A few thoughts on passive income

Answers to a few questions about Amazon Associates and passive income, asked by Tom May for a piece on the Shopify blog.

Pilea peperomioides, Chinese money plantPilea peperomioides, aka Chinese money plant, via.

When did you get involved with Amazon Associates and what first prompted you to do so?

It was 2008, most likely because of ProBlogger (I was one of Darren’s subscribers at the time), or just because it seemed like a decent way to earn enough for web hosting and domains — I didn’t expect much.

Is there anything you wish you’d realised at the start, that you now do differently?

It took me a couple of years before I began using referral codes for both the UK and US Amazon sites. At first I’d only link to products on the US site because that’s where most of my site visitors are from, but the UK is the second highest location, so it makes sense to give that option.

Roughly what sort of percentage of your income currently comes through this source? And how much of your time does it take up?

It’s a fraction — only about £100 or £200, mailed monthly a US dollar cheque. It used to be double, but affiliate links aren’t my focus. I’ll use them if I pick up a good book and want to share it in a blog post. Adding the links takes seconds because I’d be featuring the book anyway.

Do you have any tips for encouraging visitors to click/buy?

Write about things you recommend. You can’t expect people to buy something you wouldn’t.

Do you have any other sources of passive income?

Not truly passive, because there’s a bit of online promotion, but I’ve sold around 50,000 books. English copies, anyway. I don’t have figures for sales in other languages.

Then there’s the Carbon Ads banner you can see on each of my blogs. Lately I’ve been getting around $300 each month via PayPal, much appreciated, but a fair bit less than what it used to be, and also not strictly passive because that amount would likely tail off if I didn’t publish new posts.


Catch Tom’s Shopify piece here: How to earn passive income.

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