiest ways to get your account terminated.
If you’re using an affiliate management plugin such as ThirstyAffiliates, ensure you configure it so that it uncloaks all links for Amazon (see below). If you’re unsure how to do this, check out our ThirstyAffiliates tutorial.
If you want to shorten your Amazon links, only use Amazon’s Amazn.to link shortening service to do this (see below).
2. Don’t Include Affiliate Links in Emails
In regards to the using affiliate links in emails, Amazon mentions the following “Associate links can only be used on approved websites and are not permitted to be used in e-mails, newsletters, or in any off-line manner”.
While you can’t include Amazon affiliate links in your emails, you can still use email marketing to link to your own blog posts which may in turn include affiliate links.
3. Don’t Include Affiliate Links in eBooks or PDF Documents
Just like with emails, Amazon ban the use of affiliate links in eBooks, PDF documents and other printed material as these are deemed off-line material. You can however link to a website from your eBook.
4. Never Make Purchases via Your Affiliate Links
While it may be tempting to get some money back on your Amazon’s purchase using your own affiliate links, don’t do it. It goes against Amazon’s terms of service and this also includes asking your family members and friends to purchase items using your links.
5. Don’t Display Product Prices
Product prices can change often on Amazon, it is therefore important that you don’t mention price within your content otherwise this could be out-of-date and misleading.
The simplest way not to break this rule, is to add a link or button which says “Check Price” or something similar. When the user clicks on this, it will take them directly to Amazon’s product’s page where they can view the exact price. This is probably the best option as users are more likely to click through out of curiosity and there is a higher chance that this may lead to a sale.
If you do want to discuss product pricing, you will need to pull this data dynamically from the Amazon API, you can use WooCommerce or ContentEgg for this. You will need to be careful and ensure that the pricing data is never more than 24 hours old.
Another option, let’s say you have a comparison table, instead of displaying the price, you can instead show symbols representing how expensive they are compared to each other. For example, if you’re comparing three products, you can display something similar to the below:
Product 1 costs $9.99 – Display as $
Product 2 costs $24.99 – Display as $$
Product 2 costs $39.99 – Display as $$$
6. Always Include an Amazon Associate Disclaimer
Always include an affiliate disclaimer somewhere on your site which mentions you’re part of the Amazon Associates Program. We would recommend that you include it somewhere in your site’s footer which is clearly visible by your visitors.
7. Never Download Images Directly from Amazon
Never download images directly from Amazon and use them on your site. The only way Amazon allow you to use images is if they are pulled directly from the Amazon API. In order to do this, you can use Amazon’s site stripe or use AAWP or WooCommerce. You can use your own photos as well as photos from the manufacture.
When linking images back to Amazon, only use images which you have pulled directly from the Amazon API.
Note: Amazon’s Associates Operating Agreement and Associates Program Policies are updated regularly, it is important that you regularly check these to ensure that there have been no important changes. The terms of service may also differ between countries, if you’ve signed up to more than one country, always review their corresponding policies. While Amazon’s policies can seem complicated and hard to follow, if you’re unclear about anything always contact Amazon Support directly so that they can clarify any queries that you may have.
How to Be Successful with Amazon Associates
1. Don’t Forget Your International Visitors
If you just focus on local visitors to your affiliate site you will be losing out on Amazon commission from international visitors. Always ensure that you sign-up to the relevant international Amazon Associate programs so that you will get paid whenever an international visitor to your site makes a purchase after clicking on your affiliate link.
Either use Amazon’s OneLink or use plugins such as AAWP or ThirstyAffiliates which has geo-targeting capabilities. This means whenever a user clicks on your Amazon affiliate link, they will get redirected automatically to the correct Amazon storefront depending on where they are visiting from and you will receive a commission if they make a purchase.
2. Don’t Include Dates on Your Articles
Leaving dates on your comparison or review posts is a mistake. If you have a blog post titled “Best Gamer Laptops in 2017”, a person visiting the article in 2019 won’t give it a second look as they will deem it irrelevant and outdated and they will probably just leave your site.
Ensure that you hide your dates on your posts, your content that you have written should be evergreen. Even if you are writing or reviewing products that don’t go out of fashion, visitors will normally be weary of articles that are not recent.
3. Always Track
In order to optimize your site and maximize your earning potential you will need to track its performance.
In order to do this, add your site to Google Analytics. With Google Analytics you will be able to see the number of visits you’re receiving, what your most popular posts are and how your users are interacting with your site. Don’t forget to also add your site to Google Search Console so that you can see what keywords you’re ranking for and whether your site is being indexed correctly.
Checking your Amazon Affiliate dashboard regularly is important as well. From the dashboard you can review your conversion rates, the income generated as well as the number of clicks.
With this key information it will help you to understand what is working well and what isn’t and thus allowing you to fine-tune your site.
4. Use NoFollow Affiliate Links
When you link to external pages on your site, for example, when you use affiliate links always use nofollow links. Using nofollow links will mean you won’t pass your PageRank to another page and also Google can’t penalize you for linking out too much.
5. Perform Split Testing
Use split testing to know what works and what doesn’t work so well on your site. For example, modify the post layout and see if you get better click-through-rates (CTR) or change the location of your comparison tables to different locations within your post.
Amazon makes it easy for you to perform split testing by allowing you to create multiple tracking Ids which will allow you to tack different things on your site.
6. Concentrate on Buyer Intent Keywords
You should always aim to target buyer intent keywords. The reason being is users are either looking or thinking about purchasing a product. These types of keywords therefore convert well and will be the ones that are likely to be earning you your commission.
Good examples of buyer intent keywords include Best + [Product Name], Review/s + [Product Name], [Product Name] VS [Product Name] and Top [Product Name].
Don’t forget to also find long tail keyword variations of your main target keyword (SEMRush is a good tool for this). While long tail keywords may have less traffic, these types of keywords are less competitive which means it will be easier to rank for them.
7. Use a Call-To-Action
Your aim as an affiliate is to get your visitors over to Amazon so that you can make a sale and receive a commission. In order to help with this, you should always include a call-to-action (CTA) in your posts so that you entice your visitors to click through to Amazon using your links.
There are different types of CTA which you can use, what may work will depend on a range of factors including your niche, as well as theme, your colour theme etc. You may want to create buttons that are eye-catching and stand out from the rest of your text. Not showing the price of a product you’re reviewing and showing a “Check Price” text link instead is also a good way to get your visitors over to Amazon.
Try to include your CTA above the fold section of your posts, this way your visitors can get over to Amazon without having to read your whole post.
8. Use Comparison Charts
Comparison tables are a great way to summarize key information from your review. Users who are visiting your post will likely to be already interested in the product and they may just want to quickly see a summarized review of the product before they click on your affiliate link. For this reason, comparison tables and charts convert extremely well.
Remember to include your affiliate link within your comparison table/post i.e. you may to have a “Check Price” button which takes the visitor over to Amazon when clicked. We would recommend using AAWP to create great looking comparison charts.
9. Perform Link Building
If you’ve just created your Amazon affiliate site, don’t expect it to rank immediately, it will take time. For this reason it is important to concentrate on link building. Building quality backlinks from high authority sites will general mean you will get your site ranked quicker.
Depending on your site, consider posting on Q&A forums such as Reddit or Quora. Consider also guest posting which means you will get great exposure in front of a new audience and also you will get a backlink to your site.
Don’t forget to also sign-up to social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc they are great ways to promote new blog posts and get targeted visitors to your site. If you use Pinterest or Instagram, think about signing up to Tailwind which is a tool to help you grow your online presence on those social media channels.
Don’t forget to also check the backlink profile of you competitor to see what strategy they are using. Tools such as SEMRush will allow you to do this easily by entering their URL.
Initially you may also want to think about using paid traffic using sources as Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads etc to help drive traffic to your site. When you use ads try to understand what works and what doesn’t, that way you can optimize your ad campaigns and therefore increase your traffic as well as your earnings.
10. Build an Email List
How do you get visitors to keep coming back to your site? A great way to help with this is by creating an email list. Having a subscriber list will allow you to promote your new content and therefore increase your traffic as well as helping boost your commission earnings.
Email lists are also a great way to take advantage of special events throughout the year, for example, like Black Friday, Christmas, Valentines Day etc. At these times throughout the year, users are more likely to be in a spending mood and therefore you can promote related content in your newsletters/emails (remember that you can’t include direct affiliate links in your emails). Optinmonster is a great lead generation tool which can help you grow your subscriber list.
11. Receive Amazon International Affiliate Payments
Receiving payments from your international Amazon Associate accounts can be a challenge depending on where you are located. While Amazon U.S are now paying into non-U.S. bank accounts directly this is not the case for all countries.
If you’re unable to set-up a bank account in another country and you don’t want to be receiving a check in the local currency which may prove difficult to cash, we would recommend that you use TransferWise’s Borderless Account in order to receive Amazon payments.
This is essentially a multi-currency account which allows you to keep money in over 40 currencies which you can then convert at the real exchange rate whenever you require, and you won’t pay any hidden charges.
I hope you found the tutorial useful and it will help you on your journey with creating a successful Amazon affiliate site of your own.
Comment below and let me know if you have any questions.