Essentials of Building an Amazon Affiliate Site
There’s no better place than Amazon for anyone who wants to start affiliate marketing. It’s very easy to open an Amazon affiliate account. There are also many different products to be promoted.
We’re going to discuss in this post what makes an Amazon affiliate site successful?
There are certain key points that particularly dictate your chances of success with the Amazon affiliate program. I’m going to mention all of them, so keep reading until the end.
Read Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement
If you’re planning to build an online business, you need to read the contracts. You can not blindly copy the affiliate links and paste them into your website to sell the products.
This step is very important. Let me explain why would you need it quickly.
Amazon algorithmically scans the affiliate websites promoting its products. If you are violating their terms of service, you may find yourself kicked out of the program. Also, sometimes people make spam complaints to the Amazon that you’re too aggressively promoting your affiliate links.
It’s always a good idea to spend an hour or so to understand what’s allowed and what not to do as an affiliate. Trust me that an hour spent understanding the rules can save many days of work from destruction.
Amazon has strict regulations on the use of product images, product descriptions on its website. The channels you can promote Amazon products with your affiliate links are very well defined.
Also, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started investigating small businesses that sell products on Amazon. Therefore, make sure that you build a type of website that complies with the rules and regulations.
Choose The Right Niche
Choosing the right niche is the first aspect of a good Amazon affiliate website. It is also probably the most critical one. If you choose the wrong niche, you’re kind of cursed that you won’t be successful even if you do everything right after that.
If you choose a good niche with a low level of competition and a high level of public interest, you can generate serious revenue.
The niche you choose doesn’t necessarily have to be one of your passions. However, if you like it, you can create content much easier.
If you find a good niche that you’re not excited about, but you’re a little interested in it, you can learn it yourself first before you create a niche site around it.
As I have said, you are not supposed to know the niche topic beforehand. However, it is going to make the process faster for you if you have prior knowledge of the topic. In any case, you will need to do some research on Google seeing what people are looking for and what competition it is.
What kind of content is published around that particular niche, so that you can better identify areas where people are looking for information, but not so much information to help these people.
That’s where you’ll step in to fill that gap with good content and good products to rank on Google.
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Check Amazon Commission Rates
Choosing the right niche step is incomplete unless you clearly define which products you are going to promote.
You are highly recommended to check out Amazon Associates Center’s operating policies to learn the most recent Amazon affiliate Commission rates. The numbers I’m talking about may be changed by the time you read this post.
You may want to promote video games or video game consoles. But you probably won’t make any money since Amazon pays only 1%. Also, the commission rates for PC components are set at 2.5% which is still very low.
If you want to promote physical books, healthcare, sports, kitchen, automotive, baby products the commission rate is 4.5%. I think it is an acceptable commission rate as the bare minimum. If you believe you can sell luggage, shoes, handbags, and accessories like that you can make a 7% commission. Keep in mind selling this kind of stuff can be harder.
Personally, I wouldn’t choose a product category that pays less than 4.5% because it’s really not worth the time.
Set up your website
You will need to have a website hosted with a reliable web hosting company. I prefer WordPress as my CMS (Content Management System). I think it’s a kind of industry standard that everyone uses today.
However, if you are not technically skilled enough you can even build a site on Weebly. As the Webhosting service, I prefer DigitalOcean and currently host this website with that company. I am very satisfied with the type of Webhosting experience I have.
However, if you need a managed WP Hosting with a high-end solution you can use WP Engine as well.
I strongly discourage you from hosting your website on a shared hosting plan. If you’re building a business, you need a solid infrastructure that you can rely on.
Shared hosting plans have low performance, low reliability, low-quality customer support and, most importantly, other neighbors you have to share the same IP address and server resources.
When it comes to selecting a WordPress theme, you can use free ones. There are many people who have built Amazon websites on free themes. WordPress 2012 theme with a white background black text completely clean usually works great.
However, I prefer to build my sites on Premium themes because I believe the first impression is a reason to define whether or not people will read your content.
Once you set up and run WordPress or your favorite CMS, you’ll need to go to the next step we’re going to discuss.
Do the Keyword Research
You have to do keyword research to find content ideas. It’s very important to know how many times a month people search for the keywords you’re pursuing in your content.
The more people search for certain terms the more valuable they are. Hence, you can expect a higher level of competition. It can take longer to rank high-competition keywords, it can also be more difficult.
The key thing you need to look at when doing keyword research is the supply and demand for those keywords. If you think a keyword has a decent search volume but is underserved on the internet, you can target that keyword.
Your website should be different from other Amazon affiliate websites. Google values authenticity as a key ranking factor. Whatever niche you choose, you should aim to be uniquely different, either in terms of the quality of your content, the design of your website or, ideally, both.
People browsing the internet nowadays are a lot savvier than before. If they smell something suspicious on your website they may get turned off. Your website should look good and professional at all costs.
Your content needs to be of the highest quality and add value to people’s lives. It needs to be well-written and contain relevant multimedia such as images and videos. Try to build your external credibility by improving your presence on social media channels as well.
Another thing you should pay attention to is having an easy-to-use website that loads quickly and works well on all types of devices.
Create great content
Content is probably the key component that makes a difference between having an Amazon affiliate website and having a successful Amazon affiliate website.
I always emphasize how important the content is to your affiliate campaigns. A few years ago, it used to be pretty easy to get traffic, and engagement creating average quality content, but today the bar is set very high and the content you produce needs to be of very good quality.
What’s the good content, then? It’s pretty simple, basically, you just need to create something that’s well written, and well researched.
It needs to be engaging and creative, maybe it could be funny. It really depends on the niche you’re in.
Good content also usually includes some kind of rich text, so it has bold headings that make good use of fonts and tables and often include images and videos.
Once you put together all that stuff and write something that’s kind of a reasonable length, you’ll find your content really stands out from the rest of the crowd.
If you see people getting involved with it, they’ve spent some time reading it, there’s a good chance they’re going to click on the links that you include in your content.
If they click on your links, you will receive some commission. So these are essential recommendations that make a good Amazon affiliate website.
So just to summarize it’s the niche you choose, the differentiation that makes your website stand out from the crowd, and the final thing is the content. I’m talking about some really good, interesting and useful content.
How much of content needed to start an Amazon affiliate niche site?
I would recommend that you launch your website with at least 20-30 pieces of content on it. Half of your content should be a kind of informative how-to content that is helpful to visitors, while the other half should be product reviews.
How-to content is going to be informational stuff, and not necessarily money-making content. You can place your affiliate links on how-to content, but it’s not there to convert visitors to buyers.
Learn From The Wirecutter
I want to share with you a very successful example of Amazon’s affiliate website. The wirecutter, owned by the New York Times, was founded in 2011 by a guy named Brian Lamb.
The New York Times Company bought it for a massive $30 million back in 2016. Basically, this site hires professional product reviewers to test and review products across multiple categories.
They’re looking at things like headphones, cameras, laptops, and a lot of other stuff. The reason they are so successful is, essentially, the quality and integrity of the reviews they provide.
Let’s be honest, it takes a little while to get to this point. Where you’re basically testing all the products in detail, you’re doing a thorough research and creating some really useful product reviews.
The wirecutter is a source of inspiration for almost all affiliate marketers. But, you can always start a website like that and write product reviews for the items you buy. You can even request free samples from the manufacturers to write an in-depth product review.
I think the only big takeaway is that your product reviews should be really good and authentic around them. If you can do that, you’ll probably have a really high conversion rate.
If you can take a picture of a product yourself, for example, rather than using the images provided by Amazon or the manufacturer, it simply adds that kind of layer of authenticity that you are actually reviewing the product and you know about the product and you have the product and it’s all real.
I think you know that trying to be authentic can have a really big impact on how many people actually click through your articles and ultimately make a purchase.
There are companies that literally buy and review every single product on the market. These companies usually have a massive budget to do this kind of thing. But at the end of the day, you know that you can buy products, review them, and then you can always sell that product to someone else.
There are even people who buy products for review and refund after reviewing the product. Obviously, I don’t recommend this kind of behavior, but I know there are people doing it. If you want to refund the product, make sure that you keep the box and the invoice.
If you compile and curate all the information and you summarize the information you can gather from all the sources available to you, you end up with a pretty good amount of information you can write a review about.
Should you buy all the products to review them?
No, you don’t have to do that. Most of the time, you can get great information from Amazon’s product detail page. You can read other reviews online, check out the forums that have the product information, watch YouTube videos to see how other people reviewed it earlier.
Join Q&A Websites
Let’s talk about the facts here. It will take some time to get organic traffic from Google to a new website. It is because of the Google sandbox that Google sets as an observation period for the new websites. This period can take from a few months to a half a year depending on the selected niche, and the level of competition.
Try to spend an hour or so on Quora every day to answer people’s questions. In this way, you are going to bring instant referral traffic to your website. The trick is to find those questions the most numbers of people have seen, but there are only a few answers on that page.
Using Quora to drive referral traffic is a very effective way of diversifying your traffic. It can help not only new websites but also established websites as well. Quora is particularly good for the hard times of organic traffic from Google fluctuates for you.
The other benefit of using Q&A sites comes from building authority links for you. Although these links are usually “nofollow” (doesn’t pass authority) they are still an important part of Google’s algorithm.
Have Social Signals
You have just launched your Amazon affiliate site and submitted your sitemap to Google for indexing.
The second best thing you can do is sharing the URLs of each individual post on Social media platforms. Go to your Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to share the posts you have published.
Encourage your friends to repin, reshare or retweet your content. Your goal is not building social media links, but igniting your visibility to invite search engine spiders to crawl your website.
You should have a good internal linking structure. Your published posts should link each other wherever contextually possible. In this way, search engines can navigate through much better on your website.
Linking to a page parses link juice and PageRank. Make sure you link more often to the money pages you want to rank rather than informational content on your website.
Do some Blog Commenting
Blog commenting serves a few SEO goals at the same time. It builds links for your website. Although the links are almost all the time”nofollow”, it is still important for Google rankings.
The other thing, blog commenting links can generate referral traffic for your website. If you can find recently published posts online and comment on the posts, you are likely to get some traffic to your niche site.
Blog commenting can also help brand recognition if it is done properly, on the right type of blogs.
There are many ways to find relevant blogs by using Google’s advanced search operators. However, I am going to share my favorite method to find blogs to comment on.
There is a particular plugin called CommentLuv. I prefer to find blogs using this plugin since it allows me to get a link back to my latest blog post.
So let’s just select a niche arbitrarily and use CommentLuv in the search string.
All in all, blog commenting should be done manually targeting to provide value to the page rather than spamming it.
Guest Post on Other Websites
Guest posting is one of the few safe link building techniques today. Google has shut down the doors to get a positive ROI from most types of links. Having most other types of links are either devalued or penalized by Google.
Guest posting allows you earning a dofollow link which the type can really move the needle to rank your website. To post your guest posts on other blogs, you will need to outreach to other blog owners and ask them for a guest posting opportunity.
You can search on Google by using the most common guest posting footprints to allow you to find those websites quickly.
I have one big tip you should pay attention to. Get your links in content contextually, rather than from the author’s bio section. Google minds the location of your link on a page. If your link has text above and below, that is the most powerful type of links to build.
Stay away from the websites that don’t get organic traffic from Google. You can use Similarweb to find out the traffic stats of a certain website. Make sure you are not posting on a PBN website.
Have a third-party tool like SEMrush to filter, and find the authority domains to post on. Focus on building a relationship with the blog owners rather than being pushy to trying to take advantage of them.
You should also respect other people’s websites. Don’t send crappy content to ask people to publish on their websites to give a link for you. No one likes it, so don’t do it.
Amazon’s affiliate program has a certain policy that you may not like. If you can’t make 3 sales in your first 6 months, your account is automatically closed. In case you are under the threshold, you are likely to get an email from Amazon on your 3rd-month warning you that the clock works against you.
We are reaching out to you because you have not reached the required Qualifying Purchases for your account. As a reminder, Associate accounts that have not referred three Qualifying Purchases to Amazon.com within 180 days of sign-up will be closed. At this time, you have 90 days left to drive purchases to avoid the closure of your account.
The above email what I received from Amazon since I couldn’t make any sales in my first 3 months with the Amazon Associates program.
Amazon may require you clearly display your affiliate disclaimer on each page of your site that you earn income if people buy products through your links.
Finally, the information provided in this post is true to the best of my knowledge, always make your own research before building any type of Amazon affiliate website.