The Amazon associate program is a popular choice when it comes to making money online because it gives ample access to a variety of products. However, the same reason is what makes many people fumble at their first attempt too. You see, the program can be a bit complicated for beginners. What hurdle does it present and how can you become a successful Amazon affiliate for the long term? Stick around until the end as I explain the details.
The Common Problems With Promoting Amazon Products
Amazon is a jungle of information and there are a few crucial information that you should know from the very beginning.
- The cookie duration is one of the shortest – 24 hours. That means, if someone follows your affiliate link and doesn’t purchase anything from the marketplace in less than a day (or buys something at a much later date), you don’t earn any commission.
- For new sites, you need to make at least one sale within 90 days of signing up, otherwise, your account will be rejected.
- You also need to adhere closely to the program guidelines – the proper usage of affiliate links, where to mention the affiliate disclosure and etc. – or else, face the risk of getting banned.
- Having your account reinstated isn’t impossible, but that is entirely up to Amazon’s discretion and your ability to fix what’s wrong.
For some people, these scenarios could be a nightmare, but there are ways to handle and prevent the undesirable from happening. That’s where the training at Wealthy Affiliate (WA) comes in. It’s an online marketing course and a community place that help people as you succeed in any type of affiliate business.
So what’s in it for you? Let’s find out.
#1 – WordPress Hosting
It’s already 2018, yet some people are still using platforms like Blogger to create an affiliate site. Technically, it’s not wrong, but the program is somewhat dated and the minimal features are difficult to scale for an online business.
Nowadays, WordPress is the more preferred platform and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using this free software that is more search engine friendly. All you need is a custom domain and a hosting service that provide a one-click installation – both are available within WA – and your site can be up and running in less than 1 minute.
Along with the hosting, you’ll get technical back-up and a fast-loading website. If you want to venture into more niches, the service allocates up to 25 custom domains. That means you can potentially have 25 Amazon websites running at the same time!
But hold on to that thought for a moment. It’s not wise to create that many websites at one go if you don’t have a marketing strategy in place. When you are just starting, it’s better to focus on just one niche first and that brings me to the next point.
#2 – Niche Selection
With over 480 million products, finding a niche in the Amazon marketplace can be quite confusing. Often times, people would choose something that they are interested in, but their selection can sometimes be too broad or uses a combination that is completely irrelevant.
This results in a website that doesn’t interest the audience and when that happens, no one is going to follow your recommendation to buy from Amazon.
The first level of the Online Certification Course at WA will walk you through the process of niche selection without over-complicating the concept. By the end of the 10 lessons, you’ll know how to choose which products to promote using related keywords that can be found online. These keywords will, later on, become the foundation where content is built for your website.
There is a total of 5 levels in this main course and each will help you to acquire more traffic skills as you advanced through the training. You get a combination of textual and video information as well as tasks so that you can implement what you’ve learned.
If you like to check out the quality of the training, you can sign up for the course (for free) through this page.
#3 – Getting Traffic to Your Site
Acquiring traffic is important for a website to progress. It brings real human visitors that are interested in your niche and a particular set of products. Without traffic, you can’t earn commissions and that’s how most people got their Amazon account rejected by 90 days.
If you don’t want to end up in this frustrating situation, you may apply for the program when your website is more mature and traffic is starting to get some traction. Meanwhile, the main concern here is – how do you get traffic to your site?
Seeing that you are already on WordPress, the most natural thing to do is to publish content for on your website. In case you don’t know, the search engines can bring you a ton of free traffic and it is one of the most reliable ways to sustain an online business for the long term.
In Level 2, you’ll be learning how to create content using targeted keywords in your niche. Keywords serve a few important purposes here;
- It optimizes your website for search engine indexing, meaning it’s easier for Google to understand what your content is all about.
- It helps you, as an affiliate marketer, to identify which stage of the ‘customer buying cycle’ that is most likely to convert. Hint – target the ‘comparison’ and ‘purchase’ stages as these are the people who are ready to buy.
- Descriptive low competition keywords will rank your content faster on the search result page, hence giving your site more visibility and traffic.
WA has an in-house keyword tool called Jaaxy that’s really good at churning out targeted keywords in any niches. It’s easy and fast to load so you can actually do multiple research/brainstorming at the same time and come up with a ton of topic ideas for your content.
If you like to give it a go, just enter any keyword below and see the result for yourself.
In terms of other traffic sources, you can leverage from the community in WA to widen your social circle and exchange article comments with the members through the SiteComments feature, which is already included in your hosting plan. All these activities can create engagement for your site and send ranking signals to Google that you’ve got an active blog.
With good content and some social sharing, you are more likely to get real people visiting your site and purchase products from Amazon.
#4 – Creating Content That Converts
Product review is the bread-and-butter for every Amazon associate and it’s the ultimate page that must be tied to every other article that we’ve created using targeted keywords. The reviews contain important information that the audience is seeking for and it is the page that will see the most conversions from your affiliate links.
A lot of people are still using these links straight to a general blog post where the audience is lead straight to the marketplace WITHOUT reading any product reviews. While it’s not entirely wrong, it’s actually not good for the user experience. Customers are not empowered with product knowledge prior to their purchase and it looks as if you are just trying to push-sell to gain sales commissions. This is not going to work long-term.
Fortunately, at Level 3, you’ll be learning how to write convincing product reviews based on your own experience or that of others. By offering detailed product specification, pros and cons in an original tone, you are better at winning the audience’s attention and convincing them to buy without pressure.
#5 – Amazon Associate Resources
Perhaps one of the most challenging part for marketers is to find training resources that are related to the Amazon associate program. Even though they are available on YouTube, the video quality and topics can be quite random. Plus, it can also be difficult to keep yourself updated with the ongoing discussion on those channels.
Seeing that there are many active affiliates within the WA community, a lot of specific and up-to-date training is constantly being added to the archive. By entering the keyword ‘Amazon’ on the search bar, I can see what topics are available and even get in touch with a particular member for further discussion. It does make learning a lot easier when everything is in one place.
Meanwhile, you can also benefit from watching this live video class which will walk you through the process of finding Amazon products, how to implement OneLink and many more.
Where Do You See Yourself One Year From Now?
I’ve seen many people who make a full-time income from promoting Amazon products, but I’ve also seen people who quit halfway through. That’s totally understandable because making money online is never easy in the first place. However, what I want you to know is that there’s a systematic way to approach this business and as far as foundation is concerned, I can’t think of a better place than WA.
They will provide you the best support from website hosting to business training. So if you are still wondering how to become a successful Amazon affiliate, do have a look inside the platform and try it out yourself.
Question – What’s your experience with the Amazon associate program? And what tips do you have to offer for beginners? Please leave your thoughts and comments in the space below. Thanks.
I am a WA member myself and I think WA is the real deal. The training they offer in helping you build your online business is excellent. For example, the Jaaxy Keyword Tool allows you to see which content has few competitors to write about. This way you can easily get rankings on Google and attract traffic to your website.
Another thing I like about WA is the website building process. It only takes about 30 seconds to build a solid website. For me, that’s an amazing feet to achieve. It gets you started on your Amazon niche faster than anyone else.
Yup, WA has streamlined all the process from website creation, content writing and comment engagement to the point whereby it has become so easy for people to get started. A lot of the training and tutorials use the Amazon Associate program as an example so there will be a lot of reference to look at.
Yes, I totally agree that WA is a great place to learn about online businesses. I would love to achieve what these affiliates did with their Amazon earnings, but I am still inexperience in many things. The training has some good road maps that I can follow so I am really looking forward to see how things would turn out.
Hi Fawaz, if you look into the training, there’s also live video tutorials by Jay where you can follow closely and join the discussion about building your Amazon sites. I personally learned a lot from there – even the recorded ones are good for revisions.
I’m already a Wealthy Affiliate member and so I know from first hand experience how much training and support there is no matter what affiliate program you want to promote. Amazon is definitely one of the top affiliate programs out there, but there’s some really annoying things about them.
Their guidelines are too strict in my opinion, like you can’t mention the price of the product you’re reviewing, and you can’t even use Amazon product images other than the one single photo they provide which is often very small and low quality.
The good thing is they have millions of products you can promote, and Amazon is a trusted company and nobody will hesitate to buy there. That being said, I think it’s best to be part of multiple affiliate programs and spread your risk. If you built your entire business with Amazon and you get banned for whatever reason, then you’re screwed.
Always good to try out different merchants on your site and see what converts best based on the interest of your audience. Thanks for the input Kent.
Glenn Hodges says
I really enjoyed reading your post. I have been looking for a way to earn extra money. Perhaps I should say more money, since I never seen to have “extra”. Anyway, I was wondering if you only need to make a sale or two to remain a member of the Amazon Affiliate program, is it possible to have family or friends make a purchase to stay active? Are there restrictions against this, I mean a sale is a sale, right? And lastly is there a dollar amount a sale needs to meet?
Hi Glenn, Yes, you need to make at least one sale during the first 90 days of joining. Family and friends can buy from your site, but it mustn’t be deliberate. Just make sure that they go through affiliate links that reside on your blog and not inside any email or social media.
There is a minimum amount that you need to have in your account in order to cash out. The direct deposit and gift certificate must have at least $10 and mailed check must have at least $100. Hope this helps.
I am currently an Amazon associate and I am sharing my own experience here. As you mentioned about cookie duration, sales in order to be accepted and strict rules it’s all true and makes it a bit difficult.
However, Amazon has a great trust factor among the audience which is very helpful in generating sales. The other thing I like is that when the customers use our affiliate links to purchase other products, we get commissions for that too.
Being a full-time blogger, I learned everything from Wealthy Affiliate and I am happy you are recommending and guiding people to a genuine program that really works.
The concerns and the benefits you have raised for being an Amazon associate are absolutely true. It is very important to build foundation for a website before joining the program. Most newbies started too early even before they have any traffic and that’s why they get kicked out.
It is from Wealthy Affiliate’s training, I came to know about Amazon affiliate disclosure program and other requirements that bloggers should follow while linking products. Their tutorial is absolutely fantastic and the community is always available to answer any concerns, whether it’s through live chat, question board, live webinars or private messages.
There are many successful Amazon affiliates in WA who can offer solid advise. Because the community is created in such a way that doesn’t allow spamming/up selling, you’ll be getting a lot of genuine and honest opinions that can help to steer your blog to become better at generating income.
The live webinar by Jay, I find is one of the best ways to address Amazon associate issues. There’s discussion every week about internet marketing that can be applied to one’s online business, plus you’ll also get the chance to interact virtually with the community and Jay himself.
I actually started off by becoming an Amazon affiliate, but have not been using much these days. The big problem I find is that the commission rates are just too low for some products. My niche wasn’t the one that had products of high cost, so even some of the sales I made were really low. Unfortunately I didn’t have a big audience yet, so didn’t have a lot of people to buy the products. I’ll check out Wealthy Affiliate in detail and see what the best way is to get a lot of traffic. Thanks for sharing!
Well, the best way to get a lot of traffic is to create engaging content based on long tail keyword research. You may not be aware yet, but there are a ton of untapped keywords in every niche. The way to find them is really to go out there and mingle with your audience, find out what kind of topics are of concerned and sign up for news notification within the niche industry.
Don’t let the low commissions pull you down. There are always other options with affiliate networks or private affiliate programs that you sign up directly with the merchants.
Hi Cathy, I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate and what you have presented here is good and honest information. I am an Amazon associate and find that if you follow their guidelines, you have the opportunity to set up a valuable online business, following their step-by-step strategies and build a long term financial success.
I’m currently in the process of trying to monetise my website further, as I’m not really earning enough off Google Adsense to get by. A mate of mine suggested becoming an affiliate for a website, and Amazon was the first one he suggested.
I’m a little worried about the entry requirements for being an Amazon Affiliate – you say that you need to sell something within the first 90 days of signing up…what happens if you don’t?
I mean, if I’ve spent 90 days placing Amazon affiliate links all over my site – will I have to remove them?
Hi Chris, if you don’t make any sales within 90 days, you account will be rejected. But that doesn’t mean you have to remove all the affiliate links because you can reapply when you have better traffic. Hope that answers your question.
This is an extensive write-up that’s helpful to everyone who wants to start out via Amazon.
I agree that people struggle to get their first sale from Amazon. And yes, if I would do it over I would certainly wait before signing up until you get enough visitors. As I just managed to get the deadline, before I needed to re-apply.
My experience with Amazon is that although everyone told me to use Amazon for affiliate sites, I personally have earned more by promoting products via another platform, which works directly with the companies. This way you can get much higher commisions.
Don’t get me wrong, I still use Amazon, but also other platforms. You have to keep your eyes open and see opportunities.
Yeah, Amazon is always the main go-to due to their influence and brand, but they aren’t the only merchant in the market. Higher commissions is certainly the motivation to apply for private affiliate programs and you can leverage from seasonal offers to attract customers to their site.
tina Paradis says
I am on the Amazon affiliate program and really like the fact that it is easy to post your products on your site. It has been almost 90 days and still have not gotten a dime. I know it takes time, but it seems that Amazon does not give newbies the time to get the ball rolling on their sites.
Here’s my advice – find the niche that you are interested in and able to write about. If you do not make a dime after 90 days and you get dropped by Amazon, do not give up. There are a lot of other programs out there in your niche like the eBay affiliate program that I am currently part of. It is free to join and the products are easy to post as well.
Hi Tina, thank you for sharing your tips with us 🙂
Hi Cathy, I have a few questions.
When does one sign up for becoming an Amazon Associate? I’ve heard that it takes time to get people to click on the links and with the 180-day limitation, you could lose your affiliate membership if there are no sales. Is that true?
Yup, that seems to be the case with Amazon affiliates. If I were you, I would sign up when the site gets about 100 visitors per day. Unless you are very confident in boosting traffic within a short amount of time, I would wait a bit longer, especially for new sites, to ‘marinate’ with more keywords before taking the plunge with Amazon.
Derek Marshall says
Hi there Cathy,
Just to re-iterate on your second point – Amazons rules, and I not sure if it is a global rule or just applying to Amazon Canada or US site, but 2 sales are required within 180 days or the account is terminated. Thus, far better to create a site first, then get traffic and then go down the Amazon road (in my opinion).
Also, they do have rather strict rules about how you use their links (redirects or masking of links is prohibited). Even how you write Amazon is included (must have capital A at the beginning, all lower case or all uppercase not allowed).
Also, not allowed to display a product rating – unless you clearly state that it is your own rating. Not allowed is the displaying of the price, unless using the product API. Only certain branded Call-To-Action buttons of theirs that you are allowed to use. No outrageous or exaggerated product claims allowed.
And a whole bunch of other stuff, but those are the main ones.
Derek, your input is much appreciated. I didn’t know about the minimum 2 sales on top of the 180 days duration.