May 30, 2020

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A lot of people are wondering if they should still build an Amazon website. That’s a really good question because a lot of things are up in the air right now, but my short answer is yes, I think you should. 

However, for the love of God, do not create a website and say, “Ron said to create a website, so I’m just going to point everything over to Amazon and I’m good to go,” because that’s not what I’m saying. 

I recently made a video about how Amazon slashed commissions and stabbed the backs of all the people who had helped build them, so you can check that out if you’re interested in more information.

In this post, I will explain to you exactly what I’m thinking on this subject, my rationale behind it, and some of the things that you can do to make your website successful even while using Amazon

 Anyway, let’s go ahead and get started.

WATCH THIS BLOG POST IN VIDEO FORMAT

What Did Amazon Do?

Amazon slashed the commissions significantly for a lot of different categories on their website, which really frustrated a lot of people. It was pretty brutal. 

I actually made a video the other day about this, where I talked about the alternatives to making money with Amazon Associates, so check that out if you’re interested.

Now, I’ll give you the exact commission rates and how far they will drop. Furniture, Home Improvement, Lawn and Garden, Pet Products, and Pantry will go from 8% down to 3%. Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business, and Industrial Supplies will go from 6% down to 3%. 

Outdoors and Tools will be cut from 5.5% to 3%. Sports and Baby categories are going to go from 4.5% to 3%. Health and Personal Care will be slashed from 5% to 1%. And finally, Amazon Fresh will be cut from 3% to 1%.

What is even scarier about this is that it is across all categories. It’s not just the particular categories where you’re selling products. Remember, when someone buys something from Amazon, they’re buying the whole cart, so now the commissions on your cart are going to be a lot less. 

Why Were People So Mad About This?

Well, there are many reasons. One reason is the fact that Amazon affiliates (including myself) helped build Amazon, but we’re not part of the logistics. 

Yes, they’ve done some amazing things that, quite frankly, I can’t do and I don’t think you could do either. I’m not trying to offend you, but that’s just reality. Yet, we were responsible for sending a ton of traffic to Amazon. 

Another reason is that the timing of this is terrible. In fact, the timing was the worst part of all. Many people were already hurting financially, and then Amazon just kicked them while they were down. That’s what really pissed people off. 

They’ve cut commission rates multiple times in the past, and they’ll probably do it again. When they do this, it’s never going to be well-received, but this one was particularly brutal because of the timing. They may blame it on the current economic situation, and maybe this is temporary, but I personally don’t think so. 

Are Amazon Websites Still Worth It?

Yes, going the route of Amazon websites is fine when you’re in the beginning stages of your website. But you need to absolutely, 1000% make sure that when you start a website, you also figure out a way to diversify away from Amazon. 

That’s extremely important because I think that Amazon is going to do this again. They’ve been doing it for years and years. I don’t know when it’s going to stop, but one day it’s going to be super low or maybe even nonexistent, which is pretty scary to think about.

Overall, it’s a great place to start. Just make a website, create posts, put the links up there, and maybe you’ll make some commissions. However, you’re not going to make a lot of money. 

I think the days of being a straight-up Amazon affiliate website and making a ton of money from that are gone, which sucks. I also think that this business model is going to go away. 

But at the end of the day, that really shouldn’t be a whole business model; that should just be the start of one, and that’s what I’m saying you should do with this. Starting out with that really isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The way I see it, Amazon cutting commissions hurts, but that isn’t going to be the end of it. Eventually, they’re going to cut the commissions even further, and people are going to get mad then, too. 

The day that Amazon affiliate program will really take a hit is when people won’t want to do it anymore, and Amazon will say, “You know what? We’re not going to give you a commission on the whole cart. We’re just going to give you a commission on the item that you linked.”

For example, if you linked a specific mug and said, “This is the best mug for soup,” or something like that, then people will go to your website, click over to it, and if they buy that mug, Amazon will give you a commission for it. 

However, they won’t give you a commission for everything else in their cart. That is when the Associates program really takes a dive and when people really get pissed off, because the one saving grace right now is that at least you get the whole cart.

You need to realize this is going to happen; it’s already happened so many times over the years. People get angry every time that they reduce it, but they’re going to keep doing that because it’s a business decision on their part. The bigger they get, the less they need us, and the more they’ll do it. 

Yes, it sucks that we helped build them, but hey, we did what we did, and that’s what we’re dealing with at this point. It doesn’t matter how much traffic we sent them in the past—they only care about now. 

They care about the shareholders and growing the business bigger and bigger, so they’re going to do whatever it takes to put their business ahead of everyone else. That’s not really much of a surprise.

But I do think that Amazon is still worth it, in my opinion. 

As I said, gone are the days of making a ton of money from a website based on the Amazon Associates program. But there is still an opportunity to create a website, put the program on your website, link to their products, and make some money from it.

Speaking of just getting started, you can visit my homepage to read “The Truth About Online Business,” and at the end, you’ll get a free mini-course. If you’re one of those people struggling and saying, “I’m not really sure how to do this website stuff,” or, “I haven’t had much success with my website,” then make sure to check that out.

Using Amazon as a starting point is great; it’s an easy way to monetize your website before you’re able to put ads up. You usually need around 10,000 page views before you start putting ads on your website, but a lot of people aren’t there yet. 

So, if you’re eager to make some money, you can usually make a little bit of extra cash with some Amazon Affiliate links. You’re not going to break the bank, but you’ll still make some extra cash, which is nice.

I still say an Amazon website is good because you can create content and just use Amazon as a last resort. There are other affiliate networks out there, full of affiliates like Home Depot, Walmart, and other big names. 

You could still point people to those websites and then just use Amazon as a last resort. Again, the key here is that you should really put other affiliates ahead of Amazon because if the commission rates are this low on Amazon, you’ll easily be able to find better.

Another reason why you should still consider making an Amazon website is that you can still get commissions, they’re just not going to be nearly as large as they used to be. And as I said, they’re probably going to reduce them in the future, so I wouldn’t make Amazon your core focus. 

The whole model of an Amazon website is still very relevant, just not linking to Amazon as much. The way I see it is that these Amazon is now going to become a source of incremental revenue, not core revenue.

What do I mean by that? Well, for a lot of websites, Amazon used to be their core source of revenue. They made most of their money from the Amazon Associates program.  I think those days are gone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make any revenue. 

That just means that now it’s going to be incremental revenue. You’ll make a little bit of revenue from Amazon, and then you’ll have to use other channels to bring in more revenue. 

Amazon will still help you in building review pages because they have so many products. For example, you could still do the “Best Mugs for Soup” type of page if you wanted to because they have so many products. It really comes down to creating pages, using Amazon links, and putting them up.

After you create some pages, let them sit for a couple of months, and see where traffic is coming in. Once that traffic is coming in, start using the 80:20, or maybe 90:10 rule, and just really optimize those pages that are getting the high rankings and getting the most traffic.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing that stops you from saying, “Hey, you know what? This particular page is doing well on my website, but I don’t want to link to Amazon products anymore. Let’s see if I could find better products somewhere else,” and then swapping those links. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Amazon helps you get to that point. 

Again, it’s just a small amount of revenue, but it’ll help you get to the point where you can figure out something else. When you swap your links, you’ll probably make better money than what you were making through Amazon anyway, from a commission standpoint.

So, should you still build an “Amazon website,” as people call it? Yes. Just don’t be married to Amazon. What it really comes down to is, if your website has traffic, you have a business. 

You just have to be smart enough to look at it and say, “Okay, here’s where all my traffic is, and here’s where it’s focused on the website, so how do I make the most money with that traffic?” 

Truth be told, the answer was never really Amazon. Amazon is helpful and easy, but at the end of the day, they always had pretty low commissions. There are plenty of other places that would make a lot of money, as well.

I know conversions on Amazon are great and they give you the whole cart, which is all great and wonderful, but who cares—it doesn’t matter now because it’s all gone. You can still build the website and the pages, but you need to make sure that when you’re using Amazon links you’re adjusting your monetization strategies. 

And remember, we’ll all get through this. We really, really will—I promise.

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