If you're stepping into the affiliate marketing scene with the idea of making money, then somewhere along the line, you are going to need to pick an affiliate program to partner with.
If you’re doing content marketing, but haven’t yet decided to use it as an income, I advise you to (at least) read this blog post to see what’s possible with the use of these totally free affiliate programs.
If you have a great website that gets readers but it is still not monetized through some kind of affiliate program, then I am sure you understand that you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
The overarching goal of this website is to help you understand how to best monetize your online business and today I’ve compiled a list for you - based on my own personal experiences - that will reveal the best 4 affiliate programs for beginners.
All affiliate programs listed below on this list are:
- 100% Free to join
- Easy to use and also
- Have great commission payouts (if done right).
If you have no idea what I am talking about, read on as I’m going to give you a quick look at what affiliate programs really are, which ones are the best to use and also a free training courses you can use to learn how to use them better.
Let’s get into it, I am sure you’re very eager to start earning money with affiliate marketing.
So What Are Affiliate Programs?
Affiliate programs are where you can 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 10% commission and you get $10 for each sale.
Sell one of those per day, you have an extra $300 a month, sell 10 items for $10 a day and you’ll make $3000 per month.
There is really no limit to how much money you can earn really – there are people making well into the millions using this simple affiliate marketing model.
If you think this all sounds a bit overrated, 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 can make some great side income or even build a flourishing business out of this.
Is it easy?
Obviously not; if it were, there wouldn’t be so many blogs teaching it and there will be a lot more people doing it.
It’s a skill that you have to learn, I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for close to 7 years now and although I do ok with my businesses online, I know there is way, way more to be done if I just continue learning and experimenting.
I have a full-time income doing this but I know it’s possible to do 1000x of what I am doing right now.
Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?
You may have heard/asked this question before and here’s my answer to that:
If people are telling you this then they do not understand how exactly affiliate marketing works.
Yes there are some affiliate networks and programs that should not be trusted but don’t worry, today you will have a list of the 4 best affiliate programs out there right now – 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 look at these affiliate programs (or networks) that you can try.
*An affiliate network is a site that allows products creators to create an affiliate network using their system.
If I were to start selling an item that I’ve created with the help of affiliates, I can either create a “program” for that myself independently or else use an “affiliate network” and use their own.
They’re basically the same thing if you’re a beginner and have no intention of creating your product anytime soon.
However, there is a mixture of both below but we’ll just call them “programs” for the sake of simplicity here.
The Amazon Associates Program
I am a huge fan of the Amazon Associates Program and it’s not only because it’s great to use but on a more personal level; it was where I made my first sale as an affiliate marketer and it’s also the first paycheck I ever received as an affiliate.
It was a whopping $0.87c 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 see what Amazon has to offer and why I think it would be right for you:
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 to 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 customers if you wish.
Any niche – no matter how weird or abstract it may be – I am sure there is a product tied to it that is sold on Amazon and if you look to find one and don’t see it, refresh the page as they add products so quickly there that you never know.
Amazon Is A Trusted Brand
I am sure that when I said “Amazon” you were not thinking about selling boat trips in the Amazon jungle right?
Amazon is a global brand that is recognized by anybody that has ever bought anything in their lives, I’m sure. 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 retailer 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.
Yes, 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 official 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.
Some of my other guides about the Amazon affiliate program:
- How To Build Amazon Niche Websites
- How To Promote Amazon Products On Your Blog
- Affiliate Marketing With Amazon: A Quick Intro Guide
- 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” in this case 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 commissions 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).
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 but as I said, it has cleaned up its act now and it’s making a great comeback.
Personally, I have not made much happen with Clickbank but I do know a lot of who people did (and still do).
The reason I do not use Clickbank nowadays is mostly that the products I want to sell I can find elsewhere so it makes no sense for me to actively use it.
I might get the odd sale from some old product I used to promote, but that’s about it.
Wealthy Affiliate Affiliate Program
Now you may not find Wealthy Affiliate on too many lists of “great affiliate programs” but I’m going to be mentioning it for these 3 very reasons:
- I make the most money with it
- I do think it’s the best in the world when it comes to its services and
- It also teaches you how to use it!
Wealthy Affiliate is an online training course that is available for you to join to learn the art of building online businesses, mainly through the use of “affiliate marketing”.
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 “WA” to other people.
It’s not a pyramid-scheme or an MLM; it’s an affiliate *program and it’s by far the best one I’ve used for many years.
Now I’m not mentioning it to sell it to you, although if interested you can see my Wealthy Affiliate review here.
I want to show you how great this affiliate program really is, even for beginners.
Let’s take a look at why I think Wealthy Affiliate is a great affiliate program:
High Commission Rates
At Wealthy 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: $59 = $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 WA 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 the permission to ask people directly to join and try it out and it gives them 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.
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 in 2016, you can see the video below:
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
Obviously, you would agree with me that Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to make money as an affiliate and it’s true; it is – especially when you are also being thought “how to sell WA” by WA itself.
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.
You can see my full Wealthy Affiliate review here or
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 blog topic + affiliate program” and that should turn up some programs or networks that you can apply for.
You Will 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, then use SiteRubix to create a free one.
Once you do that and you are serious about trying affiliate marketing, you can move everything (with ease) to your own website/domain.
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. However, as a premium member, you will have higher payouts.
UPDATE: More Affiliate Programs (Reviews)
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:
- Crypto For Affiliates: Earn Money Promoting Crypto Affiliate Programs
- 5 Email Marketing Affiliate Programs (Ranked)
- Where To Find Affiliate Programs Worth Joining
- 5 Beauty Affiliate Programs For Fashion Bloggers & YouTubers
- How Do Affiliate Programs Work?
- SellHealth Affiliate Network Review (All You Need To Know)
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.
Thanks again, until next time.