Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links to products/services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Creating an Amazon Associate website is a fantastic way to dip your toes into affiliate marketing; and when the program was first introduced in 1996, an estimated 1.2 million sites have used the program to generate income. In fact, this program continues to be the most popular affiliate program on the entire internet, according to the statistics listed on BuiltWith.com.
Seeing how popular the affiliate program is, it’s not surprising that you want to get a piece of this action. However, if you’re like many people who have never made an affiliate site, let alone an Amazon Associate website, you might not know where to begin.
That, dear friend, is why you’re here – to learn how!
Creating a New Amazon Associate Website
I have a secret…
Like you, I’m new to affiliate marketing. Sure, I’ve done a lot of research on it, but I’ve never felt confident in what I’ve learned to create a niche site of my own.
That changes today.
Today we are going to embark on an exciting journey together. I am going to put all that research into action and document my experience from start to… Finish?
Every month I will give updates and share what I’ve done along the way – for better or worse. I’ll show you how to use the AmznHawk program, the marketing techniques I’ve tried and even crunch the numbers for a basic site. Of course, I’ll also show any profits made.
With that out of the way, let’s get this show on the road!
Choosing a Niche for Your New Amazon Affiliate Website
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of starting your new affiliate website is trying to choose a niche. Do you choose based on your interests so you can create content that’s useful to your readers? Do you choose a popular niche that will always be in demand like electronics or health and beauty?
The answer isn’t one or the other – it’s a little more complicated than that because niches can be divided into three different categories:
- There are some niches that you will do not want to get into if you’re first starting affiliate marketing. These are the niches with products that you’d expect affiliate marketers to recommend. Cell phones, digital cameras, televisions and the like. If you’re hoping to make something in any of these highly saturated niches, you’re going to have to spend quite a bit of money to have a chance to rank on web searches.
- The next type of niches are those where there’s a good chance that you’ll rank in, but it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to create a lot of high-quality content, do a lot of marketing, and invest a decent amount of money. Products in these moderately saturated niches include home appliances like air fryers, carpet cleaners, garment cleaners and so on.
- Last but not least, you have those niches that are virtually unknown. Well, they aren’t unknown because there are sites for everything under the sun. These low saturated niches are ones that have very little competition and ranking in them is pretty easy. This is because the products in this category aren’t on the seasoned affiliate’s radar. Don’t worry! You can still earn money with these niches, but it may not be as much as the previous categories. You can find these niches when you browse subcategories on Amazon’s site directory.
Since this is our first affiliate site, let’s stick with a niche where the competition isn’t so high that we can’t hope to rank, but popular enough to have a chance.
So, how do you actually choose a niche?
1. Get Inspired by What You Love or Have Knowledge Of
It’s easiest to create content and give honest opinions about something that’s already part of your life. Take a moment or two to jot down some things that you enjoy doing, collect, or have some experience with. Just keep in mind that, while Amazon does offer adult products, you cannot and will not be accepted into the associate program.
2. Do Market Research
One of the more tiresome aspects of choosing a niche is trying to figure out if there is a demand for your niche and Amazon offers a decent rate, as seen below.
For my first affiliate site, I’m going to dive into the home and kitchen and dining category for several reasons:
- I enjoy cooking and baking.
- There are plenty of subcategories to choose from.
- Lots of ideas for content other than just product reviews.
- 8% commission isn’t too shabby.
- SEO difficulty tends to be mid-range.
- There are a lot of high-ticket products.
Like many other breathing adults, coffee is my life’s blood and it seems like the perfect place to start. When I plugged a few keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner, I noticed there’s a decent amount of low-competition keywords that I may have a chance to rank for.
Also for a little extra research, I googled, “How saturated is the coffee niche for affiliate marketing” and browsed some articles that came up. AuthorityHacker reveals how lucrative the coffee niche is and even gives a few examples of what a successful coffee affiliate site looks like.
Find Hosting for Your Amazon Associate Website
Creating an Amazon associate website is a little more involved than just signing up to Blogger.com. You put a lot of effort into choosing your niche, so do yourself a favor and research web hosting plans because your hosting can actually affect your SEO strategies.
“How,” you ask?
The hosting you choose will have a significant role (albeit behind the scenes) in ranking for a number of reasons.
- The faster your website loads, search engines will rank it higher. If your site loads at a snail’s pace, people are going to get annoyed and will go to a different site. Your site’s bounce rate (how long someone stays on and engages with your site) is a contributing factor in your rankings.
- There’s nothing more devastating than losing all of your hard work due to hacking, a disaster at your host’s data center or even accidentally deleting content. We want to think that something like that will never happen to us, but it’s always better to be overly cautious than vulnerable. You will want to choose a hosting service that offers some sort of backup system in place that will help your site to recover in the event of a disaster.
- An SSL certificate is an important thing to have because it fosters trust between your users, your site, and even Google. An SSL certificate encrypts the connection between the host’s server and the visitor. This encryption will protect the visitor’s personal data and in turn, your site’s ranking will improve.
- Don’t you hate when you go to a site and it seems like it’s inaccessible more often than not? When your site has a lot of downtime, it’s going to affect the user experience in a negative way. People aren’t going to want to use a site that frequently kicks them off or not even allow them on the site, to begin with. With that said, there is no way to guarantee that your site will be up 24/7/365. I recommend researching different hosts and read reviews to get a better idea of how reliable the host is.
What Are Your Hosting Options?
If you were to google web hosting services, you’ll probably get the usual heavy hitters like Bluehost, Siteground, Hostgater, GoDaddy and more. The question on everyone’s mind is which host is worth their subscription fee?
For this site, I’m going to go with DreamHost’s Shared Hosting plan because it fits within my budget, it offers a 100% uptime guarantee (which we already know is BS, but that’s par for the course), 24/7 customer support, fast site speeds, 97 day moneyback guarantee, and it’s easy to use.
Please note, all instructions in this part of the post will be for DreamHost users.
Word to the wise, don’t freak out like I almost did when you see that your domain name is something like this:
You have to go to the registration tab and register your new domain. However, in order to get the free domain, you can only register the domain for one year. You can opt to register your domain for 2 or 3 years, but in doing so, you’ll have to use your credit card because this section doesn’t allow you to pay with PayPal.
After you’ve settled on a plan and registered your domain, you want to make sure that you remember to enable your SSL Certificate.
You can do this by going to the SSL/TLS Certification tab. When you click on that, you’ll see a couple of options, but I chose the free SSL certification that came with this plan.
WordPress on Your Amazon Associate Website
Installing WordPress is incredibly simple with DreamHost. All you have to do is click on the “One-Click Installs” tab and choose the WordPress option. Of course, you can choose any of the other options, like installing a bulletin board (phpBB), a Wikipedia type program (MediaWiki), or even a shopping cart system (ZenCart).
Once WordPress has been installed, you can access your by clicking on the “/” as shown below.
This will take you to a page that looks like this:
Click on the “Log In” link and you’ll be taken to:
You will need to check your email to get your username and password. Simply follow the instructions and you’ll be able to create your own password.
Once you logged into WordPress, you’ll be taken to the BoldGrid Inspirations page. This will give you the chance to choose a theme for your site, the page options, and other information. The theme you choose is completely up to you, but you can also get some ideas by checking out the recommendations made by NichePursuits and WPBeginner.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the Inspirations feature. You can find different themes under the customization tab.
WordPress offers a lot of themes to choose from (4,179 to be exact!) and you could spend a lot of time looking through them all. However, I recommend using the filter option to narrow down your search.
For ClearlyBrewed, I’m going to use the Dosislite theme, but that may change somewhere down the line. Once you download the theme and activate it, you’ll want to move on to plugins.
Best Plugins for an Affiliate Marketer
A plugin is a software that you add to your website. They can improve how your site functions, add new features, and so much more. What’s so crazy is that there are over 50,000 plugins you could install!
Beings that there are so many plugins, it’s understandable that you might be at a loss trying to find out which plugins are worth installing. Don’t worry though! Here are some of the best plugins an affiliate marketer should have installed on their site.
1. MonsterInsights is a plugin that allows you to track your site’s Google Analytics and even use the advanced tracking features without hiring a professional. This plugin includes the Google Analytics dashboard so you can take action right from your WordPress dashboard.
2. Google XML Sitemaps is a plugin that will improve your SEO by creating XML sitemaps to help search engines like Google (naturally), Yahoo and Bing index your site. These sitemaps make it easier for crawlers to view your site and retrieve it much more efficiently.
3. ThirstyAffiliates is a plugin that will help you organize your affiliate links without manually digging through your site to change the links by hand. Instead, you’ll be able to do that in the plugin’s dashboard and it’ll do it for you. This plugin is also a cloaking tool that’ll take your long affiliate links and shorten them. This is a handy plugin that you’ll be glad you installed.
4. Yoast SEO is the plugin of all plugins when it comes to managing the technical side of SEO. This tool makes you choose a focus keyword and makes sure that you’re using the keyword (or phrase) appropriately. It will remind you to do things like being mindful of keyword density if the keyword is in the alt-tags for your images, in the meta description, and so much more.
5. UpdraftPlus is a plugin that simplifies the process of backing up and restoring your website. We did mention that the web host you choose should have this feature, but it never hurts to backup your site more than once, right? You can use this plugin to backup your site by using cloud-based storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, and even email. If you choose to use the paid version, you can back up to Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Azure and more.
6. WPForms is a plugin that allows you to create all sorts of forms. It could be a simple contact form, subscription form, email form and much more. The best part is that since this plugin features pre-built form templates, this is an incredibly beginner-friendly plugin for contacts.
7. Rel Nofollow Checkbox is a plugin that lets search engine crawlers know that they should not follow the links on your site so that it doesn’t boost the site’s popularity. It also prevents the link’s text from being included in keyword relevance. What this means is that search engines aren’t going to penalize your site for having “no-follow” links.
9. Jetpack is a plugin that will protect your site from any malicious attacks. It monitors downtime, protect your site from unauthorized logins, screen for malware, and even record any and every change made to your site so that you can troubleshoot much easier.
10. W3 Total Cache is a plugin that’s part of the BoldGrid group and it’s designed to improve your website’s performance by reducing loading times. By making your site faster, your SEO will improve and the user experience is going to be much smoother.
Creating Content That Converts
After doing all of this and getting your website ready to go, you now have to think about what kind of content you’ll be creating. You don’t want to half-heartedly create posts that offer information that doesn’t have value for your readers. There are 4 types of content that you’ll find on (if not all) Amazon associates.
1. Product Reviews
If content was like a hierarchy, product reviews can be considered king. This is the content that breaks down the features, pros, cons, and average rating among consumers. It’s important that when you’re creating these reviews, you provide as much information as you can. Don’t get us wrong, there are some sites that list the bare minimum and still do well, but those sites are more established and have a massive audience.
2. Product Comparisons
Much like the product reviews, product comparisons are a great way to talk about similar products in one post. Comparison posts aren’t necessarily pitting one product over another though. You could talk about how one product is good for one type of consumer, while one product is good for another type of consumer. Product comparisons can be as extensive as you’d like, but I recommend incorporating similar tidbits that you would in a product review post.
3. How-to and Informational Posts
These posts are ones that tells users how to use a product or what to look for when buying a particular type of product. For example, for ClearlyBrewed, I might want to create an informational guide breaking down the difference between a percolator and a french press. I might want to create a guide that shows my viewers how to create the perfect cold brew. Some other topic ideas include troubleshooting common problems with a product, how to maintain and care for a product, and so forth.
When talking about types of content, you might be wondering what falls under this category. I would consider listicles, gift guides, and other content that has the potential to go viral. Buzzfeed is an excellent example of an Amazon affiliate site that use this type of content. They create listicles and roundups for just about everything under the sun! Of course, since they’re a bigger site, they can do this. Since our site is brand new, you’ll want to stick to your chosen niche.
Summing Up Building an Amazon Associate Website
Creating your very first website can be intimidating, especially if you’re like me and have no idea what you’re doing. Thankfully there’s a wealth of information out there on the internet and creating an awesome site isn’t as far out of your reach as you might think. But, before you can even think about web hosting, domain names and what kind of content you want to create, you need to choose a niche that you’re interested in and there’s a demand for.
If you’re interested in seeing where this journey into affiliate marketing takes me, then stick around!
So what’s in store for next month?
I’m going to work on creating social media accounts, create a logo, and working on a content calendar. I intend on churning out content in January because it’ll be an easier way to keep track of things like expenses/profits, traffic, and so on.
Are you still trying to figure out what niche you should go into? Leave me a comment below and share what niches you are interested in! I’d love to hear from you!