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Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program that allows you to earn money by linking to Amazon products. Amazon Associates is very easy to get started with and can be a great way for bloggers or other website owners to earn money through their site without having to create their own product reviews. You can even sign up for a free Amazon Associates account here.
In order for Amazon Associates to work, you need some sort of link between your site and the products on the Amazon store. For example, if I wrote an article about books and wanted my readers who clicked on it from my blog to go directly to a book page in the Amazon store. This means that whenever someone buys anything linked from our site we get a small commission – and a good thing too because otherwise, they wouldn’t have any incentive!
But when we use the word ‘link’ it can tend to imply that there’s only one type of link. But there’s not. There’s a whole lot more to linking Amazon products, including the format, style, template, configuration, and placement.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the different types of Amazon Associates links, understand their benefits and advantages, and look at different opportunities and placements for different styles of Amazon links.
The Different Types Of Affiliate Links
To start with, there are two main ways of generating Amazon affiliate links. You can either use Amazon’s built-in toolbar, called SiteStripe or if you’re using a WordPress website you can take advantage of an Amazon affiliate link plugin, such as AAWP.
SiteStripe is the default affiliate link-building tool provided by Amazon. It appears as a toolbar across the top of any Amazon web page if you are logged in – and have an Amazon Associates account. To generate a link, navigate to the product listing page on Amazon (including any choices of color, style, or features). The SiteStripe bar will then allow you to create three basic link styles.
Using the SiteStripe text link tool will create a small piece of HTML code that you can copy and paste into wherever you’re wanting your link to go. If you’re using a WordPress website then you’ll need to view your post as HTML code and paste it into there. Alternatively, you can copy just the URL from the SiteStripe text link section and add that to the product name in your blog post or web page.
As an alternative to plain text links, SiteStripe also lets you create links using pictures of products. Just as with the text links, navigate to the product page, and then choose the Image Link option in the SiteStripe toolbar. This will generate the HTML code you’ll then need to copy and paste into your web page or post. This type of link won’t include the product name, but you can always add this manually, or even combine it with the text link.
Text + Image Links
This creates a frame that contains both an image of the product, as well as the full product name. These appear as relatively small frames that cannot be resized but can be included using the HTML code anywhere within your web page or email.
Although SiteStripe provides a convenient, basic way of generating Amazon affiliate links, the results are limited. If you are looking to generate links for use within social media, this can be a quick and useful way of doing it, but if you have a WordPress site, then it makes much more sense to improve both the visual appearance of your Amazon links and the automated power of self-updating link sections. There are a few WordPress addons, but AAWP is the clear market leader and hugely popular amongst many of the most successful Amazon Associates.
AAWP is a WordPress plugin that’s quick and easy to install, and easy to get started with. But it provides a wealth of link-generation tools that add significant power to your affiliate site, improving the click-through rate of your links and adverts, and helping to boost your Amazon affiliate revenue.
Single Or Multiple Product Boxes
There’s a world of difference between the SiteStripe image + text frame, and the AAWP Product Boxes. And the difference is most usually found on the bottom line of your revenue sheet! Whereas with the SiteStripe panel you get a small, postage stamp-sized image and the product name, with the AAWP product boxes you can have a large, very clear image, bold, much more legible product name, as well as other elements such as the product description summary, user star rating, latest price, and a ‘Buy’ button.
You can also add multiple products into one of these boxes – useful for grouping related items together (such as a recommended microphone, microphone stand, and pop filter).
The other significant difference between these product boxes and the Amazon SiteStripe boxes is that you can fully customize every element, and even add your own custom elements (such as a link to a product test report or video).
If you’re using the Gutenberg editor then adding a single or multiple product box is very easy, and no shortcode is required. Simply search for ‘AAWP’ in your page editor, and from the selection that appears, choose this block:
Select the options you want from the properties panel, and you have a beautiful and engaging Amazon listing that’s miles better than Amazon’s own SiteStripe box.
This is how a single product box will look (full-size) on your page, in edit view:
When you compare this to how the same listing would appear on your website using Amazon’s own SiteStripe tool…
…the difference is fairly apparent to anyone!
This is a powerful tool that uses intelligent scanning to make sure that the content listed on your site is fully up-to-date and relevant for whatever category you choose. By simply using the following shortcode…
1 [amazon bestseller="4k monitor" items="3"]
…or if you are using Gutenberg simply searching for ‘AAWP’ and choosing this block…
…you will be able to display the three top-selling 4k monitors on Amazon, whatever they are. As this data changes and updates, so will the listings on your website, making sure that your visitors always see the very latest deals and best-selling products. You can of course change the category or product, as well as the number of items listed. If you prefer, you can just show the top best-selling product by changing the number from “3” to “1”.
Using the AAWP Bestseller block, you have a range of settings and options to allow you to choose how the listings appear, in what order they appear, apply filters (such as price), and choose whether to include or exclude certain elements (such as the name of the product – useful if you’re including that in a separate, custom block on your page).
New Releases Lists
Similar to the Bestseller widget, the New Releases widget allows you to embed live, up-to-date product listings for whatever category of product you wish. The shortcode for this is:
1 [amazon new="4k monitor" items="3"]
Alternatively, if you are using the Gutenberg editor simply search for ‘AAWP’ and select this block:
By changing the product or category (and a number of items if you wish) you can have the latest releases showcased on your site, ensuring up-to-date content and the very latest items presented to your visitors.
A data field is a single item of information relating to a product on Amazon. This could include the product name, the price, the image, or the star rating. Being able to display just one of these items separately in your own format can be very useful.
For example, you may want to write your own product listing page entirely yourself in a format that works with your site’s template, but at the bottom have an Amazon ‘Buy’ button. Using a Data Fields widget you can add either a clickable product image or the ‘Buy’ button, without having a complete Amazon product listing panel. You may even want to include elements such as the star rating under the page title.
Here’s an example of a shortcode you could use:
1 [amazon fields="B08WWH5Z2M" button_text="Get this item" value="button"]
The first field is the ASIN number for the product, and the rest of the shortcode creates an Amazon-branded button and adds whatever text to that button you wish.
Again, if you are using Gutenberg, simply choose this box:
Where To Place Your Amazon Affiliate Links
It’s important to be aware of two things: the range of opportunities you have for placing Amazon affiliate links, and the places where you can’t.
You’ll certainly want to take advantage of as many ways to promote and publish your affiliate links, and in this next section, we’re going to highlight some of these. But we all know how massively long and extremely wordy Amazon’s full terms and conditions are, and there will be many Amazon Associates who, hand on heart, couldn’t promise that they have read every single word.
The problem though is that it’s easy to make assumptions, and we see people doing this regularly. There are some places where it would seem perfectly reasonable to include an Amazon link, but should you choose some of these locations, you could find your Amazon Associates account banned. And don’t imagine you can just open up another one using a different account – Amazon tracks your computer’s or router’s IP address and will simply shut down any other accounts you open from the same address. Playing by the rules is vital!
So let’s begin by looking at the places you shouldn’t be publishing your affiliate links.
Amazon Affiliate Links Placement Rules
Although Amazon doesn’t explicitly state that you can’t use iframes, they do make it clear that any attempt to deceive or confuse where a link is coming from could result in you becoming banned. Our advice to make sure you’re staying completely safe and beyond suspicion is to avoid using iframes whenever you’re also using Amazon affiliate links.
This can be the most confusing example. Amazon does forbid links from being included in any “offline promotion or in any other offline manner”, and many people don’t realize that this includes emails. Of course, the reason people may not realize this is that emails aren’t generally considered as being offline. If you’re using a web-based email system such as Gmail then you will certainly be using an online tool, but many people can access emails they’ve already received whilst offline if they’re using an email app such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
So the advice here is simply don’t include any Amazon affiliate links in any emails you’re sending out. If you want to promote a product, include a link to the page on your website where the Amazon links can be found.
eBooks & PDFs
This ties into the same rule that covers email. eBooks and PDF documents are considered to be offline materials, and so should not include any Amazon links.
Two other warnings we’d give you include not clicking on your own Amazon affiliate links, and not using any kind of link shortening or link cloaking.
As far as clicking on your own links is concerned, this may seem obvious, but it’s also surprising how many people do this, thinking that they’re going to actually make a percentage back from any purchase they were going to make anyway, and so give themselves a discount. This is strictly against Amazon’s rules, and will almost certainly result in your account being terminated very quickly.
Link cloaking and link shortening is also banned, and could easily end your career as an Amazon Associate. So don’t do it!
Opportunities for Affiliate Link Placement
If you already have a significant following on any social media channel then this is an obvious choice. What’s important to consider though is who exactly your audience is, and then knowing what they may be looking for or interested in.
If, for example, you happen to have a significant following on a social media channel in which you are all interested in art and painting you may feel that promoting art supplies on Amazon would work well.
What won’t work is either pushing Amazon links and promotions regularly or publishing links to products that have little to do with the interests of the people you’re following.
Do a good deal of research, understand who your audience is, and then find suitable products on Amazon. But then don’t just shove an advert in their faces – think about how the suggestion of that product might arise naturally in an actual face-to-face social interaction.
You wouldn’t walk up to a friend and slap a flier in their face and walk off. You’d have a conversation, and the recommendation would arise naturally through that. On social media, it’s the same. Create those natural opportunities. For example, sticking with our artistic example, you might showcase a piece of artwork, and then mention how much you enjoyed using the new materials involved, and then work towards the link.
Of course, different social media channels will provide different opportunities, and this could involve paid adverts, especially for Facebook. Here you can be a little more obvious about the fact that it’s an advert, but it is still vital to have a very clear understanding of your audience, what will work with them, and what could put them off you or your brand altogether.
This is a very popular choice. It might require a bit more time and effort, but it’s likely to be one of the most successful methods long term.
By building a simple website, usually using a platform such as WordPress, you can then populate it with relevant content, and embed Amazon affiliate links where relevant.
You’ll need to keep adding fresh content to help it rank and make sure that you’re not just trying to inflate the size of your website by pumping it full of rubbish and fluff. If you’re not confident with creating relevant content yourself you could look at using the skills of an experienced copywriter to create content for you.
Adding the links can then either be done manually using Amazon’s Stripe tool or using a WordPress plugin such as AAWP that will help to embed your Amazon links in a dynamic way that makes sure they’re always fully up to date and relevant. This might include bestseller lists, new releases, and other content that will ensure you maintain a fresh variety of relevant links.
If you have an existing website or blog then this makes sense, as long as you’re clear on who your audience is, and what sort of products they’re likely to be looking for. This doesn’t just involve categories or products, but also prices. Are the people who read and follow your blog looking for the best deals, cheaper alternatives, or the very latest releases? This will make a big difference to your clickthrough rate, and to your eventual sales.
If your blog is already built on the WordPress platform then it makes sense to use a suitable Amazon affiliate plugin to do much of the work for you, in pulling the latest data and metrics from the site, ensuring the links are representing the best selection of products for your audience.
Just remember that if you are taking an existing blog or website and integrating Amazon affiliate links into it, you will need to make this clear. Amazon’s rules state that you must ensure that a statement is visible and obvious to any visitor looking at your page that the links contained may be affiliate links and that you may receive a commission from any sales resulting from a visitor clicking one of your links.
You may decide to create a custom block and insert this on any relevant page, or add a header bar at the very top of your site that’s visible on each page, or blog post page.
YouTube Video Descriptions
If you have a YouTube channel this is a very popular and potentially successful way of generating sales through your Amazon Associates account. The advantage of using YouTube is that you can talk about the product in a much more natural way, perhaps showing you use it, describing its advantages, and how you’ve got along with it.
It can easily transform a flat, impersonal advert into a conversation, a friendly chat, and with a face associated with the product recommendation, the clickthrough rates can be quite surprising.
However, a few warnings. First of all, make sure you’re being genuine. Don’t just promote a product because it has a good commission rate! Your audience will very quickly determine that your recommendations aren’t worth much, and with comments a very popular way of providing feedback to you and to other viewers of your channel, your reputation and brand could easily be damaged – not to mention your sales!
Also, don’t make every video an advert. Or even make your advert the whole video. Try to provide a broad balance. This will vary of course from one channel to the next. If your channel is primarily focused on product reviews then it makes sense that you’ll include more affiliate links. But if your channel is largely focused on gaming, you’ll probably only include links in your videos occasionally, as you get new items or upgrades of your equipment.
And the final warning for YouTube is to make sure you include a text caption on the video itself to make it clear that you’re promoting a product in the video, and could gain a commission from the sales.
One thing to bear in mind though is that you do always have the video description section, and what many people do is link to all of the Amazon product pages for the equipment used or shown in the video, for example. Or you can link directly to your blog or website where more affiliate links can be found.
The Amazon Associates program is hugely powerful and with so many products available to promote it’s a certainty that you’ll be able to match up suitable items with your target audience, or existing audience. These examples show that there is a range of opportunities for promoting these links, and often the best success can be achieved by combining them and linking them up.
But do bear in mind some of the caveats we’ve mentioned here, as it’s so easy to trip up and find yourself banned from the program, which you certainly don’t want to risk.
If your Amazon affiliate program is going to involve either building a WordPress website, or using an existing WordPress website we highly recommend that you check out the features and benefits of using the AAWP plugin, as it will genuinely help maximize the opportunities on your site, and make sure your audience sees the best offers, latest opportunities, and product comparisons, all of which will help you in achieving the growth you’re looking for.