How Pros Make Money Online

Income Diary

Making Money With Amazon Associates

By:     Topics: Make Money Online     More posts about:


When you’re just starting out as a blogger, you’re keen to make money in any way you can, and a great way to do this is by opening up and using an Amazon Associate account. It allows you to pepper your articles with custom HTML links to Amazon, which sends you a commission for every product sold. The great thing about these links is that they stay on your website forever and will continue to send you money for years to come.

Setting Up Your Account

Before you do anything, you need to have a close look at your analytics and find out where the majority of your traffic is coming from. If your website is about local crafts in the north of Canada, you of course want to use a Canadian Associates account, but for most websites, a US one is most suitable. I’m British, but I use a US account because I want to appeal to as many people as I can, even if that means I have to wait longer for the money. As you can see, I get two thirds of my traffic from the US, with only 10% coming from my home country.



When you’ve got your account, making the links are pretty self explanatory, but I’ll walk you through it. When you’re logged in, you can browse Amazon and you’ll see that you have a tool bar at the top of the page with a number of options. When you’re on the page you want to link to, just click on ‘Link to this page’ and follow the instructions, depending on what you want your link to look like. I only ever use the text only option as I like to make custom images, but it’s really up to you. I also shorten the titles as the full title is usually too long for what I want to use it for, and then I highlight the HTML and paste it in the HTML section of my post page. As you’ll see from the image below, my ID is embedded into this code so that whenever anyone clicks on the link, Amazon will know who sent them.

Your Commission / Advertising Fee

The more you sell, the higher your commission becomes, at least in most cases. When you’re selling general products, you start off with a 4% commission rate each month, but that soon increases to 6% after just 6 sales. Then incremental steps of 0.5% increase your commission all the way up to 8.5% after you’ve sold 3131 products. Unfortunately, this only applies to general sale items as they have the biggest mark up, and you’ll only ever make a maximum of 4% on electrical goods, even if you’re selling you 10,00oth product. There are some exceptions where you’ll earn more money, such as digital good (mp3, video, etc.) which are set at 10%, but some of them are capped at $1.50, meaning you can’t really earn too much from them, but they will push up your commission rate. At the end of each month, your commission rate goes back down to 4% and you start again. 

All this considered, regardless of your niche, if you sell a lot of products, you can make a lot of money. I’ve put together some plans for the future in which I’m going to be reviewing more products in a way that’s particularly useful to the reader, encouraging them to buy. Not only that, but I’m going to include links to alternative products and accessories with photos to match, helping to ensure the sale. I’ve actually had some pretty unexpected results from my experience with Amazon Associates, which is encouraging me to keep it up.

Making Money

When I first set up my account, I linked to a top list of photography gear, but I didn’t really expect to sell much from it, so I just left it alone. Then I got an email from amazon telling me that I needed to update my payment options as I was owed over $100, which surprised me as we’d only had about 3-4000 visits to the list. Turns out that it doesn’t take much to start selling your products through the blog; my top list didn’t even have any photos. That was when I realized that I needed to have a good look at what was making me money.

The unusual thing that I’ve noticed from studying my reports is that out of the 124 items that I’ve sold through my website, only 19 of those were items that were actually listed on my site. What this means is that people were coming to my site, going to amazon and seeing products elsewhere which they wanted and then bought those instead. I’ve had all sorts of products bought through me, from a camera flash to a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ fancy dress costume for adults.

You don’t earn money on products that are returned, or if you try to buy for yourself through your own links, but usually this doesn’t make a lot of difference. It usually takes a few days for the sale to go through from your orders report to your earnings report, and show you your commission, but if you’re really impatient you can work it out for yourself. I just sold a camera and two lenses for $2350 and the commission on that will be $94, so as you can see, these small links can start to add up. None of the items that make up that money were listed on my website, or even mentioned before, which goes to show that just having these links on your site can make you some decent money.

If you really want to encourage people to buy through your website, then you need to make it easy for them to do so. By this I mean writing monthly lists of products that you recommend for different reasons, complete with a description, review and photo. Make the list as inviting as possible and as popular with the search engines as you can, and it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re making commissions on the sale of a wide variety of items. Have a look at the screen shot below, taken from my Ultimate Office Shopping Guide and you’ll see how I like to put together my lists.

These lists can take a little while to put together because of all their extra parts, but they’re by far the easiest to write about. All you need to do is include a little bit of a personal touch and then copy and paste some relevant information from Amazon. This isn’t plagiarism because this text has been written by the seller or manufacturer to help promote the sale of their products and that’s exactly what you’re doing. Same goes with the photos, just make sure you’ve got them looking good and in keeping with your website and you’ll be onto a good thing. I take a lot of time over photos because they can really help to sell the product to the reader (something I never used to do), which you can see by looking at my first post to use Amazon Associates.

It’s important to get started on Amazon early because the sooner you build a following and start to rank higher for your referring posts, the easier it will be to break into a higher percentage rate each month. It’s the sort of thing that sits and does a lot of the work for you so that you can sit back and watch the money come in. Even though it may seem like a lot of effort to make a big post that no one is really reading when you start out, it will still prove to be worth it as it makes you money in the years to come.

The most popular time to make money though Amazon is around the holidays and that’s why I’m already planning a post to be published around early to mid November, called something along the lines of ‘Top 50 Camera Gear To Buy This Christmas’. I will throw in loads of photos, links to everything as well as extra links for accessories for the items on the list. I want to market it as a one-stop shop for people to come and find presents for people with a love of photography. And this is relevant to every niche; let me show you just how easy it is to come up with your own:

Top 20 Christmas Presents For Gamers
Top 20 Things To Buy Fitness Freaks For Christmas
Top 20 Presents To Make An Entrepreneurs Christmas
Top 20 Albums To Buy This Christmas
Top 20 Presents For A Movie Buff

Getting Paid

When it comes to payment, you have a three options; bank transfer, cheque, or store credit. As I’m in the UK and using a US account, they won’t transfer the money, and US store credit isn’t much use to me, I have them send a cheque. Usually there’s a $15 fee for this, but this is waived because I can’t get the money through any other means. I’m sure that if I did live in America then I would be forever shopping on Amazon and take no money away from it.

The great thing about being able to keep them money in Amazon is that you can use this money as part of a prize offer on your website. Encourage people to like your Facebook page and then when you’ve reached 1000, or whatever your target is, you pick one at random and give them the money as a gift card. This is one of the best ways to get people to like your page as it’s hard to turn down potentially free money, and it’s not as if it’s coming straight out of your pocket.

As I’m sure you can see by now, Amazon Affiliate posts appeal to you and your reader, providing them with a useful resource and money for yourself. I would encourage you to study where your traffic is coming from and make an Associate account today. Even if your site isn’t popular yet, it’s only a matter of time before these links start to pay you back for your time.


  1. Hey Josh,

    That’s spot on. I heard a lot about amazon associates programme but this is the first time i read a post about it as detailed as you did. I bought a review site with the aim to get into amazon affiliate marketing. I’ll send you an email for some advices if you don’t mind.


  2. Derivation From says:

    Hey I like it the way you explained mate. I haven’t thought of these many way we can make money from our blogs.
    Thanks Josh.

  3. HI Josh,

    Interesting article about Amazon Associates. But don’t you think the percentage of each shipped item is very low? You made $225.80 out of $4815.19 which is great. I guess you will need at least 100.000 visitors on your website each month to receive a $225.80 cheque. Am I wrong? =)


    • Josh Dunlop says:

      Yeah you do need a good amount of visitors on your site, but that’s something that you should be working towards anyway. If you write a top list that gains loads of attention and includes loads of links, then that’s a good way to get started. It’s the sort of thing that picks up over time so if you write it today, it may be making you a lot more money in a year’s time. – Josh

  4. I need to incorporate more pictures in my postings, because I tend to use a lot of text links from Amazon and the sales at the moment needs great improvement. Thanks for the information.

  5. Josh, thanks for the brilliant idea. 🙂 I’ve got two blogs I can make lists for, and I wouldn’t have even thought about it before reading this!

    I’ve had my Affiliate account since 2005, but I had only linked to the occasional book or CD on my personal blog. Then once I set up my first “pro” blog, I started making some cash. I realized I had made about $15 in 5 years, and then again in about 5 months. 😉

    The weirdest purchases that I still can’t explain are actually photo equipment. I run a fitness blog, but twice someone has bought some pretty expensive lenses!


  6. Might give it a try again now. Had an old associates account on a site that has closed down. Received an email from Amazon last week about some changes. Will get it going again. Thanks for the prompt!

  7. I love selling Amazon products.

  8. Jamie Hudson says:

    Well Josh, Amazon is definitely an interesting subject to talk about. I have friends who own pretty substantial Amazon review site networks. Then a few friends who own dozens of Amazon stores.

    Your conversions sound about right. Amazon definitely converts better than anything else. 100 times better than Clickbank stuff or your own stuff for that matter. Obviously it’s because of the brand and everyone trusts Amazon.

    Saying that, the commissions are awful and you are in fact better off promoting digital products. My opinion yes, but I have facts to back up that statement. Even Adsense will pay better. Out of 3-4000 visitors on my Adsense sites, I’ll get an average of $150-$200.

    But that’s total traffic to my sites, no sending traffic through to sales pages. My conclusion = Amazon sites are worth building out to diversify your income but there are better models.

    • Josh Dunlop says:

      Yeah, I’ve not put up Amazon ads yet as I’m not sure they’re worth it. It’s just the links that you can put up for free that are really worth the space – Josh

  9. @Devon, text links actually convert better (so I’ve been told) than images. The exception might be in a post like what Josh is talking about.

    @Marc, you don’t need that many. You just need to sell really expensive stuff, like photo equipment! 🙂

    The best thing about Amazon is that all you have to do is get people there. Their whole site is geared around getting more than one sale. They do all the work for you!


  10. Adesoji Adegbulu says:

    Very Very explanantory… However, your blog’s traffic sources matters a lot to the level of income you make from Amazon associates

  11. says:

    I thought Amazon shut down its affiliate program. I got a note saying that it was going to happen and when go to admin area it says all that stuff is now there for historical reasons only. Can you explain what has and has not shut down? Is this just a California problem?

  12. Jamie Northrup says:

    With Christmas around the corner, I’m expecting to pull more money through Amazon than any other affiliate I use, even if the other affiliates have higher percentages.

  13. Jolina Roxas says:

    Great and interesting about Amazon . I’m sure it’ll come in handy one day. Nice iformation

    Here i have unique methed that How I Make $1000 A Week on CPAlead??
    Click here Make Money on CPAIlead

  14. Hey Josh you mean i pick a topic from anywheres and copy and paste it to my sight?

    • Josh Dunlop says:

      No, you have to login to the associates account and follow their process. It’s very self explanatory.

  15. Joshua Zamora says:

    Great article josh! and I have to agree with you just having the links there makes a big difference. I too have had people order items that I didn’t mention anywhere.

    Great article and congrats on the success.

  16. Steve@Internet Lifestyle says:


    Some great tips here. I would add one. You can USE your amazon affiliates account to FIND products.

    Like you pointed out many of the purchases you get are not the links that people get to amazon for. ONe thing to look for is patterns. If you see 2-3 purchases for the same product (and you did not link from that product) you can/should create some sort of page or link for THAT product.

    Just an idea…


  17. Thanks for this complete post about Amazon programme, I will just add more thing just about choose of traffic coming, I have one account in Amazon in British and really is difficult to make sure that you will make money with this account in UK I think is more difficult to sell than US; Thanks again for the informations.

  18. says:

    Great article, thanks! With so many people using Amazon descriptions, how does that affect SEO, or are there some methods to help with ranking?

    • Josh Dunlop says:

      I always add my own little detail and if the link is popular enough and shared about the internet then that with help with SEO too.

  19. Thanks for the tips on Associates.

    I’m new in Internet Marketing.
    Actually I had been longing to becoming Amazon Associates for quite some time.
    The only thing that “block” me was their Approval site.

    Siince I’m new; I’m really clueless as to how should I prepare a site for Amazon Approval?
    I don’t have their link code, etc. How?

    Josh, may I ask:
    When you first started out,
    Did you gained Approval from Amazon by showing them a site such as your site on “Top 20 Essential Camera Gear” site?


  20. Steve Harold says:

    Hi Josh

    Great post!

    Need some advice please. I’m from the UK and use Amazon associates. I currently use the UK version however my traffic comes from the USA mostly. I tried signing up to the US version of Amazon associates but it requires me to choose a state I live in. Being from the UK I don’t live in a state and neither do you, so how did you get round this?


    Steve Harold

  21. I have heard a lot of mixed opinions as far as Amazon associates(Affiliates) is concerned.

    There are quite a large number of sites that are doing plenty of work using this system, yet, the rewards are very poor, indeed.

    I see a number of people stating they are only pulling in a few dollars a quarter(Every three months).

    Possibly as an addition to your other methods of monetizing(Adsense, ebook, etc) just to add a few dollars to the mix, I guess it would work out fine.

  22. Dennis the SEO Menace says:

    Thanks Josh for that these tips…. I was only using Amazon to talk about inspiring books that i had read and I’ve made a few sales but you’ve opened my eyes to a whole new way of getting residual income…

    Thanks again my man..

    Dennis the SEO Menace

  23. Praveen Rajarao says:

    Thanks Josh, this was an awesome post. I was so motivated, that I created my first list from Amazon today. Take a look and let me know what you feel.

  24. PTC Advertising says:

    I am a member of amazon, I have yet to make a sale. I have your website bookmarked and will look it over for some sales advice. nice website.

  25. Hi Josh,
    I’m from india, from this moment only i got to know this program which i can use massively in my blog, Really helpful post..Keep writing

    Thank you

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.

Accept Read More