- How Amazon Products Will Appear on Your Online Store
- Essential WordPress Configurations and Plugins
- Choosing an Amazon Store Theme
- Adding Amazon Products to the Store
- Finding Amazon Products to Add to Our Store
- Adding Amazon Shopping Widgets to the Sidebar
- My WordPress Site is Looking More Like a Proper Store Now
- Missing Features
Plenty of commercial solutions were made to help automate and alleviate the common challenges that Amazon affiliates face. But there are also basic free solutions that can provide you with similar conveniences.
Most of the commercial solutions out there are focused on automation and mass website production. Automation is good, and I certainly will NOT talk about free alternatives that are too tedious that they are impractical.
I will show you the way to build an Amazon niche store using free tools. These tools will, granted, give you a little less automation but in return you’ll have a lot more control to fine tune your Amazon store.
If you plan on mass producing low quality sites, this guide may not be for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re willing to put in a little effort in optimizing your websites to get them to rank higher in search engines and provide some value to the reader, this guide is just what you need.
This guide will not require you to pay for services or 3rd party software, but I assume that you already have a working and fresh WordPress installation and the recommended WordPress hosting. These are the bare minimums.
So, let’s get started…
How Amazon Products Will Appear on Your Online Store
You may be wondering, how will a blogging script turn into an Amazon store that looks like a an e-commerce site? Basically, WordPress is so advanced, it is more than a simple blogging script. It indeed can power an Amazon store easily.
The most dynamic and flexible way to insert Amazon products into your WordPress site is to create an individual post for each product. Posts are the building blocks of a WordPress site. They can be structured and arranged in an infinite number of ways.
Your Amazon products, inserted as posts, can then be arranged in a grid, sorted by any criteria, searched, added to a shopping cart, or everything else.
The theme you choose for your site determines how your products are displayed. And your choice of theme should match the nature of your store. For example, if I create an Amazon store for “office chairs”, I’m gonna need a professional theme that doesn’t use bright, contrasting colors.
To give you an idea of what we’re about to do, here’s how the final website will look like:
We’ll start by installing some essential free WordPress plugins and making some necessary configurations.
Essential WordPress Configurations and Plugins
First, enable Akismet to murder comment spammers. Then configure WordPress permalinks to make them more search engine friendly and easier to remember for your visitors. I recommend that you use /%category%/%postname%/ for the Custom Structure tags.
Now it’s time to install the essential plugins for our Amazon store.
The following plugins add a lot of convenience and value to WordPress. Here they are:
WordPress SEO by Yoast: this plugin will create an XML sitemap for your website that will submit all of your store’s pages to Google and other search engines. It’ll also allow you to adjust your store’s HTML to make it more search engine friendly. Additionally, it has the option to remove the “category” word from the URLs that point to categories. URLs of category pages in WordPress look like http://example.com/category/black-office-chairs/. With this plugin, we can have the URLs of category pages look like http://example.com/black-office-chairs/. It’s more SEO friendly.
Visit the plugin pages that I linked to above and configure the plugins to your liking then let’s move on.
Choosing an Amazon Store Theme
I have another brief guide specifically for WordPress Amazon themes. Read that to learn more about choosing a proper theme.
For this guide, I want a toned down, professional theme…It also has to be free. So, I think Magazine Basic is an appropriate choice for my Comfortable Office Chairs website.
Magazine Basic also has a bunch of options that are useful for my Amazon store. It let’s me remove date published and author from posts. That’s good because this information is only useful for blogs — not for Amazon stores.
Before adjusting any settings and adding any content, my online store bare bones look like this:
Now it’s time to fill up my Amazon store with content and make it exciting!
Adding Amazon Products to the Store
We first have to think about the structure of our store, think about the categories and the organization of products. So, let’s first create new categories in WordPress to which we can add our products.
I’ll simply go to Google’s Keyword Tool to find key phrases with easy competition and I’ll use those for my category names. You can also use Market Samurai for keyword research and other SEO related research. So, the key phrases I selected are:
- Ergonomic Chairs
- Luxury Chairs
- Anti/Zero Gravity Chairs
- Leather Computer Chairs
- Reclining Chairs
- Cheap Chairs
- Kneeling Chairs
- White Chairs
- Saddle Chairs
So, I’ll create corresponding categories in my WordPress Amazon store.
Before we start searching Amazon for products to add to our store, let’s talk about the main plugin with which we’re gonna connect WordPress with Amazon.
Amazon Product In a Post
Amazon Product In a Post is the name of the excellent plugin that we’ll use. Let’s call it Amazon PIP for short. This plugin allows us to easily add Amazon products as WordPress posts. After installing the plugin, we simply create a new post the usual way.
Product Title and URL
I know we haven’t yet began our search for products to add to the store but for the sake of this demonstration, let’s say we already have an interesting product from Amazon. Go to that product’s page on Amazon and go to add a new post in WordPress. Then:
Copy the name of the product and paste it as the title for your WordPress post. And make sure that you have a good SEO permalink that includes the category that the product belongs to and the name of the product.
Using the free tools in this tutorial, you have to write a small description for every product that you add to your store. There are some commercial Amazon plugins that will automatically import the description from Amazon, but think about this: if all Amazon affiliate sites are using the same description as Amazon.com, why would search engines rank the affiliate sites higher than the original source? You must write a bit of unique content to rank higher in search engines.
It’s not difficult.
I copied the most helpful review from the product’s page on Amazon and I re-wrote it. It took me about 30 seconds.
Set Product Category
Add the product/post to the appropriate category.
Set the Featured Image
Set the featured image for your product. Some WordPress themes make good use of featured images. It’ll make our store look prettier.
Configure Amazon Product in a Post
Now you should adjust Amazon PIP settings in the post edit page. Most of its settings are self-explanatory.
I would recommend that you choose Post Text becomes Description because this option will kinda blend what we wrote earlier for the description with the product details. It looks nice and professional — like this:
By the way, you can style this layout however you like using CSS. Amazon PIP gives you that option in its admin panel settings.
Finding Amazon Products to Add to Our Store
Now that you know how to add any product to your WordPress Amazon store using Amazon PIP, it’s time to find actual interesting products to add.
Most commercial WordPress plugins for Amazon have built in searching and filtering. They will display a list of products, each with an Add button next to it. If you click on the add button, the plugin automatically adds the product as a post to WordPress. Here’s a screenshot from ReviewAzon:
This allows you to quickly add Amazon products to WordPress. But then you are advised to visit each post you added, and modify the title and the description to make them your own. So, if you think about it, it’s just as much work as adding a product from scratch.
So, the search feature in these commercial plugins is kind of redundant. Why not just go straight to Amazon.com and search from there? That’s what we’ll do.
Now I want to fill up one of the categories in my store with products from Amazon. Let’s say first category I’m gonna fill is “Reclining Chairs”.
First I’ll browse to the appropriate category page on Amazon.com without entering any search terms.
So, Office Products > Office Furniture & Lighting > Chairs & Sofas:
Now, I’ll enter “reclining” as a search keyword and see what comes up.
You can now sort the returned results by relevance, bestsellers, price, and average customer reviews.
I’ll pick interesting products from the returned results to add to my “Reclining Chairs” category. Then, I’ll also go to the following category to look for more chairs to add:
Home, Garden & Pets > Furniture & Decor > Furniture > Home Office Furniture > Home Office Desk Chairs
I’ll do the same for all other categories on my site.
My WordPress based Amazon store is beginning to take shape now, even though we’re still a few steps away from launch stage.
Notice how I have the main key phrase of my store and the name of each category at the very top. This is useful for SEO.
So, I have filled up my store with posts/products. Now, I should add some shopping features to the sidebars to improve conversion.
If you look at the screenshot above, you see that I have Calendar, Links, and Archives — none of which is useful for an Amazon store. I’ll replace those with interesting Amazon widgets.
Adding Amazon Shopping Widgets to the Sidebar
In order to improve visitor conversion by getting people to buy products on my website, I’ll add the following features to my store sidebars:
- Amazon search box
- Slideshow of the best dealsAmazon has in the category relevant to my store
- List of contextual Amazon products based on my page content (kinda like AdSense)
Amazon Search Box
Your store should have a search box to help buyers find the product they’re looking for quickly.
I have a full guide on adding an Amazon search box with HTML to your sidebar. In short, just take this code and paste it in a text widget on your website:
<form action="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/external-search" method="get"> <input type="hidden" name="tag" value="ms084d-20" /> <input type="text" name="keyword" size="20" value="" /> <input type="submit" value="Search Amazon" /> </form>
Slideshow of Amazon Best Deals
Amazon provides a sidebar widget that displays a slideshow of the best deals in a category of your choice.
And now if you click on Add to my Web page, you will get a line of code that you can copy to the text widget of your WordPress sidebar.
Amazon Contextual Ads
You can display contextual Amazon product ads on your store’s sidebar using Amazon Omakase widget.
According to Amazon
Omakase links will show an Associate’s visitors what they’re most likely to buy based on Amazon’s unique understanding of the site, the user, and the page itself.
(note: because my Comfortable Office Chairs website isn’t publicly accessible, Amazon cannot see the content of my web page. Therefore, my Omakase links aren’t as relevant as they could be)
My WordPress Site is Looking More Like a Proper Store Now
Now you have a basic Amazon affiliate store that is created using free tools exclusively. The store is well optimized for search engines and very user friendly. It also has some cool shopping functionalities.
Drive traffic to this store and you’re well on your way to making some serious cash with Amazon Associates program!
Okay, I know, this isn’t really the most sophisticated web store on the web. There probably are some features that you’d like to see here that I haven’t covered.
But the truth is: WordPress is amazingly flexible. No matter what the missing feature you have in mind is, it can probably be added to the store.
Just let me know in the comments below what feature you’d like to have, and I’ll see how it can be added.