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The biggest chunk of my income online comes from a portfolio of healthy niche sites which I have established over time with meticulous keyword research and diligent marketing. Most of these niche sites make money from Google Adsense.
Considering that the biggest chunk of my income comes from Google, I am somewhat at their mercy in many ways. We have all heard Adsense horror stories where publishers are banned from the program without much explanation. A real living and breathing person at Google isn’t easy to reach either. So what’s one to do?
While I have advocated creating multiple Google Adsense accounts in the past, I have also been a proponent of further diversifying your niche websites so that Google ads or a similar program are not your only source of revenues.
The success of a niche site is predicated on the amount of traffic it receives. Usually you would achieve most of this through search engine optimization and internet marketing. Once the site is ranked high for its relevant keywords, you can ensure a constant stream of traffic, which many would tell you is the lifeblood of an internet based business.
If you have a constant stream of traffic and God forbid you are disqualified from a program like Google Adsense, you can monetize the traffic in several other ways.
I have talked about integrating affiliate programs in the past, as well as creating and selling a digital product such as an ebook. The method I want to discuss today is an affiliate relationship with Amazon, one of the web’s biggest and most reputable names.
The Amazon aStore Integration feature has been around for quite some time now, but in my experience has been an underutilized method of revenue generation online. This Amazon store integration feature allows you to display products sold on Amazon that are relevant to your niche. You either select the products manually, or specify a set of keywords based on which Amazon will display relevant products. The size of your product page or store is predicated on the number of items sold on Amazon that match your target keywords.
One potential reason for this feature’s under utilization may be the low commission rates Amazon offers its associates. These rates are somewhere between the 4%-6% ballpark and therefore is often passed on by internet marketers in lieu of higher profit margin initiatives such as a product on Clickbank that pays a 75% commission on each sale.
As someone who owns several niche sites, the Amazon aStore integration function has worked very well for me. I like it because of its ease of integration, flexibility in altering design and color scheme, as well as the auto update feature which populates the store with items relevant to your niche.
If you own or are interested in niche websites that you can create and put on cruise control, the Amazon aStore feature is something you might want to consider. It’s easy to implement and it’s free to join.
To give you an idea of what this is and how it looks like, have a look at my Dubai Information niche site, a travel site where I use the program to sell souvenirs.
As you can see, one can hardly notice that the store is an external entity outside my website. I like how it blends nicely and naturally. This is the best feature of the program in my opinion. Of course I had to toy around with the color scheme, but I think it now looks like a genuine part of the website.
Why is this important? Do you like to be sold and pitched to all the time? That is exactly why seamless integration is important, and I commend the Amazon team for providing excellent support and service throughout the integration process.
As whereas with the standard Amazon Associate program through which you can display banner images and text links on your website, with the store integration function you are given the flexibility to customize your “store” to fit your website.
You don’t necessarily have to design the entire “store” from scratch, but you can if you want to. You have the flexibility to modify the color scheme, layout and some other aesthetics to make it blend seamlessly into your website, which is what I did.
Another feature which I really like is the Powered by Amazon logo that you see on the right hand side near the product search bar.
Why is this logo a big deal? Like I said earlier, Amazon is one of the biggest and most reputable names online today. Therefore, by displaying the Amazon logo, you are instantly associating yourself with the brand.
This results in instant credibility for your own brand (your website) and makes it easier for your visitors to trust you and make the purchase from your website.
Gaining a credibility boost through brand name association is an extremely powerful and underrated method applied by many internet marketers, particularly those who run ecommerce businesses.
Another piece of information I’d like to add about the Amazon store is that the statistics are tied to your affiliate account.
Amazon’s calls its affiliate program the Associates Program. If you are already signed up as an Amazon associate and market their products on your niche sites or elsewhere, integrating a store on your website is relatively easy and you can do it from within the same account. Sales generated independently through individual affiliate links and banners, as well as the sales generated from the store all reflect under the same associates account. This eliminates the need for you to manage two separate Amazon associate accounts.
After integrating my first Amazon store into one of my niche websites and measuring results over a three month period, I decided to implement the store feature in several other niche websites that I own. Although commission rates on product sales is relatively low, the amounts add up across several niche websites.
Isn’t that the idea behind the niche website model anyway? – To build a website that attracts free, organic, search engine traffic so that you can implement monetization methods, leave it alone and let it generate money for you month over month.
That is exactly what I have done with my niche sites. Once the basic monetization methods are implemented such as private ads, public ads, digital products and affiliate products, the website becomes a self sufficient revenue generating machine.
The integration of the Amazon aStore is yet another monetization method that can be implemented rather easily. If you are interested in integrating this feature into your website, start by signing up with Amazon’s Associate Program.
Once you login to your Associates account, you will see your affiliate dashboard that has several options across the top. Select the option that reads “aStore”. This is what it looks like:
Notice the various options to the left on the navigation bar. You want to “Add an aStore” and follow a few simple steps to create your store. Once created, you can create a stand alone link to your store (say if you want to email your store link to someone) or embed the store on your website like I did.
To do either, select the “Get Link” option on the left hand navigation bar. Once you enter that menu, select the second option which is boxed in red below. Once you select that option, you will be provided with a code snippet that you can paste on the HTML file of your website/webpage.
Because sometimes embedding the store in your website gives you a better perspective of its look and feel, you can always select the “Color & Design” option from the left hand navigation bar to continue to modify your store to your liking.
Integrating an Amazon Store is fairly simple, so why miss out on this “monetization” opportunity? Why not leverage your traffic as much as possible by parlaying one income producing initiative over another, especially when it’s so easy to do and there is nothing to lose?
Question: Have you taken advantage of the Amazon aStore Integration feature on your website or blog? Why or why not? What other strategies can you share that further diversifies a niche website’s income potential and makes it less reliant on any one single program?
All the best,