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.
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).
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.