Hello. My name is Matt. And this is my story about why and how I decided to create and build the best damn Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that ever existed.
But first things first – I can only take half of the credit. I actually teamed up with a world-class WordPress developer on this project. Partly because I’m not a developer (coder) at all and mostly because I didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to pay a developer to build this plugin for me. So I partnered up with a bad-ass coder who prefers to remain anonymous. He calls himself Alchemy Coder. We call him AC, for short.
It was a cold January morning, 2018…
I couldn’t shake the idea of creating my own premium WordPress plugin. I had a killer idea – so I pulled the trigger. I sent out a vague email to AC and told him that I had an idea – but I was cautious and careful in that first correspondence. I didn’t want to spill all of the details until I was certain he was open to and willing to strike up some sort of partnership to build out this thing together.
After several back and forth emails – AC could hardly contain his excitement at the potential for what we could create. I shared the same sentiment. With our shared knowledge, skills, relationships and pure determination – we just knew we HAD to act on this idea. We had to build out the best damn Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that the world has ever seen.
Why did the world need yet another Amazon plugin?
It hadn’t been that long ago that I came across a few different threads in Facebook groups where people were talking about the different Amazon affiliate WordPress plugins that they used. I specifically remember how one guy mentioned that he loved EasyAzon for inserting most of his Amazon links – but he used Amazon’s WordPress plugin (Amazon Associates Link Builder) for images because there was something he liked better about how they handled images.
That guy wasn’t the only one either. There were several other people exclaiming how they used this plugin for this and that plugin for that. It was clear – most people were using more than one WordPress plugin for inserting Amazon affiliate links in different formats. I completely resonated with this – because I was doing the exact same thing.
More specifically – I was using EasyAzon for most of my Amazon affiliate links – but I wanted to create beautiful custom CTA buttons that linked to Amazon as well. MaxButtons is a WordPress plugin that I was already using for creating and inserting CTA buttons – but it didn’t connect to Amazon and you had to manually create Amazon affiliate links and then copy & paste them into the Link to: section within the MaxButtons plugin.
One day, I was typing out instructions, in an email, to my VA to show him exactly how I wanted him to combine these two plugins. I wanted him to create Amazon links using EasyAzon and then copy those links over to MaxButtons in order to create beautiful CTA buttons to place within my Amazon product review posts on the new affiliate site we were working on. That was when it really hit me. That was the big AH-HA moment. That was when I realized that I needed to figure out a way to create this new plugin.
Introducing AmaLinks Pro – an Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that is ‘Built for Us’ – for you and for me and for all WordPress users who earn money via Amazon Associates.
I’m going to fast forward a little bit now. If you want to learn more about the back story and what exactly we mean when we say, ‘Built for Us’ – then checkout this post on the AmaLinks Pro blog – https://amalinkspro.com/built-for-us/
What does AmaLinks Pro do?
AmaLinks Pro connects your WordPress site to the Amazon Product Advertising API and allows you to quickly and easily insert Amazon affiliate links into your Posts or Pages without ever leaving WordPress! The link types include the basic text and image links as well as a few more advanced options. I’ll show you a few examples…
This is an Amazon affiliate text link for the Minnetonka Moccasin slippers that I am wearing right now. Below is an image link for those same slippers and after that is a custom CTA button that I created with AmaLinks Pro that links to the same product on Amazon…
It took our lead developer, AC, a very long time to create the custom CTA button builder. He said that it could have or should have been an entirely separate plugin itself! But nevertheless – it is included as one of the core features of AmaLinks Pro. Just wait until you see how super easy it is to use – to create amazing call-to-action (CTA) buttons customized to look however you want.
AmaLinks Pro Showcase Boxes
As if the CTA buttons weren’t enough – we’re even more excited about our unique product information boxes – which we’re calling Showcase Boxes (or just Showcases, for short). Check this out – the following Showcase, featuring a really sweet Sony sound system, is built and inserted into your post or page with just a few easy clicks…
A few things to note about this incredible Showcase Box…
- Fully responsive – looks great on any device
- All text is fully editable (except the price) – remove or change anything you want
- Option to change image to any of the available images for the product on the Amazon PA API
- Prime logo displays for any Prime eligible products
- Ratings and reviews bar – this is the only way (currently) to legitimately display Amazon star ratings and reviews and stay within the terms laid out in Amazon’s policies regarding Amazon Associates accounts (more on this below)
- Price is pulled directly from the Amazon PA API – 100% compliant
- CTA button featuring Amazon colors – text is editable
- Timestamp and disclaimer just below box – this is required to be compliant with Amazon’s terms
Want to learn more about AmaLinks Pro – including demo videos, pricing, etc? Click the button below to check out the sales page.
The Making of AmaLinks Pro (Then and Now)
I touched on WHY we created AmaLinks Pro above. In fact, here is our official ‘why’ statement…
Because WordPress publishers deserve a simpler and more efficient way to connect to the world’s most powerful affiliate program – Amazon Associates.
Now I’d like to share with you exactly HOW we created and built AmaLinks Pro. Like I stated at the very beginning of this post – it was a cold January morning, 2018. And now it’s one year later and I am just writing this blog post. That’s right. It took us an entire year to get to where we are now.
We’ve put a LOT of thought and research into this project and spent many, many hours developing, testing and tweaking.
For the most part – this entire project has been just a 2-man operation. AC has handled all of the development (coding) side of things for the plugin itself and he has helped a little with some tweaks to the sales site (because he is a WordPress wizard and I am not). I have handled building out the sales site, the marketing funnels, the documents and tutorials, the affiliate program and doing outreach to start spreading the word.
Since we both run our own affiliate sites on the side – we quite literally built out AmaLinks Pro to be the exact Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that WE wanted. But more importantly – we’ve listened to feedback from some of our early users and beta testers and we’re continuously making changes and improvements so that AmaLinks Pro is THE plugin that YOU want as an Amazon Associate!
Researching the Competition
We downloaded and/or purchased all of the major competitors in the space that we know of and we tested each of them diligently. We took our findings and made sure to include all of the best features and options in AmaLinks Pro. We also made it a point to NOT include the bad or unnecessary features in order to keep AmaLinks Pro as simple as possible and to make it the most user-friendly.
This is the plugin that I, myself, used and loved and recommended for many years. It’s still an okay plugin – but not great. It’s founder, Chris Guthrie, seems to have shifted his internet marketing focus over to selling private label products via Amazon FBA and he hasn’t even hinted about doing any major updates to EasyAzon in several years.
Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin (better known as AAWP) seems to be one of the more popular plugins at the time I am writing this post. It offers some nifty front end functionality (what displays on published posts or pages) but has one major drawback. AAWP has NO back end functionality whatsoever. In order to insert Amazon affiliate links with AAWP, you have to find the product ASIN’s yourself and manually insert them into complicated strings of shortcode and then insert that shortcode into your posts or pages.
Amazon Associates Link Builder
This is the free plugin built and offered by Amazon. It works similarly to EasyAzon and in the same way, it’s only okay – not great by any means. Amazon is really great at one thing and that one thing is selling products. Amazon is not great at building and managing WordPress plugins.
Several More Plugins and Tools
The 3 plugins mentioned above are, by far, the most popular and most used WordPress plugins for Amazon affiliates. There are several more that we found and tested as well that offer different levels of functionality. We found little tidbits in most that we tested that gave us great ideas for features or options within AmaLinks Pro.
AmaLinks Pro truly is a culmination of all that we found that was great in other plugins, plus some added features that none of them offered – minus all of the awful or unnecessary features that just make the other tools complicated and more difficult to use.
100% Compliance with Amazon’s Policies
Making every feature and aspect of AmaLinks Pro 100% compliant with Amazon’s terms and policies has always been one of our top priorities. We’ve spent countless hours reading and re-reading Amazon’s insanely complicated policy documents and pages.
Whether they know it or not – most of the competing plugins or tools have features or options that totally violate Amazon’s terms and policies. I’ll just point out and show you one REALLY big one right here…
AAWP scrapes Amazon to obtain star ratings…
AAWP users love the fact that they’re able to display Amazon’s star ratings in their product comparison tables and in other places. What most users probably don’t realize is that those star ratings that they are displaying are NOT provided in the Product Advertising (PA) API and Amazon clearly states that star ratings cannot be displayed unless obtained from the PA API.
Here is a blog post that I wrote on the AmaLinks Pro blog – all about the rules regarding showing Amazon star ratings on websites or blogs. It explains this entire circumstance in full detail – including proof that AAWP is breaking Amazon’s rules and putting it’s users at risk of getting their Amazon Associates accounts banned.
Pricing, Updates, the Future and Beyond
As a long time user of Easy Azon – one thing that irked me was how they handled pricing when they came out with new updated versions. EasyAzon was originally sold as a one-time purchase price – but then when they released a new version with updated features, they asked current users to pay again (at a discounted rate) to get access to the new version.
With AmaLinks Pro – we knew we needed to have a recurring payment model from the very start. Not only because it benefits us as the plugin creators and sellers (who doesn’t love recurring income?), but more so because the recurring payment model actually benefits the buyers (users).
How does a recurring subscription pricing model benefit the buyer? Well… indirectly – the fact that we are collecting recurring revenue is the main motivating factor that keeps us inspired and encourages us to continuously make changes, updates, and improvements. If we sold at a one-time, one-and-done price – why should or why would we keep improving AmaLinks Pro?
Recurring payments from our loyal customers also is a factor that holds us highly accountable. As the plugin creators and developers – we see ourselves as held accountable to our customers. We understand that, in order to be the best, we cannot let our customers down.
With all of this being said – we do actually offer a one-time payment option. Our Platinum plan is our most expensive plan and it is good for unlimited sites as a lifetime license. But it is quite a bit more expensive than the other two plans which renew yearly – and we did this on purpose. We really prefer people to be on one of the annually recurring plans, so we priced the Platinum plan slightly outrageously higher than the other two plans.
Classic Editor and Gutenberg (Block) Editor
When we started building out AmaLinks Pro in early 2018 – the Classic editor was the default WordPress editor and was really the only editor that most people used. There was talk about the Gutenberg editor and even a Gutenberg plugin that people could install to beta test the new block editor.
Fast forward to the fall of 2018 and all of a sudden, WordPress announced that when they release WordPress version 5.0 – the new Gutenberg editor will now be the default WordPress editor. Although we knew it was coming – the timing still took us by surprise. Suddenly – AC had to shift 100% of his focus on making AmaLinks Pro fully compatible with Gutenberg.
WordPress did finally release version 5.0, after a couple of delays, in early December of 2018 and we were ready! As of the time I am writing this post – AmaLinks Pro is the only WordPress plugin (that we know of) that is fully compatible with the new Gutenberg editor and has built-in blocks that work seamlessly.
The Table Builder Add-On
Easily, the most requested feature we’ve had for AmaLinks Pro is for it to include an easy-to-use table builder which displays responsive product comparison tables for Amazon products. We have this feature in the works right now. After you see how amazing the other features of AmaLinks Pro works – you can only imagine how incredible our table builder function is going to be!
We actually planned on adding this feature from the very start – but at the same time, it is the most complicated feature to code. The truth is – AC had a good start going on the table builder add-on when the Gutenberg thing snuck up on us. The table builder add-on is currently in development and will be released real soon. I know better than to promise any dates or set any deadlines for something like this – but I can tell you one thing…
Pricing for AmaLinks Pro WILL increase after we release the table builder add-on. If you want to lock in early bird pricing right now and keep the same (lower) renewal rate for life – feel free to head on over and buy today. Note: The Basic plan does not and will not include the table builder add-on. You must purchase Premium or Platinum if you want table builder after it is released.
Lock In Your Rate Before We Increase Pricing
How does AmaLinks Pro sound to you? Do you think we’re on the right track? Well… we’re just getting started. In addition to everything AmaLinks Pro already offers and the soon-to-be-released table builder add-on – we have even bigger and better plans for AmaLinks Pro heading into 2019 and beyond!
I don’t want to specifically mention the future features and improvements at this point. There is a lot of development work to do between now and then. But I don’t think you’ll disagree with me – AmaLinks Pro is already really awesome and undoubtedly the very best Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that currently exists. It’s hard to believe that it’s going to keep getting better and better.
Lock in your lower rate today. I’m not just saying this as a sales technique – prices really are lower right now than we originally planned for them to be. Prices really will continue to increase as new major features are added. Whatever price you pay originally will always be your renewal rate for life. Lock it in right now!