Probably not. But maybe. I'm slowly changing my view on this topic (the answer used to be, “No”), and will update as I have more info with my own sites.
I’ll explain why I think most people would not benefit from having an Amazon webstore theme installed on their WordPress blog. There is one exception to the rule, which I will get into in this post.
Reason #1: You Don’t Have Enough Traffic
If you are looking to add an Amazon webstore to your website then there’s a very good chance that you are just starting out in affiliate marketing and trying to make a profit as quality as possible.
The fact is, without traffic flowing into your site, traffic won’t flow into your monetized pages. To get traffic to portion of your website with this type of content (copied from Amazon).
Because it’s duplicate content, and not a whole lot, it just won’t have any legs to stand on in search engines. Maybe for some ultra-low competition keywords you may be able to sneak into a low page 1 ranking, but that’s about it. I’ve tried it with original content, and those were my results.
The point is, since you aren’t ranking in Google for these monetized portions of your website, you need to drive traffic to your sales pages through other parts of your website, namely original content produced on your blog.
Without that traffic, you’ll have a pretty looking store that makes exactly $0.
Reason #2: There’s No Lead In To A Sale
The content you grab from Amazon from a lot of these plugins or themes is not original. Why would someone visit your website when they can see the same thing on Amazon?
The only info we get from Amazon with the API is a little blurb about the product and a few pictures.
The real reason people come to your website is to get insight about the product, or activities related to the the product you’re promoting.
Which do you think is more likely to make a sale?
Option 1: A 200 word blurb copied from Amazon that lists the features of a gaming headset you want to buy
Option 2: a 1500 word breakdown of new features or this headset, and how it compares to older models and competing brands
Obviously it’s going to be option 2. And a 1500 word blog post titled “Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 Full Review & Comparison” is going to blow any Amazon affiliate themed website right out of the water.
You give people more info, they stay on the page longer, click more stuff, leave more comments, and you gain authority in search engines, boosting the rank of other pages on your site too. That’s how building a profitable affiliate site works.
The “set and forget” build-a-business-on-autopilot mentality just doesn’t cut it.
Reason #3: It Adds A Bunch Of Affiliate Links To Your Site
There’s no real data on how affiliate links affect the rank of a piece of content, but as a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to keep them to a minimum. Not only is it annoying when a website is “all about the money”, but most people speculate that it’s just bad juju.
What clearly isn’t speculation is that having large amounts of ads above the fold is a big no-no. (That’s the portion of a website that people see when the page opens.) In that link it does state that having some ads at the top of your website is not always a problem. How many links are placed there will depend on the design and features of the Amazon webstore theme you are looking at.
Reason #4: You Are Dependent On This Theme For Life
Many of these themes are very new, and their developers unproven. How long will they stick around before they ditch to the next project?
I don’t know any theme creators personally, nor do I have any indication that any Amazon affiliate theme creators will actually do this (ditch). But as a business owner, you have to take into consideration the tools your business depends on.
I have had THREE incidents in 5 years that, while they did not cripple my business, they created a ton of work for me that could have been avoided if I had chosen different products to use. Here are the three brief stories to explain my point:
1. A plugin I installed across 20 different websites to add additional options to the text editor stopped working after a WordPress update and took down my sites. After uninstalling all the copies via FTP (very difficult as a newbie almost 4 years ago), I found that the content formatting of all of my blogs was now “messed up” and I had to go in and edit each individual post of all 20 sites.
What a nightmare.
2. A review plugin I decided to use to create comparison charts was spectacular for about 6 months (just enough time to install it on multiple sites). I even redirected pages and restructured some sales funnels to be centered around the comparison charts that I now used on my sites.
Just a few months later some settings started to go a bit wonky, and after a month of not getting any response from the developer, it became apparent that he just disappeared.
I had to hire an outside dev to edit some code and eventually uninstalled the plugin and replaced it with another a year later.
3. I used Woocommerce for a year on my beer website. Nothing went wrong with the plugin, but I just decided that this wasn’t a strategy I wanted to follow up with due to low sales.
Deleting the plugin meant I now had a bunch of dead product links that I had to go fix. Not really a big deal, but I didn’t have a huge site at that time. Going through individual blog posts to remove dead links wasn’t that hard, but if the site had been around longer, it could have been a huge time suck.
One More: I forgot about one more instance where a I used a plugin called Social Author Bio. The dev disappeared and didn't update the plugin for 2 years. After using the shortcode to insert my bio into several blogs, I had to pay someone to go through over 1000 posts on my site and delete the shortcode. It only cost me about $200 and a weekend of someone doing work but it was still a pain in the butt.
I guess you didn’t ask for a sob story, but I just wanted to give you some first hand experience on how a plugin or theme that stops working can affect your business. If you plan on linking to your Amazon review pages or making your Amazon store the core focus of your website, your business being fully dependent on this theme is something you need to think about.
The One Exception
I mentioned above that I would never recommend an Amazon webstore theme to anyone, with one exception.
Though I haven’t tried it myself, I think that someone with an existing website that is already getting traffic could benefit from tacking on a store somewhere – perhaps on a subdomain – and just linking to it in a menu or sidebar.
I also think that someone who would be willing to install the theme and not use it til traffic was significant enough to drive traffic to the products could benefit from something like this.
However, most people won’t do either of these. Someone with big traffic could probably make just as much money with Google Adsense, allowing paid ads on their site, or just starting to do full product reviews.
Someone just starting a new website with the Amazon theme is going to have an itch to scratch, and most likely won’t have the patience to wait for traffic.
But What About The Success Stories?
I honestly don’t think there are that many people making GOOD money monetizing their website in this manner. Let’s take a look at two examples.
1. In my Prosociate Review (an Amazon store plugin), they feature a man who says
…by far one of the best ways to make your site a Amazon Associates selling machine.
A few weeks after writing that review he contacted me, wanting to sell his site to me. It was earning, but very small amounts. Nothing I would consider income.
The other fellow from the review that says “I started using Prosociate in Mid February 2014” is no longer using the plugin on his website (March 2015).
Build an Amazon affiliate website? Yeah, I guess. Building a significant income online? Not really.
2. Update: I accidentally lumped the Ultimate Azon Theme in with “auto” themes. You can see from comments below that they are not the same thing. See my full review of the Ultimate Azon Theme to see the full scoop on what it does and why I actually endorse it! It's ranking, and has made some sales with minimal effort. Click for details and updates.
How I Earn Income With Affiliate Programs
Personally, I don’t really use Amazon Associates that much because I’ve always found better affiliate programs to participate in. But selling a product from one program or the next is pretty much the same.
The main driving factor in creating sales from my websites is original content creation. I don’t install fancy “for affiliates only” themes or plugins. I don’t backlink or look for loopholes to drive traffic to sales pages.
I create a website on a topic, I write content about that topic, and I use that content to drive traffic to my sales pages. It’s not such a crazy idea to think that if you write about things people want to read about, that you can build traffic to a site and eventually funnel those visitors into your money pages.
The main point I want to drive home is this: If you aren’t earning yet, Amazon affiliate webstores will not jump start your profits. Whether or not they actually increase current earnings significantly is not clear, but I personally believe that they don’t.
Instead of looking for a way to set up a copy-site of Amazon as quickly as possible, why not have a think about what kind of value you can provide to readers that will help them make more informed buying decisions. Why should they visit your site before they buy?
Making Amazon sales is not about sneaking in an affiliate link or being a themed “virtual mall” where people go to shop. It’s about providing people with insight they can’t find anywhere else and convincing them that this is the right product to buy.