The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program

By: | Updated: May 12, 2021

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website.

Affiliate marketing. It’s one of those buzzwords that you hear all the time but probably aren’t sure what it actually means. It used to be a phrase tossed around in the marketing world, but now it’s out there in the blogger space too. Not sure what affiliate marketing? You’re about to learn.

We’re breaking down all the details of what affiliate marketing is, how to get started, how to make money with it, and how to use it to build traffic. Keep reading for the ultimate guide to making money from your blog with the Amazon Affiliates Program.


What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a rather simple concept. You market a product on your blog. People read your blog, like a product they see and click on the product to buy it. When they make a purchase, you earn a commission from the seller.

Sound interesting? It is.

Today we’re going to show you how to get involved.

To earn money from affiliate marketing, the first step is to find a network or partner who offers an affiliate program. Today we’re focusing on the Amazon Affiliates Program.

As a member of the Amazon Affiliates Program, you can post products on your blog that you think your readers will like. When your reader clicks the product link they’ll be redirected to the product page on Amazon.

If they buy, Amazon will share some of the revenue with you for getting the customer to them. There’s a ton to know about this program, so let’s get into the details.

Why are People Apprehensive About the Amazon Affiliates Program?

There’s a lot of talk about why people don’t like the Amazon Affiliates Program. For one, people think the commissions are too small. They vary from 4% to 8% depending on the products and the categories.

So if you’re promoting a $10 book, at 4% you’re only going to earn a commission of 40 cents. Peanuts…why even bother, right?

Another thing that members of the program don’t like is that a customer has to make their purchase within 24 hours of clicking on your link. When a customer clicks a product on your page you get an affiliate cookie.

That cookie stops working 24 hours later. So if a customer comes back a day later or a week later to actually make a purchase, your commission is $0. Now that doesn’t sound fair, does it?

These are valid concerns, but there’s a lot more to it than that. There are other affiliate companies out there who pay higher commission rates and have longer lasting cookies. But can they do for you what Amazon can? Probably not.

Why is the Amazon Affiliates Program a Good Choice?

Amazon is a trusted brand. Everyone knows it. Everyone uses it. And it’s a go-to for most people who shop online.

It’s a safe source to buy from and people are comfortable with the platform. Which is why so many millions of people shop Amazon every single day.

4% commission on a $10 book isn’t much, but if you promote high-value products, the commission can be much better. You’ll see decent commissions if you promote products such as cameras and electronics. So despite what some bloggers say, it is possible to make money online with the Amazon Associates program.

The other benefit is that Amazon shoppers tend to buy more than one product at a time. The beauty of the affiliate program is that you get a commission on whatever they buy, even if they don’t buy the product that originally sent them there.

Some customers will load up their carts with all sorts of products, and you’ll get a commission on each.

Amazon offers easy integration and provides a variety of useful tools and widgets to help you integrate the sales channel into your site. They also run big seasonal sales, so you’re sure to see profits boom between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, think of the extensive array of products they sell. Regardless of your niche audience, you’re sure to find Amazon products that are relevant to your readers.

We know that the Amazon Affiliates Program might not be right for every blog. But it certainly might be worth testing out.

How to Get Started With the Amazon Affiliate Program

There are some things you need to have in place before you can join the Amazon Affiliate program (also known as the Amazon Associates program). For starters, you need a website. On occasion, Amazon accepts Facebook groups and verified Twitter accounts, but most members of the program have a website.

When we say website we mean a fully developed site that Amazon can view. You can apply for the program at any time, but it’s important that your site gets traffic. Without traffic, you won’t be able to convert anyone into Amazon customers, meaning no money for you.

If your site is brand new, you may want to wait until you’re enjoying views and clicks. If you don’t make an affiliate sale within 180 days of activation, Amazon will close your account. So make sure you’ve got enough traffic to make at least a few sales.

Once you have your website up and running and are getting decent traffic, sign up on the Amazon Associates website.

They have an easy step-by-step walk-through that will prompt you on what you need to do. It’s free to sign up, and it’s easy to follow. Click on the above link and hit “Join Now For Free”. From there they will take you through the following series of steps:

  • Enter your name and verify the address associated with your payments
  • Provide the name of your website and the URL of the site that will direct traffic to Amazon
  • Let Amazon know what your site is about
  • Enter information regarding what types of products you intend to list on your site
  • Verify your bank account and identity for tax purposes

Adding Amazon Affiliate Links to Your Site

After you sign up on the Amazon Affiliate site, you can start making some money. But you can’t just start adding products to your website. First, you’ll need to know how to add those links.

Adding an Amazon affiliate link is the same as adding any other type of link, but you have to include your Amazon Affiliate ID in the structure. Anytime someone clicks on a product on your site and makes a purchase, you’ll get a commission. But if your link does not include your tracking ID, you’ll never see that money.

WordPress has a few plugins that simplify this process, and Amazon also has a free version that you can use.

How Much Money Can I Make With the Amazon Affiliate Program?

Potential affiliate income is a little complicated. The answer to this question depends on what products you’re targeting, who your audience is, and how much traffic your site gets. If you’re just starting out, don’t expect to earn much.

The Amazon Affiliate program has a specific fee structure. The money you earn depends on what products (and which categories) you link to.

For example, if you link to video games and video game consoles you’ll earn just 1%. Link to outdoor products and tools and you’ll enjoy 5.5% commission. Send your readers to women’s fashion items and you’ll receive a healthy 10% on every item purchased. The program fees vary from product to product.

You can also earn flat fees when someone signs up for an eligible Amazon program. For example, if one of your readers signs up for the Amazon Baby Registry, you’ll earn $3.00. If they sign up for an Amazon Fresh free trial, you’ll earn $5.00.

Click here for a complete list of eligible programs, product categories, and rates.

Once you identify what type of products you’re linking your readers to, you can begin to get an idea of how much money you can make. For example, if you’re a beauty blogger that’s only linking to products in the Luxury Beauty category, you’ll earn 10% of every purchase made.

Just keep in mind, calculating the rewards are difficult when you’re starting out. There’s always a chance that your links won’t get any clicks at all.

To get an accurate estimate of how much you can earn over the course of the year, you will have to do a little bit of experimenting. Start by measuring your Amazon affiliate link click-through rate. One great way to do this is through Google Analytics Goal Tracking. These statistics can also be viewed in the Amazon Partner dashboard.

Once you have a good idea how your click-thru rate and conversion rate, you should be able to extrapolate potential earnings based on website traffic, average Amazon product cost and average Amazon commission.

How Can I Increase My Amazon Affiliates Earnings?

Once you get started, you’ll see that there are lots of ways to earn money with the program.

Some are more obvious than others, but testing out a few options to figure out what’s best for your blog and your audience. As your following grows, you might want to test out more and more options and see how it goes.

Get Ready to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

One thing is for certain, the more people that visit your site, the more likely you are to earn commissions from your affiliate posts. But you don’t need a massive following to get started.

Even if you’re just starting out, you can partake in this program.

The more you blog and promote products, the easier it will be to find out what content your readers like and what they don’t like. For a new blogger, it’s always best to put your focus on creating great content that your readers truly care about.

Establish yourself as a trusted voice first and your readers are more likely to trust your product recommendations. Your goal should be to become a trusted go-to source for your readers.

Become a Go-To Resource by Building Trust and Loyalty

There’s no point in recommending products to your readers if your readers don’t trust your opinion. If you plan on reviewing and promoting a certain product, make sure you can back up your claim 100%.

It’s best to test the products for yourself and be able to explain to your readers how they can work for their lifestyle.

Promoting a product that you’ve never used or recommending a product that you don’t love yourself is going to earn you one thing: fewer readers. You’ll see readers drop off the second they realize your recommendations aren’t valid.

If you can’t substantiate your claims, don’t make them. You must be honest and forthcoming if you want to become a trusted resource.

Why Are Your Readers Visiting You in the First Place?

Whether you intend to use the Amazon Affiliates Program, some other affiliate network, or none at all, there’s one thing every blogger needs to do.

You’ve got to have an understanding about why your readers are visiting your blog posts in the first place. This is the only way to determine what products you should start recommending.

Ask yourself the following two questions:

  1. Why are my readers here?
  2. Where are they in the buying cycle?

For example, if your blog is full of health and wellness tips, your readers may not care if you’re recommending a shampoo or a certain brand of nail polish. You’ve got to understand the intent of your readers if you want to provide content that’s meaningful to them.

Once you know why your readers are there in the first place, you can tweak your content a bit and increase the range of what you’re offering them. For a health and wellness blog, you may want to consider opening up your content and promoting beauty or skincare products as well.

But the initial step is to know the real reason why they’re there.

Get Inside the Minds of Your Readers

To understand your readers, you need to know their interest and intent. Once you know why they’re visiting your blog you’ll be able to figure out what types of product they might have interest in.

Chances are your blogging about a topic that you’re passionate about. So keep your own habits in mind.

Blogging about the outdoors? There’s no point in trying to get your readers to buy cosmetics. You’re better off promoting proven products from trusted outdoor brands that you have already tested in real life.

Bring Readers to the Door…Amazon Will Show Them Inside

Amazon has a way of getting people to buy things, especially things they didn’t know they wanted or don’t even need.

So one of the best parts of the Amazon Affiliates Program is that once you get your readers to shop for your one product, Amazon will get to work. That means there’s a pretty good chance of those customers buying a whole slew of things.

Your only job is to get people thinking about buying a particular product and have enough interest to click that product. Amazon will do the rest. The idea of getting people in the Amazon door seems to conflict with the “relevancy” tip above, but it’s all you can do.

Your outdoor blog may send readers in a relevant way to Amazon to buy a new piece of outdoor gear. Once they’re there, if they make other purchases, they can’t blame you.

They may end up purchasing items that aren’t relevant to your blog, but their motivation to visit Amazon in the first place has some relevance.

Always Be Honest With Your Product Reviews

This is one tip we can’t stress enough. You MUST be honest in your reviews. As we mentioned above, recommend products that you have actually tested and used. You’ve got to be authentic and real if you want your affiliate marketing program to work.

Don’t say a product has changed your life if it hasn’t. Don’t say it’s the “greatest” if it’s not. Be honest, because if your readers buy the product and it doesn’t live up to your claims, they’ll know you were lying.

By positioning yourself as a trusted, honest source you can improve your readership and build credibility. By building credibility you’ll find yourself with a long-term base of loyal visitors and subscribers.

Use Best Seller Lists to Give Readers a Push in the Right Direction

Imagine that all your friends are raving about a certain product. Don’t you now want to buy that product too? The answer is yes.

You can add a list of best-sellers to your blog to verify that your recommendations are legitimate. By sharing products that audience members suggest, you can convert unsure readers into customers. There are two ways to use a best-seller list to do this.

The key with best-seller lists is that you have to drive traffic to them. You can either link to those pages from within a post or link to them from areas within other posts. If you link to them from other posts, expect it to take a day or two for your post to convert.

It’s also important to promote them through social media channels, where best-seller lists are often shared well. Not sure how to compile your best-seller list? Amazon ranks products based on popularity and how well they’re selling.

Check out the best-seller list on any Amazon category to find some ideas.

Extra Tips for Using the Amazon Affiliates Program

1. Be Patient With the Process.

You cannot build an affiliate marketing empire overnight. Build quality content. Improve readership. Understand what your readers care about.

These things all take time. Don’t be discouraged if your marketing efforts don’t pan out right away. Focus on delivering the best content and your readers will come.

2. No Traffic? No problem.

Even if your site doesn’t get a ton of traffic, you can still become part of the Amazon Affiliates Program. Please keep in mind that you do need to make a “qualified referral within [the] first 180 days.”

Add Amazon links early on in the process so that when your blog grows in popularity, you can earn from those links for years to come. By starting early, you’ll also learn a lot about affiliate marketing.

So when it comes time to ramp up your marketing efforts, you’ll have a better idea of how to do so.

3. Keep your Readers’ Best Interests in Mind

Remember to always keep your readers in mind whenever posting or adding affiliate marketing links to your blog.

Without your readers, your blog is meaningless, so keep their best interests at heart at all times. Build yourself as a trusted, reliable source and you can enjoy success for years.

The Amazon Affiliates Program is a great way to earn passive income. It can help build the authenticity of your blog, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can destroy your credibility as well.

Know why your readers are reading your blog in the first place. Understand why they visit your site. Make sure that the reviews you post and the products you recommend are 100% honest.

The only way to be successful with affiliate marketing is to establish yourself as a credible source that your readers can trust.

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.