If you’re stepping into the affiliate marketing scene with the hopes of making money, then somewhere along the line, you are going to need to pick an affiliate program to join.
Today, I want to share with you what I personally consider to be the 4 best affiliate programs for beginners.
All affiliate programs you’ll find listed below are:
- 100% free to join
- Easy to join (& use) and also
- Have great commission payouts (if done right).
One thing you need to know about affiliate programs is that they do require you to have a website. This is because to make money with affiliate marketing, you are going to need to have a website that gets traffic.
On the other hand, if you do have a website that’s already getting traffic but you’re not yet using affiliate marketing, then I am sure you know you’re leaving a lot of money on the table – and that will change today.
One thing I want to add before I dive in is that these are what I consider to be the best (& easiest) affiliate programs based on my own experiences.
hundreds thousands of affiliate programs out there but what I can tell you is that the following 4 are proven to work, proven to make money and proven to be trustworthy.
If that’s what you’re looking for, keep reading as I am sure you’re very eager to start earning money with affiliate marketing.
What Are Affiliate Programs?
For those who are new, let me just give you a very brief introduction to what affiliate programs are, how they work and we can use them to make money:
An affiliate program is where you go to find products to promote.
If you want to make money online – and you do not have a product of your own to sell, that is a-ok as the internet has made it extremely easy for you to sell other people’s products.
Simply put; affiliate marketing can be described as “working for a commission”.
You sell a $100 product that has a 40% commission rate, and you get $40 for each sale you make.
If you sell one product a day, you make $1200 a month, if you sell 10 products a day, you make $12000 a month.
The best thing about it is there’s no limit to how many products you can sell and there is no limit to how much money you can earn.
There are people making over a million dollars a year simply by using affiliate programs and the affiliate marketing business model.
If you think this all sounds a bit too good to be true, I’d like to ask you to think about how massive internet business really is:
- There are billions of people connected to the internet
- There are millions more being added every day and
- The money being spent online is increasing at a rapid pace.
The market is wide open and yes YOU too can make a great (side) income with this.
Is it easy?
Obviously not. If it was, everybody would do it.
What you need to understand that just like any other business, it takes time, patience and hard work to make it happen.
I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for 6+ years now and even though I now do this full-time (and I have the life I always wanted), I know there is a whole lot more that can be done if I just continue learning and building my businesses one step at a time.
Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?
You may have heard/asked this question before and here’s my answer to that:
No; affiliate marketing is not a scam.
If people are telling you this then they do not understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works.
Yes there are some affiliate programs (and networks) that should not be trusted but don’t worry, today you will have a list of the 4 best affiliate programs, all with a proven track record with years of experience and thousands and thousands of affiliates working with them.
Now that we’ve concluded what affiliate marketing is and how it is done;
Let’s finally look get to the meat of the guide and share with you these 4 very-easy-to-use affiliate programs and/or *networks.
What’s the difference between affiliate programs and affiliate networks?
*An affiliate network is a site that allows creators to create an affiliate program within their system.
For example; if I have a product that I want to sell with the help of affiliates, I can either create a “program” for that myself (independently) or else I can use an “affiliate network” and leverage the system that’s already been built for me.
If you’re just looking for great affiliate programs to promote, the difference is not going to affect you in the slightest.
However, since there is a mixture of both below, we’ll just call them “programs” for the sake of simplicity here.
Let’s get started…
The Amazon Associates Program
I am a huge fan of the Amazon Associates Program not only because it’s great for beginners, but also because of it’s where I made my first sale as an affiliate marketer 9in 2013) and it’s also the first paycheck I ever received as an affiliate.
It was a whopping $0.84c sale (not the check lol) but it made me believe in myself, my business and where I wanted to take it all.
The reason I chose Amazon as one of the best affiliate programs is that it has some truly unique features that make it oh so great.
Let’s now see what Amazon has to offer and why I think it would be right for you:
Amazon Has Thousands Of Products To Promote
There must be thousands (or maybe even millions) of products on Amazon.
I’m not so sure but you’d agree with me when I say that there surely is *something* you can sell on there.
With such a huge database of products, you can find anything that you want and you can also sell it to your traffic if you wish.
Any niche – no matter how weird or abstract it may be – has a product tied to it that is sold on Amazon and if you look to find one and don’t see it, it most likely not a niche you want to be in.
Amazon Is A Trusted Brand
I am sure that when I said “Amazon” you weren’t thinking about the jungle.
Amazon is a global brand that is recognized by anybody that has ever been online.
People know it, people love it and most importantly; people trust it.
When you become an affiliate for Amazon, you are partnering with what I think is the best brand in the world, and you get to share in their profits.
How great is that?
You Make Commissions Off Everything
Something that is unique to Amazon is the fact that you can sell anything on there and you still make money.
Let me explain:
If you have a blog about “seat covers” and you send a customer through one of your affiliate links to Amazon, he might not buy the seat covers, but instead may buy a new humidor for his cigars.
You get the credit for that sale and yes; you make an affiliate commission off the cigar humidor too!
That’s pretty awesome if you think about it!
I have sold so many weird sh*t through my Amazon affiliate links that these odd, unintentional sales are a substantial percentage of every months’ earnings.
The way Amazon works is this:
- If you send a customer and they buy, you get paid.
- If you send a customer but they do not buy, you have 24 hours till their “cookie” times out.
- If you send a customer and he adds the product (along with others) to their carts, you have 30 days until you will no longer be credited.
It’s pretty simple and straightforward but it’s something that gives Amazon a lot of points in my book.
How Much Does Amazon Pay Its Affiliates?
Unfortunately, Amazon is a bit on the low end when it comes to commissions and they start at 4% but can go up to 8.5% depending on units sold.
Here is the current commission rate chart of that:
You may think this is a bit too low but think about all the goods that can be sold with Amazon and also, take the minimal 4% and apply it on a $3,000 watch; that is not a bad payday either.
You just have to figure out what you are going to sell. You can go for the high-end items and sell a few of those or else go with low-priced items and sell a load of them.
It’s your call but one thing is true; Amazon is a great affiliate program for any beginner in this industry.
Looking to become an Amazon Associates? Here are my best guides to become successful:
- How To Build Amazon Niche Websites
- How To Start An Amazon Product Review Blog
- How To Write Amazon Reviews For Your Affiliate Website (Template)
- How To Make Money As An Amazon Associate
The ShareASale Affiliate Network
I also have a soft-spot for Share-a-Sale because my first ever $1000 sale came through there for a site that I still have and still is making money (through Share-A-Sale).
ShareASale is a “network” so there are many companies that use it to sell their products.
All you need to do is to use their search feature and find something that is related to your niche.
Once you find what you are looking for, you can join as an affiliate for that one specific product/item/service.
I can’t tell you much about their commission rates as this all depends on the product you would like to promote.
Keep in mind that commission rates can vary a lot.
As you saw; Amazon starts from 4% but I’ve seen programs offering 80%+ commissions. Thus, you have to find what product you want to promote and go with it.
I have been using Share A Sale for years now and I’ve never had a problem with them and/or any of the companies I’ve worked with through them.
The only thing that bugs me is that they do not have a PayPal option to get paid. (Neither does Amazon by the way).
The ClickBank Marketplace
Clickbank is probably one of the most popular affiliate networks out there as it has been around for quite some time and a lot of people have made a lot of money on Clickbank.
There was a time where I would not have considered Clickbank to be so great but I am glad to see that it is changing.
It has recently undergone an impressive makeover and cleaned themselves up.
There was a short period of time where ClickBank was accepting any product to be sold through its system which led to a lot of garbage products being promoted.
This turned affiliates and customers off Clickbank for a while but as I said, it has cleaned up its act now and it’s making a great comeback.
Just like Share-A-Sale, there are plenty of different offers you can pick so I can’t give you the exact commission rate to expect but since they’re mostly digital products on there, you can find some pretty high rates on there.
I have published a great guide on how to make money with Clickbank just a few weeks ago so take a look at that if you want to try it out.
The Wealthy Affiliate Affiliate Program
Now you may not find Wealthy Affiliate on too many lists of “great affiliate programs” but in my opinion;
This is the best affiliate program for beginners that you can find.
Wealthy Affiliate is an online training course that is available for you to join and learn the art of building online businesses.
It has 2 main courses; one is a course where you will learn how to sell anything in any niche and the other is to sell “Wealthy Affiliate” to other people.
It’s not a pyramid-scheme nor an MLM; it’s an affiliate program and it’s by far the best one I’ve used in all my years as an affiliate.
Let’s take a look at why I think Wealthy Affiliate is a great affiliate program:
High Commission Rates
As an affiliate, you get a commission off every dollar spent by your referral.
This is how it works:
- Free trial: $0 = $0 commissions (obviously).
- First month premium (at a disocunt): $19 = $8 commissions.
- Monthly Premum: $47 = $22.50 commissions (recurring).
- Yearly Premum: $359 = $175 commissions (recurring every year).
That is some good money and there’s also a lot of opportunities to sell Wealthy Affiliate as a service.
Even though it’s mostly for people that want to learn how to earn money online (and who doesn’t if properly shown?), there are other things that people use Wealthy Affiliate for:
- Buying and registering domains.
- Web hosting.
- Keyword research.
- Networking with other affiliate marketers.
The next thing is also an important piece of the puzzle:
They Offer A Free Trial
The reason I like to promote Wealthy Affiliate is that they offer a free trial to anybody that wants to try-before-they-buy.
I know WA is great because I have used it myself and I’ve learned this business using their courses, but I can talk about it all I want but the customer has to make the final decision.
Having that free trial in place gives me “permission” to directly ask people to join and try it out – they have nothing to lose
It’s a win-win for me and for my customers and I like that. I do not want anybody to spend money on a product or system that is just not good for them.
It’s A Recurring Commission Affiliate Program:
If you really want to make great money with affiliate marketing and even build a very successful business online, recurring commissions are something you will want to keep in mind.
You can make a sale once and then it will keep paying you every single month (or year) without having to do any work yourself.
I have students at WA that have been there for nearly 4 years now and I’ve been collecting the commission on that sale ever since.
You Can Go To Las Vegas!!
I have now made Wealthy Affiliate the main source of my income and my goal for the next 2-3 years is to make it to their Las Vegas Conference which they do every year and any affiliate that reaches 300 sales in 1 year get invited!
Yes, if you’re an affiliate of Wealthy Affiliate and you make 300 sales in 1 year, this is your reward:
- An all-expense-paid-for vacation in Las Vegas (flights and hotel included).
- Time to network with other top affiliates along with the WA owners and creators.
- Enjoy a Vegas show or two (on the house).
- Do some gambling (as well on the house).
- and much more.
Here is a video from one of the affiliates that did make it to Vegas:
I’ve been gunning for this goal for a while now and I’m getting closer and closer to it. I have a feeling that it would be 2019 when I finally make it there, but we’ll see.
The Training Is Provided
I’m sure you’d agree that Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to make money as a beginner affiliate and it’s true; it is.
This is even truer when you consider you have dedicated courses on “how to sell Wealthy Affiliate”
The training course that shows you how to do it is called the “Affiliate Bootcamp” and it has 7 levels of training with 10 lessons in each one for a massive collection of 70 video lessons.
There are also 1000s of other courses, webinars, classrooms and lessons you will have access to.
If you’re looking for a great way to learn affiliate marketing and at the same time join a reputable affiliate program which can be considered as a “leading standard”, then, by all means, give Wealthy Affiliate a try.
3 Bonus Tips For Beginners In Affiliate Marketing
Look For Independent Affiliate Programs
These programs are what I use (or used in the past) to make my money and you can join them all with the links I’ve listed with each one.
However, you can also look for affiliate programs yourself by doing this type of search in Google:
Type in “your topic + affiliate programs” and that should turn up some programs or networks that you can apply for.
You Do Need A Website
Most, if not all affiliate programs will require you to have a site up and ready for you to be able to join.
This is to weed out the tire-kickers and leave space for the serious ones.
If you do not have a website yet, use SiteRubix to create a free one using WordPress.
Never Pay To Join An Affiliate Program
You should never pay to become an affiliate for a company.
Affiliate programs are always free and if they ask you for payment before you’re accepted, then do some research on the program and see what others are saying (even though I would advise you to stay away from it regardless).
Having said that, Wealthy Affiliate is a paid program but you can join for free and become an affiliate; for free.
UPDATE: More Affiliate Programs (Reviews & Round-Up Posts)
Since I wrote this blog post, I have also been reviewing a lot of affiliate programs that you may find interesting.
Here are some of my latest ones which you may be considering promoting:
Thank you for reading my list of the best affiliate programs for beginners.
It was a pleasure writing this post and I hope you found it useful. If there is something that is not so clear, then feel free to leave me a comment below in the comment section.
Till next time…