How I Made $150,000 as an Amazon Affiliate (and how you can too)

So, want to learn how to make money with Amazon as an Amazon affiliate?

The answer should be yes, because you can make some good coin with Amazon, IF you do it right.

So what do I know about amazon and making money? Just a little bit — just about $150,000 to be exact. Now, this ain’t millions and I don’t consider this very impressive, but it’s something doable for the average person over a few years with a bit of elbow grease on your part.

Note, if you guys want to see how I made $90,000 with Media.net, check out this post where I detail how I did it and give some good tips on how you can too.

I have an aversion to people online giving advice to other people when they themselves don’t make shit. There’s a lot of sleazy people who try to sell you stuff (their make money program) or fake their authority. That’s fine, we all start somewhere. But at least be up front and honest about where you sit.

Just so you guys know I’m not bullshitting you about making (some) money with Amazon Affiliates.

Ok, here’s what I’ve earned so far with Amazon Affiliates in a couple years (Since late 2010 — so roughly about 4-5 years):

earnings_4_years

 

 

Here’s an old report from 2010 from my Amazon when I was first starting out with the program:

 

amazon_2010

And here is what I was able to bring it up to after a year of focusing on Amazon:

 

amazon_2011

 

And here is 2012 (after I lost my main Amazon-money making site):

 

amazon_2012

 

And here is a July 2015 amazon report (at time of writing this):

 

amazon_2015

 

Update April 20116: And here’s a recent April 1 to April 30th 2016 Amazon earnings report

(I’m making an effort to improve Amazon earnings and I have been since this post was made about 9 months ago)

amazon_income_april

 

You can see that my earnings have jumped significantly in the past 10 months since this post was first made and are on the rise, perhaps quite dramatically. Keep up with my passive income reports to follow my earnings and, specifically, my current amazon earnings.

So, I can’t (yet) impress you guys with making 10k a month or some ridiculous figure like 100k a month just with Amazon, but I do know how to make at least a bit of money with Amazon affiliates.

November 2016 update: I’ve been focusing on Amazon in the 12 months since I first wrote this post. As such, I’ve SIGNIFICANTLY improved my Amazon Associates earnings. Originally, I was showing you $2161 for July 2016. We’ll I’ve blasted past this and have improved my earnings nearly 6x. Online Passive Income Report for November 2016November 2016 I did over $12,500 with Amazon Affiliates.

amazon_earnings_2_nov

And, here’s how I do it and, given time and effort, how you can too.

How Much Can You Earn as an Amazon Affiliate

Nothing, a little, a lot, or a stupendous amount!

It all depends on the number of visitors that your website receives, the niche (market), and what specific products you are promoting, the type of traffic (search or social traffic).

Typically though, the big earners are those who have quality websites about a niche people are interested in (and one where they spend money on products) and you have related links to products. For example, you have a running shoe blog and you give a list of the top running shoes. You may find some of your visitors will take you up on your recommendations and buy those products, earning you a commission.

Back in the day, the strategy was to make mini sites targeting exact keywords or product modules. This strategy is no longer a good idea. To make (and keep) a successful amazon affiliate site, you need to offer some real value OUTSIDE of linking to products. That means even if you remove all the affiliate stuff and product reviews, people should find your site useful. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t just make an affiliate product site and expect to do well in the SERPS or to keep your rankings. Google has really moved against this type of site.

People will visit your site more when they become convinced that you are not just promoting a product for earning commission but also helping them make a decision by telling them about the product. When people do start buying from Amazon through your website, your amazon affiliate  receives a steady inflow of funds — and they pay you via check or EFT (if you are in the US) each month provided you earn more than $100 USD.

How much can YOU make?

Some people make some real coin. I was making close to 50k a year just with amazon at one point and now about 30k plus. I have NOT been focusing on Amazon, however, and my main amazon friendly niche I lost years ago with the penguin update.

However, Other affiliate marketers can (and do) even make five or six figures  in a single month on Amazon, though likely they need to be in the right niche and have a lot of traffic. But it can and does happen.

Your earning also depends on the products that you select for promotion as well as the number of sales per month. Amazon has different commission rates for different genres of items. Visit Amazon.com for learning what the rates are.

How Do You Start Making Money with Amazon?

Making money with Amazon is not a cut and dry process. And it takes a while. It comes down to two things:

1) Having a website with targeted traffic that would be interested in products

2) Setting up your website content to push visitors to click on your amazon links

However, it can take a year or three to build up enough traffic to make real money. Or not — it’s possible to set up a site and make some money in a year with Amazon. Typically though with Google now sandboxing new sites for six months to a year, you are best off if you have an existing website that can be tuned towards Amazon, or you buy an existing site and make it into an Amazon site. This will save you loads of time.

But still, you can make money with a new site. It just will take some time.

Here’s the process I have used to make over $150,000 with the Amazon Affiliates program in a couple years.

Step 1: Do the Right Keyword Research

This is a pretty heavy topic and everyone’s got a theory on it. I realize I haven’t written anything here on this site about the basics of keyword research just yet.

Why Keyword Research? Keyword research is essential because it minimizes the guesswork when determining if you can make money with a website, BEFORE you put the work into the website. Trust me, you don’t want to create a website, sink years into it trying to rank the damn thing and only find out even if you dominate the SERPS, you can’t make money from the visitors.

General Keyword Research for Amazon

There are three elements you need to know when it comes to Keyword Research:

1. Do Keyword Niche Research (how much traffic for those keywords and are the keywords good)

For amazon, the amount of traffic really can vary. I prefer niches that can give you enough traffic where you can potentially bring in 1000-5000 people a day if you develop an authority site. This is a good amount to make either some money or a lot of money. Don’t waste your time on small fry long tail niches where you are going to get 20 people a day to your site. Sure, maybe if you have 100 sites you can earn something decent, but I’ve done that model and it doesn’t pan out. I’d rather have one site with 2000 visitors a day than 100 sites with 20 visitors a day.

Remember, don’t look at exact keyword searches here (though yes, you want a number of exact keywords with at least 2000+ searches a day) but the total niche traffic. Because if you create an authority site, you’ll be getting the broad traffic.

I don’t waste time with micro niche sites targeting exact keywords anymore.

2. Do Look at Commercial Intent (are people willing to spend money searching those keywords)

This is a big one. You better make sure people want to actually spend money in this niche. There are a few tell tale signs.

Look for Commercial Keywords in the Niche: Niches that contain keywords like ‘review’ ‘buy’ ‘for sale’ ‘purchase’ are prime candidates. Also look for niches that have a lot of ‘best X, top X’ keywords. And of course, look for specific product name searches in this niche. These are all good signs there is good commercial intent.

Look at CPC: Another way is to look at the Google Keyword Tool CPC. Now in my niche, my CPC is shit, like literally under $1. Some niches like loans and hosting might have $40 CPC. Typically the higher the CPC, the better and more commercial the niche is. This is because advertisers are willing to pay big bucks to advertise using those keywords, which they would not be doing unless they could make MONEY from the visitors. CPC does not always work with Amazon though, but it’s a good indicator. Again, I make 2 – 3k a month from a niche with CPC under $1. But my old niche that made good money had a much better CPC.

If you want to pull a figure out of my head, I’d say look for a CPC between 3-15 as a good rule of thumb.

Look at Top Websites in the Niche: Look to see how the top ranking sites in the niche monetize. If they utilize Amazon, it’s probably a good bet you can make money too with Amazon. If you don’t see Amazon affiliate links, then it might not be a good niche for Amazon. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad niche, but Amazon might not be the most lucrative.

Look at the Amazon Marketplace for Niche Ideas: Look, if you are going to sell affiliate products with Amazon, it’s a good idea to open up Amazon and check out the product categories. You can get some GOOD product niche ideas like this — product niches you might not have come up with on your own. A bit of a tip here, if those categories have a decent amount of products with lots of reviews about those products, this may be a good sign this product / niche is a good one to target with a website.

Look for Product Categories: Major product categories do well with amazon. We are taking shoes, skateboards, razors, pots, and so on. These niches are all about products and Amazon is the cheapest place to get them. If you can rank for a lot terms related to these product categories, you CAN make a shit load of money. Keep in mind that millions of other people know this, so product categories are competitive. If you go into one of these niches, you better find a way to make your site stand the fuck out from the competition with a new angle.

Do Look at the Competition Analysis (how hard is it to rank for that keyword set)

Basically can you easily rank your site. This one is an article in itself and I’m assuming most of you guys reading my articles are somewhat proficient in this. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you choose an niche that’s not too difficult to rank for. I have nothing against jumping into a niche that’s competitive — that’s often where the money is. But it takes a lot of time and effort on your part to make a dent in competitive niches. We are often talking a couple years of blood and sweat on your part.

If you choose a niche that’s not too competitive. You may be able to rank in less than a year for some of the terms and make money from them. So if you want to make money faster over later, then doing a good look at the competition for that niche, the number of backlinks, the domain authority of sites ranking, the types of backlinks, how targeted the titles are, and so on is a good fucking idea.

Amazon Keyword Research

Now when it comes to keyword research for amazon and keyword research, you need to narrow down your focus a bit. It’s not quite the same as other sites that might make money with leads and adsense.

You need to:

1) Pick a niche with commercial products (that appear on Amazon)

If your niche doesn’t even have products on the Amazon marketplace, then you reading the wrong article.

2) Pick a niche where there is a lot of demand for those products 

If you pick a niche where there’s no demand for the product or little demand, it’s going to be hard to sell. So don’t.

3) Pick a niche where products are 50+ dollars. 

Remember, you get a percentage of the sale with the percentage scaling as you sell more (maximum of 8.5 percent for selling thousands of items per month). My problem is that my affiliate commission is anywhere from .10c to $1 usually with the average about .50 or .75c.

This means I have to sell quite a few to make even 2000 a month.

The higher the sale value, the less sales you need to make money. For example, if you get around 7 percent, then selling an item that’s 50 bucks will make you $3.50. This is not bad. But if you consider say a small full time income about $24,000 which means you need to make roughly 60 dollars a day in Amazon sales. This means you can hit that quota with about 17 sales — very doable.

And Amazon often has about a 4-5 percent sales CTR per clicks from what I’ve found if you have a targeted niche.

This means every 100 clicks you get 5 sales. As for how many clicks you get, this depends a lot. You may get something like 20 percent of your traffic clicking on your Amazon link, provided you’ve set up your site content and layout to make this easy. So if 100 people visit your site, 20 people click on your link. This means with 1000 people coming to your site, you’ll get 200 clicks and perhaps 10 sales. So to make 60 bucks a day with $3.50 products, you will need roughly 1700 or so visitors a day.

Now imagine if you were getting $1 per sale on average? You are going to need triple the traffic to make the same money (in the example above about 6000 visitors per day just to make $60 bucks).

So, pick a niche with products that can make you 3-10 bucks per sale at least.

Step 2: Select the Right Domain Name

It’s important to pick out the right domain name. You probably won’t find an Exact Match Domain name and for most cases, a Partial Match Domain name works best.

For example, if you are going after coffee makers, I recommend you don’t choose something like ‘coffermaker.info’. It’s better to go with either a brand-able domain name (CoffeeNut), a PMD like CoffeeMachineKing. I really don’t recommend you lock yourself in with an exact domain or with a domain that’s too specific (makes it hard to grow outside of your segment).

I’d prefer ‘coffeeguru.net’ over something like ‘coffeemachineguru’ because coffee guru could cover everything about coffee nut just coffee machines.

Step 3: Set UP Your WordPress Blog for Amazon

I’m assuming you know how to use WordPress and install it on your own hosting.

Once you have your blog set up on your domain, there are a few things you should do to make your blog amazon ready.

Plugins:

Thirsty Affiliates with the Amazon Addon (BIG BIG if you use Amazon affiliates)

Now, why I recommend Thirsty Affiliates if you want to use Amazon affiliates is they have a special Add On called the Amazon Importer that costs $50 bucks. Trust me, if you want to use your blog with Amazon, it makes adding amazon affiliate links a HELL of a lot easier. You can search for and add amazon affiliate links directly from your blog itself and not have to switch back to amazon’s website and manually this. This saves you so much time. You can even add the link with pictures with the click of a button. There’s more you can do too, but this is the major feature I find invaluable with Amazon. Yes, I do use this plugin myself with EVERY site I promote with Amazon.

Theme:

Don’t be a cheap charlie. Buy a premium theme. One you that’s flexible and you can customize and reuse on multiple sites.  By now, I probably own about 10 or 15 themes. There are about 5 or so themes that really stand out above the rest:

  • Avada  (my best of best favorite hands down. The amount of customization you can easily do within the theme options is staggering. If you buy ONE theme, buy this one — I use it OFTEN. Read my Avada Review)
  • Smartmag (flexible magazine theme that’s good for any sort of layout)
  • X Theme (good for products and 4 completely different themes in one — best deal)
  • Soliloquy (the theme you see on authorityincome.com. It’s clean and looks good. It’s even better if you use it for a parallax theme though. I’ll likely switch to Avada shortly though)

You’ll have to test and see though what theme works for you. I prefer clean and minimal themes that look good but focus on presenting the content first. I don’t recommend a magazine style theme for Amazon type sites specifically. Not unless you are trying to build up something like a game, video, or tech type blog. For more lifestyle product niches, you want something that’s more minimal in design.

Step 4: Create Awesome Content

Once you’ve got your new site setup, the next step is to fill it with content.

But not just good content. Awesome content. If you product something mediocre, you are going to have some real problems trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. But produce something spectacular, and you may just find it a lot easier to build up your new website.

Look, how many of those ‘coffeemachinereviews’ type mini sites have we seen in the past five years? Many. How many do you remember? Probably none. The key here is to build a site that stands out and people remember. This is a lot of fucking work and if you are the type trying to make easy money quickly, then well, this article is not for you.

I’m here to build sites that stick around and last. I’ve done the whole quickly make money thing and it comes back to bite you in the ass. Create a site and content that will stand the test of time. And you will be rewarded for a long time.

This  is it’s own topic, so I can’t really do it justice in this post.

But here are a few tips on content that will make you money (provided you get the traffic).

Tips for Content that Makes Money on Amazon

Look, at the end of the day, your content strategy is what will make or break your site. People come to your site and keep coming back because of your content. If you product shitty, unhelpful content, you may get one-off visitors, but that’s it — you won’t build a brand, you won’t ever have anyone actually link to your site, and you won’t get social traffic or build any sort of social authority (facebook likes, facebook page, etc).

I can’t tell you how important this is — even if you are creating a site that’s just for Amazon. Quality is what will build your site up over the long run. I don’t care if you are writing product reviews and making product comparisons — if you do, make sure you do the most in-depth, detailed ones on the web. MAKE YOUR SITE CONTENT STAND OUT.

Tip: Make Catchy Reader Friendly Titles with Keywords You Want to Rank for Included

When you create your content, I’ve always found long long posts full of detail seem to rank better. Have post titles revolve around the keywords you want to rank for, but also be reader friendly. You want real post titles that are interesting yet SEO friendly. This helps in your post rankings and it can also bring people to your site (remember they see your post tittle in the search engine, so having something that’s catchy yet contains your keywords is important).

Make titles catchy…something like this:

  • 10 of the Best Coffee Makers You Will Die For
  • 5 Pairs of Running Shows That Will Get You Laid
  • The Best Coffee Maker (that will change your life forever)

These also have the side affect that if they are shared or promoted on facebook, people are likely to share them or like them which brings more traffic to your article. Don’t underestimate the power of a catchy title!

Tip: Start blogging product reviews

Now, as far as the topic goes, if your niche is somewhat commercial, one good way to capitalize on this is to actually write reviews for products in your niche.

Use popular keywords for your content (using the google keyword tool and doing keyword research for products in your niche) and also insert a few images. When you are done, you will now have to embed your Amazon personal link in your blog post. Choose the keywords, which should carry the link. Now, select them and insert the link. When done, click to make your post go live.

Note, people are wary of just going to a website full of affiliate links and product reviews. The best sort of blogs combine REVIEWS of products with real, awesomely helpful posts about the topic. I recommend keeping your reviews to about 10 percent of your content with the other 90 of your content / posts more general in nature about the topic.

So how many reviews should you write?

There is no limit to it really, other than making sure your site adds enough content to appeal to readers who DON’T only want to read reviews.

In fact, it is a good idea to post new content on your website daily. It will let the search engines know that your site is active, and they will display your content in their results more often.

Tips: Create Best of Lists

If there are a lot of products, once way is to create a really detailed top list or best list of the products with a mini review of each and a statement why each product is ‘the best.’ The public loves this and you can put in product links directly here and make sales. I personally have seen some of my best results with best lists.

Tip: Create Awesome General Content About the Topic

For example, if you have a blog about running shoes, make sure you have general running tips, marathon training guides, fitness articles, and some reviews for running shoes.  You only don’t want running shoe product reviews and top lists. Vary up your topics and write about non-commercial topics too.

Tip: Have Lots of Content on Your Blog

You also want a lot of content. If you look around, the best sites in niches often have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of articles. You may not be able to do thousands, but you can do dozens and over time, hundreds. Don’t expect to make many money or get any traffic with a website with 5 posts. It won’t happen. For new sites, I aim to have at least 20 or so posts, each about 2000 words. And over time I would ad a lot more.

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of quality images about products in your posts/reviews

This makes a difference. If you include different images about products, your reviews stand out more and people will trust them.

Tip: Actually, you know, review the product for real

This is time consuming, but if you are really serious about building up your reputation, buying a bunch of products, reviewing them personally with images and videos, then returning the products goes a long way at creating a legit presence. Yes, you can fake reviews – and I’d say most people do. But if you actually have the item you are reviewing, this really stands out in the review and people can tell this. The best way to convince someone to buy something is if you have that item yourself and give a personal review about it.

Tip: Put up comparison charts for products

This can really increase your amazon earnings. People love to see those compare charts where you take products and features side by side.

 Bonus Tip: Work Social Media Angle to Build More Traffic 

It’s also possible to get a lot of traffic from social networks like facebook. This itself is it’s own strategy. One way though is to create a facebook page for your website, then post a facebook widget to your blog. Update that facebook page with useful articles (from your website and other places) and keep it active. Over time it will grow in the number of likes. Each like means that person will see what you post on your facebook page. And if you post your articles, those visitors will come to your website…and maybe click on an amazon link and buy something! You can also look at doing facebook advertising to increase your like count, but it costs money.

Things to Note About Amazon

  • Amazon puts a cookie on visitors who click on your link that lasts for 24 hours. That means if I click on your amazon link, go see the product, then close the browser, but come back to amazon and buy something within 24 hours of clicking on that link, you will get the credit still.
  • If someone buys ANYTHING on amazon, you get credit — it doesn’t just have to be that item on the link they click on your site.
  • Christmas time is often the best for amazon sales (duh). I personally make about double during the November and December months.
  • You’ll have to try different amazon links. Direct links work, Amazon widgets (in the right circumstances) work. The worst tend to be the actual general amazon banners. Again, you’ll have to test this.
  • Typically, I personally see about a 4-6 percent CTR (buy rate) for clicks to sales in fairly focused niches. That means if 100 people click on my amazon affiliate link, over time about 4 to 6 people will buy something. This number can be much higher or much lower depending on the niche and your content. But this is a rule of thumb. Keeping this in mind, you can sort of guesstimate how much traffic it will take to make X amount of money per day.  How many actual clicks you get on your amazon links really depends on the type of traffic, the niche, the layout of your site, your content, and all of that. One of my sites, I get about 6000 visitors a day and I get about 1000-1100 clicks Amazon clicks per day from it — roughly 18 percent. So the 20 percent of your visitors will click on your amazon link in a focused niche (with the links very in your face) is pretty accurate based on my experience.
  • Different traffic converts differently. Facebook is not the same as Google organic. Search typically is the best.

Other ways of earning on Amazon

Affiliate marketing is not the only method. You can make on amazon via other methods too like creating your own product and selling it on the marketplace or writing ebooks and selling them on the kindle marketplace. These are two other topics though and I won’t cover them here.

  • Kindle Ebooks – write kindle niche ebooks and sell them. People do make money like this. But personally, it seems like it’s a lot of work for a risky return. Good for authors who want to be published writers perhaps.
  • Creating Amazon FBA business (create your own generic products and shipping them to Amazon to sell) — this one is big and you can make a ton of money as it’s a real business. However, you need to commit some thousands first to figuring out a product then shipping it out. But at this point, you jump from online into the ‘off line’ business world of sorts.
  • Ecommerce (sell your own products on amazon).

The Final Word

If you want to make a full time income online, Amazon is a great means of achieving it. For many many niches, even if they are not product niches, there is a chance you can make at least some money with Amazon. If you fully create a focused niche website just to target a product niche, you can really make a lot of money with only a few thousand visitors a day. Between Adsense and Amazon, I’d rather be making the money with Amazon since it’s far more stable. Unlike Adsense, you won’t be at risk of getting banned at any moment.

It takes a while to build up an Amazon income — often a couple years to be honest. But IF you do, it’s absolutely worth it.

The bottom line is Amazon affiliates is not the only way to make money with Amazon.

I would even rate it as the lowest in terms of how much you can make, but the most hands off (you don’t do anything other than have the traffic). Still, if you have the right type of niche, good traffic, and you are getting  affiliate sales, then it follows you could create your own product directly and ship that out from your own eCommerce store OR commission it out as an FBA product on Amazon and make a LOT fucking more money than dicking around with affiliate clicks. Then again, these take risk and more capital on your part. But no risk = minimum reward.

Now go make money with Amazon.

(And read my case study on how I made 90k with Media.net for more passive income tips about a different monetization strategy)

Comments 3

  1. Dave October 19, 2015
    • BenK October 25, 2015
  2. John July 19, 2017

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