The Amazon affiliate system (also known as Associates) represents an easy way to make money off your website. The program essentially works on the principle that if you refer a customer, the company will pay you a part of the selling fee. This is tracked through links on your website that send your readers to the pages of specific products.
The system is a win for the retailer, of course, because it means that they don’t need as big an advertising budget, and also a win for the blogger who can make money out of links that they may well have posted anyway. There are some pitfalls, however, and being an Amazon affiliate should not be the only purpose of your website.
Becoming an Amazon affiliate
If you want to get involved your first step should be to look at the Udemy course on Amazon affiliate marketing. This is a great way to learn how to set yourself up, as well as optimise your website to be able to attract a lot of potential customers to refer. SEO is the best way to do this for free, however any method that attracts people to your website will help.
You should also ensure that you aren’t competing with too many other members of the associate system. Remember, even if you don’t sell products directly you are still competing with online retailers, and there are only a few spots on the first page of Google. You also need to create value for your page visitors, so the links need to be relevant and there has to be a reason for people to come to your website.
Often people who decide to become an Amazon affiliate use product reviews as a good way to create relevant links and convince people to buy the products they are being directed to. If you do this there is often a temptation to just rewrite reviews that you have found elsewhere, but this is an error.
You need to create original content to give value to your readers, meaning you either need to use the product yourself or ask someone you know about it. If you simply copy other people’s content you will not attract visitors – and you may well be hit by penalties from Google or Amazon.
Picking what to send people to
You should think carefully about what products you want to refer people to as well. If you already have a website that you want to start monetising then you need to pick products that fit with the general theme of your posts. If you are setting up a new page purely to be an Amazon affiliate then you need to pick your niche carefully, and make sure you will realistically be able to rank.
You should look at the commissions available in different categories as well; as there are differences in the amount of money you can get for different links. Take note, however: the rates can change without notice. The highest commission products are also likely to have the most competition from other Amazon affiliate websites.
You also need to consider how much money you can make from each sale that goes through your referrals. More expensive items will lead to higher commissions, however it is also harder to sell these items to people – your readers are a lot less likely to impulse buy a mattress than a pillow, for example!
Is this a viable business model?
Unless you’re really good at it, basing your entire website around being an Amazon affiliate won’t be sustainable. You are likely to fall into the trap of focussing on selling, rather than providing content, which will reduce your search rankings and make your site less valuable to your viewers – ironically leading to a drop in referrals.
You also run the risk of an algorithm change by Google or Amazon crippling your business overnight. If you are resorting to black hat SEO to try and attract more traffic to refer then you will eventually be penalised by Google. There are also a huge number of rules to follow as an associate, and if you break any of them you can be removed from the platform.
However, becoming an Amazon affiliate is a great way to generate a bit of extra income from a website. If you already have a reasonable audience then simply putting a relevant link into your blog posts is unlikely to cost you in terms of turning people off your website, and it is very little extra effort to potentially make a decent amount of money.