This is an awesome post, and am very happy to have wandered across it – you really go into detail about your personal experience with Amazon’s program, and it is a hugely helpful story to hear. I’m thinking of monetizing through affiliate links at some point, and hearing about that generally in other blogs is kinda annoying. What I need to hear are specifics, even if the specifics won’t apply to my situation. What I need to hear is how real people actually go about doing something, and your post accomplished that. Bookmarked.
I’m actually going through setting up a few different sites that are only going to be monetized with Amazon. There are certain benefits to Amazon such as a well-known website and added items on purchases and then there are negatives as well such as low commission and short cookie span. I definitely think you have to choose higher priced items if you want to make decent money from Amazon.
You can also have a website promoting multiple CPA and affiliate offers whereas with Google AdSense you are limited to 3 ads. There are better options than AdSense with some people testing Ezoic, media.net, and a few others – there are actually many alternatives to AdWords. There are different types of CPA offers from sites like maxbounty.com, peerfly.com and you can use offervault.com among others to find more offers. Some payout per 1 page submit, some pay per sale, and some pay per call. It depends on the offer. If you are working direct with a company and bypassing the middle man you can get higher payouts and even negotiate a hybrid model where they pay you for the lead as well as a commission on the back-end.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?