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The Complete Guide to Starting an Amazon Affiliate Website
By Quiet Light
For the right entrepreneur, starting an Amazon affiliate website can be a great way to generate recurring revenue while building a valuable business asset. With nearly limitless promotional opportunities, marketers in every niche can find products that align with their interests and expertise.
This article provides a clear framework to help you implement the Amazon affiliate marketing business model. We also discuss the specific steps involved in launching a new Amazon affiliate website from scratch.
How the Amazon Associates Program Works
There are a lot of details involved in starting a new Amazon affiliate website, but the basic affiliate marketing business model is pretty simple. You send customers to Amazon and Amazon pays you when those customers make purchases. The more sales you generate, the more Amazon affiliate earnings you make.
While the general process is relatively straightforward, building a successful site takes some hard work and skill. There are several steps involved in getting your Amazon affiliate website up and running. We’ll cover these steps in a later section.
There’s always an opportunity cost when you start a new affiliate marketing business. Because everyone’s time and resources are finite, the decision to launch one business inevitably means that you’re giving up another potential venture. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly understand the pros and cons of a given business model before diving in.
‘Pros’ of Starting an Amazon Affiliate Website
There are several key benefits of starting an Amazon affiliate website, including:
- Easy to get started
- Many products to choose from
- Amazon is a trusted platform
- Everything in one account
- Opportunity to earn commissions for additional Amazon product purchases
Easy to Get Started
Unlike some other business models, it’s easy to get started as an Amazon associate. While you do need to meet certain criteria, Amazon’s standards are within easy reach of novice marketers.
Many other affiliate platforms and partners require you to have specific qualifications or affiliate experience in order to promote. While this may be okay if you’re an experienced Amazon affiliate marketer, it presents obvious challenges for those who are just getting started. The low barrier to becoming an Amazon associate makes the platform an ideal launching point for new digital marketers.
“Unlike some other business models, it’s easy to get started as an Amazon associate.”
Many Products to Choose From
The seemingly endless selection of Amazon products has led some to call it “the everything store.” As a customer, it doesn’t matter if you’re a college student, new mom, or grandparent, Amazon is a one-stop-shop that has what you’re looking for. This is great news for marketers who want to promote a variety of different products.
The abundance of products on Amazon provides a few key advantages for affiliate marketers. The most obvious advantage is that you can promote just about any product that you can possibly think of. This gives you incredible freedom when determining what niche you want to serve.
Additionally, when you have access to Amazon’s entire catalog, you can quickly test a variety of different products. Instead of needing to apply to a new affiliate program to find new promotion opportunities, you can simply choose from one of the millions of products on the Amazon platform. This allows you to try promoting numerous products quickly so you figure out which ones lead to sales and which ones don’t.
All affiliate website owners want to experience rapid growth within their affiliate marketing businesses. One of the ways to grow is to offer more products. As mentioned, the Amazon affiliate program makes it exceedingly easy to do exactly that.
When your website matures, you’ll want to add more pages that target additional keywords and boost your site’s overall performance (more on this below). As an Amazon Associate, you can quickly add new products to new pages as you build out your site.
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Customers Trust Amazon
When you’re first getting started, your website isn’t going to have a reputation. Therefore, if you’re trying to sell your own products or those of an unknown affiliate, it’s going to be challenging. However, when you’re able to borrow Amazon’s reputation, it’s much easier to drive sales.
People trust Amazon, which means you don’t necessarily need to convince anyone that you’re a reputable brand selling high-quality products. Instead, you can simply send traffic to the Amazon site and let Amazon FBA do the heavy lifting.
Having said that, it’s still important that you focus on building your authority and credibility within your niche. Be sure to regularly publish high-quality content, offer honest product feedback, and adhere to the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement.
Everything in One Account
As an Amazon affiliate, you don’t need to worry about managing multiple vendor relationships and platform accounts. All of your affiliate offers and performance reports can be found in one place.
Having everything in one place can simplify the operations of your online business. It also makes it easier to maintain well-organized documentation and records for the sales you generate.
“As an Amazon affiliate, you don’t need to worry about managing multiple vendor relationships and platform accounts.”
Earn Commissions for Additional Purchases
One of the great things about being an Amazon affiliate is that you don’t just earn commissions for the products you promote. Rather, you earn commissions for all purchases that a customer makes after visiting Amazon through one of your affiliate links.
For example, let’s say someone visits your affiliate website and then clicks on a beauty product linking to Amazon. Once they click the Amazon link and arrive on the product page, they click on an ad that takes them to another page where they make a purchase. Even though you didn’t promote that product, you still earn a commission because you brought the customer to Amazon.
In general, the Amazon affiliate cookie is active for 24 hours. In other words, you get commissions for any sales that a customer makes within 24 hours of visiting your site and clicking on one of your affiliate links.
‘Cons’ of Becoming an Amazon Affiliate
While there are many benefits of being an Amazon affiliate, the program isn’t without its weaknesses. Some of the ‘cons’ of being an Amazon affiliate include:
- Low commission rates
- High competition
- Platform dependency
Low Commission Rates
One of the downsides of being an Amazon affiliate is the Amazon associates commission rates. Although the rates vary between categories, the commission rates in most categories are well below 10%. This is considerably lower than what you might encounter in other affiliate programs, and certainly lower than if you work directly with individual vendors.
Because of this, it’s often necessary to drive significant sales in order to generate a healthy income. For this reason, becoming an Amazon affiliate shouldn’t be viewed as a ‘short-term play.’ Rather, it’s best to have a long-term approach, building your website over time so it can generate significant traffic in the future.
The high attractiveness of the Amazon Associates Program means that there are a lot of marketers who want a part of the action.
Due to the benefits mentioned above, there are numerous affiliate marketers out there trying to build successful Amazon affiliate websites. This leads to competition for high-value keywords, making it more difficult to rank for various search terms. For this reason, it’s important to do your research and pick the right niche.
“The high attractiveness of the Amazon Associates Program means that there are a lot of marketers who want a part of the action.”
In general, your business has more risk when it contains single points of failure. When you build an Amazon affiliate site, Amazon becomes a critical factor of your business’s success.
Several years ago, business owners and investors would squirm at the idea of being completely dependent on Amazon. In the acquisition marketplace, buyers wanted to see multiple sources of revenue.
While ‘Amazon dependency’ can still be a concern, many digital entrepreneurs have become increasingly confident that Amazon isn’t going anywhere. However, even if Amazon doesn’t shut down your account, what would happen if the platform lowered its commission rates again like they have in the past? If all of your revenue comes from Amazon affiliate commissions, your revenue would take a big hit.
Prerequisites to Becoming an Amazon Affiliate
Amazon’s requirements for becoming an affiliate are pretty basic. Essentially, you must have an active website with recent, original content that adheres to the platform’s guidelines. All social media YouTube channel accounts must also adhere to Amazon’s standards.
While it’s not difficult to set up an Associates account, there are a few qualities and skills that might be necessary to succeed. In general, an Amazon affiliate website owner should:
- Understand content marketing and SEO
- Be willing to invest in high-quality content
- Have accurate expectations of what it takes to succeed
Content Marketing and SEO
Content marketing drives the success of Amazon affiliate websites. Therefore, it’s critical that you understand how to create and implement effective content strategies to build your business.
There are numerous elements involved in crafting a winning content strategy, including keyword research, linking structure, site optimization, other technical SEO elements, and of course, creating high-quality content. Often, site owners leverage their previous experiences in content affiliate marketing to create a high-performing website.
While previous affiliate marketing experience is a major advantage, new content creators can still succeed by diligently learning the necessary skills throughout the process. Regardless of your background, be sure to understand the Amazon associates mistakes you must avoid.
Be Willing to Invest in High-Quality Content
Creating high-quality content takes time and energy. If you’re working with a small budget, this means you’ll likely need to spend significant time researching, writing, and designing web pages.
If you have more capital to work with, you have the option to outsource much of the content creation process to skilled writers and SEO specialists. While this route can save you a lot of time, it can also get relatively expensive. As in many hiring decisions, you’ll need to weigh the value of time and money when determining your affiliate marketing business strategy.
Have Accurate Expectations
Amazon affiliate websites can be highly profitable, but growing them can take some time. If you’re expecting to make a lot of money quickly, you’ll likely end up disappointed.
Before getting started, it’s important to have accurate expectations. You should plan to invest energy and resources for quite some time before realizing a profit. Once your site is well-established, it should generate passive income, but don’t expect to get there without putting in the necessary time and energy.
“Amazon affiliate websites can be highly profitable, but growing them can take some time.”
5 Steps to Building Your Amazon Affiliate Website
There are several important steps or activities you must complete in order to build an Amazon affiliate website. These include:
- Choosing your niche
- Building your website
- Creating your Amazon Associates Account
- Launching and promoting
- Measuring your results and refining
Choosing Your Niche
In general, it’s best to choose a niche when starting a product review website. Not only is it easier to rank well when you’re focused on a specific niche, but it’s also easier to build trust and authority in your space.
There are a few key elements to consider when picking a niche:
- Search volume
- Price point
- Commission rates
It’s best to pick a niche in which there’s considerable search volume. Since your commission rates are low, it’s important to ensure that your website generates a sufficient number of sales to meet your revenue goals. Google Keyword Planner is a good place to start for search estimates, but there are numerous other tools that can help you generate keyword lists as well.
Since your commissions are based on a percentage of sales, you’ll generally earn more when you promote products with a higher price point. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the price of various products that you promote. You’ll never want to list prices on your content site due to price fluctuations, but you do want to have a clear idea of how much you’ll earn for each sale.
Of course, your commission rates are another important part of the income equation, so make sure to pay attention to the commission rates in each product category you’re considering.
“Since your commissions are based on a percentage of sales, you’ll generally earn more when you promote products with a higher price point.”
Identifying a niche with high revenue potential is great, but that doesn’t mean much if you’re not able to rank well. If the top content websites in your niche are deeply entrenched in the space, it might be worth considering other niches. By comparing the competitors in several niches you’ll gain a clear understanding of the relative difficulty of ranking in each niche.
Lastly, it’s best to choose a niche in which you’re an expert. If you know what makes a product good or bad, it will be significantly easier to provide high-quality reviews and content. In turn, it will be easier to build authority and create high-converting product pages.
Because there are several factors to consider when picking a niche, it’s important to spend some time researching and reflecting. Hard data is important, but so is your expertise and intuition.
Build Your Website
After you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to implement your strategy and create your website. This is where you dive into creating content and positioning yourself in your niche.
In addition to increasing future conversions, a well-designed website also sets you up for greater PR success down the road.
Create Your Account
Once you have your website created, you can go ahead and create your Amazon Associates Account. As common sense suggests, be sure to follow each step carefully to ensure that your account is approved.
You’ve picked a niche, built your website, and created your associates account. Now, it’s time to add products to your site and start promoting.
Presumably, you’ve already identified several products you want to promote during the research stage. Make sure that each Amazon affiliate product is presented well on your site. Detailed reviews, lists, and product comparisons are great ways to pique interest among visitors, generate affiliate sales, and become an Amazon influencer.
As mentioned, the process can start slow, but if you do things right, you’ll pick up momentum over time. Eventually, you can even explore the possibility of selling your blog or review site.
Measure Your Results and Refine
Like in any business, it’s important to track your pages’ performance and refine your strategy.
As you start to generate traffic, you’ll be able to determine which pages are driving conversions and which ones are not. This information enables you not only to optimize your existing pages but also to gather key insights for creating better content in the future. By tracking your keyword ranking, pageviews, and clicks, you’ll be able to constantly refine your website’s performance.
“As you start to generate traffic, you’ll be able to determine which pages are driving conversions and which ones are not.”
How to Create and Use Amazon Affiliate Links
Now that we’ve provided a thorough overview of the affiliate website creation and launch process, let’s address one of the technical details that many new affiliates may be unfamiliar with.
Fortunately, the process of creating Amazon affiliate links is pretty straightforward. To generate an Amazon affiliate link for a given product, start by clicking on “Product Linking” on the top menu bar on the Amazon Associates homepage within your account. From there, click on “Product Links” which will take you to a page where you can search for the product you want to promote. You can perform the search either by entering a keyword, or by searching for a specific ASIN.
Once the product appears, simply click on “Get Link” to copy the product link and paste it to your website. All affiliate links generated through this process are your own links.
As your website grows, you’ll want to constantly integrate effective strategies for traffic generation, conversion rate optimization, and influencer marketing. This article provides a detailed framework for launching and scaling a new Amazon affiliate website, but you should plan for learning to be an ongoing process.
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