How to Start from Scratch and Make Money with Amazon’s Affiliate Program : Part 1 of 3

I’ve talked about’s affiliate program before and a few tips and tricks but I’m going to give you what you want, the soup to nuts on a method.  This is going to be a 3 part method that is going to teach you how to make money with’s affiliate program.  Whether you know nothing about this or whether you are a seasoned vet you will be able to get something out of this 3 step series of posts.  What I’m going to cover:

1.  How to Pick Winning Products to Promote

2.  How to Create a Website that Will Drive Conversions

3.  How to Get People to Your Site in Order to Drive Clickthroughs

I’ve touched on all these things at least surface level on Anticareer before.  I’m going to go even more in depth and help you make your first bucks online (if you’re a noob) or increase your monthly earnings (if you’re an Amazon vet).  What do I want in return?  If you find this three part series useful and it helps you I ask for you to drop a link to this post on just one site.  I don’t pay for SEO for Anticareer so I rely on you the readers to pay it forward.  So on your favorite forum or message board or blog drop a line to me, I really do appreciate it.

Getting started… you need an Amazon affiliate account.  You can sign up here.  But if you live in some states Amazon does not allow you to have an affiliate account.  No worries, I’ve already written about how to get around this which you can read here.

Now that you’ve got an account you need to select a niche of product(s) that you are going to promote.  There are products you can buy to help analyze Amazon niches like this product, but in this post we’re going to talk about doing it the good old fashioned way… manually by hand.

First thing is you need to understand the Amazon commission structure.  Let’s take a look at it:

The rates you see above are fixed rates for different product categories.  The main one to note here is that “Electronics” is a 4.0% commission rate, regardless if you drive 1 sale or 1,000 sales in a month.  For every other product on Amazon (referred to as General Products) there is a variable commission rate.  The most General Products you sell the higher your commission rate goes.  Let’s take a look at these rates:

You’ll see that you start out at 4.0% but you very quickly and easily jump to a 6.0% commission rate once you sell 7 items in a month.  If you are able to drive tons of sales you can get up to an 8.5% commission.  Now that you see the commission rates you’ll need to decide on what type of products you want to focus on.  The electronics are usually some of the most popular products, but the commission is lower.  What I personally find is that if you are focusing on a big product, like TVs you will have a low conversion rate.  This is driven by the 24 hour affiliate cookie.  I find that people like to do a lot of research before buying a big item like a TV.  So maybe they will buy the TV off of Amazon but by that time your cookie will have expired.  Smaller electronics convert better, like cameras or MP3 players, but of course those cost a lot less so you earn less commission per sale.  On the other site, if you focus on small items like home goods, items that may only cost $5 or $10 each you will earn very little commission on that product, but don’t forget, you earn a commission on whatever they buy, not just the specific product whose link they clicked on your site.  So if you focus on the little products sometimes you’ll get a bonus where they buy a bigger item or two in the same order and you get commission on the bunch.

I’m not going to tell you what type of products you should pick.  You should do research and determine which products you think will convert best for you.  I will give you a few tips though.

  • Pick a set of products that you can write content on.  You don’t want to pick a product where after 50 words you are struggling to write more about them.  We’ll drive traffic multiple ways as we will discuss in part 3 of this series, but organic search engine traffic is always great so you want to be able to write enough content.
  • Pick a set of products that enough people are interested in, but so that there aren’t already 50 million sites trying to push the same thing.  This is of course that fine line of keyword research and number of results in Google.  Again, this will only impact us from an organic search perspective which is not going to be our only source of traffic.  But we love free traffic from Google that we don’t need to do anything but sit back and collect on.
  • Pick a set of products where people will be ready to buy them today.  You need to understand your products and understand if these are products that people will be willing to buy today.  Since your cookie only lasts 24 hours you don’t want to pick a product where a person normally thinks about it for a few days before buying.  Products that are needs are usually products people are willing to buy today.  If they need batteries, or if they need printer paper, or tissues, etc…  The “need” products are the ones people are ready to pull the trigger on.  The “want” products are the ones they might sit back and think about for a week.  “Want” products can be that fancy expensive watch, a high end tool that they’d like but don’t need, expensive entertainment equipment like a 3D projector or the top shelf surround sound system, etc…  I love to focus on the needs and I skip the wants.  Usually the needs are much lower cost, but the conversion rate is much higher, and as mentioned you get commission on anything else that they buy in that purchase.  Once niche I was focused on back in the day was the DVD section.  People would click on my affiliate links to buy a DVD and maybe 1 out of 200 sales the person would also buy a TV in that shopping trip that I would get credit for.  Which brings up a good point, consider the upsells of the “needs” products.  If a person needs batteries what is the likelihood that they will also buy something that they can use with batteries.  If you focus on a DVD players what are the odds that they will also buy some DVDs in that purchase.  You see what I’m driving at?

So there is a ton of stuff to consider when picking the product niche you want to focus on.  The most important is finding products that will convert within 24 hours.  Do that and you have already won half the battle.  In the second part of this series I’m going to talk about how to take the product niche you chose and create a simple but HIGHLY effective site to drive clickthroughs, conversions, and get repeat visitors.  Stay tuned for that.

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  1. Really awesome article . I am not familiar with the 24 hrs cookie concept.can you explain me this thing clearly , plz.

     — Reply
    • @ Tahajib

      A 24 hour cookie means after someone clicks your Amazon affiliate link you will get credit for the first purchase they make as long as they make it within a 24 hour period from clicking your link. If they click your link, 25 hours goes by, and then purchase someone your cookie will have expired and you will not receive the commission on that sale.

       — Reply
  2. Thanks so much for this I’ve been struggling with the amazon affiliate program. Although somehow I make $20 in the last two months. So complaints, lol. However I see many mistakes that I have made. I learn that I can’t be afraid of competition so if I want to make some money I need to jump in.

     — Reply