Anyone who works in internet marketing and affiliate sales will have a negative story or too about the Amazon Associates program – how it has never been the same since they ‘adjusted’ the commission structure and changed the length of the cookie, how the current commission rate is unfair and how you need to sell a crazily high number of products to get the top rates. All of these points are true, but when managed correctly, Amazon Associate sites can still offer significant profits to budding internet marketers and they still have their own advantages over other affiliates, despite offering lower rates. The first advantage is that they are easy to set up and that you know the company you are dealing with for your affiliate earnings are secure and reliable. The second is that your customers get the same sense of security, knowing that when they buy from your website they will be getting excellent customer service, full guarantees and the security of buying from the web’s biggest retailer. This knowledge often means that conversion rates will be far higher than if you redirect your customers to unknown but higher paying affiliates. In addition, remember that people will nearly always buy more than one thing when shopping on Amazon, adding to your commission rate with no extra effort on your part.
That said, you still need to put the work in to get people to buy from your site, so with that in mind, here are five simple steps you need to take to get your own Amazon Associates site up and running:
- Decide on the Right Products and Niche: The single most important decision you will make in the whole process. Get this right and you will see some serious profits. But how do you get it right? Firstly, only choose those Amazon products with a high enough purchase price. Set up your site to sell a wide range of $5 items and you will be wasting your time. On the other hand, set up a site that deals in big ticket items and you might well retire early! Look at categories such as Appliances, Tools or Home and Garden. Try to advertise products that sell for at least $200. Also, point your customers in the direction of products that are already popular. People are far more likely to buy items which have gathered hundreds of popular reviews and / or that are ranked as the best in their category. If possible, try to only go for products that average a minimum of four out of five stars. Lastly, try to get three or four competing products that fulfil all of these criteria. That way you are giving your customers a few excellent products to choose from.
- Set Up Your Site Correctly: The best way to go is with a Wordpress site, which allows you to easily and quickly get up and running and is designed for easy SEO for the search engines. Make sure that you select a modern and clean template to install – one that showcases your products and offers easy and uncluttered browsing for your customers. Also, add two essential plugins – XML Sitemap Generator and the All in One SEO pack. Both of these will make your site far more attractive to the search engines. Finally, get the keywords in the right place (such as a keyword packed title in general settings) and ensure that you are configured for “www.”
- Now Add Some Content – Most people let themselves down on this bit. If you have good writing skills then write your own product reviews, if not hire someone to do it. The point is that this is the bit where you need to actually convince someone to click through and buy the item. List the pros and cons (using the reviews on Amazon if necessary) and then suggest why the item is the best in its class. Again, this is the bit where you sell, so if you are not a confident writer, outsource this bit.
- Now Work On Moving the Site Up the Rankings: this is where you dabble in the dark alchemy of SEO. You’ve got the site all set up and its keyword rich and SEO optimized. Now you need those backlinks. Get out there and guest post! Find sites that are in the same niche and write guest posts for as many blogs on topic as you can. Not only will you get valuable link juice back to your site but you might well get people interested in your products clicking through to your site too. Build backlinks every week and keep guest posting for as long as the site is live.
- Grow Your Site: All being well after a few months your small Amazon Affiliate site will start converting and performing well for you. Once that happens, don't be afraid to grow the site so that it becomes an authority in that particular niche. Growing it could include adding more reviews, more content to help your customers, adding more products and even adding a forum for discussion.
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Andrew is a freelance blogger and writer. He blogs about internet marketing, SEO and working from home and also maintains a blog for freelancers where he deals with issues such as contracting online, freelance taxes and how to set up an umbrella company.