Earlier this year, I launched my first my first Amazon affiliate site. I had heard from some internet “gurus” that it was no longer possible to make money through Amazon affiliate sites, and I wanted to see if this were actually true.
6 months later, the site is making a decent amount of money (nothing extraordinary, but a good amount for the effort I’ve put into it) so I wanted to share the knowledge with you. Here’s exactly what I did to build a successful Amazon affiliate site!
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Choosing A Niche
First and foremost, you’ve got to choose a niche. Choosing a profitable niche is probably the most important aspect of starting any website, and this holds true with Amazon review sites. The truth is, choosing an unprofitable niche will result in little more than wasted time. I’m going to assume you value your time pretty highly, so we’re going to avoid wasting it when possible. 🙂
Starting off, I want you to make a list of each and every niche with products for sale that you know of. List the ones you know more about first, because the more you know about a topic, the less time you’ll spend researching for your reviews.
Don’t bother sorting by your interest in them. Passion is great for traditional blogs, but I’m going to assume you’re building an Amazon affiliate site for the sole purpose of making money. Unfortunately, Amazon review sites don’t allow as much freedom (at least if you want to maximize conversions, but we’ll get more to that later). I’m not going to sugar-coat this, writing these review articles might not be the most exciting work you’ve ever done. Therefore, I’m going to write this guide as if our intention is to put profit first. If you’re going to do unexciting work, you may as well make the most amount of money possible from it, right?
If you’re having trouble coming up with niches to write down, go on Amazon and browse products by category. There are thousands of different categories for you to look through, so feel free to take your time!
Narrowing It Down
Got a list of niches with products for sale? Good. Let’s get rid of all the ones that aren’t worth pursing.
First things first, get rid of all the niches that don’t have at least 30 products for sale. You don’t want to limit yourself in terms of articles you can write, and a lot of products equals a healthy market. Ideally, your niche will have new products released regularly (multiple times a year.)
Secondly, eliminate any niches where the average product isn’t selling for at least $150. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather earn a $20 commission per sale instead of a 20 cent commission per sale. Ideally, the niche will also have products that cost thousands of dollars or more, so you can appeal to the high-income buyers as well. Of course, this isn’t necessary, just a bonus.
Next, check to make sure the products in the niche are actually selling on Amazon. Certain products just don’t sell online. A good way to judge how well a product is selling it by its reviews. It’s been estimated that only 1 in every 200 buyers will take the time to leave a review on Amazon, so you can base your numbers loosely around that. As a general rule of thumb, I think the top 10 products in the niche should have a minimum of 50 reviews. Of course, more is better and less is possible. You be the judge.
Analyzing Your Competition
Finally, we’ve got to make sure you got a chance to actually compete. While I don’t normally recommend focusing on SEO as your primary traffic method, Amazon affiliate sites are an exception. Visitors will come to your site ready to buy, so SEO traffic can actually convert very well with review sites.
Analyzing your competition isn’t actually that challenging. My affiliate site was on digital pianos, so I started off by typing “digital piano reviews” into Google, and seeing how many sites came up. I also took some of the top selling products in my niche, smacked the word “review” on the end of it, and searched them on Google.
A few different sites came up, which was a bit worrying. Luckily, they were all junk – the average post length was less than 600 words and the sites were barely written in English. I asked myself – did I think I could outrank these websites? The answer was yes. If the niches you’re thinking about entering into have competition, consider your chances of outranking them. Ask yourself honestly – can you write better, more unique content than your competitors? Are you willing to take the time to write longer, more helpful, more engaging posts?
Your goal is for your articles to rank in the top 3 spots of Google for each product review query, and your site’s main keyword (your niche + reviews.)
Making The Decision
Look over the niches you have left on your list. Whatever you have left is probably a good choice.
You should be writing 1000+ word articles (easier than it sounds) so pick whichever profitable niche is left over that interests you the most. Make sure it’s something you’re willing to stick to for the long term, as sales will likely not come right away.
Picking The Domain
Picking the domain for the site is pretty straightforward. While the benefit of exact match domains has been significantly reduced in the past few years, they can still have a slight boost in terms of SEO. I recommend getting a domain with both your niche and the word “reviews” in it. Because my site was focused on digital pianos, I chose the domain http://Digital-Piano-Reviews.com.
Any variation will work, so long as it’s easy to remember and contains your keywords. I recommend checking out my article, “Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Buying Your Domain Name!”
Creating Content For The Amazon Affiliate Site
Once you have a niche chosen and a domain purchased, install WordPress and the theme of your choice. While we’re setting things up, you should also take this time to install Yoast All-In-One SEO and the TablePress plugins, which we will utilize later on.
Anyway, there are three types of articles you’ll primarily use on your Amazon affiliate site.
As you could imagine, the most popular posts on your site will be review articles. These should be a full article dedicated to reviewing one product in extreme detail. You’ll want to write a good amount of information about the product, while also convincing the reader why this product is (or isn’t) for them.
It’s important to have a format to follow for every single one of your reviews. Yes, it’s a bit tedious to organize all of your articles in the exact same way, but it allows your visitors to browse through different reviews and very quickly realize the similarities and differences between different products. If you want to see an example on how I do this, visit my digital piano reviews website and take note of how things are set up.
Some example review articles would include:
- Yamaha P35 Digital Piano Review
- Yamaha P105 Digital Piano Review
- Williams Allegro 88-Key Digital Piano Review
Comparison articles compare and contrast multiple products against each other, and are also commonly searched on Google.
Some example comparison articles would include:
- Top Digital Pianos Under $1000
- Yamaha P35 vs Yamaha P105 Digital Piano
- Best Side Tables For Piano Players
Using the TablePress plugin you installed earlier, you’re able to make nice looking tables which you can use to make a nice summary at the end of each comparison article. This converts extremely well.
Here’s what TablePress looks like in action…
Looks good, doesn’t it?
Informational articles don’t necessarily promote a product, but they’re good for establishing your website as an authority in your niche. Informational articles shouldn’t be the primary focus of your site, but they are definitely worth including.
Some example informational articles would include:
- The Benefits Of Digital Pianos Over Acoustic Pianos
- A Historical Timeline of Digital Pianos
- How To Care For Digital Pianos
Of course, you don’t have to stick to just these three. As long as you’re writing something related to your niche, you’re golden. Try to write more than 1000 words for each article. This will allow you to rank for many natural long tail keywords that will drive a lot of additional traffic to your website. Once you got a system in place, writing in detail will come naturally to you.
Additionally, try to include lots of images and a video of the products if possible. People are more willing to buy something if they can see it in action!
Building Traffic To Your Amazon Affiliate Site
I mentioned earlier in this guide that I’m not a huge fan of SEO. Normally, it doesn’t convert as well as other traffic methods, and I feel it’s very risky to put your business in the hands of another company. (Google)
However, Amazon affiliate sites are an exception. People will arrive to your site ready to buy – so SEO traffic will actually make you a lot of money.
That being said, there are plenty of other methods you can use to get traffic to your Amazon affiliate site. I recommend signing up for my free traffic building course, where I teach you 7 proven methods for bringing free long-term traffic to your site. It’s free, so there’s no reason not to!
Making Money From Your Amazon Affiliate Site
Obviously, the primary goal from your affiliate site is to make money through Amazon’s affiliate program. Because your visitors are coming to your site almost ready to buy, it’s your job to hype them up for the product you’re promoting (or direct them to another one) and then get them to Amazon as soon as you can. Amazon’s cookie only lasts for 24 hours, so you want them to purchase immediately after clicking your affiliate link.
Include affiliate links to Amazon as much as you can, within reason. Link to the product multiple times within your review. Link all images to the sales page. Have a direct call to action at the end of each product review, encouraging the viewer to find out more information on Amazon.com
Another tactic that works really well is to post customer reviews, but cut them off mid-sentence. Tell the visitor that they have to read the rest of review on Amazon, and then link to it. Example:
This works really well, and helps get your cookie in their browser. Even if they’re not sold on the product, the visitor is probably curious what the reviewer has to say. Remember to nofollow all of your affiliate links!
Adsense is another way to monetize an affiliate site. It shouldn’t be your main money maker, but it’s an extra bit of income your site can make. I prefer to have ads later on in the article, which will maximize the likelihood that you’ll get an Amazon cookie placed in the visitor’s browser before an ad takes them away from your site.
Complimentary Info Products
If your niche has any info products you can promote to your audience, those can be a nice money maker as well. If somebody’s willing to invest several hundred dollars into a product, they’re likely to invest a little bit more to learn how to use it! For my digital piano site, I promoted a “how to play piano” course which boosted revenue a bit.
You don’t have to stick to just promoting the main products – you can also promote accessories for the products. For example, on my site, I didn’t just promote digital pianos. I also promoted side tables, sheet music, benches, and more. Think of what accessory products can be used to get more out of the main product, and promote those.
There you have it – the ultimate guide to starting up a successful Amazon affiliate site. If you want to learn more and really get into the details of how to succeed building Amazon affiliate sites, be sure to pick up my Amazon Affiliate Blueprint which is available here.
This was a lot of information to take in, so please feel free to leave a comment with any questions you may have. I promise that I will take the time to respond to them to the best of my ability. I want you to succeed, and will do what ever I can to make that happen!
This could be a great ebook! You have explained it all here and perfectly I must add. I did have one niche site once for Amazon and made a few bucks. Everything here you pointed out is the only way to do it.
I’ve done a lot of studying about how to do this and you are right on target. Niche sites are great if one knows what they are doing and you sure do! There is a lot of money to be made when done correctly.
How about putting a course together? You are amazing at this.
The only reason why I dropped it is because my journey online took me to a different direction.
You are so awesome…I will share!
donna merrill recently posted…Blogging In 2015
Hi Donna! Thank you so much for your kind words.
Maybe sometime in the future I’ll add onto this a bit and make it into a full-length course or even just an eBook. Who knows? I like to think I have a good bit of experience with these types of sites so maybe it would be a fitting idea for me. I love talking about these niche affiliate sites so I could definitely see myself working on a project like that in the future.
Of course, I know all the marketing “gurus” would hate me for it. Seems like they’re telling us making money with Amazon affiliate sites is impossible because they want to keep the competition down, LOL.
Like you, I’ve sort of stopped (or at least drastically slowed down) my work on the niche affiliate sites because it’s not really the type of work I enjoy. Writing the review articles is pretty tedious and you don’t get the enjoyment of social interaction that you get from blogging. Emails are little more than answering basic questions and you never really get to know anybody that visits your site.
Still, they’re nice because the Amazon affiliate sites are a bit more passive than blogging. The articles will make money as long as the product has a demand. I actually haven’t written anything new on my piano site in a few months now, yet this has been the most profitable month so it far (mostly due to Christmas shopping.)
Next year if I do keep up the Amazon stuff, I’m probably going to outsource all of the writing, and potentially scale it up. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Thanks again Donna, I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing.
James McAllister recently posted…Problem Solving vs Hobby Niches – Which Are More Profitable?
I am so happy to be at your blog finally. I see the reason why you are such great at what you do on other people’s blogs! Ride on friend…
Reading your post took my mind to a comment one of my readers left on my blog last week. He said he is so convinced I have what it takes to do well at Amazon. In fact one of the challenges he gave me was that he is expecting to read my first eBook!
While I have not really given much thought to publishing on Amazon, I think sticking with someone who had already made it through the road will be awesome. So here is what I plan doing in 2015 – I will try as much as possible to take lessons even it’s from you on how to start up with Amazon and how to get good at it.
One thing I loved about your article is the part where you mentioned “Making The Decision.” I think this will form the major part of my plans for 2015. Writing already has never been a problem to me and so what I really need is take a decision and stick to it.
I will be learning more from you my good friend, until then keep providing value because that’s one of the things you are very good at!
Do have a wonderful weekend James. See you at the top 🙂
Jackson Nwachukwu recently posted…Don’t Bury Your Words When Commenting [My 2014 Blogging Strategy]
Hey Jackson! So great to see you.
I agree that you definitely got what it takes to be successful with Amazon. What you’ve done with WorthBlogger in such a short period of time is something to be extremely proud of, and just proves that you have the ability to achieve what you put your mind to.
As far as eBooks go, my personal recommendation for an eBook would be to publish both on Amazon as well as your own site. Amazon pays only a 70% royalty, so the sales on your own site would make more money, but Amazon is still a good option because it allows you to reach a completely new set of people and bring entirely new visitors to your site.
I still haven’t gotten my book set up on my site, but I think it’s a good idea to offer some sort of bonus for buying through you instead of Amazon, which will allow you to maximize profit.
If you ever have any questions about Amazon or anything else, you know where to reach me. You know I’ll do what I can to help you out!
You have a good week too Jackson, see you soon!
James McAllister recently posted…Blogging from Paradise: How to Build an Online Empire through Blog Commenting Book Review
Great job James!
This is my first visit to your blog and I agree with Donna, your
article would make a great “how to” ebook starter guide.
You certainly have provided a solid non complicated step by step process for getting
started and hopefully within a short period of time becoming profitable.
And you didn’t pull any punches or were to salesy! Great job. And I’ll definitely look forward to
reading more of your excellent content!
Mark recently posted…Why You Might Want To Seriously Consider Hiring A Lion Tamer As Your Next Marketing Consultant!Part Two
Hey Mark! Good to meet you!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the guide. I always try to structure my articles (especially the guides) as if someone with no prior experience can understand them without having to take extra time to look terms up etc. I dealt with a lot of flat-out bad guides over my years and I would hate to put that kind of stuff out for my audience, lol.
Thanks Mark for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!
James McAllister recently posted…The Real “Secret” To Making Money Online (The Answer May Surprise You!)
Thanks for your visit to my blog yesterday and for your engagement. I love that blog commenting can really bring bloggers together 😉
This post is like a pad on my back. I started an Amazon site, paid a writer to do some articles, generated a few sales but somehow, the site was abandoned. I had a lot in my hands including new plugins, platforms and offline stuffs.
My niche was combat knifes and that’s doing quite well on Amazon. I may have to bounce back to it 😉
Happy Weekend bro
Enstine Muki recently posted…22,500 free broadedNet Credits – Another Christmas gift!
Hey Enstine! It’s great to see you.
I’m in a pretty similar situation, to be honest. I haven’t wrote a new article on the site in months, although I may consider outsourcing some writers if I can find someone to stick to my review format. It’s really specific so I find it’s easier for me to just write it all out myself haha.
Maybe I’ll try to pick it up more in 2015, but I just have so many other projects on my hands these days. The thing I love about the Amazon review sites though is how passive they are. Although I haven’t wrote in a while, these past two months have been my highest earners. Gotta love Christmas time!
So great to see you Enstine, you have a great weekend too!
James McAllister recently posted…Blogging from Paradise: How to Build an Online Empire through Blog Commenting Book Review
I am so glad to be in your blog, reading through this post struck something in my mind which i have never given a thought before; i guess i have to start something new with my blog now.
Hi Emebu, thanks for stopping by!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this post. If you ever have any questions about integrating some of this info into your blog, feel free to send me an email. I’m here to help!
James McAllister recently posted…Are You Preparing Your Blog For The Christmas Season?
Wonderful post indeed! I was in really needed of this post. I was thinking to start with this niche. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this post. It could help me to get started with the same.
Choosing a best niche according to your interest is really important to achieve success. You should take care of while selecting a domain, check for the trademark keywords otherwise, that company can file a law case against you.
Thanks for sharing a lot of content creating ideas for affiliate site. I would surely start a one soon.
Thanks again for the detailed informative post. It really helps me.
Have an awesome day!
Nisha Pandey recently posted…How I Improved My Blog Speed and Sales by 200% – My Wonderful Experience
Hey Nisha, not sure how I missed your comment all of those months ago. Sorry about that!
You bring up a great point about trademarks. I have heard of people getting in huge trouble for using trademarks as part of their domain name, so it is definitely something you want to avoid. Last thing you’d want to do is build up a successful site only to have it forcibly shut down, LOL.
I’m glad this article was helpful to you and if you have any questions, let me know!
James McAllister recently posted…Why Are There Bad Blogs Doing Better Than You?
I’ve never been involved with writing reviews before, but I found this post to be very informative. Writing Amazon reviews has never appealed to me, but perhaps I really ought to get involved with some affiliate program somehow.
You explained things very well, and I’ll be sure to contact you if I decide to take that route.
Nathan Ambrose recently posted…Does My Blog Look Big in This?
Hey Nathan! Not sure how I missed your comment, I apologize for that.
I’m going to admit, writing reviews for Amazon products isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but if you do manage to rank well or find other steady long-term traffic sources the money the websites make can be fairly passive. I actually haven’t written another review on the site since I published this article, but it’s still bringing in money every month. I’m sure this isn’t sustainable but for now it’s nice. 🙂
Appreciate your comment Nathan and definitely let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you!
James McAllister recently posted…How To Turn Your Blog Posts Into A Kindle eBook
Hey James, first time reader here. Really good starter guide for those looking to start an Amazon Affiliate niche site. I’d love to hear some of your more advanced thoughts on the topic.
The only part of your guide I don’t agree with is that you should “eliminate any niches where the average product isn’t selling for at least $150”. While I agree the higher priced your product is the better, my best earning site has an average product price of $40 – $100. I also have another site that has products that cost an average of $15 – $30, and although I don’t make a ton of money form that site, I make a lot of referral sales, assuring that I stay in the higher Amazon commission tiers. The best part is that you make more on your more expensive items that you don’t sell as many of, and all thanks to the lower priced items.
Take care man!
Hey Dave, good to meet you!
Using smaller items to boost up your commission percentage is a great idea that I should have touched on more. These days I only run one affiliate site, but I would not earn near as much if I was not also promoting piano accessories (benches, music stands, etc.) because those push me up into a higher bracket. Good point.
I’d be willing to touch on any of the advanced subjects but taking a look at your site, I’m sure you know more about Amazon affiliate sites than I do haha. I’ve only ever built a few sites around Amazon and it looks like you’ve got a good system in place.
Appreciate your valuable comment Dave, hope to see you again soon!
James McAllister recently posted…Why Are There Bad Blogs Doing Better Than You?
What are your recommendations for a non-product blog? I have a blog to inform veterans about veterans benefits and I have links to affiliate sites throughout the site and on one specific page. I ahve have one page that is an Amazon Store exclusively.
A debt of gratitude is in order for your visit to my online journal yesterday and for your engagement. I adore that web journal remarking can truly unite bloggers ?
This post resembles a cushion on my back. I began an Amazon site, paid an essayist to do a few articles, produced a couple of offers however by one means or another, the site was relinquished. I had a ton in my grasp including new modules, stages, and disconnected stuff.
My corner was battle blades and that is doing great on Amazon. I may need to ricochet back to it ?
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