How much success have you had as an Amazon Associate?

Share tips and tricks with the AOM user community.
mcarp555
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Post by mcarp555 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:03 am

Amy, how do you find time to promote a new store every week? For that matter, how can you think of a new niche to make a store about every week?

When I set up KidVidUK, I spent an unbelievable amount of time working on SEO and promotion. With the second store (Babies Not Included), I was able to draw upon this and make at least the setup for SEO much easier. But while I've got a few test stores, and a few ideas for more, I don't know how I can find the time to properly promote each store to make it profitable. I see people with 20+ stores, and I have to assume they just set them up and let them find their own way in the world, with minimal guidance.

So how are you doing it?
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Post by ahutton » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:06 am

It's all become an assembly line to me. It only takes a week to get one up and running because I have a system.

1. (I should have done this from the start) visit http://www.nichetaxi.com . This site will tell you which niches are worth the effort.

2. I take the keyword and goto Domains410.com and see if there is a com or net domain with exactly that search term, no hyphens. Those are the very best domain names.

If that domain isn't available, I go back to nichetaxi and find another related term that has a good chance of success and keep searching for a domain name. When I can't fine the exact name I want, I take the keyword/phrase and add SHOP to it. Like motorcyclepartsshop.com (I don't have that one though :)

3. I start by buying the domain and l,oading AOM. Then I leave that alone and go design my home page. I do onsite and offsite SEO for that home page, staying focused on the keyphrase I have chosen. If my store were about motorcycle parts, I would not also sell books about motorcycles. That's what they call "Theme Bleeding." You are watering down your chances of getting a good ranking.

If you have other products in your store other than your main keyphrase, then be sure to write your robots.txt to disallow those particular links. Visit http://www.searchenginepromotionhelp.co ... reator.php to have a robots.txt file designed quickly.

My home page has nothing to do with AOM. It is designed to have some content on it that uses LSI (latent semantic indexing.-the current google favorite) It also has links to the main categories, which are all named after my main keyphrases, using that keyphrase as the text link.

4. Once my home page is designed I have the colors I wil need, so I go to AOM and develop the store. I use the mall AOM home shop page, but my real home page doesn't link to that page. I bypass it.

5. I get the store up and running and run it through a couple bots that simulate what a spider sees, to make sure that my keys are gettin right up there near the top.

6. I go back and install the keyphrase category links on my homepage.

7. I write about three articles for each new store and submit them to article directories.

8. I do a lot of tag and pinging.

9. I open the index file of a page I have that already gets very good traffic and at the bottom I put a text link in using the keyphrases for my new store. Like Motorcycle Parts . It doesn't have to stay there long, but it gets the spiders to your site.

10. I put yahoo ads on my home page and my store pages. That way Yahoo picks it up faster. I'm sure if I used google ads, the effect would be the same.

11. Then I wait, post stuff to related forums, using my url as a signature.

12. When the traffic starts to come in look at which keywords or products are getting hits and analyze how you can benefit from that, and rearrange things to suit.

That's about all. Each month you'll get more and more traffic. I get about 25% more each month the site is up.

I absolutely love AOM. Tough learning curve but once you've got it, it's so easy to get a site up with great keyword packed content, and the AOM staff has done a great job of building SEO into the program.
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Post by fyrehawg » Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:56 pm

Im by no means an expert...but i can tell you my experience as a brand new user.

I have had my site up for about 8 days now...there abouts. I have made sales already. No im not rich yet and probably wont be any time soon. But ..the way this program works...then again I may be.

I think from what I can tell so far....your not going to get rich and have a successful store by just throwing up the basic store you get here...it takes a lil time and effort. Not much in the big scheme of things but it does take some effort.

1)Your going to need to make your site look professional and pleasing to the eye.

2)Your going to need to make it functional and easily navigated.

3) your going to need to make some effort to add good content besides just your basic links to items your selling in your store to make it more se friendly.

4) I think once you get the store operating and looking the way you want it....then all you can do is go into promotion mode. You gotta get in good with search engines and do some behind the scenes stuff to make your website more search engine friendly which isnt going to be easy if your on a severe learning curve like myself.

However..the people on this website will help you any way they can...Ive learned that already. There is nothing you can get done with these guys knowledge and a lil trial and error on your part.

I think this is worth doing by all means and with a lil bit of luck I think someone could be really really succesfull here!!!

Shane
http://paintballpimpz.com
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Post by ahutton » Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:26 pm

I agree, Shane. But you must do your research BEFORE you open the store. You need to know how many people request that search term every month. You need to go search on google and yahoo for the search term and find out how many other sites you are competing against.

Then you must drill down an pick a really good niche. As I stated above, Nichetaxi.com is an excellent tool.

You just can't start out by setting up a site about fishing. You need to narrow it down. to fly fishing, then fly fishing rods.

Do your research. Pick a niche with not so much competition, yet with great traffic

And very importantly you need to use your keyword in your domain name. Like flyfishingrods.com or net. Or flyfishingrodsstore.com

To learn more about SEO, visit seo2020.com and sign up for their email lessons.
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Post by mcarp555 » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:40 am

Amy, where are you getting the templates for those home pages from? I'd like to try one out for a test store. Also, how are you linking AOM back to them (without AOM going to its default home page instead)?
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Post by ahutton » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:32 am

I use Dreamweaver, and I make my own header images with paintshop pro.

For a header image, keep the size 750 x 180-200. Don't make it much bigger than that, or all your product images will be after the "fold." Pick a small image from your store and use that in the header image. Header images are easy to do. Take the colors from the photo, if you can.

As for linking from the non AOM page to the shop...Just input the text for the categories into the new index page, then goto the shop.php site and right click on each category there and copy the shortcut, then go back to the new index page and hyperlink the category text with the shortcut.

If you want a basic html template (without the images and text) visit http://www.lasertonercartridge.net/basi ... xpage.html and copy it.
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Post by mcarp555 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:24 am

Thanks Amy. I reworked your lasercart home page, and came up with this. But I was bothered by the fact that you can't easily return to this page from within the AOM store. So I incorporated most of the html into a custom AOM home page, like this. It seems to have most of the SEO benefits, but also allows easier navigation & integration with the rest of the shop.
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ahutton
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Post by ahutton » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:17 am

Looks great, Mike.

I don't do my home pages with a custom AOM home page just because I don't trust redirects of any kind. I'm simply not certain how the redirect will be treated. But that's just me. My home page gets them into the store, and the don't have to come back to the home page after that.

The comments I have are 1. your potential domain name. MechanicalKitchen.com . Nobody searches for "mechanical kitchen." That's not to say you can't keep you store called mechanical kitchen-it's darn cute.

But if you hurry and register http://kitchenappliancesstore.com your site will rank higher. It's a proven fact that you get a higher PR if you use your main keyword in the domain name. People search for "kitchen appliances" over 28,000 times a month.

Just use your same header, but put the actual domain name in the right hand corner at the bottom. Then use an ALT tag for the header that says "Kitchen Appliances Header." And make sure that your main keyword is "kitchen appliances."

2. You should have as your first category, one called "kitchen appliances." This puts you keyword into a text link, which the search engines will like.

But really nice work.
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Post by mcarp555 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:34 am

Thanks Amy. I tend to get very wrapped up in design; I spent hours getting the search bar just right. Not the most important part, but it appeals to me!

Unfortunately, I've had the "Mechanicalkitchen.com" domain for some time now, so I probably won't change it for this store, when it finally does go online for real (at the moment it's set up in a subdomain). But it will be helpful info for the next store(s). I did some research into domain names along the lines you're suggesting, but it never occurred to me to have the domain name different from the store name. Duh!

I don't think the redirect is a problem, since it uses the .htaccess "DirectoryIndex" command. My other stores use that, and I haven't seen any problems with them. Both were picked up by Google within days. The redirect would be the same if it was "/homepage.html" rather than "/shop.php" (which is changed by the Rewrite rules anyway).

I ran the site through the SEO tester at http://www.instantposition.com/ and it scored very well (4.6, or 37 out of 40). I'm using "small kitchen appliances" as the main keyword, which seems to have good search response, with low advertiser interest (less competition).

That's a good point about the ALT tag - I'll add that. I'll also look into the keyword text link as well.

Thanks again for the comments!
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Post by mcarp555 » Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:08 pm

FYI, I've followed through on all the suggestions. When it comes time to throw it up onsite for real, I'll just have both domain names point to it (but only use kitchenappliancesstore.com for promotion. This way I have both bases covered).

I've added the domain name to the header, along with the ALT tag. And added a "small kitchen appliances" link.

The SEO tester shows the same score for "kitchen appliances". I don't think adding "small" detracts in any way.
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Post by s0sunz1m » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:33 pm

do u think it is a good idea to place adsense in your store?

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Post by ahutton » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:10 pm

I put yahoo ads on my stores, and they makes less than half what my orders do. But I think it's wise to start the store without ads and to add them after a month or so, but I may be wrong there.

I do know that yahoo picks up on my stores quickly, while it takes google a bit longer. So I'm guessing it is the yahoo ads that does that, and that probably having google ads on your store would make google sit up and notice your store faster.
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Post by mcarp555 » Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:11 am

I think the prevailing idea that having Adsense is just allowing competition to bleed away potential customers is nonsense. If someone comes to my store, and doesn't find what they want, they're going to hit the BACK button on their browser and go to Google anyway. Why shouldn't I at least get a few cents for the click instead? It's a bit like saying, why do supermarkets have gumball machines outside? Aren't they afraid people won't go in and buy candy?
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Post by nskousen » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:05 am

That is the ultimate question isn't it? Can I make good money doing this? Amazon.com reports that about 30-40 percent of their sales come from their associates. So Amazon.com is really getting some benefit out of this but so are some smart associates.

I once heard Jeff Barr speak at an E-Business Lecture Series course while in college. Jeff Barr is an Amazon.com Web Services Evangelist and tours the United States promoting Amazon.com and their services. He also writes a blog on Amazon.com. You can read it here!

Anyways, Jeff told us all about the associate program and he's the main reason I have become an Amazon.com associate. Amazon.com has over 1,000,000 associates. He said that most (90%+) don't make any money. Very few people make "good" money being an amazon.com associate. It's not amazon.com's fault or third party vendors such as AOM. It is the webmaster's fault.

If you want to make money you have to drive targeted traffic to your website, keep people at your site, and get people to buy your stuff. That is easier said than done but AOM is a great product to get you started. Most people who are associates, have no idea how to do that. In order to succeed with any internet commerce site you need to understand search engines, web design, internet marketing, and web analytics. If you don't know how to do any of that, you will be another failure and you'll most likely blame it on the Amazon.com associate program.

Now if you run the numbers you need to generate a lot of traffic and get a lot of sales to make decent money. If you are selling electronics and thus earning 4% in commissions, you will need to generate $1,000,000 a year just to make $40,000. Am I going to quit my day job? Not anytime soon. I view being an amazon.com associate as a learning vehicle. I am learning how to drive traffic to my site, how to do search engine optimization, and how to increase sales conversion, etc. Does it take some time and effort? Absolutely.

Jeff related many success stories and there are people making 6 digits per year being an amazon.com associate.

Good luck!

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Post by ahutton » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:03 am

I was searching for something at target.com and found out that THEY are using Amazon to broaden their store! go there and search for Costumes.
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