Article by Wendy McCance
Part 3 Blogging Professional Series
When I switched over to this new site and was finally in a position to monetize my blog, I was certain I would join some type of affiliate program. I tinkered with a few different sites like Commission Junction, Clickbank and Zemanta’s affiliate program. I just didn’t like using them. Some sites were confusing to use, others took too much time picking and choosing what companies to represent on the blog and still others just didn’t seem very profitable.
I had an idea in my head of what I was after and it took a few months before I checked out Amazon’s Affiliate program. I had been a little intimidated by the idea of using Amazon. For whatever reason, I thought it would be hard to use, confusing and just a lot of work. I was wrong, to a point.
What I love about the Amazon program is that there are several ways to advertise. There is a forum where you can communicate with other bloggers who are associates and get some good questions answered. Amazon also has easy step-by-step instructions you can follow.
As an associate, I can use links, banners or put a store together. You can set up the store on Amazon’s site or you can set up a store on your blog. Having a store on my blog is something that really suited me.
I love the idea that I have a place where people can shop, get recommendations and get a peek into what products I love. Best of all, I like being able to quietly advertise. Sure I have a few items in the sidebar, or I will mention a product in a post, but I don’t overwhelm the reader who visits my site to, just read an article.
My favorite part of having the Amazon Store on my blog is that I can write about the products. I can share a story about how I got the product (like as a wedding present). I can also write about my experience with a product and why I think it’s outstanding or why I dream of getting it myself.
I won’t lie, it is time-consuming to put the store together. My store still needs quite a bit of tweaking. I still have comments to put in under some of the merchandise and I have a few more ideas about what I would like to add.
Overall, it’s been a great experience. If you decide to go this route on your own blog, I have two pieces of advice:
1. Be prepared to work hard setting up the store. Also be prepared to hear crickets for a while. According to the forums, it usually takes a year before you see any real movement. I know that sounds horrible, but I think it has to do with the learning curve. As time goes by, you learn ways to make product move. It’s just like when you started blogging and learned how to get more traffic. It just takes time and practice.
2. If you set up a store, be as descriptive as possible. Make sure to do an occassional post with links about a product you are passionate about. Have you have ever talked with a friend that was so thrilled with a product that you ran out and got it too? That is the level of passion you need to have about the products offer to really see some movement in sales. If you have a great story about why a product is fabulous, that is what is going to get people interested in finding out more.
So, there you have it. Amazon has been a great choice for me. I’m thrilled with the program and love how this type of advertising doesn’t smack readers in the face. You can browse if you choose, but there are no pop ups to x out of and there is no other interruptions while you are reading or navigating this site.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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