Affiliate marketing is an effective way to generate revenue, especially for a food blog. Every new recipe or review you publish is an opportunity to earn money through commissions for sales of the products you recommend.
This is a big reason why affiliate marketing is so powerful for bloggers. You don’t need to put your own time and money into researching, creating and marketing a product. You simply need to find existing products you feel resonate with your audience best and market those to them.
The Amazon affiliate program is your best bet when it comes to generating affiliate sales from physical products and ebooks. It’s free to join, and you could earn up to 10% in commissions whenever your audience purchases something using your link. Plus, Amazon is one of the largest and most recognizable retailers in the world.
In this post, we’re going to cover how to monetize a food blog with Amazon’s affiliate program. Specifically, we’ll cover how to use a plugin called AAWP to insert affiliate links on your site creatively and effectively.
What is the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program?
The Amazon Associates Program is Amazon’s official affiliate marketing program. It gives creators and publishers opportunities to earn commissions from sales they help generate for the retailer.
Here’s how this works:
When you become a member of the Amazon affiliate program, you’re given a special reference ID to attach to the end of Amazon URLs you share with your audience. This is used to identify you so Amazon’s affiliate system knows which sales you generate and, therefore, how much to compensate you.
When your reader visits Amazon and completes a purchase with your personal reference ID attached to the URL, you’ll receive a portion, known as a “commission,” of what they paid to Amazon at no additional cost to either of you.
The amount you earn varies greatly and is dependent on the types of products your readers purchase. For instance, if your reader purchases luxury beauty products with your link, you’ll earn 10% of what they paid. If your reader purchases a video game, however, you’ll only earn 1%.
The payout for a sale is given 60 days after the end of the calendar month in which the sale took place. You have three options as far as receiving your payout goes: direct deposit, check or Amazon gift card.
Eligibility requirements for the program are very lenient. As long as you own your site, have original content, and do not engage in illegal or explicit activities, you’re pretty much in.
If you have a sizeable audience, you might consider joining the Amazon Influencer program as well. This is an extension of the Amazon Associates program. In addition to your link, you’re given your own page on Amazon where you can showcase all of the products you recommend to your audience.
This add-on to the main program is especially useful for livestreams and video content where promoting a specific Amazon URL out loud would be too complicated or when you have multiple products you want to promote.
Signing Up for the Amazon Affiliate Program
Start the signup process by visiting the official Amazon Associates Central page and clicking the Sign Up button. You’ll be asked to sign into your Amazon account, at which point you can choose the legal name and billing address of the individual who will be receiving your payouts.
This step is called “Account Information.” Next is “Website and Mobile App List” where you can add the URLs for all of the websites and apps you plan to promote your affiliate link on.
There’s a field for each, and all you need to do is add them to the submission box one at a time so they stack on top of one another in a list.
Next is “Profile,” which is divided into two sections: Profile and Traffic & Monetization.
The first field is for your preferred Store ID. This will be inserted into every affiliate link you generate, and it’s also what Amazon’s system will use to recognize your referrals. Therefore, it’s best to insert your brand name or actual name.
This will be included in the actual ID that’s generated for you, which will be along the lines of “wpzoom-20” even if you only entered “wpzoom,” so don’t worry about capitalization or spacing.
The rest of the Profile section contains questions meant to help you describe what your website does and which topics it covers.
The Traffic & Monetization section contains a series of questions about how you drive traffic to your website, how much traffic you receive and how you currently earn revenue.
Once you go through this page, you can submit your application and wait to be accepted into the program.
After that, you can choose a payout method and enter your payment and tax information. Amazon uses the latter to create a tax report for you at the end of the year.
Getting Started with AAWP
Once your account is all set up, use the Amazon Associates Central dashboard to create affiliate links for specific products. Before we get into how to promote these links on your site, let’s introduce the plugin we’ll be using to do so.
The Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin is the perfect way to optimize your site for the Amazon affiliate program beyond sharing a link here and there. Not only does it let you add affiliate links from the store to your site in interesting new ways, it also makes managing links from this program more efficient.
Here’s a brief overview of everything AAWP has to offer:
- Automation – Key product information, such as pricing, inserted on your site by AAWP is updated by Amazon’s API automatically.
- Premade Templates – AAWP comes with pre-designed templates for product displays.
- Customization – Different styles are available. Additional styles may be adapted or applied via CSS.
- Multiple Display Formats – Showcase affiliated products with text links, comparison tables, product boxes, bestseller lists, new release lists and widgets. You can also extract individual product elements, such as the product’s price or buy button, and showcase those instead. Lists can be filtered by product title, price and more.
- Analytics – AAWP is compatible with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Piwik, giving you multiple ways to track events and monitor the performance of affiliate links in campaigns.
Installation & Initial Setup
AAWP is a premium plugin, so you’ll need to purchase a license for it and download it from the plugin’s official website in order to install it.
Once you have the plugin installed and activated, you can input your license key by navigating to Amazon Affiliate → Settings → Licensing.
Next, click on over to the Amazon API tab so you can connect the plugin to your Amazon Associates account. You’ll need to create and input your individual access and secret keys by completing the following steps:
- From the Amazon Associates dashboard, go to Tools → Product Advertising API.
- Click the Add Credentials button. Please note that if your account is new, you’ll need to generate three affiliate sales before you’re allowed to use the API.
- Copy and paste your access and secret keys into their respective fields within AAWP’s settings. You should also download your credentials from your Amazon account and secure them in a safe location. You won’t be able to access them again, so it’s best to have a copy on hand. If you lose your copy, simply create a new set of credentials. This will require you to enter them into AAWP again.
Once you input your keys into AAWP, your status should change to Connected.
5 Ways to Monetize Your Blog with the Amazon Affiliate Program
Before we show you a few of the different ways you can use AAWP to add adverts from Amazon to your site, let’s go over a few key guidelines you’ll need to follow. These are requirements from the Amazon affiliate program. Violating them could result in the termination of your affiliate account.
- Disclosure – Every web page that contains an affiliate link must have a disclaimer stating so and that you’ll earn commissions from sales completed through said affiliate link. Fortunately, AAWP has a Disclaimer setting under the General tab of settings page that allows you to add disclaimers to your pages automatically.
- Authenticity – Do not make false claims about products or use deceptive images and language.
- Prices – Unless you’re specifically referencing a temporary sale, avoid adding prices to adverts. Prices generated by AAWP’s adverts are exceptions as they’re designed to update automatically.
- Offsite Promotion – Do not insert Amazon affiliate links in adverts that do not appear on your site. This includes email, in-person promotions and ebooks.
- Link Shorteners – Do not use link shorteners to cloak Amazon affiliate links. It’s best to leave text links up to AAWP as they’re already optimized for the program’s guidelines.
Without further ado, here are five ways you can monetize your blog with the Amazon affiliate program and AAWP.
Add Affiliate Links to Recipe Posts
Shortcodes are at the core of AAWP’s functionality. As such, this is how you’ll insert each type of advert into your posts.
The simplest of these is the link advert, which is perfect for adding text links naturally throughout recipe posts and in lists you create with the Ingredients functionality in themes like Foodica.
The basis of the link shortcode looks like this:
[amazon link="ASIN" /]
You simply replace “ASIN” with the ASIN (Amazon standard identification number) or ISBN (international standard book number) of the product you want to promote and insert the shortcode wherever you want the link to appear. You can find this number in the Product Information table on the Amazon product page.
AAWP’s links open in new tabs and are given “nofollow” tags by default, so you don’t need to worry about adding them yourself.
You’ll find a list of additional attributes you can add to this shortcode to customize it in the plugin’s documentation. For example, the “title” attribute allows you to add a custom title that overrides the Amazon product title the plugin uses by default.
The product we’re using as an example in these images has a product title of “Wilton 2304-115 Nesting Heart Cutter Set” by default, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing. “Heart-shaped cookie cutters” would work a lot better.
That shortcode would look like this:
[amazon link="ASIN" title="heart-shaped cookie cutters" /]
If you want to add an affiliate link to a shopping or ingredient list, consider using the “link_icon” attribute to add the Amazon “a” logo, full Amazon logo, or a shopping cart to the link. This will draw more attention to it.
Showcase Highly Recommended Products
The product box and field shortcodes are perfect for when you have a specific product to promote and truly want to earn commissions from it.
It’s a simple change from the link shortcode. All you need to do is change “link” to “box” like so:
[amazon box="ASIN" /]
You can also add more than one product box by adding additional identification numbers separated by commas (“ASIN1, ASIN2, ASIN3”).
You can even take this a step further and display them in a grid by adding the grid attribute to the shortcode and a number from 1 to 6:
[amazon box="ASIN1, ASIN2, ASIN3" grid="3" /]
There are also a few parts of the Amazon product description you can customize by adding the following attributes to your shortcode:
- title – Customize the default product title.
- description – Add a custom product description.
- button_text – Change the default “Buy on Amazon” text given to buttons.
Lastly, consider giving your box a style, such as “light” or “dark”:
[amazon box="ASIN" style="dark" /]
Alternatively, use AAWP’s field attributes to create custom product boxes that only display specific information, such as the product image, title, price and Buy button and nothing more.
Earn More from Your Resources Page
Every blog designed to teach should have a Resources page. As a food blogger in particular, you can use this page as a hub for your readers to learn about your favorite cooking equipment, brands, ingredients and cookbooks.
More importantly, it’s a fantastic opportunity to earn revenue from multiple affiliate links. By combining AAWP’s link, box and field shortcodes, you can build a truly engaging Resources page optimized for commissions.
Earn Revenue from Reviews and Comparison Posts
While AAWP’s link and product box adverts allow you to insert affiliate links from Amazon in posts easily and beautifully, it offers an even better way of doing things when it comes to comparing two or more products.
The table functionality in AAWP allows you to create well-designed “pricing” tables that feature columns for product images, titles, average customer rating, price and anything else you’d like to include.
You’ll use shortcodes to add tables to posts just as you would with links and product boxes. However, you’ll need to create the table on the backend of AAWP in order to generate a shortcode for it.
Start by going to Amazon Affiliate → Tables → Add New, then give your table an easily identifiable name. This page has two metaboxes you can use to configure your table.
Use the second box (labeled “Products”) to assign the products you want to compare by entering their ID numbers or searching for them. Each product has a color wheel you can configure if you’d like to highlight one on the frontend.
Use the first metabox (labeled “Configuration”) to select the types of data you want to represent in your table as well as the order in which they appear. When you add a new row option, you’ll see a field for it appear for each product in the Products metabox. This allows you to input custom data, especially if you want to use the Custom Text, Custom Box and Custom HTML data fields for data types AAWP does not have presets for.
Once you’ve set everything up, you can paste the shortcode wherever you’d like the table to appear.
Generate Affiliate Revenue from Any Post
While you may not be completely aware of it, you’ve probably come across multiple opportunities to insert affiliate links from Amazon during your time as a food blogger.
For instance, you may not have a particular heart-shaped cookie cutter in mind for your recipe post on heart-shaped sugar cookies. In this case, you could simply use the bestseller shortcode to showcase a list of the best-selling heart-shaped cookie cutters on Amazon.
This shortcode is quite simple to create:
[amazon bestseller="heart-shaped cookie cutter" items="3" /]
You simply use the “bestseller” attribute to input a keyword for the types of products you’d like to display and the “items” attribute to configure the number of products you’d like to display.
You may have multiple options when it comes to the number of ways you can monetize a food blog, but you don’t have many when it comes to implementing them. AAWP is designed to bridge that gap between wanting to generate more affiliate revenue and actually going forth to apply multiple ways to get the job done.
In fact, one method we didn’t mention in this post is the widget feature available in AAWP. With this tool, you can add product boxes, bestseller lists and new product release lists to any widget area in WordPress. This gives you a way to advertise products sitewide no matter which page your visitor views.
You can get your hands on AAWP for as little as €39 for a single site license and one year of support and updates. All plans are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee.