Why Amazon Is The Best Affiliate Program For Beginners

Last Update: August 10, 2017

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of Amazon. They’ve sent me a lot of cheques over the years and I’m even on good terms with some of the higher ups in the affiliate program.

They're one of the biggest online retailers in the world, and they let us get a share in that.

Of course, their affiliate program, Amazon associates, isn’t perfect. You don’t have to look far to find the common complaints. The cookie is only 24 hours long, the commission percentages are low..some products are excluded from earning commissions. Boo hoo.

The thing is though, Amazon is STILL one of the best programs out there, and for beginners, it’s hands down THE best on the planet. Since Google Adsense stopped paying out the big money it used to, I can’t think of a program I’d recommend more to those of you just starting.

Note: Even if you’re not a beginner, Amazon is still a fantastic opportunity for affiliate commissions. I still build new Amazon sites and I’ve been around the block a few times.

The reason this post is catered to beginners is because it’s those of you who are just starting out who need the most direction, and I want you to start on the right foot.

Reason Number 1: Amazon products sell themselves

A lot of people start out with the belief that all they need to do is get traffic, and they’ll make money. Once traffic comes, they think, all they need to do now is get more traffic.

The reality is that sometimes all the traffic in the world won’t make you any money. What you need to be able to do is convert that traffic into sales, and I don’t think I’ve ever found something convert better than Amazon products.

People are so familiar with the platform that as soon as they land on the Amazon site, they switch into shopping mode. It doesn’t matter whether or not you did a great job or a poor job of describing the product they were on your site to learn more about.

Simply adding a link along the lines of the one below can make you a lot of money. People click it, Amazon takes over.

Reason Number 2: You get sitewide commissions.

When somebody clicks on your link and gets that Amazon cookie in their browser, you earn commissions on almost anything they buy within that 24 hour window. How many times have you gone to Amazon and bought more than one thing?

Around December, this is huge and can contribute to you earning double or even triple during the Christmas shopping period.

In some niches, as much as 50% of your Amazon commissions could come from products you didn’t even promote. Somebody goes to Amazon, and then the billions of dollars they’ve invested into conversions kicks in, and they find themselves buying multiple products.

Does this image look familiar?

It’s your new best friend.

By the way, even if somebody doesn’t buy the product that you linked to, but buys something else, you still get paid. Your job as an Amazon affiliate is going to be less about trying to overly sell products or write fantastic sales copy, and more about presenting people with a bunch of different purchasing options for them to click on.

Now, those two reasons alone should be enough to make you realise the potential, but in case you don’t really see the bigger picture at this point, here are a few stories for you. They also demonstrate why focusing on the reasons “not to” build an Amazon site are just wrong.

Bigger picture people!

One of my first sites was about shaving. At the time, I only promoted straight razors (I didn’t realise that you could promote lots of things. I thought you had to try to persuade people to buy a straight razor instead of another type).

I didn’t really like the idea of only earning $5 from Amazon for every razor someone bought, so I put affiliate links on my posts for another company who paid about 70% commissions, which would be about $30-40 per razor.

I probably sold about 3 razors over the course of 6 months.

Later, I decided to see what would happen if I switched back to Amazon. I thought “Maybe people aren’t buying these other razors because the company I’m linking to doesn’t have any trust factor”.

My commissions were lower, but I made SO MANY MORE sales, and the site earned me $500 in one month when it hadn’t even earned me $100 in the previous 6.

At that point, I was an Amazon convert.

It didn’t stop there though.

I noticed lots of people were buying the same products over and over again, even though I wasn’t promoting them. That gave me lots of content ideas for other products to review! So I started reviewing them and linking more specifically to the ones that sold well, and my sales went up again.

I then started adding “This is my top pick” boxes to my site, and again, my sales increased.

It's very simple to implement but can make a huge difference. The "view more" button links to Amazon.

Amazon commissions might be lower, but I'd rather get 5% of 100 sales than 70% of 3..especially as those 100 sales were usually for multiple products.

So yeah, the commissions are lower and the cookie length is shorter, but you don’t need to do any selling, and your customers will buy a ton of products. Surely that is what matters?

If you’re a beginner, this is huge. A lot of beginners just don’t know how to write very good content or content that will get a lot of sales.

This is just one less thing for you to worry about.

When you’re more competent, explore other affiliate programs or make your own products if you want, you don’t have to stick with Amazon forever.

Ok, so you’re sold on Amazon.

How do you actually make it work?

There are generally a few popular ways to make money with Amazon.

1.) Build a dedicated Amazon site.

This is the kind of thing where you build a site around a sub niche in Amazon. For example..baby strollers.

You might build a site with the following keywords:

  • Best baby strollers
  • Best double stroller
  • McClaren Baby stroller review

And then you might add some informational content like:

  • Are baby strollers safe?
  • Can you take baby strollers on a plane?

I haven’t researched these keywords at all, I’m just guessing based on the fact I’ve built tons of sites like this.

The advantage of this kind of site is that you’re going to get a lot of buyer-intent traffic, and also with the informational content, it’s easy to build your site out to be an authority.

Furthermore, there are so many opportunities for you to put Amazon links in the site, that people will click through at a high rate. Remember above I said this is the main goal?

The important thing to know if you do build an Amazon site is to make sure you flesh it out. Smaller, 10 page sites filled with affiliate links don’t work as well as they did before, so you definitely want to build a bigger site with lots of content.

This means you should choose a niche that isn’t too narrow. Baby strollers is fine because there is lots of room for moving broader later (reviewing other baby equipment) and there’s so many different products and product types to review.

A bad idea might be to focus on something very narrow, like a particular type of hairbrush or something.

2.) Just build a normal site and put Amazon links in.

You don’t have to go all in on Amazon though. You could build any site and just put Amazon links in your content.

Whether this is through a “best” or “review” post, or just something else, it’s fine.

For example, you could have a site all about hair growth or something along those lines, and you might have one article about apple cider vinegar.

At this point, you may be able to add a few Amazon links to Apple Cider Vinegar products and get some sales that way.

This is going to convert at a much lower rate though, because it’s less relevant and people might not be looking specifically for products.

Still, it costs you nothing to test it!

Summary

Here is a recap of why I think you ought to consider Amazon if you have not yet done so:

  • Sitewide commissions. Amazon does the selling and upselling for you
  • People buy without thinking, making your job easier
  • You don't need to write sales copy.
  • Trust factor is huge

So I know many of you will be put off by Amazon because the % is low and the cookie is short, but ultimately your total earnings will be higher, and that's what matters.

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Swangirl Premium
This is so funny. I just did a post with a link to apple cider vinegar on Amazon!

My site is about cat health and behavior and I had apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for kitty colds. Not very profitable but I need to keep up the posting and like you said, it gets people to Amazon and I also recommend a great cat immunity supplement that Amazon sells at the same time.

I have other affiliate but Amazon is the one I focus on now. It just has the best conversions!
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Tbarlow1 Premium
I am a beginner, and Amazon sounds great for me, but if I recall, there was a blog about someone not being able to use Amazon because of the state they live in... I think the state of Missouri is one of them, and I can't remember exactly who it was that posted it, but he said he uses Walmart in place of Amazon. Do you recommend Walmart for beginners then?? We all know how big Walmart is, so I guess I would have to go that route...?? Anyone have any specific info on it, or advice??

Thanks
Tracy
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Alan-C Premium
I am not sure if it legal, a I am not a US citizen, but you could become an Affiliate of Amazon.co.uk (UK) and Amazon.ca (Canada). If you want to do this discretely then use VPN and point to the country you are an affiliate for. I have to do this because I live in China and Amazon.com (USA) is blocked in China but a use VPN to access it. I am also an affiliate of the UK and Canadian Amazon organisations, but I do not need to use a VPN there as they are not blocked in China.

I do not want to suggest you should break the law, but if it is legal it would be one way round your problem.
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bryonbrewer Premium
Walmart is ok but doesn't come close to being as good as Amazon. I would check if your state is banned or not because they've changed a few times in the past years.
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Tbarlow1 Premium
Thanks for taking the time, and giving great information to all of us. I didn't even know about Amazon Onelink....

Thanks so much
Tracy
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Tbarlow1 Premium
Thanks so much Alan for taking the time, and giving me such valuable information. I would hate not to be able to be a part of Amazon....

Thanks again
Tracy
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Alan-C Premium
You are welcome Tracy.
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OldMCSEGuy Premium
Good article. And a lot of work to do it. I agree with you wholeheartedly not so much that it is the best program for beginners but it is a way to get some stable recurring income fairly easily. We have done pretty well with Amazon over the years. But we have done even better with other programs that pay higher Commission.
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bryonbrewer Premium
Yep, Amazon is just the first step.
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littlemama Premium
I totally agree with you Dom, I yet to build one of these sites (gotta make money on my current site first), but I still tinker with Amazon a bit.

Amazon also recently added OneLink so you can get sales to several countries without much more effort, I'm pretty excited they added this feature.
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bryonbrewer Premium
Yeah you could already do that anyway but OneLink makes it easier and free
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littlemama Premium
Exactly, easier and free, that's what I like about it. :)
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halinphilly Premium
You make a lot of good points. Although my experience dates back to when they had a 30 day cookie (so I'm spoiled), you still have a convincing argument for being sold on Amazon's affiliate program.

For me, the jury is still out, but I'm inclined to agree with much of what you've laid out here. And for a beginner, it's hands down the best game in town.
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bryonbrewer Premium
When did they have a 30 day cookie?
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halinphilly Premium
Please don't make me reveal my age :-)
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bryonbrewer Premium
Lol. You make it sound like the rest of us only got online a few weeks ago.
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bryonbrewer Premium
I ask because your profile says you've been learning this since 2014, and I started in 2012 and there was never a 30 day cookie.
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halinphilly Premium
Ahh, there's the snafu. What I said was that during my cancer recovery, I spent that time learning as much as I could about video marketing. There was no Youtube, there was no JVZoo or Clickbank or Wealthy Affiliate.

When Amazon first implemented their affiliate program, we got a 30 day cookie.

Here's the full story...
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