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Increase Amazon Sales with Best Seller and Popular Product Lists

This week we’ve been looking at a variety of techniques to help you increase your blogs earnings in the lead up to Christmas.

Today I want to share 2 similar techniques that I’ve used in the last week that is a big part of tripling my Amazon earnings for the month of December – best seller and popular products lists.

These are two techniques that I’ve used semi regularly on my photography tips site – let me explain, with examples, how I do them.

Best Seller Lists

This technique is used in retail stores everywhere. Head into your local bookstore and you’re bound to find a ‘best seller’ list or even a full display showing what the best selling books of the month are.

Books that sell well and get on these lists often go to the next level – simply because they are on the list. People see that they’re popular and so when they are looking for a book – they’re more likely to go for them because obviously others like them. It’s partly about using the wisdom of the crowd to identify quality and make decisions but it is also partly about ‘social proof’.

Here’s an example of how I use this same concept to create my own best seller list on my blog.

You can see the list at my Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page. On this page you’ll see a number of lists of best selling photography books, DSLR cameras, lenses and point and shoot cameras. The lists were compiled simply through my Amazon Affiliate program statistics.

Amazon gives you quite detailed reports of what products have sold through your affiliate links. You can arrange them by the number of items sold and it isn’t hard to take that information and put it into a list of your own.

Of course this works best if you have an audience who has been making purchases – but if you don’t all is not lost. Go to any Amazon category page (for example this Small Business and Entrepreneurship Books page) and you can see the products there arranged in order of ‘best selling’.

There’s your best selling books on that topic. Simply find a category that relates to your topic and you can create a relevant post on your blog that taps into the social proof idea.

Popular Product Lists

Another similar technique that I’ve found to be very effective is to create ‘popular product lists’. This is similar in that it creates a list of products that are popular for your readers to interact with – but the difference is that you don’t use Amazon stats to put the list together – you use your readers own feedback to create the list.

Here’s how it worked for me recently:

The result was really good. The post didn’t generate a lot of comments – but it did generate quite good sales at Amazon over the coming week. Interestingly the post was also very very popular when I linked to it in the following week’s email newsletter – it was the most clicked upon link in that email with over 5000 people viewing the post.

This resulted in some good sales of the lenses mentioned in the post – but also considerably secondary sales of other products when people continued to surf around Amazon.

Again – this technique relies upon your blog having readers and readers who leave comments – but even with a small group of readers I’m sure it could be done.

Good luck creating your best seller and popular products lists!

PS: One more type of List that I’m experimenting with on DPS today is a compilation of reviews that I’ve published on the blog previously. You can see this in action in a post titled 12 Great Digital Photography Books for Your Christmas Stocking.

In short it is a list of books on the topic of photography, with links to Amazon and the reviews that I’ve previously written on the books plus short quotes from those reviews. I’ve not done this type of list before but suspect it’ll do well.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Nice Tips! I’ve never thought about making money from Amazon using a blog. But it seems like a great idea.

    Thanks for the example you showed of your photography blog, this has given me a few ideas :D

  2. Hey, I’m just wondering if anyone can help me out with this question:

    I am in the UK, but my readers are in the UK and all over the world, what amazon associates site should I use, or does the currency/site change depending on where in the world people are accessing your blog from?

    I don’t want to be putting things up from amazon.co.uk, and loosing out on commision because people see it on my site, and end up buying it from amazon.com….and also I dont want to put up stuff in dollars and alienate my UK customers….

    I hope that I have been articulate enough, and I hope that someone can enlighten me!

  3. This is a great idea and works perfectly with the kind of blog I have – a resource for finding American made products.


  4. By sheer coincidence, I did exactly the same thing in a post this morning. But I used my Amazon Affiliate stats to see which products had been ordered the most:


  5. Pretty cool! I don’t care for amazon too much.

  6. I have tried Amazon in the past and found it to be much like Adsense, you need a lot of traffic to really take advantage of it. My blogs are pretty small time, but they could probably benefit from a best seller list.

    @Darren: Picked up your book. Haven’t read the whole thing yet, but have found it very inspiring thus far!

    @James: If you have Google Analytics installed on your blog you can see what part of the world most of your readers are coming from. This may help in your Amazon decision

  7. This is a great idea and works perfectly with the kind of blog I have – a resource for finding American made products

  8. thanks darren. I started something similar but with a more passive name “bookshelf” because I just wanted it to be a help. The site is not promoted to sell anything other than thoughts and advice. I think that I should change it to “resources.” THis would be a little more interactive I think.

    @James look at what site darren is using since he doesn’t live in the US

  9. I don’t think you can ever go wrong polling your audience, then creating content based on those answers. Doesn’t just apply to selling things either, use it in all parts of your blog to see results.


  10. Great idea. Thanks. I just tried this on my blog.
    10 Political and Finance Books for Your Christmas Stocking


    Thanks for the great idea Darren.

  11. James – I would suggest Amazon.com. There are tools around that make it a little easier to use multiple Amazon sites in different parts of the world depending upon your audience but I find it simpler just to go with the US store as that is where most of my readers are and those that are not can still order things like books from the US.

    Tubby Office People – yes traffic is essential with pretty much any monetization strategy although you can still earn with small traffic (just not massive amounts).

    Glad you’re enjoying the Problogger book.

    Matt – yes polling readers is a great way to generate user participation and buzz on a blog

  12. These are great tips. And you never know when someone clicks on a link and winds up buying other items worth a lot more. It happened to me once before.

  13. How do you drive somebody to your Popular Digital Cameras and Gear page?

    I went to the blog home (I think) but couldn’t find how you got somebody from the main nav to your best seller list. I might have just missed it, or is it about pointing people to it from posts or other places?

  14. I have tried that ; best selling financial books, but never had much results from that at all …..

    Often feel that readers will see the book, then jump to their Amazon account without clicking on my link

  15. Darren, and all the other guys who have helped answer my question, thanks very much, I really appreciate it.

  16. John Doe says: 12/18/2008 at 9:48 pm

    great idea working on… pehaps, the list gets me going filling my empty pockets. I would like to know, whether is it easy to make money by blogging? I have read about blogging as a money maker tool. But, does that work? I recently read a press release talking about a teenage millionaire making money from his bloggings. you can read that at http://www.prlog.org/10156486-another-domain-to-my-success-the-teenage-millionaire-aditya.html .I was fascinated by the post and started a new blog but I don’t think I will ever be able to make the money the teenage blogger makes.

    perhaps, blogging is the money maker tool for only few. I will work with my affiliate programs and will try to make it work for me.

    Nice commenting here.

    John Doe.

  17. I created a Frugal Holiday Gift Guide and even dedicated a navigation page to the post through the holiday season to continue to drive traffic. So far, I’ve tripled my Amazon earnings over “normal” months. Great idea!

  18. I like the concept of making lists as entry points. They are pretty enticing, I’ll have to go ahead and give it a shot.

  19. Gday Darren

    Just wanted to let you know. The first link in this post has the wrong URL in it! You have spelt photography wrong :)

  20. I wonder why people still waste their time with the Amazon affiliate program. It shows a lot of people don’t get creative when trying to monetize their blogs, just use the biggest most crappy affiliate program out there and hope for the best.

  21. Too bad this post wasn’t prepared in time to take full advantage of the holiday season. You did leave a full week, though :).

    In any event, I think unless you have a thriving blog, you probably won’t see much from the Amazon.com Affiliate Program. The commissions are pretty low, so you’d have to drive a lot of traffic to your affiliate offers to see much of a return.

    However, I think a number of users here do have thriving blogs, so it wouldn’t hurt to give this a shot. Thanks for the tip.

  22. You got to sell a lot of books to make it worth while with Amazon it’s such a low rate of commission.

  23. so sad can’t take more profits on last months 2008…… I hope more better on 2009

  24. Now you;ve done it. I’m actually motivated enough to try putting up my own “best seller” site.

    Thanks for the info – it’s at least a step in the right direction for me – something I CAN do.

  25. thanks, amazon is may second source for making money after adsense

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