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I told you I was going to tell you how we made the leap to Living Differently, and Amazon is part of the secret. No paid courses here, no e-books, I’m just going to tell you, for free. I’ve been dabbling with Amazon affiliate marketing for over 8 years now, earning a little here, a little there, but it’s only in the last few years that it’s all started coming together. This site was actually way past the $1000/ month mark a few years ago, I’m more than happy to share some tips to help you bypass the early stages of trial and error and jump you straight into making real money from Amazon Associates accounts adding to your diverse patchwork income from travel blogging.
This post contains very simple tips and instructions for absolute beginners based on what worked for me. If you have any questions or need more information, just put them in the comments.
Making Money Through Amazon Affiliates
Some of you will already be bloggers, if not, I have more information on blogging, for free, which you can access via our travel blogging home page.
I’m not a blogging blogger, I’m a travel blogger, but people want to know how we do this stuff so the posts are available. I have several other niche websites outside travel too, but this is our travel blog so everything here is travel related.
Something else I want to tell you is, you don’t need to buy courses. They’re expensive and the information in them is available elsewhere for free. Sure if you have $1000 to spare and like everything neatly packaged, go for it, but I promise there will be little content you can’t find by Googling.
Before You Start as an Amazon Affiliate or Associate
Obviously, sign up for an Amazon Associates account. You can use your existing Amazon account to do this.
You need a website and it needs to have some authority. This means your website isn’t spam in the eyes of Google and isn’t brand new. Your site needs to either have a bit of age and maturity or some genuine incoming links. Ideally both.
People must like your content. Google can tell if they do. Other websites must like your site or your content and so link to it from their own pages, this tells Google your content is worth showing in its search results.
The more authority your site has, broadly, the higher it appears in search results so long as you get your SEO right.
Bloggers tend to measure this authority using a metric called DA, Domain Authority, it’s a score out of 100 and the higher it is the better. I’ll tell you that DA is not the be-all and end-all. A better post can beat a site with a higher DA.
So don’t lose hope if your site’s DA is low, you can grow it and you can still potentially beat higher DA sites. DA is a metric created by Moz, not Google. DA is based on your backlink count. Actual Google ranking is based on far more factors than just backlinks.
This site has been around quite a while and has reasonable authority, so if I write a post with the keywords “best travel knickers” I have a fair chance of Google showing my post to somebody searching for that exact term. Of course, I will have made sure that my on-page SEO exactly targets that term and that my site structure and internal linking supports that term.
My posts have ranked on page 1 within a day sometimes ( if I check the competition isn’t too high before picking my keywords), more often it takes a few months. Over time posts rank higher and higher as Google gets good feedback from happy readers in the form of no returns to the search results and plenty of time on page.
On one of my smaller sites, with less authority, I have less chance of ranking, so the trick is to look for a more obscure search term, usually a less profitable one that every other blogger isn’t trying to capitalise on.
For instance, I used ” best ***** maker” recently, it was a low competition key word (Words, obviously, 3 of them) but it ranked quickly and does well despite being on a low authority site. This is what keyword research is all about, finding keywords that your site can rank for because your pages need Google traffic to get the customers who are ready to buy.
It’s pointless to halfheartedly put a few links in a post and calling it “Family Travel Gear” as I did on this site. I doubt I’ll ever rank for that term because the competition is too strong. ( I was actually surprised but – that post now does rank pretty well and is one of the bigger ones on this site, it took around 6 years to get there) Do it that way and you will only pick up a few bucks now and then from one of your regular subscribers, or somebody who just happens to be visiting your site and stumbles across your page full of links.
You need a targeted, organised approach and I’m going to start you on your way.
Likewise, don’t just stick random affiliate links in your sidebar, it rarely works.
Never Mislead Your Readers
Never promote any product you know to be a dud. It’s the quickest way to lose respect, credibility, friends and readers. I’ve cursed other bloggers for selling me products just for the affiliate commission. I’ve bought products, courses, plugins, hosting, all sorts of things, that turned out to be sub-standard. Tell the truth, keep it real.
Don’t sell out.
The products below, I use and need to make an income.
You Need to Target Amazon Customers All Over The World
The two best ways of doing this is probably Amazon’s own One Link tool. One link does not include Australia. One Link will localise your links to the US, Canada, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy etc.
All of your Amazon links need to lead to the correct Amazon site according to your readers’ locations. If they are in the UK they must go to Amazon UK, in Australia, Amazon Australia etc. This is called link localisation.
You need to organise this today, because if you do it further down the line you have to go back and change all the Amazon links you painstakingly inserted.
Amazon One Link, (go to your affiliate area and find it under ” Tools”. There is some set up involved.
Previously we used Easy Azon, we no longer recommend it but Easy Azon does (last time I checked) allow you to localise for Australia. We feel that the Australian Amazon market is too small for us to target. Most of our Amazon earnings come from the US, so the extra hassle of targeting Amazon Australia just isn’t worth it currently. If you need to localise for Australia, maybe go with Easy Azon Pro instead of One Link.
EasyAzon Pro is a premium, paid plugin that makes your Amazon empire global. There are other, free, plugins that claim to do the same thing, I’ve tried some of them, for years, they didn’t work nearly as well as EasyAzon and I was losing money every day.
EasyAzon Pro is not, by any means, easy right out of the box. I’ve cursed and sworn at the thing before I finally got it figured out. Basically, it helps you register with Amazon in most countries Amazon delivers to. Then it allows you to add Amazon links and images simply and quickly, right from your WordPress interface. You won’t have to skip back and forth to the Amazon websites ever again.
You need to localize each product. That means, make sure your Amazon dot com link, points to the same product in each country. If you don’t localise your customer will possibly click-through to a “product not found” screen or something unrelated based on keywords.
You can pick, through the Easy Azon Pro interface, exactly which product your customers, in each country, see.
Use your Google Analytics to see which countries your site’s visitors are coming from. This will give you a good idea as to how much money each country should be making for you.
For me it’s USA by a long way, then the UK and Canada. Australia is high up there but Australia is tricky. Amazon Australia now exists, but creating links to Amazon Australia still has to be done by hand or via Easy Azon, I believe. Maybe that will change in time.
You certainly need to target the US. That’s where the big Amazon money seems to be.
Easy Azon also has some useful ad-ons such as a best seller list creation tool and a table creation tool. I own both and the product comparison tables are supposedly a fantastic thing to add. Comparison tables are a great thing to add ( although we didn’t test EasyAzon’s version in the end) but the EasyAzon best seller list drove zero sales. I had a unique tracking code on them and there was no increase in Amazon sales at all through adding those.
You Need a Way to Collect Your International Amazon Earnings
This is another of those things you need to do now, today. I’ve learnt this lesson through bitter experience.
I had hundreds of dollars of Amazon credit on Amazon USA, enough to keep us in Kindle books forever, because there was nothing else I could spend them on.
Amazon US credits can only be spent on Amazon dot-com and you’ll find they deliver very few items to the rest of the world. I was hoping to use my credits to buy my new DSLR, unfortunately, when push came to shove, not one camera on Amazon dot-com was deliverable to Romania.
It was my own fault entirely. We eventually discovered that we could collect international Amazon earnings through Payoneer, today we use Transferwise.
Each country’s Amazon will pay onto a card and I can use it like a pre-paid debit card, anywhere. Depending on your location, you may now be able to collect payments direct from Amazon.
Amazon do pay out by cheque too, but the banking fees involved were steep for us and we needed a permanent address, which of course, we didn’t have.
Please check with Amazon as these details change all the time.
You Need Targeted, Ready to Buy, Customers
You need people arriving on your site, ready to buy whatever Amazon product you’re recommending. That means, the woman who wants to buy a travel organizer and is in the decision making process of Googling for more information on which organizer to choose.
You need to get her to your site and give her information to help her make her purchase. She then clicks your link, straight through to Amazon and makes her purchase.
How to do that? It’s usually done through good SEO. That’s Search Engine Optimisation if you’re a complete beginner. SEO is about getting your search results to the top of page 1 of Google.
You need to find the right Long Tail Keywords, find out how many people are entering those keywords into Google and discover how competitive those keywords are. Pick a keyword set with high traffic, low competition and write the post to fit the keywords. That’s how it works.
The tool I use for this job is called Long Tail Pro and it’s incredibly useful, not just for your Amazon earnings, but to get more traffic (and more advertising revenue) to your websites. Keysearch is another keyword research tool, I’ve used both and I still prefer Longtail. It’s just personal choice.
I won’t tell you to do this one now, because it’s a little advanced, if you’re new it may be just too much to figure out. This tool is also justifiably expensive and you pay every month or annually, so until your website is earning nicely you maybe won’t want to commit. But if you invest upfront, now, your path to financial freedom will be shorter.
Another tip here, pick your competition. Don’t go after the same keywords as Amazon, it won’t work, you have to be different when up against the e-commerce sites.
Buy Longtail Pro Platinum Here (it’s essential to have the Platinum for the keyword competitiveness data) or try the trial to see how you like it. Have a play around, it’s pretty neat. It would also be a very good idea to use Longtail Pro to pick the domain name and get ideas on traffic volume in the niche of your new website if you haven’t even started yet. Just saying.
Don’t Lose Your Readers
These Amazon posts (I often refer to them as Sales Pages ) don’t have to go out to your regular followers, they can go straight to the website, no announcement. You’ll lose your valuable subscribers if you bombard them with every Amazon earning post you pump out.
For Jetpack users, just switch off subscribers before you hit publish. Easy! Just don’t forget to switch it back on again.
Same for sponsored posts, never send those out to your subscribers if you don’t have to.
When you’ve been blogging a while switch from automated notifications of new posts to an email notification service provider like Mailchimp, MailerLite, Convert Kit or any of the more expensive ones. It gives you greater control and your sales pages can then go in your newsletter. Both Mail Chimp and Mailer Lite are free to bloggers with small subscriber lists. Once your list is big these services get expensive.
Hope this helps you to get it right from day 1. I’ve just shaved a few years off your learning curve if you’re a new blogger. Happy to help.
Other Things You’ll Need to Make Money Through Your Website or Blog
I’ll give you another heads up here, you may need a plugin called Advanced Ads ( alternatively, AdInserter) to place adverts in the same place on every page of your website. I used it for Adsense before I joined Mediavine, but it works for Amazon ads or any others.
My Adsense earnings multiplied 100 fold the day I set that plugin up properly and it’s just so much easier than coding in adverts manually. 1 click and an ad is placed wherever you want it, on every page. Thank me later.
You’ll also need great hosting. Great hosting is fast and page speed affects Google rankings. I struggled with Host Gator before switching to Blue Host because of a blogger recommendation. That was a disaster.
Site Ground is the hosting company we use now, on our smaller sites. I couldn’t be more pleased with it and the customer service and support is superb. Any tech problem I’ve had, they fix, for free, instantly. I love them, check them out here. This big site outgrew them and now we pay a lot for hosting on this one.
What Goes on An Amazon Sales Page and More Amazon Affiliate Sale Tips.
- Your well-chosen keyword will be in the title, url, a subheading, your meta description, image alt tags and the text. As always, keep it natural.
- Likewise, any secondary keywords that you think or hope your post will rank for. Improve these over time with feedback from Search Console.
- Purchasers really like buttons, graphs, tables, and charts, easy to use, easy to compare, easy to buy. I had add-ons of Easy Azon to create these page features I did implement Easy Best Sellers lists but it didn’t perform, which was no surprise.
- A video is always a good idea to hold people on page longer.
- Table of contents plugins are generally recommended for better SEO. You’ll see one at the top of this page.
- Really go to town on useful information to help people make up their minds and make yourself sound like the ultimate authority on whatever it is.
- You should make sales pages that fit with other content on your site. Choose items that Google may already think you’re an authority on and that you can easily internally link to. Internal linking is a massively important part of SEO.
- Try not to get too complicated or generalist with sales pages. Don’t include extra items that don’t really fit with the keyword. I was very guilty of doing this when I first started. Keep it niche and specific.
- Use stock images if you have to. I buy stock images from Shutterstock sometimes if I need to but I always prefer to use my own unique images.
- You can add Amazon links to every page if you like. If, for instance, you have a post on Sri Lanka, you can add an Amazon widget featuring items you would recommend for travellers to Sri Lanka. These will never perform as well as targetted sales pages but they can bring a few sales here and there.
- Just getting people to Amazon is a big part of the process, who knows, once they’re there they may remember that TV they wanted to buy. Amazon is very good at selling.
- Check all your Amazon links regularly, things change.
- Check your localisations too if you use Easy Azon. There is a lot of work involved in this, don’t let anyone tell you it’s truly passive income.
Bonus Amazon Affiliate Sales Tips
I update these old posts all the time and I’ll keep adding tips to help you make more affiliate sales.
- Tracking. Something we’ve been working on recently is really getting organised with the Amazon affiliate pages. Everything was a mess and we didn’t know which pages were driving sales, which were a disaster. So slowly we’ve been creating unique tracking codes (you do this in Amazon under “manage tracking codes” and inserting them into old links, just so that we can better see what’s going on
- It’s also worth looking at the percentage payouts Amazon allocates for different types of sales. These vary from 10% to just 1 %.
- So if you’re going to create Amazon sales pages, don’t just think about SEO and what you can rank for. Also, go for higher-priced items with higher percentage payouts.
- Monitor each sales page obsessively to drive those posts up the rankings, using your Search Console data.
- Christmas has a massive effect on sales, start pumping out your sales pages in January to grow their authority for Christmas and around Christmas time give them a big push on all social media channels.
Making Direct Amazon Affiliate Sales From Social Media
Tes, you can do this too. If you look at your Amazon affiliates bar at the top of your account, you’ll see buttons to create Twitter and Facebook links. Use these, sparingly, to drive more people to Amazon from your personal and business social accounts.
Amazon Affiliate Earning Proof
I’m not going to give you screen shots of my bank balance nor of the back end of my Amazon affiliate account. I don’t need to. So why add this paragraph?
I noticed people were searching for proof and ending up on this page. Our proof is this, we’ve travelled full time for 6 or 7 years on our affiliate earnings.
If you look around this website you’ll see photographic proof from over 50 countries, including Bhutan, possibly the most expensive country to visit. This isn’t a scam or a pyramid scheme. Affiliate marketing is a legitimate way to make a living and there are millions of people doing it.
Some Strict Amazon Rules to Follow
Always check Amazon’s own terms and conditions, they are very strict as to what is allowed and what isn’t. You will need to display a precisely worded Amazon disclaimer. Ours is in the footer of this page.
You also need to disclose that a page contains affiliate links, you’ll see ours just below the heading. I hope, I think that ours are OK.
Never offer incentives to suggest people should visit Amazon from your site, that’s not allowed. Do not put direct Amazon links in your newsletter.
So off you go, start focussing on your affiliate sales. I’ll tell you now that Amazon is just one part of the puzzle, on this site we maybe have 50 different affiliate schemes and programs set up and each one brings us an income. None are implemented perfectly, but we get there.
We have around 10 Amazon sales pages on this site because I find them boring to make. Had I made more, sooner, with good know-how, I’d be rich today. Like you, I’ve learned over the years so what I did as a new blogger and what I do today will look very different, but if you want to sell on Amazon get those sales pages made now, don’t put it off because those posts will bring future-you an income, a growing income as they rise through the search results.