5 Ways We Plan to Use Amazon Affiliate Links

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.

Blue graphic with various icons that reads '5 Ways We Plan to Use Amazon Affiliate Links'

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.

1. YouTube

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.

Description box in a YouTube video with affiliate links highlighted in red

Here’s an example of a video from the Cooking Everything Outdoors show with Gary House that uses Amazon affiliate links in the video’s description.

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…

Pinch of Yum Resources for Food Bloggers page

A few tips if you’re looking to create similar pages on your blog with Amazon affiliate links:

  1. Make sure to link your images.
  2. Remove unnecessary links that aren’t affiliate links.
  3. Center the main content and remove your sidebar.
  4. 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.
  5. Make sure the page is mobile friendly.
  6. Don’t forget SEO. Search is an awesome way to get traffic to these pages.

Note: FBP members – be sure to go through the SEO for Food Blogs course in the Building Traffic area to learn more about SEO best practices for your food blog.

3. Recommend Reading Widget

Jason and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food use a “Recommended Reading” widget in their blog’s sidebar.

100 Days of Real Food 'Recommended Reading' widget highlighted in red

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.

Lindsay Ostrom holding an axe and working on house 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.

Screenshot of recipe with text reading 'What we used section would go here.'

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 affiliate 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.

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  1. Maine is another state where Amazon affiliates weren’t allowed. Do you know if they’ve changed their policy about Maine?

  2. Congrats on Minnesota allowing Amazon affiliates again! I’ve been wanting to do an “equipment used” section at the bottom of each post. I just wasn’t sure how to go about getting them in a table-like or grid form. Do you know if there is a plugin for that? I’ve seen them on other sites but don’t know what they used. The Amazon widgets don’t look that good to me and I’d rather have something that matches my site

    1. Not that I know of, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I find one! It would be nice to have something really clean and, like you said, the Amazon widgets are far from pretty.

  3. Hi Bjork,

    We do something similar like 5), but link special ingredients to Amazon. See a sample here: http://www.backenmachtgluec… (even though it is in German, you’ll notice the link on “Kakaopulver” (chocolate powder), which goes to Amazon. Even though we’ve just started to use this in the recipe plugin, it is exciting to see the differences to our ‘normal’ Amazon links (in a dedictated shop): the CTR is higher, but the click-to-order rate is much less.

    A good way to track different use-cases with Amazon is to create different tracking-IDs (e.g. we track the clicks on the ingredients with ‘bmg_ingredient’ and everything else with ‘backenmachtgluecklich’).

      1. Hi Bjork, that’s correct, but I meant something else – you can generate different tracking IDs within the associate program (they become part of the links, within the associate portal you then can filter your sales figures by tracking ID). Those should be compliant with the participation requirements.

    1. I just browsed a bit on further options to utilize the affiliate program, and I came across a neat plugin: http://codecanyon.net/item/…. It might professionalize the way one can integrate an affiliate shop with ingredients, books and blogger equipment. Have you thought about including some kind of shop on your blog? Pro’s from my view: no need to leave the page, better display of items. Cons: I expect the effect of ‘side-buys’ to deteriorate.

      1. We have, but nothing serious. I think if we did some type of integrated shop it would be for products that we’re selling. It would be a long ways off if we did it. 🙂

  4. I have only used Amazon links in a few posts but have been pleasantly surprised to see my Amazon Associates account grow a bit! Definitely makes me want to expand the reach of this opportunity. Hope you don’t mind if I “borrow” some of your ideas. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  5. I use product links within the recipe itself, in the recipe instructions. For example, I am posting a recipe that uses a grill pan this week, and I link the product to the text “grill pan” within my recipe. Ziplist recipe plugin lets you do that, so I am sure a Easy Recipe has a similar feature.

    1. Nice! I believe you’re right, but if I’m not mistaken that’s a “Plus” feature for Easy Recipe.

      Thanks for sharing Marjorie!

  6. I thought about youtube. But as I searched on the Internet, some peoples told that: “If We post affiliate link to youtube, Google may flag our video/account OR remove Associate ID?” Is it right?

      1. My husband just sent me that video, but it’s Amazon’s TOS that I’m concerned about. You can only link to your website, twitter, or Facebook. I can’t find any literature that show’s Amazon’s support of youtube linking.

  7. Oh this just breaks my heart.. I happen to live in Colorado, which is banned from using Amazon Affiliate due to conflicting tax issues. *whips tear*

  8. This article was super inspiring. Though I’ve been blogging for 5 years, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never used the Amazon affiliate program. I’ve been building a separate business for 3 of those years, and didn’t take making money from my blog seriously (it’s always been a passion, but hobby). However, each of your articles inspires me more and more to optimize my blog so that I can be able (hopefully) to spend more time with it! Thank you so much 🙂

    1. Oh my God! you must be millionaire now 😀
      Well it’s not too late.. You’d have a lot of traffic sources so don’t worry, it’s money time 🙂 best wishes

  9. Thank you so much for writing this! I love the ideas on this page – a couple of which I’ve already been working implementing into The Charming Detroiter, and a few of which hadn’t even occurred to me yet! I love how these posts always make everything seem so approachable!

  10. It would also be cool if the “What we used” section was also in the resources page, so there is one place where we can see ALL the equipment and utensils you recommend, regardless of whether it’s needed in a recipe or not