If you're a niche site publisher, you're probably familiar with the all-powerful Amazon Associates affiliate program.
There are, however, other affiliate programs that are worth promoting- especially if you're in the hardware & tools niche.
In this post, I'll review the Home Depot affiliate program- analyzing their commission structure, how they compare with Amazon's referral fees, and how I would think about promoting it.
Home Depot is U.S. home improvement supplies retailing company that sells tools, construction equipment, and home services.
It has a physical location in all 50 states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam), all of Canada's 10 provinces and within Mexico. According to Wikipedia, it's the largest home improvement retailer in the United States, beating out its arch rival Lowe's.
tl;dr Summary: While the Amazon Associates program provides better category-specific commission rates than Home Depot's flat 3% rate, its variety of specialized hardware products and strong on-page conversion elements make it a worthwhile option to promote.
The Home Depot Commission Structure
According to an FAQ on their affiliate page,
"The Home Depot offers a generous commission on products and custom blind orders. Our current commission is 3% on products, mobile, and buy online pick up in-store orders and 5% on custom blinds. The more you sell the more you earn.
All gift card, installation services, custom created products, select special orders and in-store purchases are not eligible for commissions."
Amazon VS Home Depot Commissions
Amazon offers 5.5% commissions on the Outdoors & Tools category, vs what looks to be 2% for Home Depot:
Amazon also offers 8% on Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry, while Home Depot provides the same 8% flat rate for home goods.
Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry
As you can see, Amazon actually provides better commissions and better conversion percentages than Home Depot.
For reference, here's the full Amazon commission structure, as of June 2018 (click here for an updated payout structure):
|Product Category||Commission Rate|
|Amazon Gift Cards, Wine||0%|
|Video Games & Video Game Consoles||1%|
|Televisions, Digital Video Games||2%|
|PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray||2.5%|
|Amazon Fresh, Toys||3%|
|Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Dash Buttons, Amazon Kindle Devices||4%|
|Physical Books, Health & Personal Care, Sports, Kitchen, Automotive, Baby Products||4.5%|
|Digital Music, Grocery, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos||5%|
|Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies||6%|
|Apparel, Amazon Element Smart TV (with Fire TV), Amazon Fire TV Devices, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, Handbags & Accessories, Watches, Amazon Echo Devices||7%|
|Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry||8%|
|Amazon Fashion Women, Men & Kids Private Label, Luxury Beauty, Amazon Coins||10%|
|All Other Categories||4%|
Home Depot Keyword Research
I used Ahrefs to assemble a list of HomeDepot.com's top 1,000 keywords (removing a bunch of brand terms like 'home depot').
This gives you an overview of their product term rankings. Use it to get an idea of their most popular offerings and to brainstorm the best products to promote.
Getting Started With Niche SitesUse the strategies on this page in conjunction with my niche site process. Here it is in a nutshell:
- AuthorityHacker's Authority Site System (my review): a complete, step-by-step system to start growing your own highly profitable affiliate & authority niche site.
- A cloud-based on-page optimization tool: Surfer SEO makes your on-page SEO easier, faster, and more effective than ever using data-driven, real-time signals to rank in search engines.
- A reliable and fast hosting solution like SiteGround (my review)
- A brandable domain name from GoDaddy (my guide)
- A premium theme- I use GeneratePress but there are some cool niche themes on ThemeForest
- SEO Friendly Article Writing ($8-$12 / 1,000 words) from HireWriters (read: my HireWriters review)
- Powerful Backlinks from Authority.Builders (read: my Authority.Builders review)
- An automated social media drip campaign from MissingLettr
- An auto-responder to build your email list– ConvertKit is what I'm using (read: my ConvertKit review)
- Finally- you can always refer to my free step-by-step niche selection guide and all of my free niche reports for inspiration
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Why Should You Promote Home Depot?
That said, while Amazon might offer better commission and conversion rates Home Depot has a lot of unique, expensive and high-quality products.
As I've written about in my other affiliate program reviews, one of the competitive advantages other eCommerce affiliate programs have over Amazon is their niche specialization.
Competing head to head with Amazon on every product category isn't going to work (see Jet.com), but a home and hardware affiliate program like Home Depot's offers a strong and diverse range of specialty products.
Information & Support
In addition, if you look at a product page like this one, you can see that there are lots of customer reviews, tons of helpful information like comparison tables, links to a detailed DIY blog, customer images, and even a Live Chat option.
Cut wide variety of materials easily by using this DEWALT Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. Comes in silver color family.
Home Depot makes a strong effort to provide helpful information to its consumers. Don't underrate that.
While most affiliate programs will have a product page you can deep-link to, rarely are they going above and beyond, perhaps due to lack of resources, to help consumers convert, i.e. buy the best product for their needs.
If you're making money online, depending too much on a single affiliate partner is a recipe for disaster.
Granted, when it comes to the physical-product affiliate game, it's likely no matter what you do Amazon will constitute the broad majority of your revenue, but it's worth experimenting with alternative networks and programs to see if you can find a high-converting offer.
Amazon infamously reformatted their commission rates in 2017 and a lot of niche site publishers saw their revenue decline sharply.
I saw about a 30% decline, personally.
It was a wake-up call for a lot of site publishers. I've made an effort to expand outside of the Amazon affiliate program- I own display ad sites, for example. I've focused on growing those.
Plus this site, NicheFacts.com, represents an effort to expand into email marketing and information product affiliate promotion. Or, perhaps even my own product someday.
Read More Of My Niche Reports
What Can You Promote?
According to their Department dropdown, product categories include:
- Bath & Faucets
- Blinds & Window Treatments
- Building Materials
- Decor & Furniture
- Doors & Windows
- Flooring & Area Rugs
- Heating & Cooling
- Kitchen & Kitchenware
- Lawn & Garden
- Lighting & Ceiling Fans
- Outdoor Living
- Storage & Organization
Keep in mind, that you can't promote:
"All gift card, installation services, custom created products, select special orders and in-store purchases are not eligible for commissions."
How To Promote
If you look at Home Depot's organic rankings, you can brainstorm different product review keywords if you want to rank and bank in the hardware niche.
The way I've done it, since Amazon is my number one affiliate partner, I'll build out a comparison table of Amazon products, and then link in the upper left hand corner to a Home Depot landing page- with anchor text saying something like 'View Home Depot Prices' similar to below:
There's different ways you can drive traffic to a secondary affiliate program- perhaps scatter some Call To Action buttons down the page, or just incorporate the affiliate links contextually into the content or the comparison table itself.
I've found it's easiest to manage a single a link in the comparison table- especially since Amazon converts so well that I'm not inclined to push too much traffic to different networks.
If you have an email list, another option is to market Home Depot products to your audience.
I would pay attention to their Specials & Offers and see if there's a price arbitrage opportunity- i.e. finding discounts on hardware and broadcasting it to your list.
To my mind, that's a solid value-add opportunity for your list members.
It can be challenging to find a competitive alternative to the Amazon Associates program- in all honesty, there isn't one.
That's because when it comes to big brand physical-product retailers, Amazon still provides the best commission rates and the highest conversions in the affiliate marketing industry.
Sure, you can find some niche eCommerce affiliate programs offering higher payouts, and they might be worth promoting, but there isn't an affiliate network around that offers you comparable product inventory, conversion power, and commission structure to rival the Amazon Associates program.
That said, if you can get into the Home Depot affiliate program- test out how it converts for you. It's a well-known brand that is doing a lot right when it comes to on-page conversion.