Feb 152011
 


Something I knew I always wanted was to spawn some sort of store off of DragonBlogger.com that listed my top tech products that I recommend with an easy way to monetize them with affiliate links.  I tried using a variety of WordPress plugins and manual code to accomplish this but all of it was ungainly and didn’t have the features that I wanted.  The only other plugins available at the time were ones that were paid plugins so I didn’t review them nor wanted to pay for one.

Then Gary Davis contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would review his Affiliate Easel for Amazon WordPress plugin and I decided to check it out.  It had a ton of potential and over the past few weeks I sent suggestions to Gary on features I needed and he coded three versions with updates based on my feedback.  Now I can honestly tell you the Affiliate Easel for Amazon is probably the best Amazon Store plugin for WordPress that I have found.  The plugin has so much power that I can’t cover it all in a single post without it being too long for the average reader to read so I am breaking it up into a series called the Building an Amazon Store in WordPress.  This is part 1 and will cover installing the plugin and basic configuration with a sample of adding an item to a post.

The first thing you do is search for and install the Affiliate Easel for Amazon plugin in the WordPress plugins tab.  Ignore the 2 Star rating, this is a brand new plugin and hasn’t been downloaded or rated enough times to give it merit.  I tell you this is a 4 – 5 star plugin and you can believe me.

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Install the WordPress plugin, then click on the settings for Affiliate Easel for Amazon and enter your Affiliate ID, Access Key and Secret Key (the latter two you can get by clicking on the links and following directions).

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After entering these settings then make sure you click “update settings” on the bottom.  You will then want to configure the “Item Settings” which controls how the items will display when you insert them into a post or page.

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I recommend H2 or H3 title size (I chose H2 because my H3 has a dragon bullet).  I also recommend picture that matches the size of your blog frame, or smaller.  I wish there was a way to custom size the pixel size here, because I think 300 or 350 would be a good size between 160 and 500 honestly.

You can choose to have the image float to left, which I recommend if you are using  a small image of 160px or less.  I would also set it to have “Show Excerpt” instead of full description unless you wanted your post to pretty much be a full Amazon sales pitch for the item.    I also always have “Show Related Items” feature checked because I like planting the idea to check out other items if the reader doesn’t necessarily want the specific item you are pitching.

If you are doing an Amazon store rather than a blog post where you just want to list an item for sale, then selecting a larger image and full description will make the post full and is  a good option if you just want a storefront.

Now, this plugin works better than Amazon Reloaded plugin in that it is easier to add items with images and also have related links featured.  Example, with this plugin and 1 line of shortcode I am able to add an affiliate excerpt for Dawn of War 2: Retribution as you can see here:


List Price: $29.99
Current Price: $15.00
Buy Now
Price Disclaimer


The above was created just by using the following shortcode:
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The Item # is just the ASIN # from Amazon.com for the Item, there are 2 ways to find the ASIN #, the first is just look at the Item URL:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00473Y6VA/ref=s9_simh_gw_p63_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=13SEPK2X7MH5NZDR4FR6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

The ASIN is the Amazon product number after the /product/ASIN#/ and you would just put that as the item #.

The second way is to just search for “ASIN” on the product page under product details:

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You can also list multiple items in the same post by just adding ASIN #’s to the same shortcode, so by adding item=”B00473Y6VA,B0029XDZIK” would show 2 items with their pictures, summaries and related items.  You can list up to 10 items in a single shortcode, and if you want to list more than 10 items you would just have more than 1 shortcode.  I have tested up to 5 shortcodes and 100 items and it works but it does slow down the page load time to read so much data from amazon so be realistic on how many items you want on a page.  If you want to showcase a category, this is where adding a search with a default listing of a category comes in and I will talk about this more in the Building Amazon Store in WordPress Part 2.

Summary

Affiliate Easel for Amazon is a WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to add Amazon products to your blog posts and pages with a simple shortcode, you can add single or multiple items with a single line and bit of code.  If you are looking to add some Amazon affiliate items in  your WordPress blog, I recommend you Download Affiliate Easel for Amazon plugin now as it is completely free and you can start testing your own Amazon store.  I also would recommend you take the time to donate a few minutes of the store to the developer, like 5 minutes an hour to show appreciation for the effort as well, part 2 will show where you can setup the donation to the plugin author.

Tomorrow I will be posting Building an Amazon Store in WordPress Part 2 to cover adding a storefront page and leveraging the search functionality this post is already live as well.

-Dragon Blogger


Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 13 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino
Justin Germino
  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    Amazon is a great place to find something to promote and this plugin has just mad it that much easier to get up and running..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Gary did a really good job with this plugin, I think it is worth looking at for everyone who wants to incorporate selling Amazon products in their WordPress site.

  • http://technicallyeasy.net Paul

    A few months ago I was thinking about starting a small Amazon store with my blog, but I wasn’t sure exactly how I could do that. I’ll be reading these posts for sure to see how it is done.

    You can probably create an entire store with WordPress using the categories and the Affiliate Easel for Amazon plugin. Each post could be an item in the store, perhaps?

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Yes, you can basically turn each post into a full store summary. Feature 1 item at a time, the only bad thing is that the content would be unoriginal from Amazon and you would want to make sure you had at least 100 words of original content for SEO value.

      • http://technicallyeasy.net Paul

        That’s true. After I wrote the comment I thought about it and realized that you would have to provide your own description/thoughts about each product.

        I guess if you use a lot of the products it could work, such as selling books.

        • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

          I did just that on my recent post and the post looks good.. you can check it out and you’ll notice all the links that go deeper into my site for more product info.

  • http://blazingminds.co.uk/ BlazingMinds

    Thanks for the heads up on this Justin, it’s certainly something to consider, specially when blogging about tech and maybe, just maybe, I will add it to my plugin list ;)

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      So far since using the plugin about a month ago I have added about $12 per month revenue from Amazon Affiliates, it will only grow with time and is a good start.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

    I actually once built a whole blog that pulled from Amazon creating a sort of mini-Amazon with full description product reviews and search functionality using Pilkster’s script which ended up not working after Amazon changed how they called items :roll:

    And though this plugin seems great for adding Amazon products to an already established blog, there’s another free script for making your own full Amazon store called Associomatic ;)

  • http://www.gta5.tv/ Maximilien@GTA 5

    This plugin is awesome! I didn’t know we could build an amazon store just with a WP plugin, it’s amazing! Thanks a lot Justin for this great discovering =)

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

    O.K. now that I’ve installed on MSB’s Multi Search I see it does what I made that old blog do using the Pilkster’s script except this is a whole lot easier..

    Using the shop search engine is awesome because the results come back on your own site creating that “mini-Amazon” affect.. that part you didn’t mention Justin :)

    I just made a post using it as well and it came out nicely with deep links going to more product info all still on MSB :!:

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Caleb, part two is posting tomorrow morning and is all about the search and building a store page. This part was only about putting a few items in a post or page, wait for part 2.

      • http://marketsecrets.biz Caleb

        Too late as I already installed it with search results and everything showing and it’s running great.. but l still look forward to Part 2 for some store page tweaking tips :razz:

  • http://bookspree.com/easel/ Gary

    Wow Justin. Thanks for the great review. I appreciated your suggestions along the way.

    One thing, you show the “Item detail” panel and say that is used in posts but it’s the “Search Results & in-post Appearance” panel that affects items in a post. Sorry if that was confusing in my UI.

    I’m always working on the next version.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      It was clear to me, but I just cut the wrong snippet from the configuration for the image.

  • http://www.richescorner.com Richard

    Awesome tip. This plugin looks really promising. I’ve downloaded it and will try it out. Looking forward to reading part two and seeing what other features it has.

  • http://www.jocurile.us/ Alex@Jocuri

    Hey Justin,

    Thanks for the tutorial, but actually I have seen a sudden increase in the number of plugins for building amazon websites. If this trend continues we will soon see the free plugins, just like this one, giving the paid ones a run for their money.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      So far, this is the most comprehensive and easiest one that I have found as well as the most powerful and full featured of the free ones.

  • http://live-your-love.com Brankica@How to blog

    OK, this is simple awesome.

    I love Amazon and shop there all the time. I also like recommending stuff from there so I am sure gonna try to implement this, if not on my main blog then on one of the niche ones :)

    Thanks

  • http://www.youlovecoupons.com/ Anne Sales@ Coupon Codes

    It sounds really interesting. But will it be free forever? I’ve been thinking to start another blog featuring a product on Amazon.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      At this time Gary is relying on donations, since you can donate a portion of the time to him he doesn’t need to charge for the plugin. If everyone took the time to set 5 minutes of donation time, then he would have no need to charge for the plugin but would profit from donated time.

      • http://www.youlovecoupons.com/ Anne Sales@ Coupon Codes

        How generous of him and all he needs is a five minute donation time. Wouldn’t mind really. Sometimes people give more when they are not obliged.
        Thanks again for sharing the news.

  • fran

    I will try this on an old site that I want to convert from static site to wordpress blog and sell amazon products. I will give it a try and let you know soon. Where is part 2? it is the 18th.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Part 2 is published here -> http://www.dragonblogger.com/building-an-amazon-store-in-wordpress-for-free-part-2/

  • http://www.iblogzone.com DiTesco

    Well this was very untimely for me unfortunately as I have purchased two weeks ago the plugin WPZonBuilder which is actually great. Timely because I still think that this is a great plugin and one that will serve me well for sites that I use that are more specific. This is really great job sharing this Justin. thanks and off to read the part 2 now.

  • http://rumblinglankan.com Nishadha@Make Money blogging

    I was looking for something like this for a while, there are scripts out there and they cost a lot, will definitely give this a try and will come back to read your second post after tweaking it a bit.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Click on my Store link at the top of this page to see how it looks in action, that entire page was rendered with just 3 lines of shortcode.

  • http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/list-building-tips/ Ana @ How to Build List

    I haven’t had a need for an Amazon plugin in the past, but a few of my readers asked me if I knew of one.

    Well, now I know… Thanks, Justin.

    Ana

  • http://www.doncodesigns.com Donco

    very comprehensive post. I will definitely try this. I have been thinking about doing this for sometime now, but did not know how to start. Your blog rocks…

  • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Dragon Blogger

    No, it works with any theme and I am still using this plugin on my blogs now. I use it in combination with the EasyAZON plugin.

    • gs26

      @Dragon Blogger I’m getting this error when I try to create a post with a unique ASIN product: “this account may have exceeded the hourly request limit efficiency guidelines”. Do you know how can I solve this?

      • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Dragon Blogger

        This happens when you preview a post, you can only actually make ASIN calls when the post is published not when it is in preview mode. Are you trying to “preview” the post before publishing? It also can happen if you are making more than 10 calls to Amazon from the same page.

  • http://shrewdgeek.com/ pradeepf

    Great resource,going to check out the plugin :)
    Is part 2 of this article published ?

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com/ Dragon Blogger

       @pradeepf Yes, it is in the related posts http://www.dragonblogger.com/building-an-amazon-store-in-wordpress-for-free-part-2/