How to use Amazon’s Affiliate program


Introduction


So, you’ve got a nice website setup, you’re starting to see some real traffic, and you’re wondering ‘how do I turn these users into income’? Well, today I’m going to tell you one simple and yet incredibly powerful way to go about doing this. Amazon’s Affiliate program.


What Is Amazon’s Affiliate Program?


Amazon’s Affiliate program is, at its core, a program formed by Amazon to pay people for referring buyers to Amazon.

Basically, Amazon has said: ‘When we make a sale we make X amount of money. If someone sends a user to our site that buys something then they should be entitled to a % of X.’


Signing Up For Amazon’s Affiliate Program


Signing up for Amazon’s Affiliate program is a fairly simple process. First, you’ll need to go to their site (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/) and then you’ll have to click sign up. That’s it.

I kid, but, seriously, signing up for the program is pretty straight forward. The only thing you should note is that Amazon requires all their associates to be 18 years or older.


Getting Setup


Once you get accepted into the program and get signed into your associate dashboard you’ll probably be thinking ‘What now?’. Well, now the real work begins. To start making money you’ll have to begin using referral links (ref links for short). Ref links are just like normal Amazon links, but with one key difference. Unlike normal Amazon links, ref links have a tracking ID attached to them. This tracking ID is how Amazon knows who comes from your site and who doesn’t. In other words, ref links tell Amazon ‘Hey, I sent you this customer. You should pay me a portion of the money they make you.’. If you’re wondering here’s what a ref link looks like: http://amzn.to/2mGGXtP (yeah, pretty much what you expected).

So, how do you make ref links? Well, there are a couple of ways. The first, and probably slowest, is to go to your associate dashboard, hover on ‘Product Linking’,  and then click on ‘Product Links’ in the drop down. This will bring you to a search page where you can search through Amazon for the product you want to link to. Once you find the product you want you can  click on ‘Get Link’, click on ‘Text Only’, copy the html at the bottom of the page, and finally paste the html in your website’s source code where you want to the link. This obviously has some serious drawbacks not the least of which being that it requires a decent understanding of how html works to even use.

So, if you aren’t in the mood to edit your website’s source code, let me introduce you to Amazon’s SiteStrip tool. SiteStrip is a neat little Amazon.com add-on that allows associates to easily make ref links while they browse Amazon.com. When turned on, you’ll find a small strip at the top of your browser when on an Amazon webpage (this isn’t like a chrome extension that is always there). On this strip you’ll see three buttons: Text, Image, and Text+Image. When you navigate to an Amazon product page you’d like to link to, all you have to do is click the Text button and a dialogue will pop up with a link that you can copy paste (no html knowledge required).

So, you have a ref link, but you still aren’t making any money? Well, as you already know the only way to make money from a ref link is via purchases. So, to start making money you have to start sending buyers to Amazon.com by placing it on your website for your users (potential buyers) to see and possibly click.


The Details


You now know the basics of Amazon’s Affiliate program, but there’s more. A lot more. So, let me just touch on some of the more obscure and yet important minutia of Amazon’s Affiliate program.

Cookies

Amazon’s ref links use a type of tracking called cookies. Cookies are actually very complex, but the main thing you need to know is that Amazon’s ref links use 24 hour non-product specific cookies. This means if someone clicks your ref link and buys something from Amazon with 24 hours of clicking your link you get paid as if they went directly from your site to Amazon and bought something.

Non-Product Links

Amazon doesn’t just allow ref links to their product pages they also allow you to link to services they offer. To find out more about linking to pages like the Amazon Prime sign-up page (http://amzn.to/2nTO0QS) go to the ‘Promotions’ tab in your associates dashboard.

Tracking IDs

Unlike your single store ID which is unique to your associates account, you can have multiple tracking IDs. These are basically sub IDs that you can use to track income from different sources. A detailed description of how they work can be found here.


Conclusion


Amazon’s Affiliate program is a great option for website owners looking to monetize their user base in a non-intrusive way. If you found this post useful please do consider sharing it, and, if you want to go above and beyond, please consider clicking on one of my ref links before making your next purchase on Amazon.

Have a great day.

– Alex

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