What Is the Amazon Affiliate Program? What Bloggers Should Know

If you have a blog, you should consider joining Amazon Associates. But what is the Amazon affiliate program, and is it worth your time and effort?

What Is the Amazon Affiliate Program? | Hannah Haefele

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money from your content. Read on to learn how Amazon’s program works to decide if it’s right for you.

But first, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.

Amazon Associates Overview

Amazon Associates homepage

Amazon Associates is the Amazon affiliate program. It allows bloggers and other content creators to earn money from their content when they promote products on Amazon.

You can sign up as a new blogger, so you don’t need to have a ton of traffic to join. That makes it an excellent way to start making money sooner than if you relied on ads or sponsorships.

Once you join, you can create affiliate links, which have a trackable code in the URL. If someone clicks on your link and buys something from Amazon, you’ll get a percentage of the sale.

Unlike many other affiliate programs, you can earn commission on anything on Amazon, even if the customer doesn’t buy the specific product you promoted. A lot of my commissions come from random products that I never promote.

How to Join the Amazon Affiliate Program

If you think your blog readers would like things from Amazon, you should join Amazon Associates. I’ve been part of the program since 2016, so it’s possible the steps to joined have changed.

However, here are a few basic things you need to do before you can start making money as an Amazon affiliate.

Meet the Program Requirements

Before you go to the Amazon website, you may need to work on your blog. You need to have a public website (or social media profile) with unique content.

If you haven’t yet, I’d recommend spending a month or so creating as much content as you can for your blog. Then, you’ll have a better chance of getting into the program when you do apply.

Now, if you already have a blog, you can skip this step. You can also skip this if you have a blog and start a second one. I was able to add my new blog to my account and start sharing affiliate links right away.

Sign Up

Next, you’ll need to go to the Amazon website and log into your account. Of course, if you’re one of the few people without an account, you need to create a basic Amazon account first.

You can sign up for Amazon Prime, but I just have a free account. However, getting Prime can be a good option if you want to try the products before you promote them so that you can get them quicker.

Either way, after you sign in, scroll to the bottom until you find the footer. Click on “Become an Affiliate.” Then, follow the prompts on your screen, and answer the questions as best as you can.

Get Three Commissions

Unfortunately, you can’t just join the Amazon affiliate program and stay in it. You’ll have 180 days to get your first three commissions, no matter how small or large they are.

As I mentioned, it doesn’t matter if you get people to buy the specific products you promote. However, you can’t buy through your own links and earn a commission.

That’s another reason why you may want to wait to join Amazon Associates until you have traffic. That can increase the chances of you getting three commissions.

Create Affiliate Links

Now, to get those three commissions, you need to create affiliate links. You can do this within your affiliate dashboard under the Product Linking tab.

There, you can create product links, banners, or native shopping ads. However, my favorite way to create affiliate links is right on the Amazon website with SiteStripe.

Once you find a product you want to promote, click on Text or Image, near the top. That will create a link that you can copy and paste into a blog post.

Where to Place Amazon Affiliate Links

After you join Amazon Associates, you may wonder where you should use your links. You can use your links in a lot of places, but you can’t use them just anywhere.

Here are a few places I’ve used Amazon affiliate links and where I’d recommend you start.

In Blog Posts

As a blogger, you may already have a ton of blog posts, or you might write blog posts often. You can add Amazon affiliate links to your existing blog posts and new ones.

Now, you want to make sure you only add the links where it makes sense. If you have any product reviews, that’s the perfect place to link to the product if it’s available on Amazon.

You can also place the links in more informative content if you ever mention a product. While people may want the tutorial, they could click the link to buy what they need.

If you’re planning more blog posts, consider topics that lend themselves to product links. That way, you can include more affiliate links in your new articles.

On a Resources Page

One of my favorite ways to use Amazon affiliate links is on a blog resources page. I have a page like this for each of my blogs, and I use it to share my top tools and resources for the blog’s niche.

You can add this page to your navigation menu, and you can promote it in your blog posts or on social media. Then, you can promote more products without necessarily having to write a whole review of them.

A resources page is pretty easy to create, and you can make it as simple or complex as you want. Whenever you learn of new products tools, you can add the affiliate links to that page.

In Public Social Posts

If you use social media to promote your blog, you can also share affiliate links that way. However, the key word here is that you use affiliate links in your PUBLIC posts.

You can’t share Amazon Associates links in private messages, emails, or eBooks. I don’t know why Amazon has this rule, but they do, and you don’t want to break it and risk getting kicked out of the program.

If you want to share an affiliate link with someone privately, lead them to a blog post or your resources page. Then, the link can still be public, but you can share more information through a message.

Amazon Associates Program Rules

Compared to many other affiliate programs, Amazon Associates is very strict. When you first set up your account, you should understand the rules.

That way, you’ll know how you can and can’t use the links to avoid Amazon banning your account. Here are the most important rules to know (but you should read the terms to learn all of the details).

Keep Links Online

As I mentioned, you can only share Amazon affiliate program links publicly. That means you also can’t share them offline in any way, such as by printing the link and giving the page with the link to people.

Again, I have no idea why Amazon restricts this, but you need to follow this rule. Make sure you only ever use your links in blog posts and on your resources page. You can also use the links on social media if you choose.

However, don’t include your links in eBooks, emails, or similar materials. If someone clicks on your link from there, Amazon might flag your account, and it’s not worth the risk of maybe getting a sale.

Don’t Mention Prices

You also can’t mention specific prices of the products you promote on Amazon. The prices change often, so your information may not even be accurate for very long.

Now, you can say whether something is affordable or expensive. Other relative terms can work, but don’t include any numbers when talking about the cost.

Of course, a good product review usually includes some details on the price. You can make vague statements about the price and tell people to check out Amazon for more details.

Be Honest

It can be tempting to say a product is amazing just to try and get a sale. However, that’s not worth doing for a few reasons, Amazon links or otherwise.

For one, Amazon says you can’t make any false claims about products. That’s what makes it a big rule in the Amazon Associates program.

But you also want to be honest so that you don’t lose the trust of your readers. It’s okay to say that something’s not great and to recommend better alternatives, and you can use affiliate links for those products as well to still make money.

Avoid Link Shorteners

Another thing you need to be careful about is link shorteners. Many affiliate marketing gurus say to use these links to cloak your links and keep other affiliates from stealing your commissions by swapping out their affiliate tag.

However, Amazon doesn’t let you use link shorteners. That’s okay though because they have their own link shortening tool right within SiteStripe.

When you make a link, be sure to select Short Link, rather than Full Link within the tool. That way, you can still cloak your affiliate links and protect your commissions.

Always Use a Disclaimer

This goes for every affiliate program out there but especially Amazon. Any time you share an affiliate link, you need to disclose that you’re using affiliate links BEFORE the link.

You can read most of my blog posts (including this one) to see how I include a disclaimer. That disclaimer should also link back to a page with the full terms, and you can read my terms page for an example.

I believe I found a template online when I first created a privacy policy and terms page. Either way, it needs to be clear to your readers that you may get paid for some sales you generate.

Why Join Amazon Associates

The Amazon affiliate program is what has allowed me to create great content. While I monetize my blogs with other affiliate programs and display ads, Amazon has been the most lucrative so far.

It’s still not making me a full-time income, but many of my blogs are small and/or new. Over time, I know I can increase my income, so I’m glad I joined the program.

Here are a few reasons why you may want to become an Amazon Associate.

Easy to Join

As you can read above, joining Amazon Associates is pretty easy and quick. Some programs require you have a certain amount of traffic or other audience metrics.

But if you’re a beginner blogger, you may not want to deal with those requirements. You can start to earn money much sooner with Amazon.

Of course, you need to get a few commissions to stay in the program. However, that shouldn’t be too hard for most people as long as you’re consistent and post good content.

Free to Join

You can also join Amazon Associates without paying anything. Now, you may need to pay for things like your website hosting and domain, but those are good to pay for anyway.

If you want to review products, you can also buy those products on Amazon. But again, there’s no requirement to pay for anything before you sign up as an Amazon affiliate.

That makes Amazon a great program for beginners on a tight budget. As you start to make money, you can invest it into new products to try, or you can keep it as pure profit.

Sell Anything on Amazon

Amazon seems to sell just about anything these days. If you get into the program, you can almost always find a few products that make sense for your blog niche.

You can also use your same account to create affiliate links for any new niche blogs you start. As of this writing, I have two other blogs that have little or nothing to do with blogging, but I use Amazon for them.

Whether you blog about home decor, pet supplies, or technology, you can promote Amazon affiliate links. Then, you can make a commission from each sale to help monetize your blog.

Get Commissions on All Sales Driven

My favorite part about Amazon Associates is that you can earn a commission on products you didn’t promote. If someone clicks your link and buys anything, you’ll make money.

In October 2022, nine of the top ten earning items were things I’ve never linked to. And the one thing that I did link to came in ninth place in terms of my commission income.

Amazon’s cookie duration is 24 hours, so people don’t even need to buy something right away. They could come back later that day or the next day to purchase anything on Amazon, and you could still earn a commission.

People Trust Amazon

I know a lot of people don’t like Amazon for its business practices. However, a lot of other people still enjoy shopping on the platform, and they trust what they’re going to get.

This can help you drive more sales, especially compared to smaller businesses or newer companies. If you want to increase your earning potential, you really need to use Amazon Associates.

That way, you can take advantage of the large business. You can promote items and get some people to buy through your links to help monetize your website.

Why Not Join Amazon Associates

The Amazon affiliate program can be a great tool for many bloggers. However, you may not want to join, or you may not want to rely solely on Amazon to make money.

Either way, here are some drawbacks of using Amazon Associates to earn money from your blog.

Low Commission Rates

One of the biggest drawbacks is that the commission rates are only 10% or less. The specific percentage varies based on the type of product you sold.

Either way, 10% is pretty low compared to other affiliate programs. That means you’ll need to sell a lot of stuff to start earning a full-time income from Amazon alone.

Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. However, you should keep it in mind before you start using the program, especially if you could promote other programs that pay you better.

Requirements to Stay

Another drawback is that you aren’t guaranteed to stay in the program once you join. You’ll have about six months to earn three commissions, or you’ll get kicked out.

Now, three sales in six months isn’t too difficult. But it’s also not the easiest, especially for newer bloggers who don’t have much of an audience to promote products to.

You might need to put in a lot of work promoting your blog posts. And there’s still not a 100% chance that you’ll meet the requirements to stay.

Strict Program Rules

You’ll also have to follow some strict rules even after you get three commissions in six months. And it can be hard to figure out what those rules are, particularly if you don’t want to read all of the terms of service.

Sure, you could do what you think makes sense when it comes to sharing links. But it’s easy to break those rules, especially when so much affiliate marketing advice is contradictory to Amazon.

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts that say to include affiliate links in your emails or eBooks. With other programs, that may be okay, but it could get you kicked out and banned from Amazon.

Can You Join More Than One Affiliate Program?

You can join as many affiliate programs as you want. Now, there may be some programs out there that have a non-compete clause, so you’ll have to look into that.

For example, I asked a smaller store I like if I could join their program. However, they said I would have to leave Amazon Associates before I could get affiliate links from them.

How Much Money Do Amazon Affiliates Make?

The amount of money you will make depends on a lot of factors. First, you need to get a good amount of traffic, and then you have to get those visitors to click on your affiliate links and buy something.

Some of the biggest affiliate bloggers make a full-time income. However, others, especially beginners, make $0 or almost nothing.

Final Thoughts

The Amazon affiliate program is what I used to make some of my first few dollars from blogging. It’s an easy program to join, and you can make money promoting almost anything on Amazon.

Be sure to consider if it’s the best option for you. If not, you can learn how to make money blogging in other ways.

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