Turning My Online Store Into An Amazon Affiliate Site

Big news: Last month(April), I turned my store into an Amazon Affiliates website. I’m no longer selling my own drop-shipped goods. Instead, I’m funneling traffic to Amazon.com using affiliate links, adapting the revenue model advocated by many such as Spencer Haws and Jon Haver.

This post is going to be VERY transparent – I’ll be sharing Analytics and revenues, with screenshots.

I was mulling over this decision for a very long time. I think it must have been for about 3-4 months before I finally decided to take the plunge and go for it.

A store’s story

There were a lot of factors that went into this decision. I was actually planning on transitioning last winter, seeing disappointing results, but I figured that since my niche is very seasonal, I’d wait out summer to see how that went.

The biggest problem that I had throughout(the store went live in March 2013) was that conversions were abysmal. I’d consistently get 300 visits per day, but often would go weeks without any sales.

Most of this traffic was either organic or referral. I had put a lot of effort into SEO, doing guest posts, building links, creating infographics, and the works. This effort was also paying off – with the traffic that I was getting.

My PPC campaigns were laser targeted, getting very high click-through rates, high-quality scores, but again, no conversions.

What really bugged me was that my website was by far the most authoritative on the internet about my product. Every other competitor used manufacturer descriptions, while I wrote each one myself, as if I was explaining it to someone who had no idea about the niche. I highlighted trust symbols. I added what little social proof I had. I did nearly everything possible to improve conversions, yet no luck.

Hell, I even tried slashing my prices, figuring it was a pricing issue since my competitors sold the things cheaper. I drove traffic using PPC to my now cheaper, still-better-than-competitor pages and still no sales.

The interesting thing was that a large portion of my traffic was going to my content pages. These pages did funnel into product pages, but I converted much, much less than I’d have liked. It was page about “The Best Widget.” That’s what originally gave me the idea to experiment with the Amazon revenue model, since Spencer Haws’ public case study site was Best Survival Knife Guide.

Coming back to the store’s history, December 2013 was a good month. I must have made around $500 net, and got around one order per day.

This highlights another aspect of my niche that really bugged me. The margins. I sell products between $200-500, but my margins are between 10-15%. I’d also have to offer free shipping to stay competitive, and after credit card fees, I wouldn’t really make so much per order. That’s why, after about $10,000 of revenue, I only netted $500 – just a measly 5%.

After December, January and February were incredibly slow, and I must have gotten maybe 5 or 10 orders between the two months.

March fared a little better, with some nice orders and a net profit of about $500. My hopes started to pick up. Summer was approaching, and sales can only climb from here. Suddenly, though, in April, traffic took a nosedive(no penalties or anything), and sales evaporated.

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 11.26.09 PM

This was the tipping point. I decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble anymore, with the low margins and the low conversions, and not wanting to lose any SEO efforts, I moved my store from BigCommerce to a WordPress installation, and added affiliate links to Amazon.

How I transitioned

Since SEO traffic and referral traffic were my main drivers, I had to sit down and decide how many pages I wanted to keep in the new site. Since the new angle would be “widget reviews” instead of “widgets,” I could only keep those products that actually had nice, lengthy descriptions that could double as reviews.

All accessories only had one line descriptions stating what they were, and most were things that you couldn’t just say too much more about.

So I went over to Google Analytics, brought up the last 3 months of data, and looked at all the landing pages – pages that people landed on directly. I exported the results to Excel, and started identifying pages to transfer. The strongest performs were kept, of course, as were any accessories that got lots of traffic.

If it was difficult to make an entire post out of that one accessory, I grouped a few together and redirected all the old URLs to the new one.

I also kept most of the major product pages and turned them into reviews. The content pages transitioned as-is.

I set up an account with BlueHost, and they allotted me a temporary folder, which they informed me would shift to my domain once I connected it to BlueHost. I installed WordPress into the temp folder, and started creating the pages.

I’d use the spreadsheet to copy over the URLs as best as I could, and where I couldn’t, I made another CSV of old URLs and new URLs which I later bulk uploaded to WordPress as 301 redirects using a handy plugin.

I’d have my store open in one tab, and WordPress in another. Copy-paste, Copy-paste. Then I’d add the Amazon Affiliates link in the product image, between the review, and at the bottom of the review.

That was pretty much it. I used StudioPress Genesis themes, and pretty standard plugins: Digg Digg for social sharing, Simple 301 Redirects, Ultimate Nofollow(to nofollow the Amazon links), and a sidebar widget that highlights posts and pages. I copied the very same Google Analytics code into the WordPress site, pointed my domain at BlueHost, and shut down the old store.


In about one month(plus one week, the last of April), results have been promising. Traffic has started to increase again. I’m theorizing that this is because of:

a) I no longer have extraneous pages leeching link juice from every page(my store used to have nearly 90-100 links on each page).

b) Many of my target keywords switched from just “Blue widget,” which is pretty competitive, to “Blue widget review,” which is much easier.

c) Overall demand is picking up again.

Here’s a look at Analytics for this month:

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 11.25.29 PM

Clicks to conversions were also much more promising. Keep in mind though that after a viewer visits Amazon from your affiliate link, you get a commission on anything they buy within the next 24 hours. So my conversion rate is pretty high in that sense, but not all of those sales were for my products.

general links

Note: product link clicks are links that go directly to products, and other clicks are links that go to categories or search results.

From 11,000 visits, I got 6000 clicks! That means one out of two visitors clicked a link to Amazon. Win!

From those 6000 clicks, 2.45% of people bought something or the other – not bad, I’m actually well above industry average here.

Looking at the number of clicks to products that actually result in those products being sold, the numbers are a bit bleaker – and more fitting to the industry average:

specific conversion

The number you want to look at is 16 – that’s the time someone clicked to a product and bought that very item. That’s not to say all the remaining products I got a commission for weren’t widgets – in fact, maybe 30-40% of all the items were widgets, just not direct clicks.

Now for the fun part – let’s talk about hard cash:

earnings report

All in all, I sold 144 items for Amazon, getting them $10,000 in revenue, and earning myself a neat $500. These numbers look strangely familiar! This is the exact same I did during my store’s best month – this involved me talking to customers, processing orders, and a whole lot more work than this site. In fact, once the site was live and I was satisfied, I haven’t even touched it!

This is $500 of completely passive income.

Closing thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, I had a discussion with Leighton Taylor on the eCommercePulse podcast about what to do with a business that isn’t performing as well as you had hoped.

For me, I had reached a point where I was no longer satisfied with the business as an online store, and with the low conversions and dismal margins, it just didn’t feel worth it anymore to put in so much time and effort every day for such a low reward. I didn’t want to lose all my SEO effort, so I decided to experiment like this.

I’m happy with $500 in my first month. Amazon’s commissions are tiered – so they start you out at 4%, and slowly bump you up with every so many sales you send their way – at this rate, even I sell the exact same items next month, I’ll make about 1.5 times more that this month because my commissions will be higher.

In retrospect, the niche I chose was easy to get traffic in, but very difficult to convert – perhaps my audience isn’t too tech savvy, or they are very likely to hunt for deals – that’s probably why Amazon did a lot better than me with sales!

I’m probably going to add a bit of content to the site regularly to keep it fresh, and I’ll split the revenue I get from it between spending money and money saved up as capital for a future venture.

So there you have it. All there, in black and white. What do you guys think?


  1. I am in the process of building an Amazon Affiliate site but doing it a little differently. The site is being built with the Woo Commerce and the Woo Commerce Amazon Affiliates plugins.

    The site will have its own shopping cart that will send the buyer to Amazon when they checkout. This means that it looks like an eCommerce site and not so much of an Amazon Affiliate site. The product pages are coming out so far with 400 to 800 words and the product review articles at 2000 plus words. The product reviews and product comparison pages are there to leach traffic from Google. As are the glossary, FAQ, resources and blog pages.

    I am not allowing the Amazon Affiliates plugin to draw in any pictures or product descriptions from Amazon, preferring to use unique product descriptions and the images a little differently than how the plugin would use them.

    Since the site is not live yet I am making lots of guesses on how to set things up.

    At first it seemed better to send them directly to Amazon when they pressed the add to cart button as I am selling products with a healthy price. But each product has a fair number of accessories so at this point the onsite cart is being used to accumulate everything the buyer wants and when they checkout they are sent to an Amazon cart. Will have to test for the best way when the site gets some reasonable traffic.

    One of the big questions is how much to reveal about my association with Amazon and when. The about page explains the whole process and I am wondering if on each product page at note should be added near the Add to Cart Button that says something along the lines of “Checkout and shipping are provided by Amazon for your security and peace of mind.”

    Have to say that the process is much slower than throwing up a few reviews and some article pages like the far too typical review site.

    Has anyone done something like this? Any thoughts?

    • Shabbir says:

      Hey John,

      Thanks for such a thought-provoking comment! You are taking a very interesting approach to affiliate ecommerce. With my niche, my experience is that people just didn’t trust my website enough to buy such a pricey item(or my prices were a little high). I’ve sold a lot more of my niche’s main products through Amazon than I did through my store in one month. I’d suggest revealing your association right away, since Amazon is very well known and trusted. You can try adding your note below the add to cart button and seeing what happens.

      The biggest advantage of sending people to Amazon product pages through a link is that you get a commission on anything they buy – so you will have to test and see if this still applies when people go directly to a cart. For suggested products, people can still find them on Amazon pages and you would still get a commission.

      I think the model that you are going for is best utilized if you want to carve out a name for yourself in your niche and build a strong brand. My site, on the other hand, is now anonymous.

      • Hi Shabbir,

        Thanks for the input. This project is moving dead slow as my main business is peaking for the year and taking all my energy.

        I have been in a quandary as to how to expose the Amazon connection. Don’t know if I should tighten the connection and just say I am an affiliate or not.

        Don’t care about being a strong brand, just want to earn some money. Trying to accomplish two things with this method.

        First give myself the flexibility to change to drop shipping if the site works and there is enough extra income to cover the addition work of drop shipping. This way I should not lose ranking the way a normal affiliate site would changing over to an ecommerce operation.

        Second (just a guess) avoid many of the problems affiliate sites have had with losing their Google rankings. Here I am thinking about what Google might do in the future as well as now. Losing all my sites in 2012 has made me very skittish.

        • Well, if you are in the United States, you have to disclose affiliation by law. If you want to transition to drop shipping, then keeping the larger funnel on your own site is a good idea since you can optimize that from the get-go.

          Affiliate sites tend to lose their rankings because of thin content, IMO – any site with thin content could fall victim to the same thing.

          Good luck!

    • Hi John,

      I enjoyed this article as well. I’m currently setting up the same type of affliate site as you. I wanted to know how I can add numerous items to cart prior to checking out and being redirected to amazon? Currently i have a buy now option because when I had the cart displayed it wouldn’t redirect to check out on amazon. I know it’s been a few years so any advice would be grand! I’m curious to hear how you made out over the past few years. Any help would be appreciated!


      • hi julie… I too am trying to find answer to the same questions. As far as I know there are some paid plugins like woozone which provide on site cart for affiliate products. If you find some other option, please do reply. Thanks

  2. Good blog post, very informative. It will be interesting to see in 3-6 months where you are at , keep us updated. Just curious if you ever used a product like crazyegg.com or something like that while your store was operational just to see where people were going and not going on your site. Were you getting a high number of cart abandonment or were that not even getting that far on your store?



    • Hey Paul,

      Thanks for stopping by! I am planning on doing an update post about 3-4 months into the project. I actually did use CrazyEgg and Mouseflow – it seems that people were using the site easily, finding everything they needed, sometimes even getting to the cart, but just not converting. I’m guessing it is something to do with the higher prices and the demographics that I was targeting.

  3. Nice post Shabbir! And congrats on the successful transition–$10,000 in revenue for Amazon your first month is really solid. It sounds like you made a smart decision.

    • Thanks Leighton! Yeah, I’m really happy with the way things are going so far. Let’s see what happens.

  4. Interesting post Shabbir. Seems like a good pivot and allowed you to utilize much of the content you’d already developed. Please post an update in a few months. John’s plan (first comment) sounds intriguing too. Hope we can hear how it turns out.

    • Hey Carole,

      Thanks. Yeah, at this rate, I’ll probably easily make back what I invested into this project and hopefully it will continue to bring in some residual income. It’s a huge relief not having to deal with customers! How is your latest project coming along? I’d love to hear from you.


  5. Hey Shabbir,

    It sounds like you are doing though on Internet Marketing Online,.But not at least, congratulations about your first $10k Revenues on Amazon.

    As a passive income from Amazon of $500 at your first month, is it really worth if it’s compares with your budget spent for getting the website traffics.

    I do conversion anything are available and the must. With my experience, I’m not longer focus on income worth, because it should represent the spending costs for my affiliate website, timeline works and operational cost on my ordinary life while doing the project.

    Things that I always keep in mind is lifting better my SEO Technique Skills without spent loss conversion of worth.

    I feel like a Stupid Lazy Jackass for must to comply the Google (SERP, SEO) rules, Amazon TOS Affiliate and even making Creative Media Productions (Images, Videos and Articles) while desperate to see my competitor ranking and niches domination.

    I believe all of my fails as a proves as I always trying on. But on the other side, your post are makes me still have good effort on doing Affiliate Marketing.

  6. Nice post Shabbir,
    I want to ask you one thing that how can I do SEO work for my affiliate deals website, when I add 20-30 deals daily with much less content (about 80-100 words). And my deals website is not any niche specific.

  7. Anybody can help to drive traffic to my amzon store .any idea. It looked quite few option Web design they are charging too much money.

  8. My site is new and this is a E commerce amazon affiliate site. So do you think I can get a success on this site Please respond. I am new on this and all the niche thing. I also want to know how to develop it properly.

  9. Hi Shabbir,

    It is a bit late to comment here but I wanted to share anyway. I have seen your Reddit entry and came back to read full story.

    Yes, it is pretty transparent. And I think that there really are very good lessons here to learn in this story.

    First, converting it to content site from an online store is very smart move. You pointed out that. Let me mention that, one of big shots in Google Eric Schmidt says “Our main competitor is not Yahoo nor Bing nor any search Engine. Our competitor is Amazon.”

    The point here, Amazon has a system that people read there. With system I do not mean technical stuff like software or servers. I mean, the product reviews and product ratings. It is the attraction point of Amazon.

    So, what you did is pretty much similar; using your site to make people having information about products. Then you outsource selling to Amazon. Merging with Amazon’s brand name and their deals as you say, it becomes conversion.

    So, your lesson is really big for you also for your readers here for us.

    Congratulations for being flexible and turning your business into something profitable.



  10. Lisa McConnell says:

    I received a call from Buck Eye Impact Group. They want $99 to make a website for me to sell products on Amazon. I read reviews about Buck Eye and a lot of people were saying it is a rip off
    because you can build your own website for free. What do you think? Do you think I should go directly to Amazon?

  11. Nice pivot. I’m happy the transition went well. Have you been writing more content? How’s it doing now? Would love to see an update

  12. Hello Shabbir, your work is inspiring. I had some questions. Actually we are working on ecommerce site using wordpress , we have our own clothing brand. I also wanted to leverage affiliate marketing through amazon associates or ebay partner programe, well my question was can it be possible to add affiliate links on my product page alongwith my own products. Also is it possible to create a page of products containing both my own products and some amazon products. Our goal was to to create a three tier business model, first by selling my own products ,second by using affiliate program like amazon and lastly using adsense. Thanks in advance.

  13. Hi Shabbir,

    I ran across your article while doing some research. I don’t leave many comments, but I wanted to let you know that I really liked your article. The idea of being an Amazon affiliate and using Amazon FBA has occurred to me several times. I really appreciate your candor and your willingness to talk in real numbers.


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  15. Hi Shabbir, did you end up doing a follow up post on this with info on how things turned out months later? If so, could you link to it here? If not, could you give us an update on how this site is doing now?

    • Hi Shabbir, could you comment on these questions above?

      • Hi Jeremy,

        I’ve got a post in the draft section but I haven’t gotten around to finishing it. The site is slowly growing and revenues have also increased. It’s slower than I had hoped but perhaps that’s my own fault.

  16. I have only one word to say, WoW. I read the article what a awesome article, improving my website google ranking thank you for sharing. I have a lot of work you will find a lovely support.This post is very inspiring me. I always take your advices very seriously, keep posted.

  17. Hi, This success story is inspiring. Its well timed for me as I am in the process of choosing either an affiliate store or blog for my wedding niche domain. But this article answered it perfectly.


  18. Wao! Interesting. It shows that if things are not working for you, there is another alternative to recoup your lost efforts. With amazon, you save shipping fee, credit card processing charges and still make the same earnings. You don’t need a teacher to tell you that affiliate store is highly profitable.

    Nice one

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  20. Sir, you do not, you’ll appreciate the work. Which you gave us such good information Thank you from the heart

  21. hi,
    Is it okey to have amazon affiliate website using Woocommerce? So it is more likely an e-commerce site

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  23. Shabbir!

    Good stuff! I am curious though, have you made any sites from scratch?

    I am curious to know how long and how much work it takes to go from no site to $500 profit per month. How long do these sites last with no added work? How much upkeep is required?

    Let’s say your site provides you 2 years of income at $500 per month then 0 after that due to competition or a change in google or something. That’s $12,000. How many times can this be replicated per year? If you can make a site per month then you’ll be making $72,000 per year every year. But you are also making 1 new site per month, every month.

    • Hi Misky!

      I hadn’t made any sites from scratch until just now – it’s only been a few days since it has been live. It takes a lot of work to get from zero to $500 per month – it depends from the niche to niche. If your site is making money, then its worth it to keep adding more content to it and building more links – the upkeep isn’t serious, but you can’t really neglect it.

      Theoretically, you can do that – but it takes between 6-8 months for a site to really gain traction, so you should keep that in mind.

  24. hi Shabbir, in fact looking from all you have shared here it seems that you know the trade very well. a good work there!
    i have an affiliate store where i showcase the best men’s wears and accessories from Amazon.com which i launched on 1 oct 2015 with an automated content development theme called covert store builder, please i want you to review the site for me and give me your candid advice. http://www.greatfittings.com is the store.

  25. Hello Shabbir, Thanx for such an informative post.
    Well that post was so descriptive about building an e-commerce.
    I’m a founder of http://www.studentshelf.in this is currently running as a classified website, But now I want to convert into a affiliate website.
    But I have a doubt regarding the amazon affliation using wooCommerce plugin.
    As I have read some of the comments above and came to know after installing that plugin the site would look like a normal e-commerce website, But it is even described that our visitors will be redirected to amazon. What I want to know is there any way my vistors can checkout from my website itself so that they won’t know about my affiliation program.

    Will be waiting for your responce 🙂

  26. Hello there, I wanted to ask you is it possible to run Google Adsense on amazon affiliate ecommerce store? and if its possible why don’t people use it on their affiliate site , my second question is are affiliate ads been blocked by adblock plugin used in browsers these days? lastly I wanted link of your affiliate ecommerce site. Thanks in advance.

  27. I am using Amazon affiliate marketing these tips of your will help me in making money. thanks..

  28. Hello Shabbir,

    Thanks for your helpful post. I am contemplating converting my Yahoo ecommerce store to an Amazon affiliate website. Can you recommend a developer who can help me with the task? Thank you.

    Thank you.

  29. Interesting post 🙂 It is surely going to help me in future!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Hi, This success story is wow. I wish I had seen it earlier. Now I have to pick up a pen to take some notes. Will definitely set out soon. Thanks.


  31. Shakira Fuchu-Parks says:

    Such a GREAT article! Thank you for sharing your story 🙂

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  33. Wow Nice article. Although a bit old , i still found it useful.

    I’m an amazon affiliate and looking ways to increase my income. Will definately try opening my store.

  34. I had an amazon affiliate account set up. Used woo commerce and special plugin to build store. Started making some money, not a lot, like 20$ a day and then amazon closed the account. I had “Shop online via amazon, ebay and alibaba!” in the bottom of my page. I called them and they said you can’t get it back. So I had to set up a new ID, now I have to go change every product by hand. Hundreds of products, in the meantime my store is still sending people to amazon and making them money. I am pretty pissed at amazon right now. Make sure you read every little piece of text because as soon as you start getting traffic they will look for way to screw you over while still getting traffic.

  35. This is inspiring; I was actually looking for blogs that are successful in Amazon affiliate marketing so I ll check out how they made it; yours is quite useful for me to follow.


  36. Although post looks quite old in terms of date, i still find it useful and yes, i read to the very last line. The thing with online business and life in general is, it doesn’t always work according to plan.

    Although i haven’t been utilizing affiliate marketing on my blog, i certainly wouldn’t mind trying it out. I am not just sure of Amazon owing to the majority of my blog reader’s geographical location.


  1. […] Big news: Last month(April), I turned my store into an Amazon Affiliates website. I’m no longer selling my own drop-shipped goods. Instead, I’m funneling traffic to Amazon.com using affiliate links, adapting the revenue model advocated by many such as Spencer Haws and Jon Haver. This post is going to be VERY transparent – I’ll be sharing Analytics […] Alltop RSS […]

  2. […] are also places to get established and position yourself as an expert. In a store I used to run, I found a niche forum that was dominated by one user. This user was a competitor of mine, and they […]

  3. […] I switched my old store which was hosted on Bigcommerce on to WordPress as an Amazon affiliate site, all my URLs changed, so I set up a redirect for every old URL to a new URL on the WordPress site. […]

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