Some of the mainstays of Ethical Affiliate Marketing are always provide readers and search engines valuable content, never use any black hat techniques for driving sales or traffic, and only promoting real products that have real value.
With that in mind, we’ve been part of the Amazon Affiliate program for a year now, and have used various techniques and websites to drive traffic to Amazon and earn over $10,000 in profits since starting last fall. Part of that was by advertising Amazon products on Google Adwords before Amazon decided to stop the practice. But the rest comes from a couple of websites we made that did product recommendations and reviews.
Amazon can be a fickle beast for affiliates, since the affiliate cookie used to track the purchases only lasts for 24 hours, but Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and thus move a CRAP TOP of products. Their revenue last year, meaning the amount of money they brought in for sales of products and advertising and everything else, was $19 BILLION dollars. That’s Billion with a B. A big B. From that they made over $600 Million in profits. So if you can guess at an average item price they ship, I’d say it’s probably hovering around $15. That’s an average since they sell lots of paperbacks for $5, bestsellers for $15-20, and tons of larger items like video games and power tools in the $40-$950,000 range. That’s right, you can buy a $950,000 giant diamond on Amazon. Divide $15 per item by the revenue and that makes… carry the 1… probably over 1 BILLION products sold.
So the Amazon Affiliate program is quite popular despite the fact that it only pays out on average 6-8% of a sale (it’s really 4%-15% depending on product types and numbers sold) and only for items added to your Amazon cart within 24 hours of clicking your affiliate link to Amazon.
Thus there has grown up an industry to basically scam people into thinking they can use a magic script to create an online store filled with Amazon products and have money just start pouring in! Ummm, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but really? You thought it would be that easy?
Let’s break it down with some examples. If it seems to you that we’re bashing on your site, look at it as practical advice and a free link!
Look at your Amazon Affiliate Site From an Outsiders Perspective – Does It Attract You In?
Would you buy anything from your Amazon affiliate site? Look at it with a very critical eye and think, if I came to this site from some other site, would I be interested in clicking on anything? Of would you head for the door? Your site must be well laid out and relevant to what a visitor is interested in.
Bad Example: cookwithbrian.com. There is nothing on the home page but blinking banners and ads. Even if I did click through to one of your categories (which I never would), they’re just pages with one Amazon widget on them. Google will hate your site. There is very little original content to attract search engines to rank your site well.
Good Example: besttoysguide.com. Well designed and attractive. Plenty of original reviews over 500 words long which include YouTube videos of the product in question. Updates with new reviews frequently, 3-4 per week on average. Main page has links to their targeted keywords. No Amazon affiliate links on the homepage only sub pages. Google LOVES stuff like that and besttoysguide.com site ranks very well for a number of popular search terms. I bet they’ll make a nice chunk of change this Christmas season and the site deserves it.
Do You Have Traffic?
Lots of people comment in the Amazon Associates forum that they bought a site from someone and they get no traffic and can not imagine why hordes of people are not spontaneously typing in greatthingstobuytoday.com into their browser. You need to earn traffic! Either through paid advertising or through getting links back to your site from other sites. The more links you get, the more ways for people to find you, and your site will rise up in the search engine rankings. If you expect Google to send you traffic because you setup a site that just duplicates a bunch of descriptions from Amazon with your affiliate link in them, you are sadly mistaken. You need clear compelling unique content with targeted keywords to rank in Google.
Bad Example: life-user.blogspot.com. Subject matter is all over the place, any traffic they get is likely from people clicking the “Next Blog” link in Blogspot then quickly moving on. Start over life-user. Go grab a real hosting account and three domains around your top two interests, heavy metal, geek tech, then FOCUS the each site on that topic. Signup for a Google Adwords account and use the keyword tool to find top keywords for those interests, then write posts around them.
Good Example: www.dvdbeaver.com. Clear relevant products and advertisements laser targeted to the sites focus. People come there for DVD reviews and advice, and the site delivers. Traffic is high for a site with just DVD reviews, with Alexa putting them in the top 50,000 sites on the planet out of hundreds of millions. That ranking puts them in the thousands of visitors a day level.
Is Your Traffic Relevant To Your Ads?
If you think you have “traffic” but are not getting clicks or any actual sales, is your traffic targeted to your site and what products you are promoting. Again, look at it from an outsiders perspective. How would you get to your site? And not just how would you get there, but would you be looking for the products you are promoting when you do get there? For example, if people find your site through an ad you place or search engine, is the page what they are looking for? Good traffic can have a click through rate over 20% and a conversion rate (that’s the rate of purchases made vs clicks through to Amazon) of 10% or more. Bad traffic can have a click through rate of less than 1% which basically represents misclicks and no conversions.
Bad Example: paulanealmooney.com – Paula does a lot of things right on her sites. She targets trending keywords which Google loves to rank highly for a few weeks. Sorry to pick on you Paula, can I call you Paula by the way? You left a comment here a few weeks back and have multiple pages that talk about various Google scams that are heavily targeted to search engine queries for the scams, yet the sidebar is filled with ads for books about how everyone is going to Hell when they die. Maybe you want the Google Biz Kit scammers to go to hell, but that stuff is not relevant at all to the visitors you are trying to attract. Luckily your blog is WordPress based and can easily be fixed. Create categories for your posts, then use a plugin called Widget Context to deliver targeted ad widgets to the content for that category. Hell books for posts in the religious categories, money making books for Google scam categories, toys for toy posts, etc. Do that and I’d bet you double your Amazon earnings easily.
Good Example: gosale.com. Most pages are just price comparisons between different Amazon 3rd party sellers, but the pages are very relevant to the product search that will bring a person to that site. Similar products to the one searched for are listed and a review is there for each product.
Want Us To Review Your Amazon Site?
Drop the site in the comments below if you are feeling brave and want actual unbiased and truthful feedback. I’ll give it to you…