15 Steps to Making Money Online With an Amazon Affiliate Site

Image shows a woman sitting at a desk with a cactus on it and she is working on her desktop, which shows an amazon associates webpage. Text reads:

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

One of the easiest and fastest ways to create an additional stream of revenue from online sales is through an Amazon affiliate website. Although it's more the exception to the rule, some affiliates even earn six-figure incomes.

“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,” said Brian T. Edmondson, an internet income expert and coach based in Levittown, PA.

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 turn into product sales once a consumer clicks through to Amazon. The best results come from choosing the right niche—don't do what everyone else does. Focus on these methods to increase your odds of success:

1. Learn Basic HTML

Learning Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to create web pages and applications is less complicated than it was 10 to 15 years ago. 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 format text.

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 referred for a sales commission. However, low-ticket items like books will yield only pennies on a sale 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 with mass consumer demand that you enjoy or have some expertise in, but be sure the niche is narrow enough to be distinctive. These niches could be bands from your city, left-handed guitarists, music for line dancing or salsa, books written by authors from a certain religion, 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 offers a free basic blogging service while Web.com starts at $5.95 monthly (as of July 2019). Resources like Online Business Guide have a list of affordable web hosting services. Some require a small 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 the name keyword-rich, not clever. Think about what search words the average person might enter into their search engines to find your website. Be sure to check your name against other sites already in the market.

5. Register Your Domain Name

Registering domain names is not costly for one or two sites, but it can add up for 10 to 20 niche sites. Save by choosing a lower-cost provider, such as Site Ground or GoDaddy. There’s also 1&1, also known as I0N0S, where prices start on the low end of the spectrum—$1 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 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 buyers. WordPress, which has a free option, is easy to install and simplifies posting quickly. It is popular for publishing content, such as blogs and articles.

Many hosts have a one-step installation process for WordPress. These include GoDaddy, Wix, and Weebly.

Product reviews sprinkled with keywords are another avenue for content marketing. After installing WordPress, it’s as simple as writing an article and linking out to Amazon to get paid—once a product is purchased, of course.

7. Make It Pretty

Although content is king, design is queen, and it's increasingly important among consumers who want to trust a credible website. One benefit of WordPress is its flexible design options.

You can customize the site as much as you want with WordPress plug-ins. If you want to outsource a task, it is easy to find expertise because of the popularity of WordPress.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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

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 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 and 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, and 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 if notifications are on.

15. Promote Your Amazon Affiliate Site

The best free way to promote is to communicate with other bloggers writing on similar topics and to participate in online communities where your subject matter is discussed.