Amazon Associates Program - Can you make thousands of dollars from Amazon?
The Amazon Associates Program is one of the best alternatives to adding traditional advertising to your websites, blogs and online businesses to help generate passive income. But can you really make thousands of dollars from the Amazon Associates program? is it too good to be true? What kind of success and failiure rate is involved? Can anyone sign up and make money? This guide will dive deep into the program and let you judge for yourself whether you think this program is going to allow you to earn a decent income.
- What is the Amazon Associates Program?
- How do you make money from Amazon Associates Program
- Can you make thousands of dollars from Amazon Associates Program?
- Tips and Tricks with Amazon Associates Program
- Amazon Associates - Don't Rely On This Program
What is the Amazon Associates Program?
The Amazon Associates program is a glorified referral program. As you know, Amazon is the world's largest online retailer and is worth over $100 billion dollars. It ships products on pretty much anything (there are very few niches Amazon doesn't associate with). Amazon was one of the first online retailers, founded in 1994 by Jeff Bozos. Back when the internet was fairly new, it was mostly an online retailer for books and has since expanded into every other market. It has managed to survive the dot-com bubble and is now considered one of the biggest tech companies in the world alongside Google, Apple and Microsoft.
The Amazon Associates program was implemented to allow website owners to refer people to Amazon to buy products. Each time you would click on a referral link for a certain product and purchased a product on the Amazon website, the "partner" who created that link would get a small commission based on the sale (at no extra cost to the customer). This meant that instead of website owners having to flood their pages with adverts and spammy pop-up ads, they could instead advertise Amazon products with referral links and earn commission on whoever clicked on them.
As the internet has evolved it has allowed for more ways for people to monetize their content. People can now add their referral links to videos, social media content, blogs, email lists and any other place where you can advertise links to audiences. The program has allowed many people to turn their hobbies into actual businesses and has allowed for people to become full-time associate partners.
Who can sign up to the Amazon Associates Program?
Practically anyone can sign up to the Amazon Associates program for free. You don't have to pay anything to get started; some countries may be blocked so you'll have to check but for the most part, the Amazon Associates program is open to everyone. The Associates program is separated into different regions depending on where you live; you can use any program you like and earn commission through that region (though you may have to pay taxes based on that countries laws).
Once you've signed up, you have access to all of Amazon's product listings and can add your referral tag to any link. If anyone buys anything through your link, you'll earn a commission. The commission rates for each product category vary and are changed regularly.
There is also an Amazon API which you can use if you are a programmer to easily access Amazon's products and display them on your site. You'll need to have earned at least one commission before you gain access to this though.
How do you make money from Amazon Associates Program?
Once you've signed up, the process of making money from Amazon Associates is fairly straight-forward.
You will need to have some kind of web content that can advertise the product.
Let's say you make a video guide about the latest Mini-Fridge. The content you create goes in-depth with the product; shows off all the latest features, compares it to others in the market and gives the potential customer a good overview of what the product is. Then you place your affiliate link in the video description; this link is a direct link to the Mini-Fridge on Amazon and contains a small tag in the URL to identify you as the referral.
When someone then views your video and decides to click your link, they are then registered as a "click-through" user. The great part about this is that they don't even have to buy the product you're advertising for; you will earn a commission on any Amazon products they buy in the next 24 hours. That means if they decide to go on a shopping spree and spend thousands of dollars in that 24 hours on all sorts of products on Amazon, you'll get a commission. Pretty great right?
The problem is, how do you get people to click on your video? How do you drive traffic to your Amazon Associate links?
That is all part of the game. If you really want to succeed as an Amazon Associates partner, you're going to need a lot of traffic. And how do you get traffic? Well there are two main ways: creating useful content and SEO. Creating useful content is something you can 100% control; good content naturally gets traffic over time and all you have to do is make sure its the best it can be.
SEO on the other hand is all about trying to rank higher on Google search engine results to gain traffic. Known as Search Engine Optimisation, there are experts and specialists who know how to get your content to rank higher than other people's content. You can learn how to do it yourself, but it's a painstaking process and requires many hours of trying to understand Google's ranking algorithms. It is an industry which is changing all the time and is worth billions of dollars every year.
Can you make thousands of dollars from Amazon Associates Program?
The answer is Yes, you definitely can. I am actually an Amazon Associates partner and I have already earned over $20,000 in earnings from using the program. And there are many massive success stories out there of people using the program who are earning upwards of $10,000 a month!
The catch? Well its an incredibly competitive area and there are lots of variables involved. It's especially hard for sites which are young and have just started out. There are massive sites out there which leverage their huge web power content teams to create hundreds (even thousands) of articles every month that are all directly targeting Amazon Affiliate products. Big sites will outrank smaller sites on Google (because Google sees them as Authoritive Sites, which create good content for people) and so you are competiting against companies which have millions of dollars at hand to outrank you.
But don't be perturbed by this too much; there are millions and millions of products on Amazon and new items are coming out all the time. It is possible to find niches which don't have a lot of competition and create good content around products related to that niche. Since the competition is so low, you'll be able to drive more traffic to your website and thus gain more clicks on your Amazon Associates Referral links. That is all part of the process for making it big in the Amazon Associates market; finding some untapped niches which can provide you with decent income.
Tips and Tricks with Amazon Associates Program
Since being a partner for over 2 years now, I've learnt a lot about how the program works and where I should best spend my time. I've dabbled in SEO, content outsourcing and creating niche websites. I've created tools to monitor my own content to see what works and what doesn't; I've had content which can earn me thousands and drop off to earn nothing; I've had content which has earned me thousands and I've spent as little as fifteen minutes working on it. I've also had content that I've spent hours on and it's earned me nothing. What I'm trying to say is, a lot of the content you product on for Amazon Associates is going to be hit and miss; you're going to need a good helping of luck to make the big bucks but you're also going to need a lot of persistance.
Here are my top tips when trying to earn through the Amazon Associates Program:
- Find a Niche that isn't dominated by huge websites; i.e. the health industry is dominated by big companies and there is very little chance a small website will be able to compete.
- Find a category/niche that is huge and wide-reaching; with so much content to cover, even the big companies can't cover everything and you can target those areas they've missed.
- Try to pick a niche that you are passionate about; sites that do well have thousands of words of content and writing about something you don't have an interest in will kill your motivation fast.
- Motivation; making Amazon Associates content is a very hit and miss process. Those who are persistent and don't let their motivation fade usually succeed more than those only work when they see results. This is a long game.
- If you're creating a new website from scratch, it's going to take you around 6-12 months before your site matures. This is all to do with SEO and Google not ranking brand new sites unfortunately. Sites which have been around for years have the advantage here.
- You can look into getting traffic from other sources other than Google; try social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. These sites are great ways for getting temporary boosted traffic.
- This is the perfect program as a side-hustle; you can spend a couple of hours a week working on content and not quite your day job. Since content takes a long time to rank on Google, it's something you can sit and leave and forget about. Once you start earning some revenue, that's when you can start upping your game and putting more hours into it. Quitting your day job to start a site dedicated to this program is not a good idea.
- Create Good Content; if you can't write a good blog post, a good tutorial or create a good YouTube review, you're likely not going to be able to make money from this program. Most of the time good content will get more traffic than badly written/researched content.
- You don't need to be an expert on making websites to earn good money through this program; you can start a simple WordPress site today and add links to products in your articles right away. Those who are experts at making websites will have certain advantages, so learning website skills is a good way to start upping your game.
These are some of the best places I visit when I need help with Amazon Associates content and have questions I want to get answered:
- /r/juststart - A subreddit dedicated to people starting a business, which has a high percentage of Amazon Associates who use it.
- MOZ - Learn all about SEO and how it affects your website content
Amazon Associates - Don't Rely On This Program
I want to put up a cautionary tale with the Amazon Associates program. Putting your income in the hand of any one company is a bad idea because at any time they can pull the plug and then you're stuck. The phrase "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is very true with these types of programs as they can end at any time. The good news is that web content has many potential ways to monetize it, including ad networks like Ezoic.
Back in 2017, Amazon used to have a much more higher rate of commission for products. You could easily earn up to 8% commission on each sale; but in 2017 this all changed when Amazon decided to revamp their commission structure and changed it so it was based on product categories. This meant that some Amazon Associates went from earning 8% commission to around 1%. That is a massive cut in anyone's earnings and should serve as a reminder that this program can change at any time. Of course, there's also the potential for it to improve it's rates too. But if you're doing well with Amazon Associates, I strongly recommend looking into diversifying your income in case something like this happens again.
If you've enjoyed this article, check out our other series in Can you make thousands of dollars:
Post in the comments below if you're a partner in the Amazon Associates program.