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amazonAmazon has one of the oldest, most trustworthy affiliate programs on the Internet.

But first, let me keep it real.

Their commissions are incredibly low (4-10% on average), but you can still earn some decent money with the program simply because they upsell so well and it's a familiar/trustworthy brand.

People tend to buy more than they originally planned, which can help you as the affiliate earn more.

Also, the more you sell, the higher your commission level goes. So there are a few incentives to use this program on your website.

How to Join

To join the Amazon affiliate program, just click this link and it will take you to the sign-up page.

After your application has been accepted, you can begin promoting the products on your website.

Amazon Earnings Video

Below you can watch my video that shows my earnings with Amazon and some strategies for creating your links.

However, if you'd rather read the information, I've explained the process below the video and provided additional tips as well.

Adding Links to Your Website

Creating Links Through

Amazon allows you to create affiliate links from their Associates login area. From there, you have the opportunity to create 3 kinds of links.

Just click the "Links and Banners" button after you login and you will see your options:

Amazon Links

1) Product links (link directly to the product)

2) Banner Links (link to specific Amazon sections using banners)

3) Site Stripe (link to any page on

I almost always choose to link to products directly because my strategy with Amazon is to mention products that are relevant to an article and then add a contextual link within my content.

Just linking to a generic banner or the Amazon homepage has never, ever worked well for me.

Linking to Results Pages

The Site Stripe option can come in handy if you want to link to a search results page.

Say you want to send people to a page with a variety of results from a specific search term. In the screenshot below, you can see the results page for the search term flash drive.

Amazon results pages

If you are logged into your Amazon associates account, there will be a gray bar on the top of your browser that says "Link to This Page."

Amazon Site Stripe

Click that link and Amazon will give you the code to paste into your site. Now when someone clicks this link, they will be taken to this same page and they will be wearing your affiliate cookie.

Rather than telling people to perform that search once they arrive at, just do the search yourself so you can generate that link for your visitors instead.

This will save them an extra step and put them in browse mode right away.

WordPress Plugins

There are several different plugins to use if you created your site with WordPress.

My favorite is one by Chris Guthrie called Easy Azon (affiliate link). It makes it very convenient to add links to your pages.

Rather than having to go to Amazon's associate area and grab your link, you can create the links right from WordPress. Gotta love that!

Is Amazon Worth It?

A lot of people don't bother with Amazon's affiliate program because the commissions are so low.

Indeed they are, but one thing you have to remember is that you may mention a product on your site that doesn't have an affiliate program anywhere else.

Amazon sells almost any product you can think of. So you might as well earn something instead of nothing at all.

Also, as I mentioned in the video above, Amazon does a fabulous job of upselling other products during the checkout process.

I'm sure you've noticed this if you shop at Amazon yourself.

They will recommend you buy products based on current items in your cart, previous searches and purchases, etc. Before you know it, you're spending way more than you planned.

Well as an affiliate, you will also earn money for anything that person buys so the commissions can add up.

Take a look at a snippet of my earnings report from April, 2013. Look at all the miscellaneous earnings from products I don't even promote!

amazon sales report

I don't have a kitchen-related website, yet I've earned commissions from these miscellaneous kitchen items just because Amazon does an amazing job of upselling!

In fact, the majority of my commissions come from products I was not even referring. Isn't that crazy?

Consider Building an aStore

An aStore is like a mini Amazon store, but only promotes products related to your individual niche. You control what items you want to offer and you can embed the store into your site.

So if you have a website about golf, you may want to build up your own mini store that only promotes golf-related products.

This works very well for retail-oriented sites -- especially if you find yourself promoting a lot of different Amazon products.

Learn more about the aStore here.

The 24-Hour Cookie

One complaint many affiliates have about Amazon's program is the their cookie duration is too short.

What do I mean by cookie? No, I'm not talking about the kind you eat. A cookie in reference to the Internet is a tracking code that is tied to a web browser.

So when someone clicks your Amazon affiliate link and goes to their site, that cookie is what tells Amazon that you referred the customer if they make a purchase.

However, if they do not buy within 24 hours and return to Amazon a few days later, you are not credited with the sale unless they go through your affiliate link again.

And as you may guess, most people are not going to go back through your link. They'll just go directly to

I know.... it does seem a bit stingy, huh? Most affiliate programs allow the cookie to last up to 30 days or at least a week.

That way, if people just go directly to the merchant to buy a few days later, you'd still get the credit. But unfortunately Amazon doesn't operate that way.

So you will probably lose some sales due to this short-term cookie.

Also, if someone clears their browser cookies between the time they clicked your link and purchased that will result in a lost commission too. But that can happen with any program. It's just par for the course.

Keys to Success With Amazon

Obviously without enough traffic to your site, you're not going to make money with any affiliate program and Amazon's is no different.

Making money online takes work and time no matter what opportunity you choose to embark on.

So your first order of business is to ensure you are creating a niche website that focuses on one topic.

Refrain from creating a hodepodge website that sells everything under the sun and then throw up a bunch of Amazon links all over the page.

That won't work because it's easier to drive traffic to a targeted site that focuses on one defined audience instead of a "flea market" site that sells everything.

Don't try to replicate Amazon's "sell-everything-under-the-sun" model because you don't have their brand awareness and traffic. Instead, build your own brand around a specific niche and recommend products that are related to what your audience would find useful.

Then work on building traffic to your website so you can convert those links into sales.

Get My Guide

If you need a beginner's guide to creating a niche website, check out Niche Website Success.

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