| Apr 4, 2023

How the Amazon Affiliate Program Has Changed the Face of Blogging

Written content creation has evolved from side hustle to providing a healthy income — and beyond.

For evidence that you can buy just about anything on Amazon, look no further than its selection of budget caskets, many priced under $1,000. “And yes, that includes free shipping to the funeral home of your choice,” CNET happily reports. The online retail giant took full advantage of pandemic-led growth to expand and increase efficiencies as its profit soared 220% on the back of the higher volume of customer orders. It is the sheer size of Amazon’s product range that allows it to boast one of the largest affiliate programs in the world.

Amazon recognized early the power of affiliate marketing, in which publishers earn a commission when they share their affiliate link and a customer uses it to purchase the product. Over 900,000 bloggers and online publishers have signed up for Amazon’s affiliate program. With affiliate rates varying anywhere from 5% to 30%, Amazon’s 10% commission is considered more generous than what many other companies offer. 

The “internet entrepreneur” Jim Harmer earned more than $147,000 in one year from just Amazon affiliate income, but he is also operating multiple blogs, with each earning variable income, which is very common in the blogging world and one of the keys to being a successful content creator.

How Bloggers Earn $500+ a Month with Amazon

A key difference in working with Amazon, however, is that because of the way their website is structured and additional products are recommended to consumers, conversion rates are much higher, which in turn maximizes affiliate income. If a customer clicks on the affiliate link and ends up on Amazon’s website, publishers not only earn a commission for the product, but for everything the person purchases — even if they don’t purchase the original item. 

Most affiliate programs don’t operate in this way, so Amazon’s program is much more attractive and leads publishers to putting in more effort into incorporating its affiliate links into their site content.

Another major benefit of the Amazon affiliate program is the opportunity it gives to publishers who are just starting out to earn an income from their blog. Sites that comply with Amazon’s Associate Program Policies can get started promoting Amazon’s products within a matter of days of approval. 

Smaller sites, especially if they are new, aren’t going to make as much as larger content sites, but mid-sized sites — defined as getting between 100,000 to 300,000 page views a month — can expect to make anywhere from $500 to $1000 a month, depending on how well the publisher has incorporated Amazon’s affiliate links into their content.

Savvy publishers who keep a close eye on their Google Analytics and use Amazon’s custom affiliate link tool to track Amazon sales use that information to determine which products customers are clicking on and purchasing to create new content that is centered around and targeted to their blog readers.


The Art of Showcasing Products

A key to success with Amazon is mastering the art of how and when to show products to potential customers. Amazon does have some do’s and don’ts as far as using their affiliate links, such as allowing bloggers to use them on Facebook and Twitter, but not in emails. Bloggers are also required to disclose their partnership with Amazon on their site. The best place to use affiliate links is within the content of a blog, and there are a number of ways to accomplish that.

If a content producer is sharing a recipe, for example, ideally they will link to their favorite cookware and cooking utensils, especially if they are items that people might not be familiar with or might not have readily available in their kitchen. As Amazon is adding to their list of available items for purchase every day, the volume and variety of ingredients and food items to link is vast. 

Product graphics can also be incorporated into content. Graphic-generating tools, or simple plug-ins, make sharing Amazon products easy. I advise being creative. The products don’t have to be exactly what the content is describing; they can be items related to content that people might also be interested in. Someone sharing recipes may also link related cookbooks or unique, fun serving dishes. A rule of thumb for creators is if it’s something they would like, so would their customers.

Pros and Cons of Seasonal Niches

Wedding, summer, and holiday-related content are hugely popular and can bring in some good affiliate revenue. But some business owners who only post seasonal content can sometimes feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster trying to get the good months to balance out with the not so good. There are many success stories that demonstrate that it is possible to make a consistent income with seasonal niche sites.

Successful bloggers often have multiple sites they are running and writing for at the same time and understand that some niches are very seasonal. They have blogs in multiple niches that are doing well during different seasons of the year. Examples such as my home and garden-related blog are mostly evergreen in nature, but they also have seasonal sub-niches that do very well at different times of the year.

Being educated in the ebbs and flows of different types of content is very important to taking advantage of seasonal highs and lows. Pinterest, in particular, favors seasonal content that it features in its feed. Content creators who don’t have any seasonal content posted on Pinterest are really missing out on some great free traffic to their site and extra Amazon affiliate income.

Give Customers What They Want

My advice to creators is that if they stumble on a niche or a type of product that people visiting their blog are really interested in, run with it. Write more content related to that product, add more links, and interlink related blog posts. The more people are given what they are searching for, the more often they will come back and make purchases. If bloggers use the Amazon affiliate program to their full advantage, they will make the world just a little bit of a better place and their bank account will thank them, too.

Rachel Paxton
Rachel Paxton

Opinion Contributor, Strixus

Rachel has been a blogger, freelance writer, and successful online business owner for more than 25 years. She has a BA in Humanities and business from Washington State University. view profile


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