When it comes to monetizing your blog, several ad networks should immediately come to mind. The best known and most widely used is Google AdSense. It’s a great place to start and, depending on the kind of blog that you run and the amount of traffic that you get, you could earn some decent coin through Google. Another one of the biggest dogs in this online advertising yard is Amazon and, particularly if you have more of a product-focused blog, the Amazon Associates program should not be ignored.
You can buy just about anything from Amazon these days and that means that the people who are visiting your website can also buy just about anything from Amazon. The base commission rate is only 4%, but this grows with monthly volume and you can earn good commissions on bigger ticket items. But how can you make even more money? Here are three quick tips to get you started.
Use the United States Site
Several years ago, when I first learned about making money from Amazon, I signed up for the affiliate program through Amazon.ca. I am Canadian, after all, and I assumed that would be the best fit. And I would be sorely mistaken. The problem is that the Canadian version of the site (Amazon.ca) is geared heavily toward Canadians, unsurprisingly, and this caused me to leave a fair bit of money on the table.
Instead, unless you find that your traffic demographics skew heavily toward another geographic region, it’s in your best interest to sign up for Amazon Associates through the main Amazon.com website. That’s the American version. The United States is easily one of the biggest markets, but even people outside of the U.S. can order from Amazon.com. It’s a shame you can’t combine your different Associates accounts into one big pool, but focusing your efforts on the US-based Amazon.com is the next best thing.
Leverage Social Media
Making money on Amazon is not limited solely to monetization of your blog directly. If you’re doing it right, there’s a good chance that you’re also developing your social media presence. It’s time to make some money from those channels too.
When you are logged into your Amazon Associates account, you can opt to have the Associates toolbar visible any time you are visiting any page on Amazon.com. This makes it really fast and easy to grab an affiliate link to share with your followers on Twitter or your fans on Facebook. In fact, there’s a “share” button right there in the toolbar.
Before you send out that tweet, though, make sure you customize the text to make it as enticing as possible to your followers. The text automatically generated by Amazon to highlight the product is very generic and boring. You’re not going to get the click-thru rate you desire. Make it timely. Make it interesting. Make it compelling. Really sell the thing.
Skip the Generic Banners
A very common misstep that I see many people take with affiliate programs is the “set it and forget it” mentality. In this age of increasing ad blindness, simply throwing up a banner and waiting for the money to pour in just won’t work. Amazon does have a series of different ad banners available for its different promotions and departments, but these probably aren’t going to get clicked as much as you’d like.
Instead, you should aim to be more relevant and more specific with what and how you promote through the Amazon Associates program. Key in on major buying seasons, like back to school and Christmas. Link to specific products that you recommend or you think will sell well, not just to the “Home and Garden” department in a generic way. People don’t engage with the boring and mundane.
Of course, you shouldn’t stop at just Google AdSense and Amazon Associates. In fact, one or both of these may not be appropriate for your blog at all. You might stand to make more money through other networks or by promoting other products. That’s up to you to explore and that’s half the fun of pursuing the limitless possibilities of the dot com lifestyle.