Bloggers Guide to Making Money with Amazon Associates

Make Money Online

Ready to begin using Amazon Associates to monetize your blog?

Follow our guide to Amazon Associates (below) and you'll learn how to generate revenue today.

making money amazon associates

What's the best way to make money with your blog? We monetize our blog in a number of ways. Our most passive income comes from affiliate marketing.

Most bloggers start affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates. It's easy to get approved and it's easy to start making money.

Learn more about generating targeted website traffic for your blog.

Bloggers Guide to Amazon Associates

In this guide, you'll learn:

  1. What is Amazon Associates?
  2. Why I Waited to Use Amazon
  3. How Much Money Can I Make With Amazon Associates?
  4. Guide to Amazon Associates: 7 Ways We Generate Affiliate Earnings
  5. Examples of  Some Profitable Amazon List Posts
  6. Our Most Popular Amazon Items
  7. Some Unusual Items We've Sold on Amazon

Let's get started!

What is Amazon Associates?

amazon associates logoAmazon Associates is Amazon.com's affiliate program. You earn a percentage of all revenue generated through your coded affiliate links. Amazon has six different affiliate programs – one for each of their country or regions where they operate. These areas include: US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan. To sell from each of these sites, you'll have to signup for all six programs.

You can link to product categories, brands and specific products. With their built in “Site Stripe” you can link to any page on their site, generating affiliate revenue from any page.

Many bloggers use this program as a way to monetize their blog. There is no cost to get started. You can also use their widgets, banners, or store option.

Why I Waited to Use Amazon Associates

At first, I didn't want to use Amazon.

It seemed way to small to be worth the trouble. I mean, how much money could you make selling a few books at 4-6% commission?

Here are some of the reasons we didn't begin with Amazon from the beginning:

  • Low Commissions: The commission rate starts at 4% of generated sales and increases with your sales volume. (See the full charts below). The commission rate quickly increases with volume, but the apparently low percentage is an initial turnoff.
  • 24-Hour Cookie: The purchase also has to happen within 24 hours of the click. The affiliate cookie expires after that – which means you get zero commission. Learn more about cookies and ecommerce. Cookies from other affiliate programs last as long as 30-90 days. Some even last for one year – meaning that if the buyer makes a purchase within that 365-day period, you'll earn a commission.
  • Country Specific: If you link to Amazon.com (US version) and your reader purchases through Amazon.ca (Canada version) you don't get paid for the sale. While this might seem like a dirty trick, they are actually separate companies operating in separate countries. There are some WordPress plugins to localize the click but I haven't had much success with these.

In spite of these concerns, I started promoting Amazon products just over two years ago.

How Much Money Can I Make With Amazon Associates?

It depends on many factors. Traffic and niche are probably the two biggest determinants.

You'll need to either generate a lot of clicks or have a highly targeted (and responsive) niche. Having both is even better. 🙂

In the guide below, I'll explain specific approaches to generating revenue with Amazon Associates.

Amazon offers a sliding scale of advertising fees (what you earn from sales) dependent on volume.

Number of Products Shipped in a Given Month

  • 1-6 products: 4.00%
  • 7-30 products: 6.00%
  • 31-110 products: 6.50%
  • 111-320 products: 7.00%
  • 321-630 products: 7.50%
  • 631-1570 products: 8.00%
  • 1571-3130 products: 8.25%
  • 3131+ products: 8.50%

amazon associates volume advertising fees

There are some fixed fee products. One category that we sell a lot of is electronics (cameras and accessories). Regardless of the volume, we only earn 4%. Although this is a fixed commission rate, each unit contributes to the total volume, increasing the commission rate for each of the other items.

Another category that we've done well with, is the Amazon Instant Video. They are an impulse purchase and work well for travel related posts. The fixed rate is just 5%. Our House Hunters Episode (titled A Relaxed Life in Cuenca) sells for $1.99, earning us $0.10 (5%) each time it's purchased. While this isn't much money, each unit sold contributes to the overall volume (and commission) levels.

There is also a cap of $25 per unit on personal computers – regardless the final purchase price. That means that you'll get 4% on computers valued up to $625, earning you $25. If the computer costs more, you'll still earn just $25.

Here is the full list of fixed rate fees:

amazon associates fixed fee

Ready to start earning? Lets do this!

guide to amazon associates

Guide to Amazon Associates: Generating Affiliate Earnings 

Here are the 7 ways we generate revenue with our Amazon Associates links.

  1. Write a Specific Review: Is there a book, tool, or product that you absolutely love? Why not write a review of it? Your readers will expect a product link. If the review fits in your niche, the review will be a helpful piece of content. As with all affiliate marketing, make sure that the product is good. Your reputation depends on it. Example: Coolibar Hats
  2. Create a Hub Post of Favorite Products: After you publish a set of reviews, you can tie them all together into one larger post. For example, you might write a number of individual reviews about travel books. After you've published 3-10+ you can tie them together into a hub post that links out to all of your individual posts. It's a great way to organize your content and help readers find more related content.
  3. Write a List Post: This is a favorite of mine. (See some examples below.) This collects sets of books and tools into a useful reference. Often I don't feel motivated enough to write a full review for each individual item, but they are resources I want to share with our audience. So we write a brief review of each item and publish them together. Some of these posts are the most read posts on our sites.
  4. Reference a Product in a Post: This is handy when you are teaching a skill, and you reference a specific tool or book that you used to accomplish one of the steps. We've had great success with this in our GoPro Timelapse Tutorials. We've sold truckloads of tripods, battery packs and memory cards.
  5. Link to category and brand pages: This works well with clothing brands (Coolibar clothing, for example) or camera accessory manufacturers (Joby Tripods) where readers can see more of the same quality and type of product. Instead of opening up a specific item, readers will see the full list of products created by that manufacturer.
  6. Create a Resource Page: This is a powerful approach. We have resource pages on both GringosAbroad and here on BloggerAbroad. Along with the About Page, the resource page is one of the most read. It combines all the tools, services and books we use. Readers are generally in a buying mode when they arrive.
  7. Sidebar Ads: I've experimented with these, but found that links in posts perform better. That being said, your audience or niche might respond to these. You can choose from many ads and widgets inside of the Amazon Associates dashboard. You can target specific products and categories or even specific keywords.

amazon associates logoUse Tracking ID's (Bonus): If you run more than one site, you should create additional tracking ID's. These codes can help you determine where your clicks and revenue is coming from. For example, we generate more sales on GringosAbroad, but more revenue on BloggerAbroad. These are very easy to create, and must be chosen every time you select a link.

Some Profitable Amazon List Posts

We've had good success creating list posts of Amazon products. Here are some of the more profitable list posts:

  • 11 Books & Courses We Used to Learn Spanish: This is a 1200 word post that lists eleven books and courses that we actually purchased. The post has 122 comments and has been shared almost 300 times on Facebook and Twitter. It is our single most profitable Amazon post. It ranks in search for a number of valuable keywords, driving solid traffic everyday.
  • 17 Best Expat Books to Help You Plan a Successful Relocation: This list is a combination of books that we've read and that are highly ranked on Amazon. The idea is to group the best resources together to make it easier for new expats. This is a 2554 word post and has been shared 120 times over social media. These posts generally do very well on search and social media. As a result, they generate solid revenue.
  • 14 Business Books I'm Loving (My Reading List): This post recently published on this blog and has generated solid clicks and earnings. It is almost 2000 words and has been shared almost 100 times. These are all books that I own and have read in the past year.

Why these posts work: The common thread in all of these posts is that we share our personal opinion in each of them. We own (almost) all of these books and they have helped us in some way. Readers highly value their time and don't want to waste it (or their money) buying useless books.

Our Most Popular Amazon Items

Generally speaking, we promote Spanish and business books, camera equipment and travel gear. Some of the most popular items on our sites have been:

Some Unusual Items We've Sold on Amazon

But with Amazon, you earn commissions on everything purchased by that user for the next 24 hours. That means that a visitor might click on your link about learning Spanish and end up buying one of these quite unrelated items (from our actual earnings report):

These items don't relate to our niche at all. And yet our readers clicked on one of our links, purchased these items and we earned a commission on them.

Sometimes, the link will generate a sale, but for a competing product – or a much more expensive one.

  • Brinno TLC200 Pro HDR Time Lapse Video Camera: I recommended the GoPro, gave a tutorial about how to create a time-lapse, and a reader purchased the competing product. Here's the thing. The camera costs $179.99, and I earned a 4% commission ($7.20) for the sale. But this isn't the product I recommended.
  • Panasonica LUMIX DMC-FZ70: Sold for $199.00 and I earned a commission of $7.96 although I recommended a Canon. 🙂
  • Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphone: At $341.95, these are easily the most expensive headphones I've ever seen. This luxury purchase generated a 4% commission of $13.68. I recommended the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x (the best headphones I've ever owned) and the buyer bought a pair 3.5 times more expensive.

So there you have it. The complete guide to Amazon Associates.

Your Turn

Are you planning on promoting with Amazon Associates?

Have you had success with Amazon Associates? What works for you? Please share your tips in the comments below!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedininstagramFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedininstagram

Hi, I'm the Author!

Bryan Haines is a travel blogger, photographer and content marketer. He is co-founder of WiseGuides.ca (Nova Scotia travel blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for Canadian travel brands). Bryan is also an avid photographer. Check out ClickLikeThis, a GoPro tutorial blog he runs with his wife, Dena.

18 comments… add one
  • Dweepayan Das May 19, 2016, 3:29 pm

    Hi Bryan,

    Reviews really, really rock. When you mention “review” within the title of a blog post it’s like bees to honey. I just re-did every of my eBook pages to title them, “review” pages because of us wish a breakdown, a review, testimonials, endorsements, and all that good things to form informed educated decisions.

    Wonderful post with supersensible tips.

    Happy to tweet it!

  • sanjay joshi May 10, 2016, 4:58 pm

    Hi bryan,

    thnks 4 teaching us.

    once again great post

  • Nouman Jun 7, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Hi,
    Today I join to Amazon affiliate.
    But people buy Amazon visitor to Amazon website or my website.??
    Because I buy website.!!!
    Please tell me answer me.

  • John May 22, 2015, 5:39 pm

    Hi great post,
    Before readers get exicited listing high ticket items on their websites , £1000 watches etc, Unfortunately there is a maximum payout per item of £7, I have confirmed this with Amazon Associates few weeks ago, unless its a special promotion for affiliates
    There are also a number of paid plugins for wordpress to help automate advertising, as well as amazon’s own widgets and Astore
    🙂

    • Bryan Haines May 25, 2015, 7:20 am

      Agreed that earnings are made on volume and not high ticket items. I don’t know Amazon UK rules, but with Amazon.com they don’t cap fees (except those listed above). I just looked back at our recent earnings and there was a Phantom quadcopter ($999) and a bunch of GoPro cameras ($399). Because they are electronics, the fee is set at 4% – regardless of volume. But this means earnings of $39.96 on the quadcopter and $16 on all the GoPro cameras.

  • Amy (Two Drifters) Apr 24, 2015, 8:16 pm

    Hi! Thanks so much for this informative and easy-to-read post! Looking forward to starting with affiliate marketing, and sharing some of the books & products I really love. 🙂

    Amy

  • Jason Plant Mar 6, 2015, 6:03 pm

    As you say, you have to sign up to all of the different Amazons to be paid off them, but when you put the code on the site, how do you decide which affliate code from which region to pick ?

    • Bryan Haines Mar 15, 2015, 6:23 am

      You should check to see where your traffic is coming from. For our sites, it is more than 80% from the US so that’s what we use. Just check your analytics and see where your readers primarily live.

      There is a tool that we’ve used with success. EasyAzon has an international link localizer. This will display a link for the correct Amazon site for your reader. The tool auto fills your code for that region and directs the person to the correct site – meaning that you don’t miss out on any affiliate earnings.

  • Damon and Jo Jan 30, 2015, 5:02 pm

    Thanks! We’ve been looking at supplemental ways to earn income off of our blog, and although we’ve heard of Amazon Associates, we needed a blog like this to prove to us that it’s worth it! You da best!

  • Matt Hayden Dec 30, 2014, 11:28 pm

    I have made a couple of Amazon sales from blogs. But lately I’ve been focusing on Twitter promotion. The sales are trickling in. So I’ll focus on that for the time being.

    The beauty of this method is that it’s so quick and easy. If you’ve got a decent sized, engaged following and tweet relevant books that have good reviews to your followers, you’re sure to make sales from time to time.

  • Jason B Dec 22, 2014, 6:38 pm

    I have had a little bit of success using the amazon affiliates program. Next year I am rolling out a few more review posts to see if I can make some more affiliate sales,

  • Stacey Dec 22, 2014, 12:06 am

    Thank you for posting this! I have not spent much time focusing on the affiliate stuff so this was good to bring that to the front of my mind. Also, they’re fairly odd and random things you’re selling in your list. Love it!

  • Ryan Biddulph Dec 21, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Hi Bryan,

    Reviews really, really rock. When you mention “review” in the title of a blog post it’s like bees to honey. I just re-did each of my eBook pages to title them, “review” pages because folks want a breakdown, a review, testimonials, endorsements and all that good stuff to make informed, educated decisions.

    Wonderful post with super practical tips.

    Happy to tweet it!

    Ryan

    • Bryan Haines Dec 21, 2014, 12:17 pm

      Thanks Ryan – we’ve had great success with reviews as well.

  • galo sane Dec 20, 2014, 4:47 pm

    vey useful articles and thanks the explanations!

  • Nathan Dec 20, 2014, 8:54 am

    We are trying to get a travel blog going for Nepal. When you sent an email before about what your readers would like to see in the future, I replied I would like to understand Amazon affiliation better. Thank you so much for publishing this article! Thank you very much for catering to your readers!

Leave a Comment