Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money with your blog. But with so many affiliate marketing programs to choose from, how do you know which ones are the best?
In this blog post, I’m going to cover the best affiliate networks I’m personally a member of that have helped me make money blogging the last 15+ years.
Affiliate Marketing FAQ
What is affiliate marketing?
Before I get started, what is affiliate marketing? When you partner with an affiliate network, you earn a commission for referring customers to their product or service.
For example, with Amazon’s affiliate program, you can be paid 4% of every sale generated via your unique affiliate link. But don’t despair, there are other high-paying affiliate networks that pay much higher than 4%.
What is an affiliate link?
When you join an affiliate program, you are provided a unique tracking link that ties the purchase (if any) back to your account. It usually looks something like this:
The link above is my affiliate link for Grammarly. If someone purchases Grammarly Pro via my link, I earn a $20 commission.
Note: If you want to hide your ugly affiliate links, use the ThirstyAffiliates plugin for WordPress. With this plugin, my affiliate link for Grammarly looks like this instead:
Why should you try affiliate marketing?
If you want to make money blogging, it helps to have different revenue streams coming in, both active and passive.
Most monetization strategies for blogs are active, such as ads and selling products. But affiliate network is more passive. That’s because you can insert affiliate links into your blog posts (both new and old) and earn money from those links for as long as your blog is around.
How does affiliate marketing fit in a blog’s monetization strategy?
There are a few good ways for blogs to make money. Each come with their own downsides. Here are the best ways to monetize your blog.
When you make money with display ads such as Google Adsense or Mediavine, you’re relying entirely on what an ad network is willing to pay you. If they don’t like your traffic quality or your traffic volume decreases, they can and will cut your payment or even remove you from the ad network.
Sell your own products
You have to create a product and actively sell it. This means you have to be on social media putting yourself out there, developing new products, and handling customer service.
You write an article meant to make money with affiliate marketing. You write it once, and if this topic is evergreen, you will continue to see the fruits of your labor for years to come!
Best affiliate marketing programs
As you can see, there are some benefits to choosing to monetize via affiliate marketing. So, how can you get started? Here are the best affiliate marketing programs to start with.
One of the most dominant affiliate networks out there, ShareASale, is a top-tier affiliate network with connections to over 4,500 merchants worldwide. ShareASale promotes merchants from every corner of the world on every topic and category imaginable.
With ShareASale, you’re given the opportunity to forge individual connections and relationships with every vendor you’re signed up with. From within their member’s area, you can even contact your affiliate manager and ask for a pay raise if you’re bringing in the volume to justify a rate increase.
What to promote here
ShareASale is a great option for physical and digital products and downloads. If your blog is in the digital marketing space, you can find vendors selling WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, or hosting providers to name a few.
You can also connect with plenty of physical product vendors from small businesses to vending giants like Wayfair, NFL, Reebok, and more.
ShareASale’s commission rates and niches depend on the vendor, though most are quite competitive with other affiliate marketing networks. The minimum payout for ShareASale is $50, but with so many vendors to choose from you can make several affiliate deals at once and hit your payout limit quite quickly.
With literally thousands of options to choose from, no matter your blog niche you’re sure to find an affiliate merchant to partner with.
Patterned after the original highly successful Affiliate Window, Awin provides immediate connections with over 13,000 different merchant partners.
What to promote here
You can find both physical and digital products at Awin. Awin partners you can promote include Etsy, AliExpress, HP, UnderArmour, and Gymshark, to name a few.
Awin charges a $5 sign-up fee when you sign up (weird, I know). That fee is refunded once you’re approved, and the minimum payout for the site is just $20. That means you can get paid after just a few sales.
Your commission rates are of course going to vary by the merchant. But with so many different size brands to partner with, you can surely find a good fit for your blog.
Awin has a user-friendly dashboard so you can easily apply to programs and get your affiliate links. That is, of course, after applying and being approved first.
Awin is one of the biggest affiliate networks around, generating $12.4 billion in revenue for advertisers in the past year alone. Of that $12.4 billion, $900 million of it went back directly into the hands of their affiliate partners (source).
Founded in 2008, FlexOffers has a decade of affiliate experience under its belt. Still a relatively new affiliate network, FlexOffers has amassed an impressive list of programs to promote. They now have over 12,000 merchants in over 25 niches and across 27 different countries.
Hundreds of new merchants join FlexOffers each week, meaning that your opportunities as an affiliate marketer are constantly expanding with FlexOffers by your side.
FlexOffers also provides a uniquely tailored and personal approach to affiliate marketing. Every new member is assigned a dedicated affiliate manager. They will serve as your personal guide to navigating affiliate marketing and the different vendors available through FlexOffers.
What to promote here
With one of the most modern and updated affiliate dashboards available, FlexOffers consistently highly performs with both big and small brands. Well-known names like Macy’s Skechers, and Lenovo dominate the app, but there’s also many other smaller brands to choose from.
Commission rates are competitive and in line with other affiliate marketing platforms. The minimum payout here is a low $50, which is always great. That means if you promote 5 brands and make $10 each, you can still get paid since your payouts are combined.
FlexOffers is a top choice for many different types of affiliate marketers, not just for bloggers. Plus, the personalized attention from your own dedicated affiliate manager is a nice touch that most affiliate networks don’t provide.
Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, FlexOffers will get you set up with competitive rates and payouts to help you monetize your blog in no time.
Amazon Associates is probably the most popular affiliate marketing program in the world, mostly due to the reach of its parent company, Amazon.
What to promote here
Amazon Associates is unique in that their commissions stretch beyond the direct item you link towards. You get a commission for every new purchase made through your link. You get it regardless of whether it was the original product that was promoted!
Each commission is paid out on a flat-rate commission structure that sees you paid a flat percentage based on the category of every product that’s sold.
Amazon’s commission rates range from 1 to 10% depending on the category of item. You’ll find most Amazon-branded products get a higher commission rate, like Amazon Prime or Amazon Fire tablets.
As far as payouts go, you can cash out your Amazon Associates earnings for as little as $10, making it one of the best immediate platforms for affiliate marketing tools.
Since Amazon is also the dominant force in eCommerce, you’ll find people are more likely to purchase from your link because of the built-in trust factor. This makes Amazon Associates a great affiliate program for beginner bloggers.
The beauty of the Amazon Associates affiliate network is that you can earn commission on almost everything. As far as affiliate programs for physical products are concerned, nobody beats Amazon.
Clickbank has been around for over two decades and remains one of the most popular affiliate networks active today. But you’ll find that Clickbank is far different than any other affiliate network on this list.
That’s because Clickbank isn’t a place to find big brands selling physical goods. What you’ll find here is a focus on digital products like ebooks, courses, and membership sites.
With Clickbank, you can even launch your own affiliate program within the system! If you sell digital products, you can list them all in the Clickbank marketplace and have marketers sell your digital products for you.
What to promote here
There are more than six million unique products to promote here in every imaginable niche.
Thanks largely to their focus on digital products, you won’t earn a higher commission rate anywhere else. Some Clickbank merchants offer upwards of 75% of the sale to you, the affiliate.
Since there are so many products to promote here (over 6 million!), it’s worth researching the products first. You always want to test out a product or service you’ll be recommending to your audience.
ClickBank pays out at just $10 in commissions, making it easy to get paid quickly depending on how fast your money gathers. You can get paid every week as well, one of the fastest turnaround times of any affiliate marketing program.
Every merchant commission goes directly to you, so you won’t have to split with the site at all. Unfortunately, they also have a generous refund policy, which can make it hard for you to count on the income you have as being consistent.
If you’re looking for a network to promote digital content with very high commissions, ClickBank is the affiliate network for you.
You might know of Rakuten as a direct rebates store that allows you to earn money while you shop. But as a marketer, you can provide those same links to your audience and earn something back from them yourself.
What to promote here
Rakuten is a great option for getting access to around a thousand merchants of high-quality affiliate marketing content that will provide you with plenty of opportunities to promote and connect with other affiliates or content marketers.
Rakuten Marketing provides both small and large affiliate marketing opportunities. Notable big namers are brands like Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, and even Papa John’s Pizza.
Rakuten is stacked with household names and has been ranked the number one affiliate network for nine straight years by top industry publications, meaning that Rakuten Marketing will not disappoint.
The average commission rate for Rakuten depends on the merchant, and payments are turned over to you as soon as Rakuten gets paid.
They offer direct deposit, check, and PayPal payments once you hit a minimum benchmark of $50.
Overall, Rakuten is great for established bloggers looking to break into the affiliate network routine. But, it’s probably not best suited if you’re just getting started and need more support.
As an eCommerce mainstay, eBay has been dominating the internet since 1995. Their affiliate program, the eBay Partner Network, however, has been around since 2008.
What to promote here
eBay currently has over a billion listings, meaning that you will literally never run out of opportunities or products to promote on your blog. Every purchase and link is backed by eBay, meaning that as a partner you’re guaranteed a safe and secure payment line every time.
eBay’s Partner Network pays out as low as $10, meaning it’s easy to get paid quickly through the Partner Network. You’ll earn between 50-70% of eBay’s commission on the product. This can reduce your initial payment but overall works out when you consider the sheer volume of listings available.
The vast amount of products available makes the eBay Partner Network a numbers game. So it’s in your best interest to affiliate as many products as possible in order to boost your revenue.
Auctions can also be helpful here because as the price gets driven up, so does your income. You can also promote used items here, making this a more sustainable partner network and affiliate marketing program for you to use.
eBay Partner Network is a great overall choice if you want to promote physical products through a large, trustworthy company. It would also be great if you’re looking to promote niche products, such as collectibles or rare items.
Overall, this is a unique and eclectic affiliate network that will work very well for many bloggers.
Wrapping it up
So, which affiliate marketing program will you join? As for me, I have joined them all! There are plenty of great products to recommend to your audience, regardless of your blog niche.
If you happen to be in a niche that’s difficult to monetize, there’s always Amazon Associates, where you can find books or other related products to recommend.
Which affiliate network are you a member of and what products do you promote on your blog? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,