The Amazon Associates program has enabled countless website and social media channel owners to generate good profits by promoting Amazon products in return for a commission. In this article, I will show how to add Amazon affiliate links to WordPress, thereby allowing you to tap into this excellent way of monetizing your content.
What Is Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a popular business strategy where an online retailer (such as Amazon) pays a commission for sales referred from an external website, such as a blog, informational site, social media channel, etc.
In the case of Amazon, their affiliate program is called Amazon Associates. This is a hugely popular program with website owners for several reasons:
- The program is free to join
- Amazon is a massive platform with millions of products covering virtually every niche
- People trust Amazon, feel secure buying from them, and believe they are getting a good deal
- The program has very detailed user documentation
- Affiliates have access to a useful dashboard and plenty of tools to help them market the affiliate products
- Provides a (relatively) passive source of income
Unfortunately, the commission paid by Amazon to its affiliates has eroded considerably over time. The last reductions came hot on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and saw up to 5% knocked off several categories.
However, Amazon Associates remains a hugely popular scheme and can still be very lucrative, particularly if your niche either targets high ticket items or popular lower ticket ones that sell in large volumes.
One nice bonus of the Amazon Associates program is if someone clicks on one of your affiliate links, you will receive a commission on everything they purchase within the cookie period (currently twenty-four hours) and not just the item you promoted. However, whether that will continue to be the case in the future remains to be seen.
Why You Should Add Amazon Affiliate Links to WordPress
If you run a blog or some other informational-type site, monetizing it makes sense to help cover the running costs and perhaps generate some profit. You can even add affiliate links to WooCommerce stores to extend their moneymaking capabilities. What’s more, given the sheer number of products available on Amazon, there are products to suit pretty much any website regardless of niche.
So, let’s now look at how easy it is to add Amazon affiliate links to your WordPress site. I will cover two methods: the first method adds them manually, while the second uses a plugin.
Method 1: Adding Amazon Affiliate Links to WordPress Manually
If you are only promoting a few products from Amazon, you can manage by adding the affiliate links manually into your content, and I will now show you how to do that.
However, if you are promoting many items, manual linking and maintaining those links can become very time-consuming. Therefore, in this case, you might wish to skip directly to Method 2: Adding Amazon Affiliate Links Using a Plugin.
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Step 1: Register as an Amazon Affiliate
If you haven’t already registered for an Amazon Associates account, you can do so here. You will need specific information on hand, including:
- Your website URL
- Your preferred store ID
- How you plan on monetizing and marketing your site (via multiple-choice questions)
- Whether you wish to enter your payment and tax ID information now or later (you won’t get paid any earned commissions until you have done this)
Acceptance into the program may take some time (generally one to three days, but that is not guaranteed), so be patient. While you are waiting, I strongly recommend you carefully read the following:
Amazon is notoriously strict at implementing all its rules and regulations, so follow them to the letter. Punishment is severe if you fail to do so, as Amazon could close your account.
Once accepted as an Amazon Associate, you will have access to your Associate Homepage. This is the dashboard of your Amazon Associates account and is where you will search for product links, manage your affiliate commissions and payouts, etc.
Step 2: Find Amazon Affiliate Product Links
Go to the ‘Product Linking’ dropdown menu on your Associate homepage and click ‘Product Links.’
Next, use the search box that appears to find the products you wish to promote. You can also go directly to a product if you know the ASIN (for products) or ISBN (for books) number – simply enter the number into the search box. See Step 5 of Method 2 for more information on ASINs and ISBNs.
To use SiteStripe, you must enabled it. To do this, from your Associates’ homepage, go to the SiteStripe page by clicking on ‘Tools,’ ‘SiteStripe,‘ and ‘Learn More.’ From there, you can enable it under ‘Display Settings.’
Step 3: Insert the Amazon Affiliate Product Links Into Your WordPress Content
Method 2: Adding Amazon Affiliate Links to WordPress Using a Plugin
A faster, more efficient, and preferable way of adding affiliate products to your WordPress site is using an Amazon affiliate plugin.
One of the best plugins currently available is Amazon Affiliate for WordPress, better known as AAWP. This premium plugin includes many advanced options to simplify the daily running of your affiliate site.
The price of AAWP starts at €49 for a single site which includes updates and support for a year.
Step 1: Install the AAWP Plugin
First, you need to sign up for the Amazon Associates program (following the procedure in Step 1 of Method 1 above) if you have not done so already.
Before purchasing and installing AAWP, ensure that your web hosting provider supports the minimum technical requirements of the AAWP plugin. Fortunately, most hosts will meet those, but it is worth checking anyway.
Once you are sure the minimum technical requirements have been met, purchase and install AAWP as you would any other plugin.
After purchasing the plugin, you should have received a license key via email. Enter this into the ‘License key’ field in the ‘Licensing’ tab of the AAWP dashboard and hit ‘Activate license’:
Step 2: Connect an Amazon Product Advertising API
If you haven’t already, register for an ‘Amazon Product Advertising API.’ You can find how to do that by clicking here. Furthermore, you will also need to sign up to Amazon Web Services to create the API keys.
Click on the ‘Amazon API‘ tab and in the appropriate fields, enter your:
This video explains how to obtain your API Key, Secret Access Key, and Tracking ID. Enter these accurately to ensure your affiliate ID is added to all outgoing links. Failure to do so will result in lost commission from any sales you drive.
Use the ‘Country’ dropdown box to select the Amazon region you are targeting:
If you have entered everything correctly, the status should switch to ‘Connected.’
Step 3: Configure the General Options
The ‘General‘ tab contains several options you can choose from (to see them all, you’ll need to scroll down the page in AAWP):
Here, you can configure the following:
- Which shortcode to use (only necessary if you have another plugin that uses the same Amazon shortcodes)
- The duration of the cache (the pricing and information update frequency)
- The type of affiliate link to use (standard, shortened, or cloaked)
- Enable or disable SSL for images and accelerated mobile pages (AMP) support
- Choose the format for the last update (date only or date and time)
- Inline information, for example, statements like “Price includes shipping.” This can be enabled/disabled as needed
- The disclaimer (Amazon requires affiliates to inform people of their relationship with Amazon)
Step 4: Configure the Output Options
The ‘Output‘ tab contains all options relating to how the Amazon links appear to your site users:
In this tab, you can set:
- Title length
- Number of description list points
- HTML formatting, Star Ratings, Pricing format, etc.
- Whether star ratings and reviews are to be shown
- Whether or not the Amazon Prime logo is to be displayed next to products
- Call to action button style
Furthermore, you can add custom CSS here should you need to modify the plugin to match your theme’s appearance better.
Step 5: Embed Amazon Products in Your Content Using Shortcodes
AAWP uses shortcodes to insert affiliate products into content. There are several types available, and I will go through each now.
Embedding a Text Link
Adding a simple text link to a product is the easiest way of embedding Amazon links into your content.
Firstly, it is necessary to obtain the article (ASIN) or book (ISBN) number from the Amazon product page for the product you wish to promote. You can find this by visiting the corresponding Amazon product page and identifying the code in the page URL:
Alternatively, the ASIN / ISBN also appears in the Amazon product description:
Next, create a shortcode as per the following, incorporating the ASIN/ISBN you just identified:
[amazon link=”B00THKEKEQ” /]
This shortcode can then be embedded wherever you want it in your content. It will appear to visitors as a product link with the title of the item taken directly from Amazon:
Please note that “This is an amazon link generated with a shortcode” won’t appear as it is just sample text I used to create the post!
Embedding a Product Box
Alternatively, you can add a product box to your content for greater visual impact. In this case, the shortcode to use is:
[amazon box=”B00THKEKEQ” /]
This will give a box containing details of the product like so:
Embedding a List of Best Sellers
It is also possible to display a bestsellers list. The shortcode is again straightforward, although now you need to specify how many items you wish to include in the list:
[amazon bestseller=”B00THKEKEQ″ items=”2″]
In this case, only the top two best sellers will appear. If you want to display a different quantity, it is simply a matter of adjusting the items=”2” part of the code.
This is an example of the two-item bestseller list created by the shortcode mentioned above:
Previously, it was also possible to embed the list of best-selling products using ‘browse nodes.’ These are numeric codes used to identify product categories. There are tens of thousands of product categories on Amazon, each assigned with its own unique browse node ID.
However, I’m not going to discuss browse nodes at length here because Amazon has stopped supporting them in the current version of their AP.
Embedding a List of New Releases
A further display option is new releases from a particular category. To do this, use the following shortcode format:
[amazon new=”B00THKEKEQ” items=”2″/]
This is a typical output visitors will see from that shortcode:
Step 6: Embed Amazon Products in Your Widget Areas
AAWP bundles three widgets for adding Amazon affiliate products into the widget areas of your site. Depending on what your theme permits, these can include the sidebar, header, or footer.
To add the widgets, firstly go to your WordPress admin dashboard and select ‘Appearance’ and then ‘Widgets’ in the left-hand menu:
You will now see all the widget areas available to you. Click the ‘+’ on the widget area where you want the products to appear. In my case, I have selected the main sidebar. In the popup window, type AAWP. You will then see the AAWP widgets that are available:
Next, click on the widget you require – the corresponding input form for configuring that particular widget will appear:
Simply enter the necessary details into the form and hit ‘Update’ to save it.
Depending on the widget you chose, frontend users will then see something like this in the widget area where the widget was placed:
AAWP has tons of other options and configurations, including product comparison tables, templates, etc. – I have only touched on the basic features here to get you started.
The Amazon Associates program seems daunting to beginners, particularly given the numerous hoops the company makes applicants jump through when signing up for it. However, despite reducing commissions, it can still be very lucrative. Furthermore, Amazon does place a wide range of tools at your disposal to help you (and, ultimately, them) succeed.
When you first start with Amazon Associates, manually adding products is a great way of navigating around and understanding the system’s complexities. However, switching to a plugin later on will help you keep a better grip on things, particularly if you are promoting lots of products.
Please be aware that aside from AAWP, other plugins are available to help insert Amazon affiliate links into your WordPress content. To read about some of them, please go to the WPLift article “14 Best Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugins in 2022.”