My Amazon Affiliate Website Build

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Hi everyone!

I have been on and off this forum since an year(roughly), being more of a lurker rather than actively contributing. After almost 1.5 years in SEO, I have decided to launch a niche site which will allow me to earn a passive income, if all goes well. It is my first one so please excuse any naive comments from my side.

I am using a combination of Astra(free) and Elementor Pro to build my site. I have a few questions and would appreciate your advice and suggestions:
  1. Since I want to minimize the dependency on plugins, is it necessary to use an Amazon Affiliate links plugin? Can the link management be done manually?
  2. I really want to use product comparison tables but do not like the ones used by 90% of the websites. Is it okay if I build custom tables using Elementor? I know it might take me longer but I think it will definitely look better and distinguished.
  3. I checked out a plugin which I think could solve the above listed questions - AAWP (not posting the link since it might be against the rules). Could you guys please check it out and let me know if it is worth the money?
  4. Any other plugins which are a must/will make things easier for me.
Just so if anyone is curious, I am going with a Wirecutter type post template. Featured image at the top and a centered, small container - 700px for the text.

If all turns out well, I will try to do a case study of sorts, trying to explain the challenges I faced.

Cheers.
 

Ryuzaki

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Since I want to minimize the dependency on plugins, is it necessary to use an Amazon Affiliate links plugin? Can the link management be done manually?
No, you don't need any plugin. I don't use a plugin. You can just build the links manually, on images or text, like you normally would. Amazon gives you the plain link with your affiliate ID attached to it.

I've done it that way. I've built my own system now that uses redirects so I can more easily manage my links sitewide. You can use plugins. It really doesn't matter how you do it. But removing plugin dependency is good.

You should consider removing dependency on crazy themes and site builders too. But that's probably not realistic for most people, so make sure you're choosing stuff where the developers make tons of income from them so there's an incentive to keep them updated and working. Seems like you've done this.

Is it okay if I build custom tables using Elementor? I know it might take me longer but I think it will definitely look better and distinguished.
Sure, there's no problem. I built my own HTML/CSS/jQuery tables. The ones from plugins are sometimes okay, usually butt ugly. Do whatever you think is best. But try to copy someone you think has probably split tested them so you get closer to optimal results, especially if you do it with a page builder and can't go in and change the tables sitewide in one go.

I checked out a plugin which I think could solve the above listed questions - AAWP (not posting the link since it might be against the rules).
Linking to AAWP wouldn't be a problem, you just can't post links until you have 3 posts and 3 likes, and then your posts will be moderated if they contain links until you have 10 posts. I know someone that uses AAWP. They do fine with it. I think it produces fairly attractive options too, ones I know end up having a better click through rating. The only thing is you don't want to end up looking like everyone else, because people do become "ad blind" or can associate you with cheaper sites. AAWP is nice, in my opinion, especially for non-coders.
 
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Hi Ryuzaki,

Thanks for your insights.

You should consider removing dependency on crazy themes and site builders too. But that's probably not realistic for most people, so make sure you're choosing stuff where the developers make tons of income from them so there's an incentive to keep them updated and working. Seems like you've done this.
Elementor Pro is probably safe for a long time. Plus, it is really easy with a mild learning curve. Only thing I am worried about is its impact on site speed. I will have to look into that at a later stage.

I know someone that uses AAWP. They do fine with it. I think it produces fairly attractive options too, ones I know end up having a better click through rating. The only thing is you don't want to end up looking like everyone else, because people do become "ad blind" or can associate you with cheaper sites. AAWP is nice, in my opinion, especially for non-coders.
That is what I was worried about. All the sites that I have checked out during the niche research use similar looking tables. Does anyone have numbers on the click through rates for using a custom table vs a plugin-generated table. Still not sure about my choice here.

Also, any idea about the industry standards for conversion rates of visitors clicking on Amazon links?

Thanks again.
 
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I have not used elementor, care to summarize your experience with it?
How does it compare to other page builders?
I have no experience with any other page builders. Heck, this is my first time using Elementor.

There are definitely a lot of good points about Elementor. The Pro version allows you to create templates quickly and efficiently. I was able to build the header + footer of the website in less than an hour (the design was clear to me).

Also, there is a feature where I can save sections globally and use them on any page while being able to edit the section for that page only. For example, I can create a basic layout for a custom product comparison table, save it globally, insert it into any post and edit the fields accordingly. This should save me time while also helping out with a branded look.

One thing I haven't tested right now is the effect of Elementor Pro on site speed. That one remains to be seen.

All this I learned by simply searching for my problem/requirement on Google. I guess it has a good level of documentation and supportive community.

I have been facing a few problems in the product comparison table. I believe it is the most important section in a "Best X for Y" type post. I'm looking into https://getaawp.com as of now.

Also, I am considering if I should use Gutenberg for my articles or designing the posts in Elementor itself.

That is it for now I guess.

P.S I picked up an AppSumo deal for Essential Addons for Elementor. It has been okayish. Not too bad, not too helpful. Elementor Pro is definitely enough.

What are your thoughts on any page builders you might have used? I have heard good things about Thrive.

Cheers.
 
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I really like Elementor, though I find it hard to qualify ROI on it. I do really like the ability to save various small tidbits, such as a "Also read" widget. Create it one time and just replace links/images when you need it the next time. It's a functionality that might otherwise require a plugin.

That said, some of the more advanced features are not as good as claimed. You can't get custom field data that you create for an Archive easily for example. I wanted to have a custom background image for each category, so I added it with ACF, but apparantly you can't get it dynamically with Elementor. Despite this being just the kind of thing they advertise you can do.
 

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I have been writing code for 20 years, 10 professionally. I had always considered page builders harmful, producing crap code that cannot be edited by hand, and generally taking longer to produce a page than writing code.

The products got better over the years, but all suffered from the same basic issue - they could get you 80% of the way, then you would have a need not covered by the built in functions, and either end up having to do some God awefull hack like dumping code into a text field that gets stored in the database, or swearing loudly and starting again from scratch with hand written code.

I periodically checked out the latest offerings however, because page builders do provide a real benefit - being able to have someone from the design team create pages without a developer means we can turn a profit on lower budget jobs we would have turned down, similarly, new landing pages can be made for ads campaigns by the person creating the ads.

Last year I found elementor and it's now used in every content / business type site we do (we also do a bunch of webapp type sites in vuejs and various backend frameworks).

The editing interface is straight forward but powerful, which is important. The code produced is also readable, which is a plus. Performance is pretty good, but not really a factor anyway since we use full page caching. However the real killer feature is the developer documentation.
Creating custom widgets and controls is a breeze, so when we inevitably hit the 80% point, we now just code custom widgets that fit seemlessley into the interface (and the code stays where it belongs, in git, not the database).

Of course wordpress it's self is not suitable for a lot of projects, but if you are building a typical business / content type website, wordpress plus elementor is a fantastic solution.
 
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I have used WZone and woocommerce for my affiliate site. They are really easy and have a lot of documentation. This plugin allows you to shop on Amazon and upload all the information to your woo commerce site -> woocommerce-amazon-affiliates-wordpress-plugin from code canyon. If you want a faster site build experience this would be a recommendation. Look forward to hearing about your successes!