The Amazon Affiliate program, also called "Amazon Associates," can be an easy way to monetize your website or blog. Simply sign up, receive immediate approval, and place Amazon affiliate links on your site. When someone makes an Amazon purchase via one of your links, you get the commission — it's that simple.
But how do you get started? Below, you'll find a step-by-step guide to becoming an Amazon Affiliate, with screenshots. Whether you’re hoping to become an entrepreneur, starting your own business, or just looking for a small business side hustle, I hope you'll find this guide a helpful place to start.
What is the Amazon Affiliate program?
The Amazon Affiliate program, or Amazon Associates, is an affiliate marketing program. It's free for website owners and bloggers to become Amazon Associates. They advertise products from Amazon.com on their sites by creating links. When customers click the links and buy products from Amazon, they earn referral fees.
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Still not sure what affiliate marketing is or what it’s all about? Or unsure whether it’s right for you?
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing tactic where an online retailer gives niche website owners the ability to create unique product links (called affiliate links). The website owners must promote the link; in exchange, when someone visits the link and makes a purchase, the website owner automatically receives commission. As an affiliate, you only make money once the link is used in a transaction.
Affiliate marketing is right for you if you already own a website or blog and your content offers opportunities for product mentions. For instance, if you own a recipe blog, you can create links for product ingredients.
It’s not the best fit for you if you sell products directly on your website, although you can use a mixture of product selling and affiliate selling to earn money.
How does the Amazon Affiliate program work?
In the Amazon Affiliate program, associates earn commission by creating unique product links, promoting the links on their website, and driving referral traffic back to Amazon. Here’s how it works:
- Website owners create an Amazon Affiliate account on the platform.
- Amazon gives each website owner a unique Associate ID.
- Once the application has been approved, associates can begin creating affiliate links in their Amazon portal.
- Associates then place the links in blog posts or other parts of their website.
- Once someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, the associate earns commission.
How much does the Amazon Affiliate program pay?
You can earn, on average, from $100 to $20,000 from the Amazon Affiliate program, depending on how many referrals you generate for Amazon. The Amazon Affiliate program operates on a commission basis, meaning you’ll make a percentage per sale.
The commission rate differs depending on the product category. For instance, if you run an automotive blog, you can earn 4.50% from each sale. If you sell three car parts at $1,000 each in one day, you’d make $135 from those three transactions. If you sell the same product 30 times per month, you’d make $1,350 every month.
At the beginning of your Amazon Associate journey, the numbers can skew on the low side, so be sure to have another form of income in addition to being an Amazon Associate.
Before signing up on the platform, it’s important to review the Amazon Affiliate program’s commission rate per product category. That way, you can calculate how much you can potentially earn depending on your website’s niche.
Amazon Program Requirements and Rules
Being an Amazon Associate is a great way to monetize passion projects or make supplemental income from your brand. However, Amazon has requirements for associates to follow, so it's best to understand those before you dive in. First, you must have a website full of original content that is easy for the public to access.
Other requirements are in place for ethical promotion as well as preventing associates from gaming the system. Noncompliance may result in being banned from the program. Here are some of the big ones to keep in mind:
- You must disclose on your site or in your communication that you may be eligible to earn from your recommendations.
- You must not make false or deceptive claims in your recommendations.
- Your website must not contain unsuitable content.
- Avoid referring to prices (with some exceptions) since prices frequently change.
- Do not use Amazon affiliate links in offline promotions, eBooks, or email.
- Do not use link shorteners on affiliate links.
After you sign up, you’ll also need to think about the requirements for the application review process. Amazon requires new affiliates to make a minimum of three sales during their first 180 days. The Associates team also reviews websites, mobile apps, and social network accounts. They’re looking for consistent, fresh, and original content that brings value to Amazon customers.
Note: Amazon’s affiliate program is one of the most popular programs. As of 2021, it’s the top affiliate marketing network in the world, with over 900,000 affiliates. But it isn’t the only one. There are other affiliate programs out there that are worth trying if you don’t qualify to become an Amazon Associate.
How to Become an Amazon Affiliate
- Create a website or blog.
- Navigate to the Amazon Associates homepage and click "Sign Up."
- Enter your account information.
- Enter your website address.
- Enter your preferred store ID.
- Explain how you drive traffic to your site.
- Choose your payment method.
- Create Amazon Affiliate links.
1. Create a website or blog.
To become an Amazon Associate, you must have an active website, blog, app, or YouTube channel. It's also helpful if you've pre-populated that site with content, so it appears active and authentic to both users and Amazon.
Remember, you must be able to describe the purpose of your website as part of the application process. So, have a firm idea of why you're creating your site, the audience you'll target, and how you'll bring in traffic.
If you’re still figuring it out, these resources can help you make these important decisions:
2. Navigate to the Amazon Associates homepage and click "Sign Up."
In order to become an Amazon affiliate, you'll need to create your Amazon Associates account. To do that, visit the Amazon Associates homepage and click Sign Up. From there, you'll be prompted to log in to your existing Amazon account or create one.
3. Enter your account information.
Enter your account info (including the name, address, and phone number of the payee).
4. Enter your website address.
Enter your website address(es), apps, YouTube channels, etc.
5. Enter your preferred store ID.
Enter your preferred store ID (usually the same as your primary website name), explain what your websites hope to accomplish, and select Amazon topics your links will likely target.
6. Explain how you drive traffic to your site.
Explain how you drive traffic to your websites, how you use your website or apps to generate income, how you usually build links, and how many visitors your site brings in each month.
7. Choose your payment method.
Choose whether to enter your payment (credit card) and tax ID information now or later. Then proceed to your dashboard.
8. Create Amazon Affiliate links.
Once you've created your account, you'll be sent to your personal Associate homepage. This is where you'll find your performance dashboard (including an earnings overview, monthly summary, and total clicks).
This dashboard is also where you'll search for relevant products to link to from your content. Here's how:
How to Create an Amazon Affiliate Link
- Log in to your Amazon Associate account.
- Click on Product Linking in the top banner and select Product Links.
- Use the Amazon Associates SiteStripe to generate Amazon Affiliate links.
- Try other product linking options to find and create affiliate links.
- Use the generated link on your site or other promotional materials according to Amazon's standards.
1. Log in to your Amazon Associate account.
Doing this ensures that the link text is generated in a way that associates the product you're promoting with your account.
2. Click on Product Linking in the top banner and select Product Links.
This will show you the different choices you have to create your links, including the "Link to Any Page" tools.
3. Use the Amazon Associates SiteStripe to generate Amazon Affiliate links.
A simple way to generate your Amazon Affiliate Links is by using the SiteStripe bar that shows up on product pages when you're logged in to your Amazon Affiliate Panel.
Just click the Text button in the Get Link selector. You can choose to generate a short link or a full-length link in the popup. Then copy your new Amazon Affiliate link to your clipboard, and you can now use that link in your promotions.
4. Try other product linking options to find and create affiliate links.
Besides linking directly to your favorite products on Amazon, there are a handful of exciting options that can expand your reach and inspire your audience.
Use the Idea Hub to find the best products for your audience.
As an affiliate, you may sometimes find yourself running out of product ideas or you’re not sure which of the latest promotions apply to your niche. The Idea Hub can help. From the Promotions banner, scroll to Idea Hub. Next, click Filter & Sort and use the left-hand menu to narrow your search options.
You can filter by featured content, categories, star rating, and more. For example, if you’re not sure which products in your niche will be available for Prime Early Access, this tool can help you find them.
Link to Favorite Destinations to highlight product lines or categories.
With affiliate content, it’s sometimes more helpful to highlight a product category than individual products. For example, if you’re posting a blog about holiday shipping, you can link to a page full of different packing and shipping supplies. This makes it easier for your audience to find whatever they’re looking for with a single click.
To use this tool, click on Product Linking in the top banner and select Link to Any Page. Then choose the Link to Favorite Destinations tab. From here, you can narrow your search with the drop-down menus on the left. Name your link, then click Get HTML.
A preview link will appear on the right of the tab. You can click this link to see what the page looks like.
Then, click the Highlight HTML button at the bottom to copy your new link.
Link to Search Results to highlight specific keywords within a product line.
Many affiliates succeed with targeted content. You can use this tool to create links for a specific keyword within your product category. For example, if you’re running a spooky lawn decoration promotion for Halloween, you can post a link to that specific search. This lets you highlight many great options for your audience at the same time.
To use this tool, click on Product Linking in the top banner and choose Link to Any Page. Then select the Link to Search Results tab. From here, you can narrow your search with the drop-down menus on the left. Name your link, then click Get HTML.
A preview link will appear on the right of the tab. You can click this link to see what the page looks like.
Then, click the Highlight HTML button at the bottom to copy your new link. You can also click Text in the SiteStripe bar in your preview if you want to create a short link.
Link to Any Page to direct your audience to any Amazon link.
If you want an alternative to the SiteStripe tool, you can also use the Link to Any Page tab to create your affiliate links. To use this tool, click on Product Linking in the top banner and select Link to Any Page.
5. Use the generated link on your site or other promotional materials according to Amazon's standards.
Just remember that Amazon's guidelines prohibit the use of the link in offline promotions, email, and eBooks or PDFs. As with most marketing and sales, quality content is at the heart of success. Ensure you're attracting your audience with quality content and share relevant affiliate links with them on your site or YouTube channel.
Each link you generate will have a cookie that will then follow your website visitors after they click on the link. This is highly beneficial to you because it increases the likelihood of you receiving a commission for the sale. The only problem is that it only lasts for a limited amount of time
How long does the Amazon Affiliate cookie last?
The Amazon Affiliate cookie lasts for 24 hours after a website visitor clicks on the affiliate link. The cookie stays in their browser for that entire length of time. That way, if they check out at any time in those 24 hours, the purchase will be credited to you.
The Amazon Affiliate cookie is just one of the ways that the Amazon Affiliate program can help you make money. But first, you must get visitors to click on the link — and to do that, you need visitors in the first place.
How to Make Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program
Generally speaking, applying for the Amazon Affiliate program and becoming an associate isn’t really the hard part. The problem is making enough sales so that you can turn your passion project into a source of income.
Here are a few tips on how to make money from the Amazon Affiliate program.
1. Choose a niche for your website.
Becoming an Amazon Associate isn’t a good idea if your website is about home improvement, beauty products, and novel writing all at the same time. To ensure you can make the most out of your affiliate partnership with Amazon, choose a single ecommerce niche for your website.
Whether that be paleo cooking or DIY educational activities for teachers, the niche must be of especial interest to you — something you can constantly write about without getting tired. This gives you plenty of opportunities to naturally insert product links without being overly salesy.
By choosing a niche, you also make your site look more authoritative to visitors, because talking about one thing all the time makes you look like an expert. Touching upon a wide breadth of topics could make it seem like you’re writing content for the sake of writing content. You’ll also typically have less competition if you focus on a highly specific topic that not many others have touched upon.
2. Write product reviews and comparison posts.
One of the best ways to make money as an Amazon Associate is by writing product reviews and posts comparing two or more products. This gives you the opportunity to link to the products you’re reviewing.
The best part? These are usually high-intent posts, meaning that the person looking for a review is close to purchasing the product (if not ready to buy). After all, no one would look for a review of a product that they have no intention of buying.
Product comparison posts offer an even greater opportunity to sell because if the visitor decides one product isn’t for them, you’re offering them several alternatives to choose from. It’s a win-win all around and a sure way to drive more referrals toward Amazon.
3. Blog consistently.
At the core of a strong Amazon Affiliate strategy is a blog that gives you plenty of opportunities to include product mentions and links. For that reason, I recommend blogging consistently.
Try to go for one blog post per week, but quality does matter more than quantity. If you write two well-researched posts per month, you may drive more qualified traffic to Amazon than if you wrote eight poorly-written posts.
4. Create a storefront on your website.
You don’t have to only rely on editorial mentions to drive referrals to Amazon. You can actually create a storefront that acts like an online store — the only difference is that every link points to Amazon instead of a checkout page on your website.
Storefronts are a great choice because they require minimal upkeep and content writing. Once visitors get to your site, it'll be simple and easy for them to browse through the products. Another benefit is that the links aren’t buried within other content.
The one thing you’ll need to do is check the links on a monthly basis to ensure your storefront drives referrals. Sometimes, product pages move, or products are removed entirely from Amazon. You want to make sure every product is still available on the retailer’s website.
5. Advertise your website on social media and search engines.
Without traffic, you won’t be able to drive referrals to Amazon and earn commission. Writing good content, learning SEO, and creating a content marketing strategy will get you far. But you want to make sure you’re covering all your bases.
Invest in paid social ads, as well as pay-per-click ads on Google. While advertising may sound expensive, the investment can be quite affordable, especially if you’re using the PPC model. You only pay when someone clicks on your ads, and the best part is that you can set a budget, so that you’re not overcharged. It’s an easy way to drive traffic to your site; all you need to do is create ad imagery with a tool such as Canva.
Here are some resources to get you started with paid ads:
- The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising
- The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads [Examples]
- Guide to Instagram Ad Costs
- How to Run Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide to Advertising on Facebook
- How to Run LinkedIn Ad Campaigns: A Beginner's Guide
Getting Paid as an Amazon Associate
Now that you’ve created a strong strategy for getting your Amazon Affiliate website off the ground, it’s time to get paid.
How do Amazon Associates get paid?
Amazon Associates get paid by direct deposit. You’ll automatically receive the funds in your bank account. Alternatively, you can opt to receive an Amazon gift card or a check by mail.
When do Amazon Associates get paid?
Amazon Associates get paid monthly, but there’s a catch: you get paid 60 days after the end of the month you’re getting paid for. For instance, you’ll get paid at the end of March for the commission you earned in January.
When does commission get officially attributed to Amazon Associates?
Amazon Associates officially earn commission when the order has shipped. If the customer cancels the order before it’s shipped, you won’t receive commission. If the customer returns the product after purchase, the commission will be deducted from your earnings.
After applying to the Amazon Associates program, your account will be approved for 180 days. During that time, you must make at least three sales, or your account will be closed. That's why it's so important to have a strategy for your Amazon Affiliate endeavors. However, you can reapply for the Amazon Associate program after you've made adjustments to your site.
Get Started with the Amazon Affiliate Program Today
The Amazon Affiliate program is an excellent way to turn a side passion into a source of passive income. Choose a niche, write product-centric content, and include contextual affiliate links, and you’ll be sure to grow your Amazon Affiliate income to astronomical levels.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.