Make Money with Amazon: How I Made $150,000 (and how you can too)

Posted on Sep 1 2015 - 11:56am by admin

Ok back with a new make money topic for you ladies.

I took a few months off from the make money stuff — writing so many big articles fried my brain and I couldn’t do it anymore. But since it’s been about three full months, I figured it was time to launch another article in the topic. This time about how to make a full time income with amazon.

Now if you have not read my previous article about making money online — keyword research — finding a niche, determining commercial intent of a keyword, creating a wordpress blog, choosing a domain name, you need to read those articles or this article won’t help you out that much.

Can a single mom use amazon to make money? You bet. But it takes time — if you think you can create a website and start making money in a week, stop and go do something else. You won’t. It may take you a year or two before you actually see some real results money wise — and that’s if you bust your ass building your site/s up.

I can assure you this is not some scam and it’s possible.

Because, I do.

I don’t like posting income reports online because it makes me look like I’m boasting. But I want to just show you that it’s possible (and I’m not making that much with Amazon compared  to some) and well, you have to be a bit skeptical when there’s someone telling other people online how to make money. 9/10 out of ten, that person is either lying, or actually doesn’t make money but from what he or she is trying to sell you.

But here’s my Amazon Affiliate earnings over the past couple years:

earnings_4_years

Ok, so credential’s done, let’s talk about making money with Amazon and Affiliate Marketing.

Intro to Affiliate Marketing and Amazon

Affiliate marketing is a promotion of products manufactured by different companies and earning a commission when people buy them after going through your promotional material. Amazon is a big player in the domain of affiliate marketing. It was not the first company to come up with the idea but it’s the most successful one and easiest to use. The fact that Amazon is a global brand, the number one online shopping market, and used by millions of people each day makes it relatively easy to make at least some money if you have a website about the right topic and referral links to amazon for products.

The way it works is yous sign up for their affiliate program, you send traffic to amazon through an affiliate link (created with your affiliate account) and you receive a percentage of ANY sale the person makes while on Amazon for the period of 24 hours. That’s it’s! All you do is just send traffic to amazon and collect.

Now, if it was THIS easy, then everyone would be doing it.

Which means, it’s not that easy. But it is possible If you know how to do it right.

What products should you choose for promotion?

You can choose any product that is sold under Amazon.com. In fact, once you have decided to become a part of Amazon Affiliates, you should visit the Amazon website and learn what all is sold there. It will help you understand what kind of products are there and which one/s you should choose.

Is it hard to earn through Amazon Affiliates?

Well I did and do and many other people do.

The short of it is, yes and no. Yes, you can make money with amazon, but no it’s not necessary easy. It takes time and traffic, and trial and error.

Why Not Do Ecommerce Instead?

If you have the ability to sell affiliate products, one could make the argument that you can simply open up an eCommerce store directly.  Well although it is true, the costs involved in opening a store are  much more compared to becoming an affiliate marketer. You’ve got to buy inventory (the right inventory) at wholesale prices, figure out the markup, have enough traffic to sell those products, take orders, ship orders, deal with returns and other customer issues. More money, yes. More headache, a big yes.

Affiliate marketing you just point someone to someone else’s store and collect your commission. No hassle, no managing orders.

How Much Can You Earn as an Amazon Affiliate

Nothing,a tiny bit, a lot, or a crazy amount. The sky is the limit (but it’s not that easy).

It all depends on the number of visitors that your website receives, the niche (market), and what specific products you are promoting, the type of traffic (search or social traffic), and how many sales your traffic to amazon results in.

Amazon has a sliding scale for commissions depending on how much you sell. It starts at 4% and goes all the way up to 8.5%.

volume_rates_table._V192206938_

Typically the big Amazon earners are those who have quality websites about a niche people are interested in (and one where they spend money on products) and you have related links to products.

What do I mean about related links? For example, you have a running shoe blog and you give a list of the top running shoes. You may find some of your visitors will take you up on your recommendations and buy those products, earning you a commission. Another example would be tech blogs that review gadgets, computers, iPhone, and such. These sites make an absolute killing on all the amazon referrals where people buy those expensive products giving the website a cut.

Some people make some real coin. In fact, some affiliate marketers make $30,000 $50,000 per year. I used to earn nearly 70k a year with Amazon but now it’s back down to around 30k. So I can speak with my own experience here and say yes you can earn well with Amazon. Other affiliate marketers can (and do) even make five or six figures  in a single month on Amazon, though likely they need to be in the right niche and have a lot of traffic. But it can and does happen.

Your earning also depends on the products that you select for promotion as well as the number of sales per month. If you refer people to buy cheaper products, you make less money. For example, say you have a book website and you have an affiliate link to a book that’s $3 on amazon. If someone buys that book through your link, you may make say 6 percent on the sale. 6 percent of $3 is 18 cents made! But if say, you refer someone who buys a $500 android phone. You get a 4% (fixed rate ) commission on that which equals a nice $20 USD mad.

So the TYPE of niche your website is in will make a huge difference to the TYPE of sales your site typically generates and how much money you make from those sales.

How Do You Start Making Money with Amazon?

Ideally, you want to HAVE a website with traffic with that traffic related in some way to a niche/market where there are products on Amazon. You simply recommend products / review products on relevant pages and make money when people go to amazon and buy. Now if you do NOT have an existing website with traffic (and I’m suspecting the vast majority of you who read this do not), then you have to start from the ground and CREATE a new website. This will take time and commitment on your part. But should you be willing to do so, you can make money with that site ONCE you get enough traffic. The key is to have a website about the right topic and to get traffic.

Here’s a quick breakdown on how to get started.

 Start a website

Your website will be the online place, which people will visit, read about a product, see its pictures, and then, click on one of the Amazon links for making a purchase. Remember, Amazon will pay you commission only if the sale is made within 24 hours of their visit to your website. It is great news that you will get commission even if the visitor buys a product other than the one you promote. What is required is that you have to have visited Amazon.com through your website.

 Choose your niche

Niche, in this context, would be the market domain in which you think you are an expert in, you are willing to become an expert in, or you pay experts for the content.

Let me state from personal experience that it’s a LOT easier to create a successful website if you have a passion for the topic yourself. I’ve talked a lot about this in a previous post, spending a good five hours writing you guys a detailed tutorial on how to find a profitable niche. That material applies to making money with amazon directly, so read it please. The right niche is crucial.

Some quick ideas here.

Do you like to cook? Are you into gardening? Are you a pet lover? Simply, what you like or love to do can be your niche. Though I have to say, it helps if that niche has a lot of commercial intent with the people searching it.

As far as choosing the right products, tt is best to choose only those products for promotion that are related to your niche. Since you like to do the activity, you would like to write about products that make it easier or more amusing. In short, you will be able to create good content, which would attract visitors to your website.

Now, picking the right niche to make money with is pretty key. In fact it means the difference between making no money, some money, and a lot of money. There is a whole science behind this which is called Keyword Research.

We’ve written a full guide on how to get started with Keyword Research if you are interested. Don’t even think about creating a website until you read that article!

Get Traffic (and lots of it)

You can divert traffic or visitors to your website by using a number of tactics. You will find affiliate marketers discussing online the ones that they use for their affiliate marketing.  Although some of the tactics work, you also need to check that they are not too much financially demanding if you pay for the traffic. There is certainly no point in spending more than what you will get as commission.

There are a number of traffic sources:

  • Organic Search (google, bing)
  • Social Traffic (facebook, twitter, etc)
  • Direct (people coming directly to your site, which means they follow your site and have been there before)
  • Referrals (comments on other blogs, links from other blogs to your site)

In addition there is paid and free traffic. Paid would be using Adwords, Facebook Advertising, Banner Ads and such. Free is getting organic search and scooping up social traffic from places like facebook by having a facebook page for your site and sharing articles with links to your blog.

Getting traffic to your site is a whole topic in itself and, to be frank, takes a lot of effort in time, effort, and perhaps money on your part. Many people who make money with Amazon have existing websites that they’ve built up over years. IF you are making a new website, you still can make money sooner (especially if you pay for traffic and market to that crowd), but it still takes a while.

Personally, I don’t have a lot of experience paying for traffic. So I’m not an expert there. I know quite a bit about getting GOOGLE organic search traffic and social traffic from facebook though, both for free. These are long term traffic possibilities that can make you money. But the key is, your website need to offer real value. This real value, over time, will be noticed by the readers who WILL return to your site. The search engines too will reward you because other websites, over time, may just link to your awesome website, giving you more authority in the search engines (ranking higher for terms) and more traffic. This all makes you more money.

In my experience (and if you don’t use various ‘tricks’), it can take a solid year or year and a half to start making some decent coin. This means it’s a long term process, not a churn and burn scam. Build a website for readers, get those readers over time, THEN make money after. This tried and true tactic works, but it just takes time.

The Steps to Get Started with Amazon Affiliate Marketing

The basic overview is this:

1) You do keyword research about a product category / niche that HAS products on amazon.

2) You create a website (wordpress blog) about that topic

3) You fill that website up with high quality relevant content. You write reviews for products, create best lists, product comparisons, how to guides, and general articles about the topic. Offer high quality, valuable content

4) Put amazon links in relevant pages to products

5) Promote your content on social media, and promote your site in general. You need to bust your rear and try and build legit real links to your site, which will bring traffic in time

6) Keep optimizing content, affiliate offers, and writing new content. In time, your earnings on amazon will grow.

Ok, let’s break this all down into some steps.

STEP 1: Start a Website About a Topic

This is important. You need a website. It’s the basis of your online business. But there’s a process involved to starting a website. I’ve broken the process down into 4 steps. Read my article about building a wordpress website to make money though for the FULL details.

1. Select a domain name

Domain name is the name of a website. Now, you need to choose one for your website. The name should have the most popular keywords. Keywords are terms, phrases, and words that people are looking for, so make sure that you use appropriate keywords for your product. Hence, if you use keywords in your domain name, you can easily have the search engines display your website when people conduct online searches. Use the free online keyword researcher tool for knowing which keywords are currently most popular.

2. Register the domain name and get web hosting

By registering your domain name, you can make it unique so there will not be any other website with the same name as yours. Here, you will have to spend some money but it will be worth it. For keeping your domain name registered, you will have to make yearly payment. Most companies offer registrations in under $10. For web hosting, you will need to pay a monthly amount, which is generally less than $10. Under a single web hosting package, you can run several websites. Meaning, you could start more websites without purchasing another hosting package.

Look at the full guide on setting up wordpress with Bluehost we’ve already written.

3. Download and Install WordPress 

There are two ways: create a blog using a content management system or create a static website. Between the two, use a CMS like WordPress which just makes it easy. You don’t worry about the actual technical stuff (besides some basics) if you opt for the blog, which you should. Another option is to use a free website blog such as blogspot.com or wordpress.com, but I don’t recommend this. You should have your OWN domain and your own website so you have full control.

You may think having a website is better than having a blog. However, a blog has its own utility and for running an affiliate program, you will feel the need for a blog. A blog allows you to post content more easily than a website. You can choose any of the blog software – Blogger and WordPress are the two most popular ones.

If you have bluehost, setting up wordpress can take 5 minutes and you can do it right from your hosting panel.

Optional but helpful: Learn basic HTML OR just use WordPress 

If you are already aware of HTML, then you will need that knowledge for running your web site. In case, you are not, you should get down to learn it. By knowing basic HTML, you will know how to place images on your webpages, make hyperlinks, and format text. It will help you stay in control of your affiliate marketing. For learning HTML, you need not spend anything. Over the web, you will find free HTML guides, courses, and tutorials. Choose any one and teach yourself HTML.

4. Beautify your blog with a Theme

It is important that you make your blog attractive so that it appeals to your visitors. Popular blog software comes with a variety of themes from which you can choose the most appropriate one. Make sure that your theme is related to the type of products you promote via your affiliate program. It will give your blog uniformity and help people connect with the content and images.

It’s very important that your blog looks GOOD. Like really good. If you have a blog that looks crappy, well, don’t expect people to stick around. These days, designs are all about sleek, minimalism, and functionality.

Fortunately, making your blog look good is pretty easy with WordPress. You can thoroughly customize your WordPress look through the use of themes. Particularly, if you buy a Premium theme, you can easily make your site look professional. There’s a lot of themes to choose from though. Here’s a website, themesanity.com, that helps you find the best premium wordpress themes by making some best theme lists — I’ve used it myself a few times to choose a good theme.

You might also want to consider getting a custom logo done too which adds a nice aesthetic touch to your blog. 99designs.com is a good bet though it will cost you about $200 for a professional log, but onlinelogomaker.com is another option that’s FREE and you can cook up something decent in 15 minutes.

5. Setting UP Your WordPress Blog for Amazon

There are a few things you should do.

Get These Plugins

Get the following plugins which will help your SEO, your site speed, prevent spam, and give you a whole affiliate link management system

  • WordPress SEO by Yoast
  • w3 Cache
  • Akismet
  • Thirsty Affiliates

Now, I highly recommend you buy Thirsty Affiliates’ Amazon Importer for $50 bucks. It will save you a lot of time adding affiliate links to amazon products/pages because you can do it directly from within your blog rather than having to go back to the amazon website.

Become an Amazon Associate

Now, it is time to link your website to Amazon. Visit Amazon.com, scroll down to the bottom, and click the link ‘Become an Affiliate’. Sign up for the affiliate program and wait for an approval.  Once you are approved, you get access to their affiliate center and can put in amazon links.

Choose categories in your blog for posts

Categories keep your blog organized. They also give the impression that the blog has a good amount of stuff. You can divide the products into different categories based on their features, price, brand, etc. For instance, if you are running an affiliate program about kitchen gadgets, you can have categories like grill, bake, oil-free cooking, appliances under $100, etc.

Be Patient

Websites take time to build up. Don’t think you are going to get any traffic or make any money for the first few months. It even takes years. As a rule of thumb, I don’t expect any new website to get any real traffic or make any money for at least one year. Think of each website as an investment you plant and nurture over time. Then you can harvest it in the future. But you need to plant it first, or you have nothing to harvest later!

Step 2: Create Awesome Content

Once you’ve got your new site setup, the next step is to fill it with content.

But not just good content. Awesome content. If you product something mediocre, you are going to have some real problems trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. But produce something spectacular, and you may just find it a lot easier to build up your new website.

This again is it’s own topic, so I can’t really do it justice in this post.

But here are a few tips on content that will make you money (provided you get the traffic).

Make Catchy Reader Friendly Titles with Keywords You Want to Rank for Included

When you create your content, I’ve always found long long posts full of detail seem to rank better. Have post titles revolve around the keywords you want to rank for, but also be reader friendly. You want real post titles that are interesting yet SEO friendly. This helps in your post rankings and it can also bring people to your site (remember they see your post tittle in the search engine, so having something that’s catchy yet contains your keywords is important).

Make titles catchy…something like this:

  • 10 of the Best Coffee Makers You Will Die For
  • 5 Pairs of Running Shows That Will Get You Laid
  • The Best Coffee Maker (that will change your life forever)

Start blogging product reviews

Now, as far as the topic goes, if your niche is somewhat commercial, one good way to capitalize on this is to actually write reviews for products in your niche.

Use popular keywords for your content (using the google keyword tool and doing keyword research for products in your niche) and also insert a few images. When you are done, you will now have to embed your Amazon personal link in your blog post. Choose the keywords, which should carry the link. Now, select them and insert the link. When done, click to make your post go live.

Note, people are wary of just going to a website full of affiliate links and product reviews. The best sort of blogs combine REVIEWS of products with real, awesomely helpful posts about the topic. I recommend keeping your reviews to about 10 percent of your content with the other 90 of your content / posts more general in nature about the topic.

So how many reviews should you write?

There is no limit to it really, other than making sure your site adds enough content to appeal to readers who DON’T only want to read reviews.

In fact, it is a good idea to post new content on your website daily. It will let the search engines know that your site is active, and they will display your content in their results more often.

Create Best of Lists

If there are a lot of products, once way is to create a really detailed top list or best list of the products with a mini review of each and a statement why each product is ‘the best.’ The public loves this and you can put in product links directly here and make sales.

Create Awesome General Content About the Topic

Don’t just have reviews for products. Have quality general types of content too. If your topic is running shoes, don’t only have running shoe reviews. Post quality articles about how to run properly, how to prepare for a marathon, diet types for running, what type of foods for best running performance, etc. Have a WIDE variety of content, NOT JUST ABOUT COMMERCIAL products you are trying to make money from. This sends a signal to both google and the reader that you are a legit site trying to provide real value.

Have Lots of Content on Your Blog

For ranking the best, you want to have lots and lots of content. This means posts with about 1000-3000 words (1500-2000 words is about the sweet spot) and lots of posts. The more content you have, the more chances you have for ranking in the search engines for more terms, which means more traffic and more money.

Work Social Media Angle to Build More Traffic 

You can also work the social angle too by posting to a facebook page for your site and getting traffic this way, OR BY ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK. This is a separate strategy and requires you to have developed an active facebook page from which to direct traffic to your website.

Step 3: Promote that Content

This is another huge strategy and an entire article. But once you have done the keyword research, you have started the website, you have put content on it, now you need to promote that content. Promotion = traffic.

  • Contact other related blogs and them to share your best article (you may have to write an awesome article specifically for websites just to share)
  • Contact similar blogs and ask them to add your blog to their resource paeg
  • Hit up bloggers/magazines/related sites on social media and ask them to share an article to their readers (your article must be targeted and relevant though)
  • Keep writing awesome content
  • Create a facebook page, get likes over time (or pay for them by advertising on facebook), then share your posts on that facebook page to get social traction
  • Contact related websites in your niche and ask to guest post

These are only SOME of the strategies you can use.

Step 4: Optimize and Test for Amazon

Once you have traffic (this will take time), now you can start putting on amazon links and testing out how much money you make with certain products and offers. There is a lot of testing you will have to do — what products, what type of links, what web design layout works best, etc.

Things to Note About Amazon

  • As long as someone clicks on your amazon affiliate link then buys ANYTHING on amazon within 24 hours, you get credit. Amazon puts a 24 cookie into the browser.
  • Christmas time (December) does best with Amazon. I make double during this month. November also does well.
  • Different types of links perform differently. Amazon allows you to use a direct text link, a buy it now widget, an image banner, or general amazon banners. The Buy it Now widgets for specific products and direct  text links work the best in my experience. But you will have to test. Typically, I personally see about a 4-6 percent CTR (buy rate) for clicks to sales. That basically means  that for every 100 people clicking on the affiliate link, about 4 to 6 people will purchase something.
  • Not all traffic is the same for converting into clicks and buys. Organic traffic is the best, social traffic is the worst. Newsletter traffic converts.

Other ways of earning on Amazon

Affiliate marketing is not the only method. You can make on amazon via other methods too.

Selling Products Directly

If you have products, you can sell them through the Amazon marketplace. Amazon is basically the store / marketplace and you are the supplier of those products. Some people make a killing like this. But this is a whole article in itself. The first thing you need is, of course, to have a product to ship.

Write and sell eBooks

You can sell your stories, novels in Kindle e-book format via Amazon. For it, you will have to become a Kindle direct publisher. If you are an author or writer, this is a good method because you can self publish your book. Even if you are not say a writer, you can still find a niche and write ebooks about focused topics in that niche to help solve a problem. People do make a full time income doing just this.

Solve, resolve, take surveys and get paid by Amazon

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk challenges you to use your grey cells for solving problems/issues that computers are still not able to do. You can choose the challenge based on your preferred skill set.

The Final Word

This is a big topic, making money with Amazon. One can even write a book on it and at 5000 words, I don’t even think I touched the surface of this topic. However, if you’ve read my making money online series, you should have a good idea how to do keyword research on niches, be able to tell if that niche has money making potential, and you should know how to setup a wordpress site and write content that makes money. After that you just need to build traffic and link your amazon products to your blog posts.

I’ll likely post some more information about this topic in the future if there is more interest.