How to Become an Amazon Affiliate in 2024: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

E-commerce has exploded over the last few years. In 2022 alone, global retail ecommerce sales surpassed $5 trillion, and this growth is projected to continue. Amazon owns a massive share of the market, making their Associates program a lucrative opportunity for content creators, bloggers and entrepreneurs.

But how exactly do you become an Amazon affiliate? What steps do you need to take to start earning commissions?

In this comprehensive 2,600+ word guide, we break down everything you need to know about joining the Amazon Associates program in 2024, from signing up to promoting products.

Let‘s get started!

Step 1: Understanding Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is an affiliate marketing program that lets publishers (affiliates) earn commissions by linking to Amazon products on their website or social media.

When a visitor clicks your affiliate link and completes a purchase on Amazon, you receive a percentage of that sale as commission. The cool part? You don’t need to handle order fulfillment, returns or anything else associated with ecommerce.

Amazon Associates boasts over 2 million members worldwide. It‘s one of the largest and most popular affiliate programs due to Amazon‘s brand recognition and vast selection of products.

Fun Fact: Amazon sells more than 12 million different products worldwide! No matter your niche, you‘re likely to find relevant items for your audience on their marketplace.

However, Amazon has made some controversial changes over the years, like slashing commission rates across many categories. We‘ll unpack whether it‘s still worth joining later in this post.

Step 2: Determining If You Qualify for Amazon Associates

Fortunately, Amazon has relatively few application requirements compared to other affiliate programs:

  • Have an existing website, social media account or YouTube channel with quality content
  • Display links and ads in a way that provides value to your audience
  • Don‘t use misleading links or make false claims about products
  • Properly disclose your Amazon affiliate relationship

You’ll also need to be located in one of the 100+ countries where Associates is available.

As long as you meet these baseline qualifications, you can join Amazon Associates regardless of your website’s size or traffic. However, you likely won’t earn much without an engaged audience to promote to.

We recommend having at least 1,000 visitors per month before applying.

Step 3: Signing Up for Amazon Associates

Ready to join? Here‘s a simple walkthrough of the application process:

  1. Visit the Amazon Associates Central page and click Join Now for Free.

  2. Sign into your Amazon account or create a new one if you don’t have an existing login.

  3. Choose a name and address to receive Associate payments. You can use your personal details or set up a business name.

  4. Add each website, app or social media account you’ll use to promote Amazon products.

  5. Select relevant topics and product types you focus on with your brand. Essentially, tell Amazon about your niche.

  6. Share details about your website‘s traffic sources and monetization methods.

Once submitted, Amazon will review your application to confirm you meet the program guidelines.

Important: Unlike other affiliate programs, Amazon Associates requires you to make 3 approved sales before your account is accepted. You need to hit this goal within 180 days or your application will be canceled.

This ensures only serious, committed publishers join the program. As you make Amazon affiliate sales, your account dashboard will update to track application status.

Step 4: Choosing Profitable Products to Promote

To earn commissions, you first need to find relevant and appealing products to link to on Amazon‘s massive marketplace.

With over 350 million items for sale globally, this step can feel overwhelming!

Here are 5 tips for choosing Amazon products that convert:

1. Check Your Purchase History

What have you personally bought on Amazon recently? If a product solved a problem for you, it will likely resonate with your audience too.

2. Use Amazon‘s Top Sellers Lists

Amazon compiles best selling products across every category. Sort by average customer review to surface items people genuinely love.

3. Leverage the Amazon Associates Product Widget

This tool suggests products to promote based on keyword searches. It uses Amazon’s data to display items trending in popularity.

4. Consider Commission Rates

While you want to link to products your audience will realistically buy, also keep commission percentages in mind:

Category            Commission Rate

Baby Products       8%   
Beauty              3-10%
Amazon Devices      10%
Tools               4-8% 

Prioritize categories with higher payouts when possible.

5. Use Jungle Scout to Assess Demand

Jungle Scout reveals key metrics like a product’s estimated sales and opportunities for improvement. This intelligence can confirm an item is worth promoting.

For example, seeing a niche kitchen gadget sells over 1,000 units per month suggests a hungry buyer audience.

Step 5: Creating Optimized Affiliate Links

Now that you’ve selected products to recommend, it’s time to generate affiliate links. This sounds simple, but properly optimizing links is crucial for earning commissions.

When you join Amazon Associates, you‘re given a unique Associate ID like ABC-20 or 123XYZ. This ID must be included in your links so Amazon knows to credit you for sales.

For example, your ID might be myaffiliatestore-20. When you create a link to a hair dryer, it would look like this:

Notice the tag=myaffiliatestore-20 at the end.

Let‘s explore the various ways to create affiliate links for Amazon:

Use SiteStripe

SiteStripe is a browser extension that lets you easily generate text, image and text + image links while browsing Amazon:

SiteStripe affiliate link generator

With one click, you can create shortlinks, preview images or develop ads for products.

Utilize Link Shortener

The Amazon Associates dashboard provides a built-in link shortener under Product Links > Short Links.

This converts lengthy affiliate URLs into compact links.

However, URL shorteners prevent you from editing links later so should only be used temporarily.

Build Affiliate Link Images

You can make images visually promoting a product while embedding your ID under Product Links > Image Links:

Amazon affiliate product images example

Images allow you to showcase products attractively without aggressive sales language.

Develop Data Display Widgets

If your website runs on WordPress, plugins like Amazon Associates WordPress Plugin (AAWP) help you design custom widgets like best seller’s lists with your affiliate code baked in.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to properly include your Associate ID so you get credit for your promoting efforts!

Step 6: Promoting Your Links

Populating your site with affiliate links is useless unless they‘re seen by your audience. You need to intentionally promote links through different formats of content.

Here are 8 highly effective ways to present Amazon products:

1. In-Depth Product Reviews

Hands-on product reviews build trust and transparency with readers. Thoroughly showcase features, benefits, downsides and alternatives before linking for purchase.

According to consumers, over 70% read reviews before determining what to buy online. Reviews dramatically influence purchasing behavior.

Lisa Thompson, a successful Amazon affiliate who earns over $60k per year, says:

"In-depth, honest reviews of products I actually own and use drive 90% of my commissions. I‘ll spend 2,000+ words evaluating every detail, comparing similar items, even ranking pros and cons in charts. This depth gives readers assurance to click my affiliate links."

2. Tutorials & Comparisons

Tutorials demonstrate how a product actually performs while comparisons pit items head-to-head. This value-driven content earns clicks.

A recipe blogger might post "Stand Mixer Showdown: Kitchenaid vs. Cuisinart" guiding readers through an appliance decision for their baking needs.

3. Curated Product Pages

A dedicated “recommended products” page with short descriptions, images and affiliate links makes referencing your suggestions easy.

Organize by categories, seasons or themes. For example "10 Beach Essentials for Summer 2023". Update these pages regularly with fresh product ideas aligned to trends.

4. Email Newsletters

Periodic promotional emails to your subscriber base incentives clicking affiliate links directly to your most engaged followers.

According to Retention Science, email generally achieves higher conversion rates than most channels:

"The average email conversion rate is around 2.9%, 4X higher than other marketing channels. For ecommerce, email conversion rates normally range between 2-5%."

5. YouTube Videos

Unboxing videos, reviews and channel sponsors are popular YouTube formats for showcasing affiliate products aligned to your niche. Anchor affiliate links in video descriptions to fuel purchases.

6. Podcast Ads

Delivering a pre-recorded, personal ad for a relevant product within podcast episodes lends an endorsement listeners appreciate. Develop scripts highlighting product benefits before linking to your custom affiliate URL.

7. Social Media

Organic and paid social posts provide exposure for tagging and linking to niche products, especially when using built-in Amazon Live creator features.

8. Website Display Ads

Displaying native Amazon ads or singular product recommendations through widgets targets interested visitors as they consume your content. Position display units in blog sidebars or within articles where relevant to your discussion topic.

Varying your approach keeps content and links feeling fresh plus enables testing to see which affiliate formats achieve the highest click and commission rates over time. Analyze your Amazon Associates reports to double down on what works.

Step 7: Tracking Performance

Monitoring metrics is key to improving affiliate promotions over time.

Fortunately, Amazon Associates Central provides robust analytics under Reports where you can access:

  • Earnings per link: See which text links, images and display units result in the most sales
  • Conversion performance: Identify highest and lowest converting categories
  • Traffic sources: Discover what sites and campaigns deliver sales
  • 90 day clicks: Calculate historic click-to-conversion rate

With this data, you can:

  • Determine which affiliate links deliver the most value
  • Compare conversion rates between categories to focus your niche
  • Attribute sales back to original traffic sources
  • Set baselines for future link performance

Regularly analyzing reports uncovers new opportunities for driving commissions through your strongest performing platforms and products.

Step 8: Disclosing Affiliate Links Ethically

Transparency is required when participating in any affiliate program, especially one as popular as Amazon’s.

You must indicate near links that you earn compensation for purchases. This builds reader trust while also complying with FTC endorsement guidelines.

To appropriately disclose Amazon affiliate links, use clear callout copy like:

I am an Amazon Associate and earn commission from qualifying purchases.”

Many bloggers also use visual indicators like badges and icons to identify affiliate content at-a-glance:

Affiliate disclaimer icon example

Consistency with disclosures across all pages featuring Amazon links is vital. Prominently call out partnerships, don’t bury disclaimers.

Is Amazon Associates Worth It in 2024?

Joining any affiliate program is an investment, so determining if Amazon Associates is still worthwhile merits discussion given recent changes.

The Good:

  • Huge product selection and marketplace
  • Global popularity drives consistent traffic
  • Quick approval and accessible entry point for beginners
  • Robust analytics and attribution

The Bad:

  • Commission rates severely reduced since 2020
  • 24 hour cookie window limits conversions
  • Restrictions on link editing and shorteners
  • Reports limited to only Amazon affiliate metrics

To illustrate their declining compensation, here is a snapshot of Amazon‘s commission rate changes since 2018:

Amazon affiliate commission rate changes 2018-2023

Rates across all categories have dropped between 25-50%, with some product types like furniture now only paying 3%. This drastically squeezes potential profit margins for content creators investing time into reviews and promotions.

Comparatively, leading competitor affiliate programs like ShareASale offer rates up to 80% across their 4,000+ merchant partners. However, Amazon‘s brand recognition delivers unparalleled traffic volume.

Our recommendation? Continue utilizing Amazon Associates to monetize your existing audience through relevant product links. Just supplement Amazon income with higher-paying affiliate programs over the long run.

Diversifying affiliate earnings also protects against future commission reductions imposed by Amazon.

Ready to Become an Amazon Influencer?

By now you should have a complete, nuanced understanding of how to become an Amazon affiliate along with tips for earning your first check.

Remember, consistency compounds results over time. Set aside dedicated hours for affiliate content production and metric analysis using Amazon‘s Seller Central dashboard each month.

Small optimizations over weeks and months drive exponential growth. So keep diligent records of what works alongside underperforming assets to cull over time.

Amazon provides an unrivaled product selection and buying audiences at scale. Even amid commission cuts, you can still build steady affiliate revenue through tactical link integration and promotions.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Amazon Associates and begin profiting from your influential recommendations today!

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