15 Steps to Making Money Online with an Amazon Affiliate Site

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15 Steps to Earning Money Online with an Amazon Affiliate Site


BY SCOTT ALLEN  Updated June 2, 2019

Amazon is one of the easiest and fastest ways to create an additional stream of income from online sales.

With $20 in credit, you may be well on your way to creating a flow of decent extra income through an Amazon affiliate website.

Although it’s more an exception to the rule, there are affiliates earning six figures on Amazon so the opportunity is there. “Realistically, if you're a full time online business you'll monetize in several different ways while the average person can earn a few hundred to maybe a couple thousand dollars and it’s not that difficult,” said Brian T. Edmondson, an internet income expert and coach.

Building your own site is low cost, requires very little effort, and, in most cases, only takes a day to set up. Launching an affiliate site, however, is just the first step. The challenge is attracting the right traffic that will monetize into product sales once a consumer clicks through to Amazon. The best results require choosing the right niche.

1. Learn Basic HTML

Learning Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to create web pages and applications is less complicated than it was ten to 15 years ago. “These days, there are tools that remove almost all of the tech work out of it,” Edmondson said. Website platforms like WordPress, Wix or Weebly have simple templates that require only the push of a button to activate a website. But you’ll still need to know how to insert images, create hyperlinks and text formatting.

“All you have to do after that is focus on the writing and research for content marketing,” Edmondson told The Balance. If you're unfamiliar with HTML and basic concepts for managing a website, carve out time to learn. It will be well worth the outlay in the long run.

2. Pick Your Niche

Anything that’s sold on Amazon, such as electronics, books, music, cosmetics and kitchen appliances, can be part of your inventory that’s referred for a sales commission. However, low ticket items like books will yield only pennies on a sale. That’s because commissions range from 1% to 5%, according to Edmondson.

“Those who are more successful as affiliates pursue markets with a high volume of buyers or are engaged in selling higher ticket items on Amazon,” he said.

Select product lines that have mass consumer demand and that you enjoy or for which you have some expertise or are engaged in a hobby so that the niche is narrow enough to be distinctive. For example, bands from your city, left-handed guitarists, music for line dancing or salsa, authors of a certain religion, books about business or arts and crafts resources, such as beading, knitting or pottery.

3. Set Up Your Web Hosting

Amazon affiliates can pay next to nothing for web hosting service. For example, Wix is free while Web.com is $1.95 monthly. Resources like Online Business Guide have a list of  affordable web hosting services. Some are a meager monthly fee with unlimited domain names, which means you can run several sites for various niches on the same hosting package.

4. Choose Your Domain Name

If you’re launching a personal brand as an author, expert or lecturer, building a following using your name as the domain is common especially among Youtube, Twitter and Instagram influencers. Another path is to give the website a name that reflects the niche, such as MyBestSkincareProducts, MyFavoriteAccessories or SupplementsForWeightlifters.

Make it keyword-rich not clever. Think about what search words the average person might enter into their search engines to find your website. Below are a few ideas, some of which already exist in the marketplace:

  • Music: BandsFromTexas.com, BandOutOfBoston.com, SouthpawGuitarists.com, ClassicPsychedelia.com, Non-Stop-Hip-Hop.com, Merengue-Music.com
  • Books: Mormon-Authors.com, Arts-and-Crafts-Books.com, Books-by-Stephen-King.com, ClassicBusinessBooks.com
  • Others: Best-Baby-Toys.com, MomsMags.com, FelliniMovies.com

5. Register Your Domain Name

Registering doman names is not costly for one or two sites but it can be for 10 to 20 niche sites. Save a few dollars by choosing a lower-cost provider, such as Site Ground or GoDaddy, which is popular because it offers domain management tools at a low price point annually. There’s also 1&1, also known as I0N0S, where prices start on the low end of the spectrum for the first year with incremental increases for subsequent years depending on the plan.

If you're not technically inclined, register the domain name with your hosting company. GoDaddy offers discounts like 12 months of basic managed WordPress for $1.00 per month after which the price increases to regular list price.

6. Install Wordpress

Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic as well as buyer and commercial intent traffic. WordPress, which is free, easy to install and simplifies posting quickly, is used to publish content, such as blogs and articles.

Many hosts have a one-step installation process for WordPress like GoDaddy or you can download it and follow the installation instructions. Similar sites include Wix and Weebly.

Product review articles are another avenue for content marketing. After installing Word Press, it’s as simple as writing an article and linking out to Amazon to get paid. “Sprinkle keywords throughout your article,” said Edmondson.

7. Make It Pretty

Although content is king, design is queen and is increasingly important among consumers who want to trust a credible website. The benefit of Word Press is its flexibility as far as design options are concerned.

“You can customize the site as much as you want,” said Edmondson. “If there's anything you want Word Press to do, there's likely a plugin that will make it happen and if you want to outsource a task, there’s no shortage of people who know how becase of the popularity of Word Press.”

WordPress offers a variety of templates, which gives you much more freedom and control in the design of your site. “Add on an email marketing tool so that you can capture the names of people that come to your website and follow up with them for other opportunities to show other products they may be interested in buying,” said Edmondson.

8. Set Up Categories

Attributing a category or subcategories to your article can help consumers find your website in a search engine. Most all blog software, including WordPress, Wix and Weebly, will have the function to assign an article to a category or subcategory that will help organize your entries.

Categories also help visitors hone in even more specifically on their interests. For example, BandsFromTexas.com might have one group of categories for the genre, such as rock, country or blues, and another for the city of origin like Austin, Dallas, Houston or Lubbock, for example.

9. Sign Up as an Amazon Associate (Affiliate)

It's simple and free. Simply visit Amazon and click on the Join Associates link at the bottom of the page. Your site should already have at least the basic setup done, even if you don't have any content there yet. Amazon reviews the site manually before approval.

If you don’t already have it visible, Amazon will provide a legal disclaimer to include at the bottom of the website. “It’s to notify people, for purposes of full transparency, that you are an affiliate for Amazon and that you do get compensated in some cases,” said Edmondson.

10. Create Your Blog Posting Bookmarks and Links

At the bottom of the posting page of your blog software, an item called a "bookmarklet" should appear. Click on the link and drag it to your Links toolbar in your browser or Favorites menu. This allows you access to update a blog about a product with one mouse click.

11. Create Your Amazon Build-A-Link Bookmark and Link

This step allows you to build a link with your affiliate ID built into it. Log in to Associates Central, peruse the left navigation sidebar for Build-A-Link, then under Static Links, click on Individual Items and drag to your Links toolbar or Favorites menu.

12. Build Your First Link

Once logged in to your Associates account, search the products you want to review then use the Site Stripe, which is the gray stripe at the top of the screen, to get a personalized link to the item. Amazon also offers a host of other options for creating links and banners.

13. Blog Your Review

Click on your blog posting link. With WordPress, two pieces of link code will appear. Delete through the first one ending with "Associates Build-A-Link >< /a >". The second part is a link to the product with your Amazon Associate ID built in. Write the product review, choose the appropriate categories for it then hit Publish.

14. Build Out Your Amazon Affiliate Site

Before promoting a site, create enough substantial content to hold a visitor’s interest. Write several product reviews in at least two to three categories.  You may also want to write articles, news and commentary related to the expertise or niche. The more written content, the better because while writing, the search engines are notified automatically, assuming notifications are on.

15. Promote Your Amazon Affiliate Site

The best free way to do this is to communicate with other bloggers writing on similar topics and to participate in online communities where your subject matter is discussed. See the Online Business Networking category for ideas as well as the Internet Marketing category.

Bonus Tips

Some additional considerations for Amazon Affiliate sites are as follows:

  • Music may perform better than books and other products, mainly because you can listen to the clips of an entire album in roughly 10 minutes and get a good enough feel for it without buying it to write a short review. If you have another topic that you're passionate about, great, but make sure you have a unique angle on the topic. People can get reviews about a lot of those consumer products anywhere. You need to give them a reason to visit your site.
  • To pick up some extra pennies, sign up for Google AdSense. It probably won't generate a lot of revenue, but it's free to sign up and completely effortless to maintain.
  • Set reasonable expectations for earnings. You'll earn up to 5 percent depending on the product, which means you need to sell a minimum of $400 worth of items to earn back the $20 investment. You get credit for purchases customers make while at Amazon besides just the product you linked to so it's not as hard as it may appear. It won't make you rich but it's not hard to be profitable and the income builds over time.

Updated by Juliette Fairley June 2019