A client asked me…

Q.) Roland, I’ve heard I can make money by linking my website to Amazon. Should I do that? How do I do that?

A.) No / Yes / Maybe…

If your website is only about selling your services, then I advise that you SHOULD NOT encourage visitors to click away from it. It’s a distraction and wont help you make money from what you do best. It takes a lot of time, effort and luck to get that visitor to your website. Do not confuse your visitor and send them away. Keep them on task and guide them through the solution you provide and how to transact with you.

IF you have a blog with good daily visitor traffic and it’s separate from your primary business, then that may be an appropriate situation where you could include some affiliate links (e.g., Amazon Affiliate, B&N, etc.) or contextual advertising (e.g., Google AdSense).

My experience…

The way I used to do it (I had 3 special interest blogs) … I created an Amazon Affiliate account, then wrote many keyword centric blog posts, linking back to specific products on Amazon. Those links have a tracking code in the URL. If someone clicked the link and made a purchase, I’d get a small percentage of the sale as commission.

I also incorporated contextual ad units (Google AdSense), meaning I chose the type of advertisers I thought were relevant/acceptable/interesting to the blog visitors. Over time, after the ads got enough clicks, I would receive a check maybe once a year.

I promoted the hell out of those websites. It took a very long time to generate significant daily traffic (i.e., organic, social, podcast, video, email, etc.), of which a tiny percentage might click the affiliate links, of which an even smaller number actually made a purchase. So in the long term, it wasn’t worth my time to continue as a way of supplementing my income. That was just my experience, your mileage may vary.

It’s up to you.

If you have a passion, go ahead and create a blog, then fanatically create content and drive traffic to it. Niches work well. Maybe you’ll make the affiliate links/advertising pay off. Or maybe you can sell your own ebooks, your own training program, or some sort of subscription program. Whatever you do, be sure to plan ahead:

  • Decide how much time, energy and money you will commit.
  • Define how you will track success.
  • Commit to a deadline to stop if you aren’t making the ROI you need.

I hope that’s helpful.