2019 was a great year for e-commerce in general, though one giant, Amazon has dropped in market share a bit. A big part of that was due to the growing popularity of other e-commerce businesses like Walmart. By year’s end, Amazon could claim about 38% of all e-commerce revenue in 2019–down from the 47% it claimed last year. Projections for 2020 sales hold in line with 2019’s numbers.
Even so, Amazon is still an e-commerce powerhouse. And if you are thinking about making money with WordPress, the Amazon affiliate program should be one of the first places you to turn to.
While keeping your website 99.9% secure and achieving loading times under 1 second is important, knowing how to make money as an affiliate is too. In the following guide on how to add Amazon affiliate links to WordPress, we’re going to cover that and much more. We’re going to talk about:
- What affiliate marketing is.
- The different ways in which you can use Amazon affiliate links in WordPress.
- The pros and cons of using the Amazon affiliate marketing program.
- Tips on how to add Amazon affiliate links (or ads) to your WordPress site.
- WordPress themes and plugins designed specifically to improve your ability to monetize with Amazon affiliate links. Our favorite is Lasso. Start your 14-day free trial here!
What Is Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
There are many ways in which you can make money with WordPress. Creating a website for the purposes of promoting a business or selling goods through an online store is one such way. Monetizing a blog with display ads is another. While there are other ways in which you can use your WordPress site to make money, perhaps one of the easiest ones to get started with is affiliate marketing.
Unlike traditional display advertising in WordPress, affiliate marketing takes the unknown out of the equation. With affiliate marketing, you actively choose which products or services you want to promote. #WordPress #affiliate Click To Tweet
This is in contrast to ad publishers that choose which advertisers to fill the space with based on end user data.
Here is what a display ad typically looks like:
That big block promoting Microsoft 365 at the top of the page was put there thanks to Entrepreneur’s use of DoubleClick Advertising Solutions. Although the ad is somewhat relevant to myself as a business owner, it’s not all that relevant to the article that I visited the website for in the first place.
Now, here is an example from Wirecutter that shows what affiliate links (highlighted in yellow) look like:
As you can see, the links to the pressure cookers are directly relevant to the content on the page (it was a roundup of the best pressure cookers).
In terms of how affiliate links work, Amazon makes it quite simple. You don’t need to pay for any ad software nor do you have to designate space on your site in which ads will appear.
Instead, you sign up for an Amazon Associates account and then are provided with links you can use to promote products from the Amazon marketplace.
Some people think Amazon Associates sucks. But that’s another story…
In order for you to actually make money for these product referrals, however, you can’t just use the product link on Amazon. You have to use one that’s been tagged to give you credit for any sales that come from it. Essentially, each link you use stores an affiliate cookie on your site that will then associate the customers’ sales to your account.
Here is an example of an Amazon affiliate link on the Parenting website:
Click on that link and you will be then taken to the Amazon website. However, if you look at the address bar, you’ll see that it contains more information than the standard URL (which typically ends in “/dp/” and the ASIN ID).
That is the affiliate tracking code and cookie linking back to your site and notifying Amazon to pay you a commission up to 10% of the ticket price on that item.
Why You Should Add Amazon Affiliate Links to WordPress
Amazon launched back in 1994 and, two short years later, they developed their Amazon Associates program. In so doing, Amazon was able to increase exposure to their marketplace by enabling web developers and site owners to work as evangelists for their products. It helped drive more traffic to Amazon while giving these business-minded individuals the opportunity to generate more revenue for their own sites and businesses.
Today, the Amazon Associates affiliate program can be used in a variety of ways in WordPress:
- Bloggers can add affiliate links to their content or ads on their sidebar when discussing and recommending specific products available in the Amazon marketplace.
- Users can create entire online stores dedicated to selling products from Amazon. This is also known as an affiliate store.
- Business owners can sell and promote their own Amazon products on their WordPress sites using affiliate links (so they’ll get the commission fee in addition to whatever money they earn in the direct sale through Amazon).
- People who want to make a living writing reviews about products, books, movies, and anything else available on Amazon can create an entire site dedicated to it.
- Affiliate marketing can also be used on sites that compare product pricing or offer coupons in bulk for various products.
If you like the idea of generating additional income by adding Amazon affiliate links to your WordPress site, you should first make sure you know what you’re getting into. While there are a plethora of benefits to glean from the Amazon Associates program, there are a number of drawbacks that go along with it as well.
And if you’re ready to start adding affiliate links today, our favorite tool is Lasso. Start your 14-day free trial here!
What to Watch Out for with Amazon Affiliate Marketing
Let’s first examine the “bad” parts of Amazon affiliate marketing. Basically, these are the things you need to be careful about when working with a brand like Amazon.
- This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Without steady traffic to your site, without content that is relevant to the affiliate links you want to promote, without a healthy marketing campaign going on outside of your site, you might not earn much from this.
- Bad product picks could hurt your brand. Chances are good that if you’re including an affiliate link in your content, then you’re willing to put your full support behind the product. However, if the reputation of that product should sour with the public and you fail to catch it, that recommendation of an untrustworthy product could hurt your brand.
- Analytics are limited. Unlike with conversions made directly on your WordPress site, you’ll be limited in terms of what you can learn about the people making purchases through your affiliate links. While Amazon does provide you with details about clicks and sales, you won’t get deep insights into who the consumer was and what they did on your site before they got to that point that you would with Google Analytics.
- Amazon mostly deals in physical products. For those of you hoping to promote software or other digital products (not including books, of course) through affiliate links, you won’t be able to do so through this program.
- Commissions are not consistent. Although Amazon advertises that affiliate marketers receive up to 10% commission on purchases made through their links, many categories don’t pay out that well. You can find the commission structure here:
Also, be sure to check the payouts for Amazon’s special “bounties”, which refer to promotions of Amazon’s digital services:
- Their policies are strict. Be sure to read through Amazon’s affiliate program policies very carefully. Any violation of their policies is grounds for account suspension–something which could be devastating if you build an entire website or store around affiliate links. Amazon has also been known to suspend accounts without any prior notice, so tread carefully.
- Affiliate links only work on the WordPress site. If you were thinking about using the Amazon Associates program outside of WordPress, you may want to rethink your strategy. According to Amazon’s guidelines, you cannot use affiliate links in email nor can you even use them in on-site pop-ups. They have to be embedded on your website.
The one exception here is social media. You can use affiliate links to promote products on social media. However, if you intend on doing that, you must first add your social media accounts to your website list. You can do this during the setup phase (under “Profile”):
Or you can go in later and add your social media profiles to your list under Account Settings (under your email address at the top of the page):
What to Be Excited About with Amazon Affiliate Marketing
Unsurprisingly, there are many more pros associated with Amazon affiliate marketing than there are cons. Let’s take a look at why this type of marketing should get you excited.
- It’s free to join and use. There’s absolutely nothing to pay to Amazon to make use of this program.
- The sign-up process is simple. If you already have an Amazon account, you’ll be taken through a straightforward five-step signup process:
During this process, Amazon will ask about your business, your website(s), as well as how you intend to use the affiliate marketing program to make money.
- It’s extremely WordPress-friendly. As you’ll soon see, it’s very easy to add Amazon affiliate links to WordPress. If you decide that you want more than just the occasional link to appear within your content and you want to build an entire affiliate store, there are WordPress affiliate themes and plugins built specifically for Amazon Associates members.
- You get to hand-pick what you promote. Unlike display ad systems that typically choose which brands serve ads on your WordPress site, you have total control over this with Amazon affiliate links. You’ll never have to worry about a competitor’s link showing up on your site and the link will always be relevant to the content that it appears within or beside–which will improve its chances of getting clicked.
- You can build greater trust with visitors. When affiliate links are used properly, you’ll build even more trust with visitors. This means always directing…