Alright friend if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how in the heck you can make money blogging. You’ve heard it’s possible, you see everyone quitting their 9-5 to do this online thing full time, you’ve even read my 5 Ways to Make Money Blogging post over here but you still don’t know where to begin.
Well today, I’m going to dive deep into all things Amazon affiliates (also known as the Amazon Associates Program) and show you just how easy it is to get started making some moola**.
Bonus: The Amazon Associates program isn’t just for Bloggers! If you’re a YouTuber, Podcaster, or ANYONE posting on social media (that's almost everyone nowadays right?) then you can do this too. Read on my friend and let's get you signed up asap.
**Ok. Let's be real for a second. Easy.....is relative. It's easy to sign up for Amazon affiliates and easy to start using them, however, don't expect to make a significant amount of money right out of the get go. It might take you a few months to make your first dime but the potential for how much you can make through blogging is exponential over time and limitless. This post is meant to help you see what becoming an Amazon affiliate looks like and how you can start using them no matter how many followers you have.**
WHAT IS AN AMAZON AFFILIATE?
Being an Amazon affiliate is just a part of affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing is when you refer people to a product or service and receive a commission if they make a purchase because of you. It's no cost to you and no cost to your readers.
In the case of Amazon Associates you provide a link or a banner, that is unique to you and your account, promoting a product and if someone clicks on your link to that product, a cookie goes on their computer for 24 hours. If they make a purchase ON ANYTHING, even if it's not the product your link was promoting, if they purchase ANYTHING on Amazon within 24 hours, you get a small commission of that sale. Essentially Amazon is paying you to direct people to their website and make any type of purchase.
The first money I made blogging was $0.36 I made from Amazon because someone purchased lipstick after clicking a link on my blog. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I don’t promote lipstick anywhere on my website but do you see what’s happening here!? Someone clicked on one of my links because they were interested in a product I was promoting and instead decided they needed some lipstick. I got a commission from that purchase essentially because I led them to Amazon.
OUT OF ALLLLLL THE AFFILIATE PROGRAMS, WHY AMAZON?
There are a number of different affiliate programs you can sign up for but I’d recommend starting with Amazon for 3 reasons.
1. It’s familiar. Almost everyone has used Amazon to make a purchase or at least knows what it is. They can trust it and dive a little deeper if they need to before they buy the product.
2. Amazon has just about everything under the sun. From electronics to home goods, you can link a variety of different products depending on your latest blog post.
3. Easy to qualify. You almost always have to apply for affiliate programs. Typically they want to see that you’re a good representative for their program but mostly have some sort of following so you can direct traffic their way.
When I started blogging I had a VERY modest following and got rejected by a number of other affiliate programs because I didn’t have enough website visits. Amazon was the only one that accepted me from the very beginning. You still have to apply, but it’s likely you’ll be accepted no matter how many followers you have.
IF YOU’RE WONDERING IF THIS IS RIGHT FOR YOU…
Yes! Yes, it is and you should start sooner rather than later. The great thing about affiliates is they are no cost to you or your readers. You can incorporate them into every post and as you continue to drive more traffic to your website and gain more followers, your likely to get more clicks on your links.
I mentioned in the beginning that Amazon affiliates aren't just for bloggers. It is for anyone on Youtube, podcasting, or posting on social media. I know someone who wanted to start making money through Youtube videos. There’s a process you need to apply for before you can make money including watch time, subscribers, etc. However, from the get-go they started including Amazon affiliate links to their gear, cameras used, microphone, lighting equipment, etc on each video. They made more money their first 6 months of Youtube-ing off of their affiliate links than they did their YouTube channel.
YEAH BUT WILL PEOPLE ACTUALLY CLICK ON MY LINKS?
Yes. I think you’ll be shocked by the number of people who will click on your links. I know I was. Of course, not everyone is going to make a purchase, which you ultimately need to make money, but the more people visiting your website, the more clicks you’ll get, the higher the odds of someone making a purchase.
Here are 4 ways to gain more followers and get people to click on your links:
1. Build trust
This is the bread and butter of being a blogger. You are earning the trust of your followers. You are writing about YOUR experiences, YOUR thoughts, the products YOU recommend. If you’re genuine and truly believe that what you’re promoting could help them or impact their life positively, they’re going to pick up on that and be more likely to click on your links and ultimately make a purchase.
2. Promote your dang work
So you spend time writing this grand post filled with affiliate links and then what...... Promote the dang thing! Make sure people know it’s out there. You can’t just write and then cross your fingers HOPING that someone will magically find your little corner of the interwebs and trust you enough to click on your links. Promote yourself on social media. Start using Pinterest. Begin looking into SEO and learn how people can find you organically. Heck, tell your mom, your sister, your neighbors, anyone that will listen that you have a blog and they should check it out.
Also, don’t think that promoting it once will do the trick. You have to put it out there over and over and over again. It might be uncomfortable at first but I can almost guarantee no one is on your site refreshing your page just waiting for you to put another post up. Remind them of the work you’ve done and tell them why they need to see it.
3. Be consistent
Create a content calendar and stick with it. You need to blog in order to be a blogger. I recommend posting 2 times a month minimum but the more often and the more consistently you post, the more likely people will visit your blog.
4. Produce quality content
Always. Give your readers something of value. Don’t just write because the calendar says you need to post something. Write content that has a purpose, that has a meaning, and that speaks to your followers.
WAYS TO INCORPORATE AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS
I have an affiliate link on every single one of my blog posts. It’s such an easy way to promote the products I use and believe in and potentially make money while doing it. Some of my links are more subtle than others but I also have a few blogs specifically directing people to products because they contain affiliate links. Think, if you want to make money blogging, in what ways can you incorporate your links while still providing valuable content to your followers?
For me, one example was through my most successful blog post: 21 Gift Ideas for the Ultimate Adventurer where I specifically link each and every gift with an Amazon affiliate link. I’ve also done product reviews such as the Wandrd backpack and why it’s the Best Travel Photography Backpack of All Time. I reviewed the backpack and shared my experience with it and put Amazon affiliate links throughout the blog. Finally, I always include an affiliate link at the bottom of my blog posts, usually something I’m interested in at the moment or that sort of pertains to what I was just writing about.
OK, THIS ALL SOUNDS GREAT, WHAT'S THE DOWNSIDE?
I wouldn’t call it a downside, just 3 things to be aware of.
1. THIS IS NOT A GET RICH QUICK way of life. This will take time, this will take patience, this will take putting yourself out there and promoting products you believe in. $0.36 people. I was stoked to make my first money blogging and it was $0.36. It might take you months to make your first dime. It might even take you a year. Don’t get discouraged. Know that the more content you create, the more consistent you are, the more followers you start to get, the more people will be seeing your posts, clicking your links, and hopefully making purchases.
The beginning growth is the slowest but if you're being consistent, creating quality content, promoting your work, and creating trust with your followers you will see your commissions take off exponentially. Over time, as you continue to create content and gain traffic, there are no limits to how much you can make through Amazon affiliate links.
2. Once you’re accepted into the Amazon Associates Program, your links need to provide a qualified sale within 180 days or your application and access will be withdrawn. This should give you an even greater sense of urgency to produce content that contains affiliate links so you get your first commission and are in. If you DON’T make your first sale, all you have to do is reapply.
3. Purchases from family and friends don't count. This is probably my least favorite part of the Amazon Associates program but one I don’t get a lot of say in. I don’t really understand how they track it but basically, if you have a friend or family member make a purchase through one of your links, it doesn’t count as commission. What counts as family or friend? I’m not sure. Amazon has its own way of doing things but I’ve found it’s if we have the same last name or if I’ve been linked on their Amazon account (like my sister’s). This makes it a challenge when you’re just getting started because you're most likely promoting to your inner circle of friends and family first but you need an OUTSIDER to make a purchase. Don’t let that discourage you. Before you know it you’ll have more traffic and more people seeing your content and make your first sale.
LET’S DO THIS THING! SETTING UP YOUR AMAZON ASSOCIATES ACCOUNT
You need an Amazon account to sign up for the Amazon Associates program.
Step 1: Go to the Amazon Associates page
Step 2: Click “Join Now For Free"
Step 3: Sign in using your Amazon account
Step 4: Account Information
Enter your primary account street address
Step 5: Website and Mobile App List
Add any websites and/or mobile apps where you plan on sharing links
Step 6: Profile
Enter your preferred Associates Store ID (typically the name of your primary website or your name)
Explain what your website hopes to accomplish
Choose the topics your website and mobile apps will likely cover
Show how you drive traffic to your website
Select how you utilize your website to generate income
Explain how you build links
Select how many visitors you get a month
Explain your reason for joining Amazon Associates
Choose how you heard about them
Step 7: Identity Verification
Enter a phone number
Click “Call Me Now” where you will receive a call and get a 4 digit PIN
Enter the 4 digit PIN
Step 8: Start Using Associates Central
Choose to enter your payment information and tax ID information now or later (you can skip this but you won’t get paid until you complete this part)
Step 9: Start creating and promoting unique links! (See below)
CREATING AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS
Step 1: Enter keywords or search for a product
Step 2: Always make sure you are linking to the product you want to promote.
See how there are a variety of options when I type in Moment Lens. Make sure you’re linking to the one you’re wanting to promote, in this case, the wide angle.
Step 3: Click Get Link
Step 4: Decide if you want Text and Image, Text Only, or Image Only.
Step 5: Highlight and copy your unique HTML code and add to your website.
There you have it. Your guide to getting started with Amazon affiliates. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions along the way!
Your Amazon affiliates journey might start off slow but as you continue to create content, build trust with your followers, and gain more traffic, the more likely you are to start making some serious money through blogging and Amazon affiliate links.
Happy writing my friend!
PS: Here is an example of an affiliate link. I'm currently obsessed with the Q&A a day: 5 year journal. It's the easiest way to keep track of life and so fun to look back on. Plus, it makes THE BEST gift. Seriously, I'm not a journal-er but I've filled mine in every day this year! Check it out for yourself here!
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used throughout this post which means I might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click on them.