Dave, I notice that whenever you mention any products on Amazon, your links always go straight to the recommended product (rather than their annoying intermediate landing page where they try to sell you on other products) and neatly tuck your affiliate link in too. So, do tell, what’s your secret technique?
If you’re already an Amazon affiliate, then you know their affiliate area has a nice “build a link” capability, highlighted on their Build Links to Amazon.com area. If you’re not an affiliate, then, for goodness sake, go sign up!
Let’s step through an example so you can see how the Amazon Affiliates program works, and then I’ll show you how I make links myself. Since it’s the holidays, let’s do this by considering a game I’ve always loved, in an edition that my kids would doubtless really enjoy: Disney Monopoly.
To use the Amazon Affiliate “text link” system, I have to navigate to the page in a separate window, then copy and paste the URL of that page into their dialog box, then click “bulid link” to have the code generated. Here’s the HTML they give me:
Nice, but that’s a long, torturous way to build these links if you just want to pop a few into a Web page or Weblog entry. Instead, here’s how I do it…
First off, go to Amazon and find a page that you’d like to link to. Copy the URL by clicking on the address bar in your browser. It’ll look something like this:
Generally, you can just slap your affiliate code on the end of any Amazon URL and their system is smart enough to catch it and give you credit for the purchase. But that’s really not the best solution. Instead, chop the URL down to immediately after the first sequence of letters and digits. In this case, it’s B00005JG32 .
Stick with me. Once you’ve done this once, you’ll see, it’s just as easy as using the Amazon system, but much, much faster.
So the URL at this point is:
Now, all you need to do is add your affiliate link. My affiliate link ID is davetaylor, logically enough, so this is the minimalist URL to point to this Monopoly game:
Now it’s just time to drop this into a hypertext reference. That’s done by using an a href=”” sequence:
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JG32/davetaylor"> Disney Monopoly</a>
Perfect! Try clicking this link to see how it works.
Easy enough, isn’t it?
It’s also easy to include the image from an Amazon product and even make it clickable. Pop over to the product page and simply right click on the product image itself. You’ll see a pop-up menu from your browser that includes “View Image”, “Open Image In New Window” or something similar. Do that. Now you’ll see just the product image itself (click here to see what I mean). If your browser’s decent, it’ll not only show the image, but the title will include the size of the image (this one’s 160×160).
To include the image on your Web page just wrap the image URL in some rudimentary HTML:
<img src="url of the image" alt="product name" />
For bonus points, include height=”height” width=”width“. Here’s how that HTML would look for our Monopoly game:
<img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005JG32.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg" alt="Monopoly Deluxe" height="160" width="160" />
Here’s the image as it’ll show up on the page:
Just about done. All that’s left is to put the two pieces of HTML together, so that we have a clickable image. That’s surprisingly straightforward. Just replace the text in the earlier hypertext reference with the img HTML instead:
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JG32/davetaylor"> <img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005JG32.01._SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg" alt="Monopoly Deluxe" height="160" width="160" border="0" /></a>
That’s all there is to it. To show you it’s legit, click on the monopoly board below and watch how the affiliate link is saved as Amazon rewrites the URL to its internal system and shows you the page with that product:
Finally, you can use the Amazon affiliate link building system, but I promise, once you start experimenting with this approach, you’ll find it’s considerably faster and much more flexible. Oh, and the affiliate payout for purchases is exactly the same as if you’d used their tool too.
Updated July, 2006 to reflect changes in Amazon’s inventory and to further simplify the affiliate URL link by using the “ASIN” shortcut.