Anyone can make money with Amazon. You may think that those days are over – but I’ll show you that they’re not!

This is installment #2 in the How to Monetize Your Blog series, where I teach you step by step – how to make more money from your blog or web site in every way imaginable.

amazon associates logo There are many different ways to monetize your blog. I think that more important than “which associate programs to use”, it’s more important to know “how to use affiliate programs together more effectively. I think you can make good money monetizing with adsense, but to me google adsense is money that you make with your “bounced traffic” (people that didn’t find what they wanted on your site and quickly left). I find that the most effective way to “sell” things on your blog or web site is by recommending them as naturally as you can without being invasive, intrusive, or annoying.

There are many people who don’t like amazon associates. Amazon was the very first affiliate program I signed up for many years ago. I had a little banner in my sidebar (on another site) for a very long time – and every know and then I made a dollar or two. It wasn’t until after I monetized with adsense for the first time that I even tried to make better use of my amazon account. I create and maintain web sites, so some of the first “articles” I wrote online were web design. The first time(s) I utilized amazon associates was adding simple links at the end of those articles for how-to web design books. I was quite happy to make $20 or $30 here and there from those links.

What Can I Promote with Amazon Associates?

Over time Amazon has expanded it’s offerings to music, electronics, household goods, and now even groceries! With the addition of it’s Amazon Marketplace for third party stores – if they don’t have it, the Marketplace will. What this means is that no matter what your web page, article, or post is about you could find something on amazon to relate to it. It’s that type of relationship that makes it easy to promote Amazon Associates in your content. Especially if you blog about your daily life. Here’s my recipe (look at these recipe books or kitchen utensils from amazon). I like this new CD (add link here). Here’s how to convert video (and the book that taught me how). I mean, come on – the possibilities are limitless with Amazon. The even have on demand video you can see now (amazon unboxed), and digital books and subscriptions (kindle).

Anything (I mean anything) that you can find through you can promote as an associate (affiliate). Every item has a unique “ASIN” code attached that you use when building links. I have promoted and sold books, cd’s, cell phones, cell accessories, videos and dvd’s, electronics and gadgets, computer parts, clothes, shoes, handbags, tools, lawn furniture, grills, ebooks, and even adult novelties through Amazon.

I Thought Amazon Sales Had Dried Up?

You mean you heard that, and since YOU weren’t selling anything you thought it was true.

FACT: You don’t make sales when you don’t try to sell.
FACT: You can catch more fish when you use a wider net.
FACT: With enough attempts, the law of averages alone will give you sales.

How Much Can I Make with Amazon Associates

You can choose between the “classic” or “performance based” commission structure. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t choose performance based, since the more you sell, the more you make. Amazon pays you 4% on anything you sell up to 10 things per month. Once you sell at least 6 things your commission goes up to 6%. This is basically to encourage people to at least try and market the program all the time, because selling 6 things per month shouldn’t be all that hard, and getting an extra 2% commission is a healthy increase. There are of course a few exceptions.

Here’s their current commission table:

amazon commission chart

In the second column you see that all the CE (consumer electronics) products are capped at 4%. Some people would say that’s to screw us out of commissions because those products cost the most and are the most popular. Personally, I was in retail so I know from experience that these products have the lowest profit margin and are the most competitive to sell. The next column over you see you can make 10% from all Amazon MP3’s, Unboxed (video on demand), and Kindle (ebook and e-subscriptions). For everything else the money you make is based on how much you sell. You should always strive for at least 6% every month.

I’ll use my earnings this week as an example:

amazon associates earnings

In the image above you’ll see that I’ve sold 3 things. I made 4% because I haven’t sold 6 things yet. One was a book that cost just under $20, and I made $0.79 cents commission on that. Not a lot, but not bad considering it’s 10 times what you make on an adsense click. Obviously with any commission based affiliate programs – you make more money with items that cost more money. You see above I made $28.50 from 2 items, which are basically just external hard drives for a home or small business network. Was this a fluke – someone that just happenned to click a link from one of my pages and then bought this? Well, it has happenned before, I’ve had people click on one of my book links and then buy camping gear or silver flatware and I got commission. When you refer people from your site to amazon you get commission no matter what they buy. I got commission one time in 2007 for someone who purchased Dentist surgical tools (a dentist’s office I hope!).

No – I made the $28.50 commission because I wrote this page on Network Storage a few months back. You’ll see it’s one of the first products I reviewed. I got the idea for this post one day when I was in the market to buy an external hard drive and surfing online. I saw these network storage drives, so I wrote a one page review for them and linked the actual products through amazon, and after each set of amazon links you can see I also link eBay auctions (through eBay’s affiliate program). I’ll tell you how to do that in a few minutes. It’s important to note that when you do “affiliate marketing” that you do it in context. On “review” pages like this I usually state a problem, describe a solution, and then list and recommend products that fix it. I give as many options as I can, and usually amazon and eBay together work best. If I have other options (through other affiliate programs) I list them as well. Remember, “you catch more fish with a bigger net“!

The Easiest Methods for Placing Amazon Links in Your Blog

I’m going to give you 2 ways that I place Amazon links in my web sites that are quick and painless. The first is an old method I still use on 2 Drupal web sites (all my sites are WordPress except these two). If you use the Drupal CMS to manage your site, you can get a “drupal module” called “Amazon Associate Tools” that makes adding amazon items painless and quick. When you create a post or page there’s a field like this one, and you just enter in the “ASIN” code I talked about earlier:

how to add an amazon item ASIN in Drupal

When you do this, Drupal incredibly creates a whole additional page, drawing from amazon the title and description (and picture) of the item – and then it embed that information (and your associate links) into your post. I don’t use Drupal much anymore except for on 2 remaining web sites I have it installed on, but I wish I had that ability in WordPress.

And speaking of WordPress, I use the WP-Amazon WordPress Plugin for Amazon Associates which is simply amazing! I wish that it was this easy to use all my affiliate programs in WordPress. I’m going to use a post as an example that wasn’t monetized by amazon before, for my Patty Melt Recipe. When you use WP-Amazon in WordPress you have to use the “visual” editor for it to work, and it creates a tiny little Amazon “A” icon in the top right of the page when you write any new post or page in WordPress. Click on that icon, and a little sidebar pops out like this one:

amazon results from wp-amazon plugin in wordpress I already did a search for beef recipes and these are the results. The plugin only shows the top 3 results, but it does display multiple categories which expand when you click on the headers. This column appears on the right hand side of your “write” page in WordPress, and when you find the results you want you just “drag and drop” the images and the text links from that column to your post content. You can even choose from small, medium, or large images. To see a video of how WP-Amazon drag and drop works, just visit the WP-Amazon home page.

WP-Amazon Plugin Drawbacks: You only get 3 search results per category, and when you drag and drop the images and text links they aren’t “nofollowed”. If you care about that (like I do), you need to go into the “code” tab of your wordpress post before you publish and add rel=nofolllow. Also, text doesn’t wrap with images, so you’ll have to add your own align tag as well if you care about that.

Amazon has many different was once you login to their admin panel as an associate. I do use some of their widgets and links created from this section on some of my site. However, most of the time I use the methods and described above because I’m pressed for time and want to monetize both effetively AND quickly.

Start Using Amazon Associates (again) Today!

Monetize your blog in all the ways you can. Don’t “leave money on the table”! There are many different tasteful and relevant ways to monetize a blog or web site, and Amazon is a very flexible option. First – people trust amazon, but second – they have about every product imaginable! I forget sometimes the power of amazon, but I’ll be using it more often now that I’m reminded of the earning potential – and I hope you do too!

If you have questions or things to add about the Amazon Associates affiliate program, please comment below now!

If you aren’t alreay a member – signup for Amazon Associates here:

amazon associates logo