For the last 20 years, affiliate marketing has become more and more popular as a way of gaining money through simple steps, and more companies are providing better programs to make your experience as an affiliate easier; providing simple tools, a big variety of products, helpful marketing advice, and much more.
Simply, an affiliate is a person commissioned for directing an audience towards a certain product or service, through sharing a link to this product on their website or blog.
As soon as a purchase is made through that link, the affiliate gets their percentage.
If you’re one of those people interested in this field, you should probably check out this article, where I’ll provide you with information about different affiliate programs, things to consider when choosing the product you’d like to promote, and multiple other related topics to help you with your decision.
Top 5 Affiliate Programs
There are many affiliate programs, and networks, out there with a variety of cookie lives, commission rates, and other features.
A cookie life is the period of time during which you get a commission if someone purchases the product, or service, that you shared the link to. You should consider these options before choosing your program.
The following list includes five different affiliate programs. Hopefully, it’ll include all the information you need.
1. Clickbank – Best Choice for Beginners
You’re new to this world, and you’d prefer to start small and build your way to the top gradually. If this is your case, then Clickbank is your best option.
With its easy, free sign-up process and its many digital products such as audiobooks, and e-books and software, you’ll find yourself earning a commission in no time.
It might not be as popular as Amazon or eBay, but it’s a good way to start your affiliate experience. Besides, they pay fairly high commissions and offer you a wide range of products to promote, which makes it easier for you to find a bigger audience, resulting in even bigger commissions.
- Easy to use, with free sign up
- Up to 70%+ commission
- A variety of products
- Allows you to sign up as an affiliate and a vendor at the same time
- Not as popular as other well-known networks
- Relatively high charges on inactivity
- Some products are scammy
2. CJ Affiliate – Best Choice for Experienced Affiliates
A more popular choice is CJ Affiliate, although it’s much more complicated than the simple methods of Clickbank.
It basically depends on you having previous knowledge of how affiliate programs work. With a variety of well-recognized brands to promote, to a huge base of advertisers to select from, CJ Affiliate is worth the effort.
Also, there’s no fear that it might be a scam; due to its long history and well-known reputation. CJ Affiliate has its own features that’ll help you on your path as an affiliate, working to improve your marketing and aid you where you want to go.
- Easy to sign up
- Variety of popular brands
- Huge selection of advertisers
- In-depth reporting features; so you’ll know where your blog or website is standing
- Direct payment
- More features and tools
- More complex system
- Difficult to get accepted by some programs
3. Amazon Associates – Popular Choice
Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of, or bought at least one thing through Amazon? Amazon has its own affiliate program, backed by its reputation.
No one can deny the volume of products, and the steady base on which Amazon stands, which makes it a very approachable option if you want to start affiliate marketing.
You’ll easily find products to sell, and people will be swiftly swayed to make purchases or click on the links in your website if you provide them with products through such a trustworthy company.
Therefore, it’ll be a piece of cake for you to get an audience. However, it might be a little low on the commission side, with a percentage of only 10%+.
The commissions vary according to the category, with the highest commissions being of cosmetics and beauty products, and the lowest being of video games, with only 1%+.
- A well-trusted company and popular marketplace
- You can sell anything on Amazon
- Very easy to use
- Low commissions
4. ShareASale – Best Learning Experience
ShareASale has one of the biggest affiliate marketing programs, with special features to aid you on your journey.
With its professional, active team of experts, it takes great care of its affiliates. They’ll help you choose the most suitable products for you, saving you the trouble of wasting your time. Besides, they provide affiliate marketing classes and newsletters regularly.
Also, ShareASale uses helpful tracking technology. Working in real-time, you’ll see your clicks and purchases as they happen in the moment, and you won’t have to wait. This goes for both affiliate and merchant, which improves your experience.
Their technology is called Advanced Tracking; not only can you track who purchased your product, but you can also use this tool to do other things like track multiple stores if you’re a
merchant, know if the customer is returning or a new customer, and work offline.
- A helpful guide to affiliate marketing
- Variety of products to promote
- Efficient tracking technology
- Active customer support
- High payout threshold
- Some merchant programs have been reported to be deleted without warning
- If your balance is too low, your account might be deleted
5. eBay Partner Network – Best Choice for New Blogs
For many years now, eBay has been a large platform through which buyers and sellers meet, using auction-like methods to sell products.
In 2008, eBay launched its affiliate program, eBay Partner Network, encourages affiliates -publishers in eBay language- to promote their products through their own blogs, social media platforms, or websites.
If you have one of those, you can easily make money on eBay. Simply, choose a product that you trust will capture your audience’s attention, create a trackable affiliate link to that product, then share it on your blog or website.
You’ll immediately get your commission when one of your followers clicks on the link and buys this product.
- You’re welcome to join even if you have zero traffic on your website
- EPN is backed by a stable company that has been around for many years
- Commissions are paid through PayPal or direct deposit
- You can earn between 50% – 70%
- You earn extra money when a new buyer or a reactivated buyer (who hasn’t made a purchase through eBay in 12 months) makes a purchase through your affiliate link
- Cookies lifetime is only 24 hours
- No flat commission rates: they can vary based on the volume of traffic or the quality of traffic you have sent
Making Money With Affiliate Programs
So is it worth it? Can you make a living through affiliate marketing? The answer is yes, but it’s not that simple. Getting to the point where you earn a full income through these programs take a lot of work and experience, just like everything else in life. To make it a bit easier, I’ll mention a few general steps to how to get there.
Choose Your Niche
Basically, focusing your search on a niche will make it much easier for you to head on to the next step. Think about what you like, whether or not it’s popular enough or if it’s needed any more, and finally, if people will actually pay money for it.
Build A Website
Your website has to be running with quality content before becoming an affiliate. Although some programs don’t require certain traffic rates, you’ll definitely need this in most affiliate programs.
Grow Your Email List
This is a very important step, so you’d better make some effort widening your email list. An easy way to achieve this is by adding customized pop-ups to your site.
Choose Your Affiliate Products
It’s finally time to choose the product you want to promote. It has to be related to your niche, and you have to know for certain that your followers will love it. Choose the affiliate network or program that best fits your needs, and provides the product you have in mind, then sign up.
The transactions are pretty easy once you go through those programs. To help you choose the right product to promote, here’s a guide to make this easier.
Track Your Transactions
Some programs, as mentioned above, have real-time tracking tools which will help you see how you’ve progressed.
Now you know how to do it, just keep going and promoting products the same way, and gradually, you’ll start making a living out of the process. Even while you’re asleep.
Challenges of Affiliate Marketing
As with everything digital and everything period, we’re faced with several challenges in the process. Affiliate marketing has its own challenges that you should consider, and learn to overcome.
Selecting Your Niche
It can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning; you don’t know where to start, and what to choose. The easiest way to avoid this is to check the merchants’ lists on affiliate networks, and choose the category that captures your interest and would generate a lot of content in the future.
Directing Your Traffic
This could also be a challenge, because you need to reach out to the right type of customers, the ones you know will make a purchase. Again, this can be solved through your website.
Building the right traffic there, then directing them to your affiliate link will do the trick.
Keeping Your Business Running
Your traffic might run low at some point; your content could lose its effect if it’s not properly managed.
You must have the proper knowledge to attract more people to click your link. In order to do this, you must learn how to keep people tied to your website, and how to keep your ideas unique and endless; so you’ll never run out of quality traffic.
Why use affiliate marketing?
Primarily, because it’s one of the simplest ways to make money from home, or anywhere you want, by literally, a click of a button. The whole process is simple, and once you get over the common challenges in this field, it’ll get easier as time passes.
Can I do affiliate marketing without a website?
Yes, you can. Although, I’d recommend already having a website because many affiliate program managers require data related to your website: your content and how you can use it to promote their products, and how big your audience is.
There are, however, other ways to do this without a website:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Video marketing
- Offline efforts
Does Amazon Associates pay for clicks?
Amazon Associates pays for action. When someone purchases the product you’ve promoted, you get your commission. But if you keep directing the audience this way, you might get several dollars per click.
How can I increase sales as an affiliate?
There are some easy steps you can use to keep your purchases recurring:
- Post your affiliate links on a regular basis.
- Buy the products yourself, and post honest reviews about them.
- Build a loyal audience.
- Make comparisons between your products and other similar products.
My Top Pick – ShareASale
Naturally, every single one of the previously mentioned programs has its pros and cons, and you’ll choose whatever suits you.
According to my research, I find ShareASale a promising choice due to its flexibility, learning tools, and impressive tracking services. If you’re looking to improve yourself in affiliate marketing, learn additional information in the process, and enjoy a good commission, then this is your right place.
However, if you’d like a more stable network with more experience in marketing, I’d suggest Amazon Associates or eBay Partner Network.