6 Lessons I Learned From My First Amazon Affiliate Site

Hindsight is 20/20 and for my first Amazon affiliate website this has never been truer.

As of this writing, the site is currently five months old and is doubling in revenue and traffic monthly.  Curious?  Check out the full income & traffic report.

If you are not familiar with my Amazon affiliate case study, check it out HERE.   The point of the case study was to build out an Amazon affiliate site with zero backlinks utilizing ultra-low competition keywords.

Along the way I learned some valuable lessons.  Some of those lessons were “gotcha” or “oh wow” moments, while others were “oh crap” and “I wish I knew this before” bouts of panic.

Without further ado here are the top six lessons I learned during my first venture into the Amazon affiliate website world.

1.  Writing Killer Content Is A MUST

Quality is very important.  If you are not writing content that engages the user, they will bounce.  A high bounce rate can have a drastic effect on your SEO.

In Theory

If you are really good at writing killer content, you should be able to pump out a 1000 word article, that includes affiliate links/info and the user will never realize they are on an affiliate site.  All the affiliate sites that are producing 2-5k a month (or more) follow this type of strategy.  It’s more about building a brand than selling a product.

This was NOT the strategy employed in my case study.  The keywords that we targeted were “buying” phrases.  Meaning the person searching with this keyword already has the intention of buying a product.  Our job is to present those products to him/her with engaging and converting content.

One of the most time consuming aspects of buying online products is research, it’s that research and time we are selling to the customer in the form of a unique product review article.

Quality Content

Writing ChalkboardI love the idea of internet marketing and niche sites, I hate writing content.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  That’s a big problem for me when producing these kinds of sites.  I believe I just got burned out after years of doing it.  But I LOVE the idea, the business aspect and that’s why I still do it.

So my strategy was to hire out half of the needed content and do the rest myself.

I ended up writing about 20 articles and almost went out of my mind.  The support articles were fine, it was doing the product articles (each covering 5 products) that killed me.  Trying to find unique and insightful information to provide to the reader to ‘persuade’ them that THIS is the product they need is tough.

So when you run into a situation like I was in, you delegate the task to someone who can do it better.  I ended up hiring out the remaining articles to sites like TextBroker.

I spent close to $200 on articles.  I found that 3 out of every 4 articles would be complete duds.

No matter how many revisions I asked for, or specifying that the author needs to be familiar with the product type before taking the job, the articles were almost always fluff filled crap.  I spent more time re-writing content than just doing it myself. 

But every now and then you would get an author who just totally rocked.  Unfortunately I did not have the money for a ‘direct hire.  All my budget allowed for were mid-range random writers.

If you have the money to hire out content writing, focus on quality over quantity.  Content is no longer king, quality is.

If your budget allows for you to hire someone to write content, then spend the money to have 10 high quality articles written through a well-known author rather than having 25 crappy, so-so ‘fluff filled’ articles written by mediocre authors.

 

2.  Reviewing Products That Are Too Unique

This is one of those lessons that I am kicking myself over.  Learn from my ignorance!

Reviewing a ‘hard to find’ item usually means it is a hard to find item.

After five months of my site being live I am starting to find more and more dead Amazon affiliate product links.

There is NOTHING worse than spending hours researching & writing a kick but product review and to find a couple months later it was discontinued, out of stock or no longer exist.

Here is a perfect example of a product I randomly pulled off of Amazon:

Amazon Affiliate Lessons Too Unique

There are a couple issues with this product:

  1. There are only 2 left in stock
  2. Don’t let the high rating fool you, it has only 23 customer reviews. Most of those could be faked
  3. Low quality picture, most likely a reseller with limited supply

This would NOT be a good product to have in your affiliate site.  Most likely it will not exist six months from now.

When selecting a product to review, ensure it is in stock, has a lot of reviews and is not a seasonal item.

 

3.  Targeting Middle Priced Items

This goes back to ensuring you are choosing the right product theme.

My problem is that the majority of the items in my product theme are all well over $300.  When doing my initial keyword research I found over 100+ killer keyword phrases for this product type.  My head was spinning with the possibility of earning affiliate commissions on $400+ priced items.

Yaaaaaaa, no.

Think about it.  While people do sell some crazy high priced products on Amazon, I personally would never buy anything over $400 that I could not touch.  It is too risky of a buy, especially for the type of products I was trying to sell.

The items that people are clicking on within my Amazon affiliate site are the mid ranged items priced between $20 and $50.  Unfortunately those items only make up a fraction of my sites content.

Target middle priced products.  Too cheap and you will never recoup your costs.  Too expensive and you may not get a conversion.

 

4.  Your Actual Amazon Affiliate Income

So here is something I had NO clue about till the $ started rolling in.  The majority of my income was not generated from actual products I reviewed.

What???

It turns out that it is possible to earn commissions by sending people to Amazon through one of your product links, not just the product you are trying to sell.  When they land on Amazon, they get a browser cookie that lasts for 24 hours.  You get a commission from any products purchased in that time.

This realization really opens the door to different monetization methods.  One of those is by sending people to Amazon through your site via a site wide banner.

Check out this page: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/network/build-links/banner/main.html

I was blown away by the amount of Amazon affiliate banners on this page, one for just about any kind of niche you can think of.

I found all of this out a couple days ago, one day before black Friday.  So much wasted traffic!

Find an Amazon affiliate banner related to your sites product theme and place it in the site header.  Thank me later.

Hopefully your WordPress theme comes with a place to put a website header banner (the good ones do).

 

5.  Call to Actions That Convert

Once my site started generating traffic I was able to experiment and A/B test some of the more popular pages with different CTA’s.

My Killer Product Review Layout

After lots of experimentation, I found this layout had the highest conversion rates on my site.  Results may vary with your product types.

Amazon Affiliate Lessons Killer Product Format

Some points of interest:

  • The image is clickable and will send the user to the Amazon product page
  • The main review incorporates facts and statistics gleamed from the company’s website, with one link
  • Uses a ‘right in your face’ Amazon buy button
  • The Pro’s and Con’s are gleamed from the Amazon’s own question and answer system for the products. Or basic product information.

The runner up to this configuration is skipping the Amazon buy button and the Pro’s/Con’s list and just doing a 2-3 paragraph review with in text Amazon affiliate links.

Comparison Tables

People love to quickly scan articles for pieces of information.   Hopefully that’s what you are doing right now instead of reading this wall of text.

Building out a comparison table to fulfill the needs of those types of people will increase your conversion rates.

If I was reviewing 5 products, I took the highest rated/selling product and used that in my main comparison table.

I built these comparison tables using the TablePress word press plug in.  Make sure you also pick up the responsive companion plug in for TablePress.

Since these types of articles are so heavy on Amazon affiliate links, its best to not allow crawlers to crawl the page.  Most SEO plugins (like YOAST) give you the option to tell crawlers to not crawl the page.

I had a lot of success linking directly to my main comparison table from the sites main menu.  It’s all in the name, for example:

  • ** Holiday Gift Guide **
  • ** Best ‘Items’ of 2016 **

Once your site settles and starts to generate traffic, test different CTA’s on your product review pages to see which ones work best for your product theme.

 

6.  Quantity of Content

Writing high quality content is hard.  Writing ALOT of quality content is even harder.

The strategy I followed involved launching 1 article a day for 30 days.  Then 1 a week for the rest of the year.  Following the 80/20 rule, 80% of the content needed to be product based articles focusing on 3-5 products.  20% of the articles are meant to be informational only, helpful articles.

Truthfully, after the first 40 articles, even having farmed half of them out, I burned out.

So after three months I ran out of content and while I have added a few more since then, the quantity of content for the site is not where it should be.

I set a goal to have this site finished in three weeks.  It turned out to be un-realistic, especially for a non-writer like myself.

In hind sight, I would have set a goal of pre-staging 38 articles and then launched.  That would have given me a three month break.  I could then switch gears toward another project while I regain my sanity.

You can set articles to auto publish in WordPress, which means after you launch the initial site you can go hands off for a while and just let the site manage itself.

After a couple months, come back refreshed and start writing content again.

Once your site starts getting traffic, keep the momentum going by adding new content.

The end goal of all niche sites is to become a full blown authority site.  This can only be done by continually adding quality content to your site.

Those are the main six lessons I learned from my first Amazon affiliate site.

  What do you think?