As some of you may know, if you regularly read MUO, I’m currently in the process of building a really big blog that’s due to launch in December. Last week I sat down and took out the plan I had made for the site to update it. One such section of the plan was monetizing the blog which I’ll be doing in mid-2010 if all goes to well.
I haven’t quite settled on what service I’ll use as my main advertising platform but I am going to partake in the Amazon Affiliates program to build a store for my blog, filled with products my readers may be interested in. So I’m going to show you how to add a good Amazon eStore to your blog or site.
Firstly, let me set one thing straight. Your readers aren’t going to read a laptop review you did and suddenly make the decision to buy it in your store. It just doesn’t happen. Sorry. So the answer to the question on the tip of your tongue is no, you won’t earn 15% on a $2,000 laptop from your store.
I want you to to sit down with a pen and paper with your blog open in your browser and really ask yourself – what would I buy having read this blog? If it’s a how-to blog with cool homemade gadgets, maybe you could have a store that sells cheap tools, LEDs, wiring etc. That people will actually buy because they want to build a project on your blog. If you run a gardening blog, rare seeds or weird tools would be good picks. All of this boils down to three rules.
- Is it under $10? If not, most people won’t make a split-second decision and buy from YOUR store. They’ll think about it and then buy direct later.
- Can they get it around the corner from their home? If they can walk into WalMart and get the item today they won’t buy from you. Try to add items you’d only find on the internet.
- Would you buy it? Honestly – ask yourself. Having read a blog post about a product, would you really want that product enough to buy it?
Ensure each and every one of your products answers yes to these questions.
Now join the Amazon Associates program. It will take them a few days to verify your blog is worthy of bearing their brand. If you post more than once a week and the content isn’t questionable then you should get through no problem.
On the affiliates homepage, click ‘Create aStore‘. This will display the page below.
Click ‘Add Category‘ to add a new section to your store. For example, I entered “˜Electronics‘. Then, click on the ‘Add products‘ button seen on the right. This will take you to the page below.
Here, simply browse through the products clicking ‘Add‘ next to the products you want in your store. I encourage you to consult the three rules mentioned above while doing this. When you have all the categories and products added, click ‘Continue‘ to bring you onto the design and customization phase.
In the screenshot above you can see the page where you can customize how your store will look. To the left there is a sidebar where you can change the colours of the different aspects of your store using the dropdown menus or, for the more tech savvy, the colour codes (ex. #FFFFFF for white etc…)
You can also name your store and add a logo. When adding a logo, you’ll be required to enter in an image URL. A good idea is to make this the logo of your blog if you have one. Simply right click on the your blog’s logo and select ‘Copy Image URL‘. Then paste it into the appropriate box on the ‘Customize Store’ page. Then click ‘Continue‘.
The next page is further customization of your store. This is merely placement of the sidebar and selecting which widgets (advertisements) you want to appear in your store alongside your ads. You earn revenue from these as well. When you’re finished click ‘Finish & Get Link‘.
You’re then presented with three options.
The first is the most basic. You can simply copy the link to your store and place a button on your blog/site. Preferably in the main menu section. When a reader clicks this button they’ll be redirected to your store on Amazon.
The second is to embed your store using an inline frame. An inline frame is kind of like a mini browser within your website. To do this, select that option along the top of the page. Then, copy all of the HTML code that is presented to you and create a new page on your blog. Then copy the HTML into your blogging platform’s HTML editor and your store should appear when you save the HTML.
The third, and perhaps the most desirable, is to fully place your store on your site. However, this is for more experienced users only. The inline frame will work just fine for most blogs and is a lot easier to do. This is similar to embedding the in-line frame, however it will be wider and take up all of the webpage below the header and menu bars.
Here are the steps:
Select the appropriate option at the top of the page. Then:
- Create a new frameset page using the code sample provided to you. You can alter the dimensions of this to fit your site better.
- Place your site’s navigation in one of the frames and your aStore URL in another frame.
- Add a “Store” link to your site’s main navigation and link it to the new frameset you just created.
Your store should now be live on your website.
Before I sign off – a few tips about integrating a new store on a blog:
- It can be very tempting to make a big announcement to all of your readers and pretty much beg them to buy from you. However, all this will do is turn your great blog into a blog that’s losing readers and annoying people. Nobody likes to be constantly asked to buy things. It’s annoying.
- Instead, make a short post informing your readers about the new store. Tell them it contains some good products and be honest about the fact that it earns the blog some income. Also, the odd link in a post when it’s relevant and actually helps the reader works wonders.
- Finally, resist the temptation to add products that don’t follow the three rules above. You won’t make much sales. Think like a reader of your blog!