Many bloggers use the Amazon affiliate program because it is simple to use and Amazon.com carries a huge variety of products. As a Christian blogger, how can you use this program to the greatest potential, service your readers’ needs, and still keep in line with your mission? This Ultimate Guide to Using Amazon Affiliate program as a Christian Bloggers will teach you how to make money with Amazon affiliate program.
My Amazon Affiliate Experience
Recently in a Christian bloggers’ Facebook group, someone asked if it’s really possible to earn income from Amazon as a Christian blogger, and I shared that I had a great Amazon payment last month ($2,372). Yes, it’s definitely possible. Lots of people commented on that post asking for tips and this blog post is my answer to that question.
Remember that each audience and blogger are unique. Plan to try one or two ideas, see what works for you, then continue those and try another one.
Earning Income from a Christian Blog
Before we delve into the nitty gritty of using the Amazon affiliate program on Christian blogs and websites, understand that I’m writing this blog post with the assumption that you are okay with making money from your website, or even earning some income in order to keep the website running.
I know this is a sticking point for many people in the Christian blogging world. If this is you, take time for soul searching and prayer because if you feel it’s wrong to make money from a Christian blog, no amount of specific advice is going to help you.
I personally have zero issues with making money from my website. I work very hard on my blog and business, spending hours devoted to it. If you have a blog that isn’t earning income, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby or perhaps a volunteer ministry. That’s totally fine if it’s your thing, but I personally am not willing to devote this much work to a hobby when I could be using those hours to support my family in other ways. (I could go into a whole discourse here on the Proverbs 31 woman buying a field and all that, but I think you get the idea.)
Now that we have that out of the way, on to the good stuff.
Amazon Affiliate Program: Getting Started
If you haven’t signed up for the Amazon affiliate program you can do so here. It’s pretty quick and easy to get started. Note that you must have the disclosure on your blog so that it shows up on every page and Amazon also has some rules that seem to be continually evolving, but one is that your Amazon links cannot be hidden – not in a paid product, not in a private Facebook group, not on a website page that requires a password.
This means you also cannot put Amazon links in emails which is a huge bummer, but it is what it is. If you are using an RSS feed for your emails (so readers get a small snippet of a blog post or the whole blog post), you should not include any Amazon links in ways that it will show up in the email. This is one reason many of us have moved away from RSS feed email systems.
Once you are in the program, understand the rules and have a disclosure in place, you are set to go and have a ton of possible options for how to use Amazon links and ads. Keep reading for what I have found most effective, plus what is not worth your time.
Basic Principles to Understand about Amazon Affiliate Program
When it comes to using Amazon to create income as a blogger (no matter your niche) here are some important principles to understand.
- The Amazon affiliate payout percentage is small, so you need to either sell a lot of small products or several big ones. (Ideally, you’ll be doing a combo of each.) Include a variety of items you link to within your website, including big ticket items. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see in the Christian blogging world – only linking to small ticket items. Christian bloggers tend to limit themselves to linking to Christian books. Friends – the payout for these is so darn small. I recently did my first online Bible study last year, Getting to Know Jesus. I was pleased that 100+ people ordered the book, but keep in mind my payout for that was about $30. Sure, $30 is something, but this is not the way to bring in significant income. If you feel there are no big ticket items in your niche, keep reading because I have quite a few ideas for you to consider.
- Amazon cookie time is 24 hours. What that means is that if someone clicks to Amazon from your affiliate link, anything they purchase in the next 24 hours gives you credit assuming they don’t go to another website and click another Amazon link (which starts the process over). True, a 24 hour window is short, but let’s look at that as a golden opportunity. If someone clicks your link and then they decide to do their year’s worth of Christmas shopping, you are in for a treat. Lesson: get as many people to click over to Amazon as often as possible.
- Let Amazon do what they do best. Amazon does a fabulous job at figuring out what people want and showing it to them. They handle upsells like a champ, too. Lesson: get as many people to click over to Amazon as often as possible. (Yes, I’m repeating myself but this is worth hearing again.)
- Have fun! We often forget this one but I actually think it’s important. Whether in person or online, people are attracted to other people who are relaxed and having fun. You are earning income, that’s only a good thing. Don’t get overly stressed. If something doesn’t work, scratch it and try something else. If an idea works, keep it and move on to add another strategy.
With those basics understood, now on to more specific ideas for you to incorporate into your website.
The Ultimate Guide to Using Amazon Affiliate Program as a Christian Blogger
These strategies will help you earn income from your Christian blog with the Amazon affiliate program. Plan to try one or two new ideas and see how it works for you.
- Link often within text. Sidebar ads are rarely effective. Even the native ads I have at the bottom of all my posts (which are specific to the topics within the blog) don’t work nearly as well as the text links and product photos I include. People want to hear why the product works for you.
- Include at least one Amazon link in every blog post. Every blog post should have between one and five Amazon links, sometimes more. Unless the specific blog is selling a product of mine (in which case I want the focus on be on my product only), all of my blog posts include at least one Amazon link if not more. Amazon has millions of products – there’s something you can include. One note here: I know some bloggers (like recipe blogs) put tons of Amazon links in one article. I personally find this annoying (you don’t have to put a link for every wooden spoon you use) but that’s personal preference.
- Increase traffic. This is a bit painful for me to write since I think all of us as bloggers are continually doing all we can to increase traffic to our websites. But, here I would encourage you to consider writing a few blog posts that are maybe a bit outside your normal posts, while still staying within your niche. For example, maybe you write deep, heavy blog posts that lead people through inductive Bible study. That’s awesome, but perhaps doesn’t catch too many people’s eye on Pinterest. However, a quick post about the top Bible verses to study on one certain topic – that might get a lot more traffic to your site, and you can be sure to include a number of Amazon links. Spend some time on Pinterest discovering what blog posts do well and use that as your guide. You can still write plenty of in-depth posts, but once in awhile a bit more light writing is good. (For example, here are a couple of my top posts that are still within my blog topics but not especially deep. If you go to the links, notice that they each have Amazon links included. 101 Ways to Boost Your Mood Immediately, 20 Text Messages Your Husband Will Love
- Bigger ticket items. This is really big, and if you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you consider this strategy. You absolutely need to be linking to a few big ticket items on a regular basis. If you think there are no big ticket items in your niche, you are wrong. Start paying attention to items you buy, because chances are good your readers are a lot like you. The bigger ticket item that has been the absolute best for me is the Instant Pot. I actually wasn’t even planning to write about the Instant Pot (after all, isn’t that already written about by other bloggers?) but I decided to just write one post and see what happened. It exploded! Since then I’ve gone on to write a whole series of Instant Pot articles and those are now some of the best converting articles for Amazon sales on my site. Another area that has done well for me in the Christian market is Bible Journaling. Bible journaling has lots of products so it naturally lends itself well to Amazon links. Let me share another example. Another group of readers I write articles for is special needs parents. As special needs parents, we have a Snap Scan which is a high end scanner for documents. Any special needs parent will tell you that you get flooded with paper when your child has special needs – medical forms, IEP papers, and more. This scanner has been our salvation and a wonderful tool in caring for our kids. I think every special needs family needs one and it’s worth every penny of the price tag.
- Gift Guides. One way that many bloggers capitalize on Amazon affiliate links is through the creation of gift guides. I have created quite a few gift guides which you can see here for ideas. These are especially popular at Christmas but work well for other holidays, too. Get creative with your topics and be willing to think a bit to the side of your niche. Your readers will shop for themselves but they will also shop for children, parents, spouse, and others.
- Important sales days. There are 3 days that are HUGE when it comes to Amazon sales: Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. In addition, trends are showing that with the free 2 day shipping prime members receive, people are now Christmas shopping closer to the date than ever before, so the whole week leading up to Christmas is huge for online shopping. Trends also tell us that people are doing more shopping for themselves while Christmas shopping than in years past, so keep that little tidbit in the back of your mind when you are deciding which items to highlight. Ironically, I’m not much of a shopper myself, so these are not generally days I have cared that much about. But, I do my best to be a smart business woman with all God has given me, and I’ve come to realize I need to start paying attention because people ARE shopping online on these days, and if they are going to be shopping, it sure would benefit me if they click through my link first. This could be as simple as sharing some Amazon links on your Facebook page that are good sales that relate to your niche.
- Social media sharing. I’ve heard rumors that the rules are changing, but at the time I’m writing this blog post, you are allowed to share one specific product to your business Facebook page that includes your affiliate link, as long as you include a disclosure. Consider sharing one Amazon product every few days that relates to your niche. Products that generate discussion are great, such as sharing a link to the book you are currently reading and asking your readers for suggestions of what you should read next. I just shared a link on my Facebook page to a new tea I tried and liked. This is a good place to share some of those smaller ticket items, with the plan that some readers will click over and perhaps order that item, or perhaps purchase something else in the next 24 hours.
- Memberships. Amazon gives you a nice reward if your readers purchase a membership (called “Bounties” to affiliates) so be sure to look over all Amazon has to offer. There’s really quite a lot available such as more Amazon prime opportunities than you may realize to the Amazon baby registry which includes free gifts. Here is a helpful list of some of those bonuses: 7 Insider Secrets to Get the Most From Your Amazon Prime Membership Choose a few of these to highlight once in a while or even on a regular basis for your readers.
- Top 10 lists. Top 10 (or 20, or whatever #) lists are a fun and easy way to showcase products you use on a regular basis and people love to get a glimpse behind the scenes at what products you love. Here are just a few of mine in the Christian blogging niche: Top 25 Bible Journaling Accessories Kids’ Devotion Books: 25 Options to Strengthen Their Faith
Bonus tip! In recent months I’ve been using Easy Product Display, which shows Amazon links like these:
Easy Product Display creates a nice product display plus button for any Amazon, Zazzle, or Share a Sale links on your blog. There is a small monthly fee for this service, but for me it’s been worth it because I’ve seen a significant increase in sales since using Easy Product Display.
There you have it! With these strategies, you have more than enough to help your Amazon income continue to grow on a steady basis. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below – what works for you with the Amazon affiliate program as a Christian blogger?
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