Have you heard the phrase you don’t know how much you miss it until it’s gone?
That’s how I felt about Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates.
Up until June of 2013 we had been using Amazon affiliate links in different places throughout Pinch of Yum and earning a consistent (but never significant) amount of money from it.
Then, on June 18th 2013, we received an email from Amazon that said this:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.
Truth be told I wasn’t actually that bummed about it. We had never earned a substantial amount from Amazon's affiliate program so it didn’t feel like too big of a loss.
Then something funny happened.
I started to think of all the ways we could be using Amazon affiliate links if Minnesota hadn’t been banned from the program.
It’s kind of like when you decide to leave your coat at home and then all you can think about is how much you wish you had your coat…
…or when it snows for the first time in the winter and all you can think about is how you should have spent more time outside during the summer…
…or when you drop off a breadmaker at Goodwill and then for the next month all you can think about is how much you (or your wife) would have loved to make fresh bread.
Sorry about that one Lindsay.
I felt the same way with the Amazon Associates program. I didn’t really appreciate it until it was gone. Unfortunate, but true.
Good news though! As of today Amazon has changed their policy to once again allow Minnesota to participate in the Amazon Associates program.
So now that we have a deep(er) appreciation of this awesome program how do we plan to use it? Here are a few ways you’ll see us testing Amazon affiliate links throughout Pinch of Yum in the months to come.
Lindsay and I are in the midst of a crazy kitchen remodel (we’ll be posting updates to this playlist on YouTube).
One of the purposes for the remodel is opening up the kitchen to allow for recipe video shoots. We’ll be uploading those videos to YouTube. When appropriate we’ll include Amazon affiliate links in the video's description for products that are used in the video.
2. Resources Page
We’re in the process of revamping the resources for food bloggers page on Pinch of Yum. We’re starting by switching over the product links to Amazon, but in the long run we’ll be breaking up that page into multiple pages with specific categories for blogging, photography, business tools, etc…
A few tips if you’re looking to create similar pages on your blog with Amazon affiliate links:
- Make sure to link your images.
- Remove unnecessary links that aren’t affiliate links.
- Center the main content and remove your sidebar.
- Make your links stand out. We use a standard blue color for our links that changes to a lighter blue when you hover over it.
- Make sure the page is mobile friendly.
- Don’t forget SEO. Search is an awesome way to get traffic to these pages.
3. Recommend Reading Widget
Jason and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food use a “Recommended Reading” widget in their blog’s sidebar.
Jason published a post called How to See Where People Are Clicking on Your Blog with Heatmaps where he includes a heatmap screenshot of the recommended reading widget that shows a decent amount of interaction with it (scroll down a bit to see the screenshot). It piqued my interest enough to give it a test on Pinch of Yum.
4. Kitchen Tour Page
As I mentioned before, Lindsay and I are in the middle of a kitchen remodel.
Lindsay actually helped out a bit with the demolition.
She grabbed the axe and channeled her inner wonder woman. I was like…
Once we finish the kitchen remodel we plan on creating a “kitchen tour” page on Pinch of Yum that will be the digital equivalent of showing giving a guest a tour of the new kitchen. When referencing products we’ll use Amazon affiliate links.
5. What We Used Section
I’m not sure on this one yet, but it’ll be really interesting to test. The idea with this is that we’d include a “what we used” section in each post, right after the recipe. The section would include a photo list (in grid form maybe) that shows the kitchen tools and appliances that the reader will need in order to make the recipe.
If done right it has the potential to be a win win. The reader will have an easy to understand overview of what tools and supplies they’ll need to make the recipe and we'll increase the earning potential from each post because the affilliate links will be included in recipe posts (and also be sent via RSS and email).
What about you?
What are some ways you’ve successfully used the Amazon associates program?
What about ways that haven’t worked?
Let me know in the comments below.