I am currently working on a new blog (more on that later!) which will feature lots of affiliate links for Amazon so I have been searching for a plugin that will make the process of adding products links easier and allow me to collect affiliate commissions for referring customers to Amazon. For some reason, Amazon requires you to signup separately for their affiliate program in the US, Canda, UK, France, Germany & Japan so I needed a plugin that could also handle this internationalization of links. After much searching and testing, the plugin I have decided to use is called EasyAzon. It is a commercial plugin but it's only $47 for unlimited sites so should easily pay for itself with a few commissions.
Installing The plugin
Once you have paid for the plugin via Clickbank you will recieve your download and a license key, upload the plugin via FTP and activate it. Once the plugin is activated, it adds a new menu item to your "Settings" menu called "EasyAzon" - if you click that, you can start configuring the plugin.
The settings for this plugin are all on one page and its easy to setup, unlike some plugins I've looked at, which were really complicated. It also has links to videos at the top of this page if you're not sure on any part of it. You will need to enter your clickbank receipt ID at the top - this acts as your license key for the plugin. Next up you have Amazon API keys to enter, if you dont have an account for Amazon AWS, you will need to signup for one to get these. Then you have spaces to enter your various affiliate IDs for the Amazon Associates programs and can choose whether to enable Internationalization or just use the USA site - that will depend on the demographics of your blog traffic but I required this for my site.
Once all your settings are saved here, you can test out the functionality by creating a new post.
Adding Products to Posts
The functionality for this plugin is contained within the add new post screen, below the main writing box you will see the plugin has added this new box :
When you are writing your blog post and want to insert a product, enter the product name and click search, a list of products which match that are then returned from the Amazon website, you can see here I searched for the digital camera "Sony Cybershot DSC-tx100V" :
You have 3 options: Insert Text Link, Insert Image Link and Insert Info Block - clicking on one of these will insert a shortcode into the body of your post so make sure the cursor is positioned where you want the item to appear, here is what the 3 shortcodes look like :
Here is what they look like on a live post :
Alternative Free Plugin
Out of all the Amazon plugins I tested there is one free one which does a similar job, called WordPress Amazon Associate. The functionality is not as well thought-out but it will definately do a job. Also the product box that it inserts is quite ugly, allthough I'm sure with some hacking of the plugin you could change that. If cost is an issue, go with this free plugin.
This is a nice, easy to use plugin if you plan to add a lot of Amazon products to your blog posts. It will save you a lot of time, imagine having to go to the Amazon site and look up a product, then grab the affiliate link and image and then adding to your site, I dont think it would be practical. I will be doing a casestudy in future about the blog I'm using this plugin on so I will be able to comment further after some more testing.