Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tip #10: The real star of the new Amazon Widgets

Those participating in the Amazon Associates program or those who use the Amazon widgets on their blogs and websites may be aware that recently Amazon added a new wave of Web 2.0ish widgets. Among them were the obligatory (and versatile size-wise) Cloud, the Unbox videos, and the attention grabbing the Slideshow. All these get the attention of the affiliate because they are new and shiny and they grab the attention of the reader, at least the first few times they see them.

But the real star of the show is the one that got the least attention because it is so quiet and unassuming. It is the Quick Linker!. That's right, among all the Web 2.0 widgets added, the most practical and effective one is a text based "widget".

What's so special about the Quick Linker? It makes creating affiliate links a lot easier and allows you to create links that are an organic part of the content, instead of an after-thought advertisement.

Before the Quick Linker
Before Quick Linker, you had to go to another browser window, bring up, search for the specific product, copy its url, open up Amazon Associates, go to Text Links, paste the link in the appropriate box, add a title and your tracking ID, create the Amazon affiliate link, copy it and return to your blog and paste it.

And while you were doing all that, what happens to your train of thought? What happened to the time? Is it five minutes later already? Are you churning on mundanes instead of actually writing your content?

Installing the Quick Linker
The first step is to install a small script that Amazon creates for you on your blog. This is the script that will activate all the Quick Linker tags throughout your blog. This is a simple cut/paste.

The second part is to create the tags that will become links once the Quick Linker script runs. You can enter these tags as you are writing your blog posts. They are similar to creating HTML links. If you can create HTML links, you can use these too. They are very simple! For detailed step by step instructions visits the Amazon Widgets or Amazon Associates if you are an associate member.

This is very easy to do and does not disrput your train of thought. Here is an example of how it would happen in a hypothetial blog post about movies. Let's say you are wtiting this sentence:

"We all love special effects, but sometimes they can get really predictable and over the top, but then a movie comes along like the 300, that changes everything."

Since you are mentioning the movie 300 in this instance, it would be a great candidate for a Quick Linker. Here is what you would write including the tag:

"We all love special effects, but sometimes they can get really predictable and over the top, but then a movie comes along like the <a type="amzn">300</a>, that changes everything."

After you save your blog post and reload your blog pages, the script will automatically convert the <a type="amzn">300</a> into a valid url link to an search for the word "300", which when clicked will return all related material to "300" (eg various DVDs, high definition dvds, etc).

You also have some extra options, you can specify a product by ASIN number, and you can specify which search to run on the keyword, so you can have a short link, but the search can search for the product using its full name. You can also restrict the search using some of the pre-defined Amazon product categories. For details and step by step instructions check the Amazon Widget and Associates pages.

Amazon search is fairly reliable and usually can find the right product when searching for its actual name, but there are cases where totally different things have similar names and the search results might not be ideal. In those cases, you can just try the search and see what it produces and adjust your tag accordingly, or try the search beforehand if you think it's a difficult one (eg if you are talking about "A1", which could be a hundred different things). Wordsmithing comes in hand :)


smk said...

I love it - thanks for the tip.

See Quick Links in action at

1001 blog tips said...

Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you liked the tip and found it practical in your blog!

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