What it Takes to Make Money with Amazon Affiliates and Why I’m Failing

Don’t do what I’ve done. Do this instead…

One of the things I never tried to do with my previous websites in the past was make money.

I did make $50…once. It was a complete fluke to be honest. I randomly had an advertiser reach out and offer me money to write up a sponsored article about a health product…I think it was for your gut or something.

My attitude towards making money was different when I started up this site. I determined that I would try to make enough to at least pay for what I put in to paying for a middle of the road Premium WordPress plan, and hopefully do the same with my Vlog.

One of the ways to supplement that effort is the Amazon Affiliate program. It’s not hard to sign up for and if you’re savvy enough to have a website, then you’re savvy enough to make use of this program.

The Steps

  1. Sign up for the program here
  2. Figure out WHERE and HOW you will use the links (ie. I occasionally use affiliate links here and on my vlog)
  3. Figure out WHAT you will be linking to (I do my best to only link to things I think are cool, interesting, or have used myself)
  4. CREATE GOOD CONTENT so that people visit your site or vlog (this is arguably the MOST IMPORTANT thing to do)
  5. DON’T over do it (if you do your readers or subscribers won’t trust you)

Easy right?

What They Don’t Tell You

  1. You have 180 days to meet a minimum number of “qualifying purchases”
  2. If you don’t meet that minimum they shut down your affiliate account

What does a “qualifying purchase” mean? I’m still trying to figure that out. Check out the email I received from Amazon below:

Hello Scott,

We are reaching out to you because you have not reached the required Qualifying Purchases for your account. As a reminder, Associate accounts that have not referred three Qualifying Purchases to Amazon.com within 180 days of sign-up will be closed. At this time, you have 90 days left to drive purchases to avoid the closure of your account.

There are many ways to increase referrals and advertising fees you earn through the Associates Program, including:

  • Making your existing links more prominent or visible to site visitors
  • Including links to additional products or product variants
  • Adding links for trending promotions that you can find in our promotions hub
  • Increasing traffic to your website using search engine optimization and social media

Then they link to a few resource pages to help me out. The thing is I’ve had about a dozen various items that were purchased from my affiliate links…largely because the purchase doesn’t have to be precisely what you link to. Check out the below from my Affiliate account.

my Amazon Affiliate account

As you can see I’ve had at least a few clicks that resulted in purchases…but apparently non of them qualify. THIS is what I’m trying to figure out and what I would encourage you to figure out if you’re looking at this program as well.

Yes, a few clicks resulting in purchases is not a lot compared to most websites…but when you’re just trying to get off the ground and figure this out then it’s different. If I only need 3, why don’t the dozen or so that show in my account not count towards the “qualifying purchase” number?

The Fix

  1. The first fix is easy…volume. If I crank up the volume of affiliate links I push out then I am more likely to hit that elusive “3 qualifying purchases”…even thought I may not end up knowing how I got there.
  2. Put more effort towards targeting my audience. Honestly…I’ve never quite been comfortable pursuing that. It doesn’t feel genuine to me.
  3. SEO (search engine optimization). This is the one thing that I should actually try. I guess I’ve always assumed that my website hosts have done the heavy lifting (and with Squarespace and WordPress they usually do)…but I’m sure there is more to be done.
  4. Last but not least…keep trying. They say that Ben Franklin failed 1,000 times while he was trying to invent the light bulb, and while I’m not doing anything like that, I’ve always appreciated that mentality.

I’ve always enjoyed my own little corner of the internet where I get to share my thoughts and interests. If this has helped you learn about the Amazon Affiliate program then I’d love to know. Also, if you have your own tips and tricks for utilizing this program then hit me up! I’d love to share other’s insights as well.

Oh…and here’s a shameless Amazon Affiliate link to a great USB-C hub I just got for myself. (review coming) If you want to click it and then buy something on Amazon perhaps you can help me qualify. Doesn’t hurt to just ask sometimes right?

Author: Scott

The mountains are calling, let me grab a jacket and my kids.

9 thoughts on “What it Takes to Make Money with Amazon Affiliates and Why I’m Failing”

  1. Scott – I’m in the same place right now with Amazon and it doesn’t look good for me at the moment, as the deadline gets closer.
    OK, I did take a lackadaisical attitude for the first two months, mostly because I was also teaching myself about the new Block editor.
    But, now I have a good collection of Amazon links in a page on my site, but I’m not sure I can build an audience fast enough before my time runs out.
    So, what happens after the 180 days? Decapitation? Jail Time? Amazon access lock-out?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don, thanks for the note!

      I’ve actually had an affiliate account canceled in the past. I think the links will still work to where they point, but you want get and “credit”.

      One thing I’ve never tried is to see if you can re-instate an old affiliate account. But I do know it’s easy to re-sign up for a new one.

      I guess we’ll both see right! I’m crossing my fingers for both of us!! 🤞🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Scott, if someone clicks on your Amazon affiliate product link but buys another product instead, would that count as a qualifying purchase to get your Amazon Associates account approved?

    I applied for the program last month and have been wondering about this. Thanks!



    1. Yup! At least that is how I understand it to work. Also, I think it is within a certain time frame too…ie. they buy something within 30 day (or whatever the mason terms are, I’ll have to check). Good luck!!!

      Let me know how it goes for you. 😁


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