; Date: Mon Sep 09 2019
We are all wondering how to monetize a niche site, and many recommend using the Amazon Associates program. Amazon is the big kahuna of affiliate marketing services, with a well-developed program that's been in operation since 1999 or so. That makes Amazon that company an attractive partner, one which it's important to understand.
First step is - once you have a website set up - to sign up with the Amazon Associates program. Simply go to Amazon and sign up. The program is open to pretty much anyone, and Amazon can handle folks from almost any country.
But that puts the cart before the horse, since one must first have the website set up. Therefore, first:
- Select a niche topic to write for.
- You must be knowledgable enough about the niche, and motivated enough by the niche to keep developing content in that niche.
- The niche must have products available that are expensive enough to be worthwhile.
- You must be knowledgable about writing the correct sort of articles to draw readers.
- Select a website hosting platform - Wordpress is popular and widely used and there is lots of teaching material for using Wordpress. Obviously I'm an outlier because I developed my own website platform.
- Learn how to use the web platform to write articles
A goal to shoot for is earning $1000 per month for 30,000 page views after 1 year. But, if you fall short of that goal don't get discouraged, instead buckle down, examine what you're doing, and learn to do better.
Also - while this article is about the Amazon Associates program, obviously there are other affiliate programs out there. What's said here also applies to those other programs. Feel free to explore other affiliate programs. Many of us think Amazon is growing too big, and if you believe that perhaps you should not be in the business of funneling more purchasers to Amazon because that just helps Amazon grow even bigger.
Two interesting programs are VigLinks and Skimlinks. Each program has arrangements with tens of thousands of websites offering affiliate programs. This means you can sign up with one or the other, then have access to earning affiliate revenue from a long list of websites beyond Amazon without having to individually sign up for all those programs.
Affiliate product selection for optimum income
There is a wide range of products from $0.50 packets of screws up to $50,000 gold rings all available through affiliate programs. Lots of people focus on Book Reviews or Movie Reviews, and at the bottom of each they place an affiliate link. But...
The articles you write are what draws visitors to your website. Each article takes a given amount of time to craft. It's not sufficient to just write some text, the article needs to be readable and informative. Therefore you must spend time honing and editing each article, and this takes some time. And time is money.
A typical Book is a $10-20 purchase, for which you'll get fifty cents or so in affiliate commissions. If you cause the sale of 20 copies of a book you reviewed -- for which you first spent the time to read the book, then write the review -- you'll make about $10.
How many hours of work was spent to earn that $10?
Think about Return on Investment as the affiliate commissions earned for the time you put in.
It seems the optimum price range is products costing $100-150. That's a high enough price that your commission is enough to be worth the time to write the article. Any higher than that and it's more likely the reader will put the product onto a wish list rather than buy right away.
That point is important because of how the commission is earned. When you send a buyer to Amazon (or most other affiliate sites) a cookie is put in the browser, and that cookie lasts for only 24 hours. So long as the person makes a purchase in 24 hours you'll get a commission. But if the cookie has expired, you won't get the commission.
To earn the commission it must be a product they're willing to buy right away.
Process to get visitors who will click the affiliate link
Clearly the more traffic your site receives the greater the potential to earn income. Therefore we must first get traffic to the site, then make sure the readers see the affiliate link and that those who are prepared to buy should click the link.
The clearest way to get organic traffic on any topic is with good quality content. See these articles:
- How to estimate and get organic search traffic without using tools
- How to write the perfect blog post in an hour
Next we must place the link so that it's visible.
Affiliate link placement: Requirements and best practices
You've found a product, and you've written some content that will bring you readers who might be interested in buying the product. Do you simply put a link to the product in your article?
No. Every affiliate program requires that you use a special form of link so that the destination site knows to credit you with the affiliate commission. On Amazon you have an affiliate referral code, which you must add to the link. You must first ensure the link will contain your referral code.
- Use the Amazon Site Stripe - this has buttons to help you generate links to any Amazon page.
- Other affiliate programs have similar tools.
- Use a plugin with your content management system (e.g. for Wordpress a good plugin is the Amazon Link Globalizer) which automatically rewrites links to have the affiliate code
It's not enough to simply put the link in the article. Some considerations are:
- Making the link visible enough for readers to see it
- Help your readers by making it clear what site (e.g. Amazon) the link goes to
- Follow legal requirements, and search engine requirements:
rel=nofollowis required by search engines for any link where you'll earn a benefit.
- Adding a disclosure like (Sponsored) to any link that earns you a benefit.
A final consideration is that once the reader clicks on the affiliate link, they've left your site. Will they come back to your site? If your article is good enough they should come back. However adding
target=_blank will instead open the affiliate link in another tab, leaving the tab with your article still open.