How to Start from Scratch and Make Money with Amazon’s Affiliate Program : Part 2 of 3

You can pick a niche, you can get people to your site, but if you don’t build a site that will drive clickthroughs and conversions it is all for nothing.  This is part 2 of a 3 part series on making money from scratch with Amazon’s affiliate program.  You can check out part 1 here (which you should read before going to part 2).   I’m going to talk about building a website that is going to drive clickthroughs and drive conversions.  This is an art not a science and it takes practice and testing and practice and testing to do this successfully.  One little switch from A to B could result in doubling your clickthroughs.  Putting a link here instead of there could drive higher conversions.  I’m going to talk about what I do and what I’ve learned.  This three part series I could probably put in an ebook and sell for $29 but what the hell, free is always better, right?

Before you do anything you shouldn’t just plow right in, haste makes waste.  The smart thing to do is analyze.  With whatever you are doing you should ask yourself first “What do you want to accomplish?”

I want to drive clicks and conversions in order to profit.

Great, we now have our goal.  No, we don’t dive right in – patience grasshopper – we still have more analyzing to do.  So we have our destination now (clicks and conversions) but we haven’t mapped out our path to get there yet.  So now we ask ourselves “How can I accomplish this goal?”

I need create a site that will entice people to click links and buy products.

Wonderful, so now we can start building a site… Wrong!  More analyzing is needed.  We have our destination, we have our main path to get there, but now we need all the pieces to build a car to drive on the path to reach the destination. How do we create a site that will make people click links and make them buy products?

We need to build credibility. We build trust.  We use a few tricks from up our sleeves.

– Credibility and trust are EXTREMELY important.  You need to present your site as an authority.  You need to present your site as coming from someone knowledgeable.  If your site visually looks like shit your conversions will be uglier than shit.  You want a site that looks professional because we trust professionals, right?  If I’m going to hire a lawyer who would appeal to me more, a guy wearing a $5,000 suit or a guy wearing a Slayer t-shirt?  Presentation is important.

I always use WordPress to build my Amazon affiliate niche sites.  I always use WordPress for a few reasons:

1.  The site will look consistent throughout all the pages.

2.  The site will look professional.  This builds credibility among your visitors.

3.  WordPress is easy to use (once you know how to use it) and is a huge time saver.

4.  WordPress is great for onsite SEO.

If you’re living under a rock and don’t know what WordPress is you can check it out at WordPress.org.

Next…

– Wording is everything.  If you are trying to push a product on someone they will easily see that and you will lose trust.  If you write sloppy with poor grammar you will lose credibility.   When you lose these you lose clicks and you lose conversions.  You also NEED to appear smart, professional, trustyworthy, and very importantly you need to appear impartial.  You want to give both positive and negative attributes of a product when you are talking about it.  You don’t need to bash a product as a negative point of view, but you can give a negative in a way that will actually help your conversions.  Example:  Product A is lacking Feature C that you can find on Product B and some people like this feature, but Product B costs $499 while Product A costs $199 and we feel like you get more bang for your buck with Product A.  If you need this extra feature than Product A is not for you, but we don’t feel like Product B is worth over two times the cost of Product A.     (in this example I’d use a hyperlink for the first time I mention Product B as an affiliate link to that product… this way if they want the extra feature than you get a more expensive conversion, while those people interested in Product A will respect you and trust you more that you are pointing out something to them which makes you look impartial)

– Presentation of wording.  If you write everything in one big paragraph it is ugly, it is boring, and it will put people to sleep.  Look at this article I’m writing right now.  Hopefully you find the presentation of the article a little appealing (if you don’t than go fly a kite!), the use of bold, numbering, underline, italics, etc…  It is much easier for someone to read.  In fact, look at the product page on Amazon.com and see how they lay out their page.  They are pro’s right?  So take some time to lay out your text in an appealing way.

 

Building Your Niche Review Site

Now that you have good framework you’re going to start building your review site.  I highly recommend a review site because they convert the best.  Now when I say “review” I don’t mean you go there and talk about it in the first person.  I mean do a product review.  What is the product.  How does it work.  What features does it have.  What are the specs.  Does it come with attachments or anything else.  This will be what we tell people first.  Once they learn about the product we’ll give them some positives and negatives about the product (you should always have a ratio of about 3 positives for every 1 negative… on most of my reviews I’ll usually have 6 positives and 2 negatives.  If there is a lacking feature on the product you are reviewing you can do as I suggested earlier and link to a higher model that has that feature.  If you are struggling to identify positives and negatives you know what you should do (this is rocket science so hold on…) you should read the reviews on Amazon and leverage that information.  Doh!  Pretty simple huh?  I would add in two pictures of the product.  One at the beginning of the article and one in the middle.  Not huge images, but just some pictures to break up the text and visually appeal to the reader.

Links – I put two links in my review to the product page.  Since I use WordPress I use a free plugin called Pretty Link.  There is a premium version you can pay to upgrade to, but I’ve never needed that, the free version works perfect for me.  What this does is let you create a link that does not look like an affiliate link.  In the plugin you paste your affiliate link to that product, and you create what you want link to be named.  So the end result is you take www.amazon.com/affiliate ID-product ID-etc… and it would become www.Anticareer.com/ProductA .  When people view the link they don’t know that it is an affiliate link and they don’t even know it is an Amazon link.  Getting back to my two links, I will use the product name as the anchor text for my two links, I try to put one link at the beginning of the article and one near the middle.

Static video image – here’s some secret sauce to get clickthroughs.  I actually wrote an article about this a while ago so you can read that here, so don’t be a lazy ass and read that article.  Not many people do this, but I’ll tell you what, it generates great clickthroughs.  In fact, you could double your clickthrough rate with that little trick.

Comments – if you’re using WordPress you know about the comment form.  Two trains of thought here, use it or remove it.  If you use it than you need comments.  If you have a comment form up and no comments it will look like your site is dead.  Whether or not it is ethical aside, one thing you can do is write 5 to 10 comments yourself to make it look like people have read your review and bought the product.  Whether or not it is ethical aside, another thing you can do in the comment section is write something like “This product was reasonably priced at $49.99”.  But you know what, the product’s real price is $34.99 and now when someone reads that comment and then clicks through your link to Amazon and sees the product at $15 cheaper they are going to think they are getting a steal and it will help your conversions.  Yeah, it is shady, I’m not telling you to do it, I’m just throwing it out there.  One thing you don’t want to do is mention pricing in your article’s text.  That is a no no in regards to the Amazon.com Terms of Service.  If you mention the price it needs to accurately reflect the current price.  But if a reader put a comment mentioning a price than I “think” you would not be breaking the TOS. I almost forget, mix up the comments.  One short, one longer, one with abbreviations or poor spelling, one with ‘big words’ a smart person would use, one positive, one neutral, etc…  It needs to look like actual comments in case you weren’t going to figure that out on your own.

Jeez, I’ve spent a good amount of time writing this up so I’m going to finish this up quickly because I have an affiliate site to work on and my break has passed my time limit…

Ads – do NOT put ads all over your site.  Don’t use contextual ads that get automatically inserted.  It looks like shit.  You’ll lose credibility.  Don’t put Adsense on your site.  Yeah, you may get some clicks but you’re site will go from looking like it is a review site meant to help people to a site that is just trying to make a buck.  Focus on only one monetization method on your review site and that is your Amazon affiliate account.

Driving Conversions –  if you read Part 1 I discussed how different niches can convert differently.  Batteries will convert more often than a $3,000 TV.  Putting what you picked aside, but following the advice in this thread you are going to help your conversion rate.  People want to be well informed before they make a decision.  When you provide the positives and negatives of a product you are giving them a full picture.  They won’t have a need to search for another day or two (while your Amazon affiliate cookie expires) in order to find potential downfalls of the product.  If you are using comments that you’ve written yourself you are helping your conversion rate because people get a comfort level when they know other people like themselves have bought and used something and they were satisfied with their purchase.  And if you do use the trick of putting a price in the comment section that is higher than the price of the product you’ll inevitably get some bargain hunters who think they are getting a steal.  Convert, convert, convert.

I know I’ll get a few emails asking me to show you one of my sites.  The answer is no.  Never mix business with pleasure.  Anticareer is pleasure for me.  My sites are my business.  I don’t need to draw attention to my sites for a multitude of reasons.  To name a few 1. Amazon will be pissed at me and can track my affiliate ID  2. Some lazy bastard will rip my site word for word  3. Once in a while I’ll have a super trick that I use but I don’t share here on Anticareer for the rest of the world to see (though I might share it on my newsletter)…  a guy’s gotta have a secret or two.

 

Now we’ve covered how to go about picking a niche in Part 1.  Here is Part 2 we covered building a site that will drive clicks and result in conversions.  Part 3 will come next week on how to get traffic to your Amazon niche site.  And then I’m going to sleep for an entire day because this is friggin exhausting pleasure.  I’m out, go get that money people!

 

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Comments

  1. looking forward to part 3!

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  2. Great article! The static video image is a brilliant idea and will certainly look to use that. Although it isn’t click throughs that is the problem for my site, it’s conversions but i do ‘review’ high ticket items in the electronics niche so this might be expected.

    But i was wondering, what wordpress theme do you use for your sites or is there one you can recommend? I’m currently using matt carter’s affiliate theme and not sure if it is the best.

    Thanks

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  3. One, I would like to point out that if you are using wordpress it has to be the .org as the wordpress.com does not allow affiliate linking. they will catch you and kill your links.

    Also, this is the second article, and last, I will read of yours. You are giving us a bad name with your unethical practices. Are you going to advise the use of pop-ups and pop-unders next? btw, most aff sites ban the use of unethical marketing tactics.

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    • WordPress.org is not a site that allows you to publish blogs, unlike WordPress.com. You use WordPress.org to get tools for your self hosted blog.

      Nothing really shady in my posts so I’m guessing you are just trolling. I don’t use popups or popunders (though I have in the past when the situation is right) but there is nothing wrong with using them. You seem like a that boring buzzkill guy at a a party so I’m glad you won’t be back.

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  4. I am really looking forward to Part 3! I am planning to build my first Amazon site and I find your tips very helpful. Do you use any specific WP premium theme for your Amazon sites?
    I am using Prettylink plugin for my cpa site and loving it. But I’ve read that Amazon changed some guidelines for their affiliates just week ago. They mentioned that no link cloaking is allowed. Does it apply to masking links with prettylink?
    Thanks again.

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  5. Eagerly waiting for the final part 🙂

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  6. Bring on #3!

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  7. I am working on big things. Your site will play a part in my success. Not sure if I ever need to visit another site again!

    My conversion rates have been terrible coming in at 2% on average. I am going to couple this info with another post of yours and try to get better results.

    Thanks for giving to us willing to learn…we are out here!

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  8. where is part 3? I can’t see it on your site :|.

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    • Actually Part 3 has not been written yet. Looks like I forgot about it. I’ll have to write about it at some point when I have some extra time. Thanks for reminding me!

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      • Hey Chris, am looking for part 3 too.
        Looking forward to it as now I’m really stucked at driving traffic to my website with my uniquely written contents – not a cent generated yet 🙁

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        • Sam – there are tons of ways to drive traffic to your site. You can focus on the traditional way which is with good content and some SEO, or you can focus on non-SEO methods like grabbing some Craigslist traffic by posting an ad, creating Youtube videos related to the niche and driving people to your site, etc…

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