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.

Join the Discussion
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Recent messages
MaryFRM Premium
Hi Dom, I have a question.
How mature should my website be to apply for Amazon?
It's not a dedicated Amazon website, but I thought I'll find some topics where I can embed Amazon products.
For now, I only have 4 posts and probably no traffic. What would be the sign I can apply and not be rejected straight away?
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DomW Premium
You wouldn't get rejected right away, but if you don't earn 3 sales in the first 180 days, you'll get kicked out of the program (you can reapply later though).

So I would wait until you have some traffic, otherwise you will start the clock ticking unnecessarily early.
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MaryFRM Premium
Thank Dom
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NWTDennis Premium
Thanks Dom ... you've convinced me to spend some more time on my first niche site. I'm retired and love to play golf, so you can imagine what popped into my mind when Kyle explained ... just follow your passion back in 2015.

Traffic was increasing nicely until we got close to the holiday season and then it started to fall off and essentially went to almost zero in the month of December. WTF?

So I did some comparative pricing (my affiliate offers versus the exact same product on Amazon). The Amazon price was almost always lower. I was kind of discouraged I jumped over to Bootcamp training. Have just left my niche site sitting there.

But now I've decided to spend some time to rework following your suggestions above. Do you think Amazon's Associate Program is going to stick around? Does it fit into Jeff Bezos'es long range plans?
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MsMerry Premium
If Amazon does not work out you could look at Drop shipping to Dennis. I know a couple of people here who are or were doing this and one was golfing supplies.
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Robg1 Premium
One of the reasons Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world is because of it's associate program. It won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
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MsMerry Premium
That is so true. Also, all the advertising and expanding they do only helps people to trust more.
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randallpaul Premium
Dom, would you be aware of any training here or anywhere else that would tell us how to go about focusing on being an Amazon Associate and the best way to step through the process and focus on that part of our affiliate marketing? Pros and cons, pitfalls, things to watch out for, etc.

The training here for basic affiliate marketing is great and so helpful but was wondering for something more targeted to Amazon?
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ZEGU Premium
The best way is to research about it and the Internet is a good starting point.
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randallpaul Premium
After looking at Doms training, doing a search here in WA and a search in Google I can't seem to find the training you are referring to. Do you have a link you can provide? Thank you.

RP
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SafiaR Premium
In general you can see Jay webinars, they can help so well.

good luck
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esteadman Premium
Dom,
Thanks for the tips. My site is Amazon-centric for the reasons you stated above. So far, lots of affiliate clicks but nothing purchased yet.
I never thought of adding links to related products only to the ones that were reviewed or discussed in my blogs and pages so I would like to add the "Customers who bought this item ..." box. How do you do that?
Also, I have a number of pages with multiple products so I'll add a top pick Amazon link.
Ed
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DomW Premium
It's Amazon who does that, not us.
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esteadman Premium
OK, thanks. I'm using custom native ads now to add related items and "My Amazon Picks".
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KJoy Premium
Amazon recently dropped me because I hadn't made a sale in the first 180 days. I've been trying to figure out what's going on and why I'm not getting much traffic/sales. Do you think Amazon will take me back and if so how much steady traffic should I get before reapplying?
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TammiP Premium
Amazon will take you back, but it would be a good idea to have a lot of steady traffic as that would increase your chances of getting sales.

Check your site over with a fine tooth comb and make sure that your posts are SEO'd, your posts are complete and engaging. Make sure that your site looks attractive and engaging. This should be a great start.

Good luck!!

T
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MsMerry Premium
That happened to me too Katie. They will take you back but the traffic part seems to be key. I could get the boot again as I was very sick and in hosp for 3 weeks and recovering for 2 more. That is one month + gone. Shoot. Who knows, I could get lucky and get one sale yet!
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ThomasTay Premium
This is good advice for beginner. Trust factor is important as Amazon is a big brand most of us know and it will help beginner to kick start their online business. I agreed absolutely no point having lot of traffic but if all they want is gather information but no intend to buy anything. Beginner will start losing interest in WA as they have no money to pay for the membership fee. I see lot of them existing after their failed hard work.
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JamezMonroe Premium
Hi Dom,

Okay, two questions.

1- How many websites have you got now?
2- Would it make sense to have more than 1, 2 or even 3 niches in one website?

Oh, there's one more question.

Probably you don't only go for Amazon now. So what about the Click Bank system? Aren't the results from there satisfactory?
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derekmarshal Premium
1) It is not really important how many sites any particular member has. I know a serial blogger that has 50+ and simply loves to throw up sites all the time for a variety of reasons. It only takes one site to be successful.

2) No. It would make more sense to have individual sites for each niche as the individual sites would be more targeted, for specific (and relevant) for the individual audiences that one large multiniche website. However, once you have a niche going you can diversify, ya know, a little like how Pizzerias sell more than just Pizzas, but spaghetti, pasta, lasagne, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages too.

Jay has made a webinar on diversifying your niche. Pretty good.
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JamezMonroe Premium
Hehehehe Hey Derek, I'm not trying to break into memebers privacy or their business. I just asked out of pureness about how many websites LOL
But guess what, as an unstoppable person am, I found out something and submitted to one Dom'swebsites:HumanProofDesigns.

As for the answer 2: I'd say you're 100 % right and this is exactly what I wanted to hear as a comfirmation to my inner voice.

Thanks mate!! :)
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PaulChatwin Premium
Great article Dom. Would you recommend purchasing a separate domain for each subject matter, or would it work just as well with a generic domain name and building separate web pages on pre-fixes of that domain.
So for example i have the domain GreatInfoGroup.com and was considering adding product names to that as a pre-fix. e.g eggbabystroller.greatinfogroup.com.

Thanks

Paul
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DomW Premium
Different domain and site for each niche
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PaulChatwin Premium
Thanks Dom
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MsMerry Premium
Thank you, Dom. I struggled for so long with Google to finally approve my site for Adsense ( an error that took forever) but now, after all that, I really don't like all the Ads that much.
I got the boot from Amazon for no sales awhile back and have since hesitated to try again. :( It was my own doing too, as I jumped the gun and put the cart before the horse! yeah, like that works well. :) Thank you for the motivation to try again.
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derekmarshal Premium
The conversion factor of Amazon is usually higher than other independent merchants (trust factor).

For the moment, although I am doing much better with another program income wise, too much to ignore and switch my income split is around 95% and 5% amazon.

In saying that I am getting more sales with less clicks from Amazon and trying to balance out the income distribution and will be hitting big A hard soon! just now 30% lifetime cookies and marketing via email and so on done for me.

having wrote about building amazon exclusive authority sites - what is your thoughts on multiple income streams from a single authority site?

I mean, amazon only sites got caught with their pants down when the commission structure got changed. A site, with multiple income streams would have been less effected.

In essence, I am referring to multiple supplier relationship to a single business.
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DomW Premium
An authority site definitely needs multiple income streams. My main site has half a dozen!
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CraigUKTV Premium
This all makes perfect sense. I am an Associate with USA, UK and Canada and I have recently implemented Amazon Onelink. This is another reason to join their program, one link now covers 3 countries!

In my niche I primarily review TV boxes but I am also affiliated to 2 other companies that are rivals of Amazon (Gearbest and Geekbuying). I still get most sales through Amazon, even when the price may be cheaper elsewhere.
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Swangirl Premium
I really need to use Onelink. That would be great for me.
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DomW Premium
Yeah OneLink is only the beginning as well.
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Tbarlow1 Premium
Yeah if they offer in 3 different countries, I don't know why being in Missouri of the U.S. would be excluded. Thanks for your input!!

Tracy
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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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DomW 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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DomW 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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DomW 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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DomW 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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DomW Premium
Lol. You make it sound like the rest of us only got online a few weeks ago.
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DomW 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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