Amazon’s Affiliate program is one of my favorites, simply because it is so adaptable to virtually any blog or topic.
They also have the benefit of a lot of trust, so you don?t need to sell the reader on Amazon as a business, rather you can focus on the products themselves.
When I first started using the program I was rather dismayed that the results it was yielding were small. The key however is to build many, targeted, relevant links over time.
I learned this after reading a reading a ProBlogger article on the subject where Darren Rowse discusses his experience with the program. After a couple of months it appears to be working with my monthly income from the program climbing from a few dollars up to the low three figures.
While that still isn’t a lot of money, I suspect if I simply keep applying this principle of developing solid links to the program, this figure should continue to rise to eventually become a solid earner.
So here are 9 ideas for working Amazon links into your blog, of course some of them are mutually exclusive, but there should be enough in there to get any blog plugged in:
(1) Write a Product Review
Amazon links like all affiliate links sell best when they are part of the content. A review is a great way to pre-sell an item, particularly if the review is a positive one.
Of course if you only ever review things to sell them, your readers will realize there’s something fishy going on, so stay objective and let your readers choose if its worth purchasing.
The neat thing about Amazon links are that you get a commission on anything the user purchases after clicking your link within 24 hours.
So even though they may not buy the product you review, it may lead them on to a shopping trip. This means that it can be a good idea to lead into an Amazon link with some text that doesn’t necessarily imply they should buy the item.
For example, you can find out how much it costs over at Amazon, or Read other people’s reviews over at Amazon. By doing this even people who aren’t ready to buy may just click it to keep exploring, once they get to Amazon who knows what may happen.
Example: Here?s an example of a product review that we did on FreelanceSwitch for a book called Six Figure Freelancing.
(2) Create an aStore and link it from your sidebar
An aStore is Amazon’s mini-store product that opens up in a new window. You can fill it with a little catalog that you think would be interesting to your readers and if Amazon can detect it, the aStore will display the user’s Amazon wish list, which is a handy way of reminding them of the things they already decided are worth spending on.
You can style an aStore to match your site, and put a link or graphic in the sidebar of your blog to call attention to it.
Give it some supporting text indicating that you’ve hand picked things that you think might be interesting.
Example: Here’s an example of an aStore from over at ProBlogger
(3) Whenever you mention a product / book, drop in an Amazon link
This is common sense, but if you are running an affiliate program you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to link in.
If you mention a book or some other Amazon item in passing in one of your posts, make sure to link it up. Readers will find it useful and you increase the number of ways a person can wind up shopping at Amazon and thereby contributing to your income.
You can even go a little out of your way to mention products or books. For example you could write a post talking about your wish list of presents this holiday season and drop in a few Amazon links for people to see what you are talking about.
Example: Here?s an example of a post where a book was mentioned in passing and linked up – http://freelanceswitch.com/productivity/lessons-from-eating-frogs/
(4) Create a Best Sellers List
People love best sellers lists for the same reason they love stories on Digg’s homepage because the masses have done the thinking for them. If everyone likes something, it must be good!
Creating a best sellers list or some other type of top picks list, is a good way of taking the effort out of choosing for your readers. These can work particularly well around the holiday season when people are in the mood for shopping.
Examples: Problogger has a great post about producing best sellers lists that includes examples
(5) Create a Resource Post and include Books
Linkbait type posts that list some sort of resource are great because they can lead to lots of traffic and readers love them. Happily it is also not that hard to work a set of useful books on the topic into your list.
Example: Here is a post that was wildly successful on Digg and StumbleUpon that had a section full of Amazon links called 34 Places to Get Design Inspiration Online and Off
(6) Make a Competition Prize Pack
A competition prize pack is often made up of items that are readily available on Amazon, so when talking about the prizes as you’ll probably wind up doing in a few posts, link them up!
Example: In this survey competition, we are giving away a huge prize pack of goods, all of which link back in to Amazon.
(7) Create a Resource Page or Segment of your Sidebar
A lot of blogs like to have a whole page or segment of their sidebar with general resources. Often this will include a Recommended Books section. This keeps your books right there in front of any potential visitors.
Example: ZenHabits keeps a nice set of books in his sidebar with the catchy title Must-Read Books?
(8) Run a Banner Advert or Omakase Banner
This is probably not the best way to promote your Amazon affiliate link because it is so detached from you and your blog.
Nonetheless if you have an empty space for adverts on your blog, running an Amazon banner is better than running no banner.
Additionally Amazon offers a product called Omakase banners which will intelligently display products that suit your viewer which can be a good option.
Some blogs will place a banner, list of books or even aStore link, and promote it by asking their readers to use this as a means to support the blog.
In a way this is a little like asking for donations and on a blog where there is a lot of good-will can work really well. Of course if you have over-commercialized your blog already it is unlikely anyone is going to feel sympathetic enough to go out of their way their Amazon purchases through your link!
(9) Use Amazon tools like Search Boxes or Context Links
Amazon also offers two other products you can embed on your site. The first are search boxes that allow your user to begin searching the Amazon catalogue.
These are unlikely to generate much in the way of returns as most people will simply type in Amazon.com to start looking for things.
Whether this works for you depends on how you feel about context links, personally I am of the opinion that they distract from your main purpose. Nonetheless they can bring in the conversions.
So there you have it, the key with Amazon links seems really to be to build up the number of different ways that a reader can wind up shopping at Amazon, and using these 9 methods you should be able to start building up quite a few links.
As with any monetization method, remember not to over-do it for your readers, balancing money-making and content.