How to Dramatically Increase Amazon Affiliate Sales with Bestseller Lists

A sales technique that many businesses and industries employ is to create ‘Best Seller Lists’ to highlight to consumers what others like them are purchasing.

A few examples spring to mind:

Of course there are many more we could list. Virtually every music, video and bookstore have their own version of these sorts of lists, as do newspapers, magazines and other kinds of stores.

Another recent local example was a department store here in Australia who had the Top 10 Selling Mens Fragrances strategically placed next to the sales counter of their mens clothes section.

Best Seller lists work in many industries for a number of reasons

  • As much as we like to think of ourselves as unique individuals, we’re social creatures and like to know what others are doing
  • We like to feel a part of trends and don’t like to feel left out
  • We are lazy and any short cut to finding something of a good quality appeals to us
  • We know that there’s some truth to the idea of The Wisdom of Crowds

How to Create Your own Best Seller List

A number of months ago I realized the power of best seller lists and decided to start exploring them on my blogs. It struck me that my readership might just like to know what they were buying collectively and that I actually had those figures at hand – in my Amazon Affiliate Program Reports.

At the end of every day publishers in the Amazon Associates program are presented with a number of reports for the previous day. These can be viewed by day, month or any time frame. These reports not only tell you how much you earned over the timeframe selected but shed some light on what items people are purchasing.

This information is both interesting and useful – particularly when you present it back to your readers.

Here’s how I last did it over at DPS – as a Popular Digital Cameras and Gear post.

The post identifies 6 major categories of products within the niche that DPS readers buy. I manually listed the top 10 products in each category, listing each with an affiliate link back to Amazon. I explained that they were affiliate links and that the commissions earned from purchases were sown back into improving the blog.

The Results

There a number of tangible results of producing such a list:

  • Sales – every time that I produce one of these lists (and I tend to do it on a quarterly basis) I see an increase in sales at Amazon. Users do take the recommendations of their wider community seriously.
  • Conversation – as you’ll see on the post at DPS, there’s been a reasonable amount of conversation as a result of the post. We’re up to 20 comments on the post – with an array of responses (most positive).
  • Increase in Commissions – one of the side benefits of driving up the number of sales is that you also drive up the percentage in commissions that Amazon pays out if you’re tier payment system. I find that the months that I do these types of posts that the number of sales goes up and I generally see my % payout increase a percentage point or two (it’s just a pity that Amazon don’t include consumer electronics in the tiers – they stay at a flat 4%).

A Word of Warning

Do keep in mind that making these types of posts too regularly could leave some readers feeling a little disillusioned. I tend to do them on a quarterly basis (they work particularly well in the lead up to Christmas) so as not to seem too greedy or take the blog too far off topic.

A Tip for Increasing the Longevity of the List

Using this type of post can be an effective technique – but once it drops off the front page of your blog it converts significantly less. One way to increase the length of time that the post is effective is to link to it prominently. You’ll see I’ve added a link in the DPS top menus to ‘Popular Cameras’ which links to the post in question. Initial testing shows that this is a fairly well clicked on link in the menu and drives good traffic to the post over time.

A Wish

One of the things that I’d love to see Amazon develop is to have some way of automating this process. To be able to have a way to automatically compile such a list of purchases made through a publisher’s account would be a pretty useful thing.

Bucks for blogging Interview

Thanks to Martin for letting me know about an article in Australian PC World featuring an interview with me Bucks for blogging.

Reasons to Build RSS Subscriber Numbers

Dosh Dosh explores Why You Should Build Your Feed Subscriber Base and gives a variety of good reasons for building up the number of readers subscribing to your blog including:

  • Personal Gratification
  • Feed-based Monetization
  • Social Proof
  • Ability to Initiate Feed-Level Promotions
  • Improved Linkability
  • Buzz Generators

I’d add two more reasons to build your RSS readership (and I’m sure there are many more that readers will suggest in comments):

1. It increases the Viral Nature of Your Blog – while RSS is becoming more widely spread in the type of people using it – I still think that you’d find that those using it are a fairly tech savvy crowd and that many of them are bloggers. I have no way of measuring this – but my own anecdotal experience through conversations with readers shows that those who subscribe to feeds are more likely to link up to your blog than those who follow your blog through other means.

2. SEO – it strikes me that search engines are becoming more and more interested in RSS. One example of this is Google’s recent purchase of Feedburner – but we’re also seeing more and more integration of RSS into the personalized search offerings of Yahoo, Google etc. I am yet to see any real evidence of this happening yet – but to me it is a logical extension that Search Engines would start to integrate into their algorithms the popularity of a site’s feeds. Of course there are complications with the implementation with the implementation of this – but it makes sense to me that if a company like Google can see how many subscribers your blog has (and they should be able to get a guide to this not only through Feedburner – but through Google Reader, iGoogle etc) that they could fairly easily use such information to rate a site’s popularity. It’s just an untested theory – but one that is a hunch I’ve had growing in me for a while now.

Lastly – I guess it’s good to grow your RSS readership for the same reason that it’s good to grow every other type of readership that you have – influence. The more people that read your blog (via any means) the more likely you are to achieve the goals you have for that blog – whether they be monetary goals, fame, influence etc.

Want to read more about getting RSS Readers for Your Blog and how to keep them?

Firstsubscribe to ProBlogger’s feed.

Then – read some of these articles:

The Most Important Tip For Better Writing

Glen Stansberry is the author of the blog LifeDev (feed). Check out LifeDev for other tips about productivity and life improvement.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Becoming a better writer is the best thing you can do to improve your blog’s readership and traffic. Not how many buttons you have for easy submission to social services, not detailed SEO optimization, and certainly not gimmicky headlines that are created to tempt potential readers into reading your article. All of these things do have some effect on getting people to your blog, but if they don’t like what they’re reading, they’re sure-as-shootin’ not going to come back. It’s all about the content.

Good writers have an advantage on traffic because their readers come back every time they write a new article. Many blog readers are also bloggers, so they in turn link to the posts. The more links a blog has, the higher its posts rank in search engines, and the blog receives even more traffic. Not only that, compelling content gives readers a reason to submit to social sites like Digg and (regardless of whether or not you have those handy buttons).

So how does one define a good writer? At the very least a decent writer can construct sentences that show at least a 3rd grade reading level. (While this is a rather facetious statement, I have come across a couple blogs that don’t meet this standard. Hopefully the authors really were 2nd graders.)
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Giving Up on Making Money

Jon wrote an interesting post last Thursday titled Why I’m Giving Up on Making Money which has given me food for thought over the weekend (found via Rich Minx).

In the post Jon quotes a course that he’s doing:

“If you try to “make money,” you’re in for a long and fruitless ride. Instead, please people within a subject matter you are passionate about, You’ll never grow tired of growing your business and your business income will grow as a natural result.”

This resonates with me. While I do know people who are successfully making a lot of money from blogging by doing little of value (eg – some big time sploggers) – the majority of those who I’m interacting with that are making a living from blogging are doing it as a result of creating websites of true value to their readers.

Jon puts it nicely when he writes:

To put it another way, are you focusing on “what can I get?” or “how much can I make?” when working on a project or are you focusing on “what problems can I help people solve?”

Focus upon a question like “what problems can I help people solve?” and you’ll not only build something that has real value and enhances the world we live in on some level – but you’ll also put yourself in a position to be able to build a sustainable business.

Of course – to some extent I’m speaking idealistically. While I strongly believe in what I’m saying the harsh reality for many attempting to make a living from their online activities is that despite attempting to solve problems for readers that it doesn’t always work out that doing so is profitable – but I guess that’s the same in all avenues of business – sometimes even those things that should work don’t.

How Many Posts Did You Write Last Week?

Time for a quick reader question:

How many Posts did you post to your blog/s last week?

Lets make the dates from Sunday 10th June to Saturday 16th June.

I’ll kick it off:

Here at ProBlogger I posted 17 posts – at Digital Photography School I posted 5. Those numbers are pretty average for me (although at ProBlogger I was relying upon guest posts pretty heavily last week).

Blogging Tips: Writing Purposeful Content

The following is a guest post by and an excerpt from her popular book, Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.

Writing with keyword-rich content helps your blog be found and readers to fully understand what you are writing about. Write consistent and purposeful content.

The more inline your content is with your blog’s purpose, the more concentrated your use of keywords will be throughout the entire blog, not just on a per-post basis. The more diverse your blog’s content, the more diffused your keyword usage will be across all of your blog.

Make a plan for your content. Make lists of the topics you will write about in keeping with your blog’s purpose. Stick to those subjects as much as possible to build your blog’s reputation as the place to come for answers on those subjects.

What Are The Benefits Of A Focused Blog?

  • Content is synonymous with the subject.
  • Links are synonymous with the subject.
  • It builds a reputation.
  • It builds authority.
  • It becomes a destination.
  • It becomes a source.

Your Blog’s Content Labels Your Blog

If your blog tells more stories about your life than reports on the news and world around you, then it’s a personal journal or memoir. If your blog reports and comments on politics, it’s a political blog. If it has more reviews of products and services than other content, it’s a review blog. If it has more photographs than text, it’s a photoblog. If it has more music than text and pictures, then it’s a music blog. If it has more video than music, text, and pictures, then it’s a video blog, vid-blog or v-blog. If your blog has more ads than content, it’s in the business of blogging.

The majority of the content on your blog indicates the purpose of your blog. When labeling your blog, take a serious look at its content. As your blog evolves, the value of your blog comes from the content you build over time.

Readers Thrive On Consistency And Continuity

If you create an expectation of content on your blog, readers return expecting to find similar content. If you switch one week from blogging about grooming pets to blogging about grooming horses, you have set an expectation that your blog is about grooming animals. If you switch from grooming dogs to racing cars, readers are thrown off and their expectations aren’t met. The odds are they will not return for more.

It used to be said that predictability was boring. In blogging, predictability builds return customers. They know you are the expert on this subject and that you are the source for information. Meet their expectations when they return.

Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on and the , and is the author of Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.

What Works with Affiliate Sales

This post was submitted by Chris Garrett from

The other day I was telling Darren about an accidental affiliate success I had on my digital SLR blog with a dirt cheap ebay gadget (GadgetInfinity ebay slave triggers). We thought it might make an interesting guest post for Problogger readers as this audience likes to learn tips for how to make money and I learned a lot from this happy accident myself.

How did this early Christmas present fall into my lap?

Last year through blog I became interested in photography lighting. Like most people who followed the tutorials I started acquiring all the gear I needed. One item was out of my budget though. It was an accessory that allowed you to trigger your flash remotely via radio signals. The price was just too high for my amateur photography budget (and my marriage!). All was not lost, I heard about some cheap knock-offs doing the rounds on ebay.

After research it seemed most people were either absolutely in love with the gadgets or dead against, either because of a bad experience or out of snobbery. As the price was so low I snapped up a set, at the very worst it would make excellent content for my blog.

I couldn’t have been more happier with the gizmos when they arrived. Not only were they cheap, they worked and opened up my flash photography in a way I couldn’t have hoped for. Being the geek I am I had a variety of gear to test the gadget with so I could right away reassure people that they in fact did work with Canon brand flashes. This added considerably to the weight of my recommendation.

Once I had written my post I recalled I had signed up for the CJ ebay affiliate program. (I was going to write a blog about ebay). As these products were mainly available via ebay I took the opportunity to go back and edit my links with my affiliate codes.

Immediately something wonderful happened, I was making commissions! One or two came in almost right away. What really sent the sales coming in though was a link from Strobist. A few days later I was getting search traffic also.

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Missed Opportunities Are Worse Than Making Mistakes

This Guest Post was submitted by Scott at Savvy Affiliate

For a blogger, making mistakes can be embarrassing, but missing an opportunity can come at a huge cost. One thing that new bloggers sometimes have trouble with is the idea of jumping into things with both feet. Often times people are afraid to make mistake, afraid to try something new, and it comes at a huge opportunity cost. In the world of blogging and online marketing your mistakes will quickly be forgotten, especially if you are relatively unknown, but missing an opportunity can put you way behind in the game.

What Do I mean? What’s an example of a missed opportunity?

One example of a missed opportunity by many bloggers is Digg. Digg is well known for its ability to drive large volumes of traffic to a site. Although this traffic doesn’t directly convert to money, it can help a site become popular in the long term. Digg was launched in November of 2004, and started to become popular in late 2005. In early 2006 Digg surged in popularity. If you check Alexa traffic, you can see that it doubled its reach in practically no time at all.

The missed opportunity comes from people waiting until Digg got popular before they joined.

Studies have shown that the top 100 Digg users are responsible for 56% of everything that reaches the front page. These top 100 users have the ability to drive huge amounts of traffic where ever they desire. Most of them became top users by growing with they site. They were early adopters and were able to increase the authority of their accounts as Digg grew over time. A new user has very little chance of breaking into those rankings, at least not without devoting a massive amount of time to it. Bloggers who jumped in with both feet and gave the new service a go before it got popular won big, others who waited to use established tools had to play catch up.

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