Table of Contents
- Quick Basics: What Is An Affiliate Program Anyway?
- Get Insider Info On The Top Rated High Paying Affiliate Programs I Use To Make Over $5,000 A Month Online
- More About The Affiliate Programs I Make Money With (and which one’s would be a good fit for bloggers and affiliate marketers)
- The Top 5 Best Affiliate Programs (in my opinion) That Pay Me Reliably Every Month
- WARNING 🙂
They got the help they needed before making a purchase, and I made $.90 cents from their domain purchases… I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you keep building your blog into a reach of 30-40k people, it adds up fast!
WIN WIN — pretty cool right!?
The list of companies that offer affiliate programs is almost endless, so why not pick the ones that pay well and offer great products and services you use yourself, and can feel good about right? So in this article, I’m going to cover the companies and affiliate programs I used the most when starting my blog, which ones would be best for beginners, and ideas on how bloggers and niche website owners can select and promote programs to earn more income in an ethical and positive way.
Summary: (in a hurry?)
Here’s the quick list of the top 7 best affiliate marketing programs I’ve found to make good money, for anyone who wants start making money with affiliate marketing, blogging, or vlogging on Youtube. These are the programs I used to go from $00.00 to several thousand dollars per month in less than a year…
- Amazon – my first few dollars that I made from blogging, came from the Amazon Affiliate Program. Still to this day, it’s one of my top earning affiliate programs, and will continue to be because so many people are (*hint – super important) ALREADY buying there, trust the platform, and Amazon themselves provides excellent service over mom and pops when it comes to shipping. (ask me how I know!)
- Bonus – read the rest of this page to see examples of how I made my first $100 bucks
- ShareASale – after I was making several hundred dollars per month from my blog and YouTube channel, I realized there were a few software services I was already using from my day job, and other products I knew well, that I could also review or already owned. Software examples include: Freshbooks, WPEngine, Shopify, Trekdesks, Namecheap, Picmonkey, and Studiopress to name a few. All of these companies (and a lot more…I’m now an affiliate partner for 59 companies within ShareAsale, which gives me a lot more diversity) host their affiliate program on the ShareAsale network, so I joined and applied to start branching out a bit. It has worked out well, they pay on time, and are legit.
- CJ – Commission Junction wasn’t my favorite affiliate network in the beginning, but I’m quickly beginning to like it more and more, simply because of the increased merchant availability. In some ways I forced to use them more, since reputable companies that I’ve been using for years like LiquidWeb, terminated their in-house affiliate program, and moved to the Commission Junction platform instead. I ended up finding 17 more complimentary companies for other things I was already familiar with and have used myself, like business cards, Volusion, Xero, etc… A lot of other people are attracted to CJ as well for their access to affiliate programs of companies like Zappos, Verizon, Home Depot, Under Armour, and on and on.
- Google Adsense/YouTube – While I don’t advise using Google Adsense on your website/blog, earning passive income from YouTube ads has been really cool. It’s not a lot, but increases proportionally to the amount of work you put in. I regularly make over $100 a month JUST from YouTube ads, and this doesn’t include the other methods of monetization either. (this still gets me excited, since it truly is PASSIVE INCOME!!!) Pretty neat right!?!
- Ebay – The eBay Affiliate Program is another platform where millions and millions of people are already buying things, and frequently even request to purchase there… even in 2017. (hah!) This ain’t my first rodeo with eBay, but when items were going out of stock on Amazon last year for a mountain bike I reviewed, people were asking me if the items listed on Ebay were legit or knockoffs… and requesting links to other places to buy! (this is just another example of how you come across multiple opportunities to use affiliate programs you never would have expected to use, but by having a platform and chugging along everyday new opportunities reveal themselves all the time.)
- Flexoffers – I’m relatively new to this platform, but signed up after people were asking me if there are other ways to get free gift cards for Amazon (Swagbucks) aside from getting manufacturers to send you products to review like mattresses, sleep masks, etc… Then I noticed a ton of other good companies I was already using like Life Extension, Knownhost, Udemy, Lending Club for those who have debt and need a cheaper loan, or for investors that want to invest their money in p2p… and even other cool products I haven’t tried yet like Organify from Drew Canole. (I heard about Drew from Russell Brunson, the creator of Click Funnels and Expert Secrets, along with the popularized “webinar method” for the Affiliate Bootcamp.)
- Linkshare/Rakuten – Linkshare is the most recent platform I’ve been experimenting with, and testing out companies like Fiverr, Walmart, Udemy etc… Some of these companies are listed in multiple affiliate networks, but generally the payout is the same except for certain verticals. The nice thing about signing up for networks is, once you enter you EIN or personal tax info so they can pay you, you don’t have to keep doing it over and over every time you apply to promote a new company… Every time you sign up with a company who manages their own in-house affiliate program, it’s the same info over and over for each one. (very time consuming, and I don’t like doing it one bit!)
- Bluehost – The most tried and true way of ethically promoting products and services as an affiliate, is to choose companies that you have personally used or recommend. Now this doesn’t mean that Bluehost is the only in-house affiliate program I could make this money with, it could be any web hosting company you choose… but this is a good example of how to make affiliate commissions on services you use in everyday life. (I use Bluehost in my blogging tutorials for all beginners, since there’s no need for them to waste money on a more expensive blog host when they have no traffic when starting out… and then I have separate WordPress hosting guides for people looking to speed up WordPress after they’re making good money and have a lot more traffic.)
Quick Basics: What Is An Affiliate Program Anyway?
Some people aren’t exactly sure what an affiliate program is, and more importantly, why a company would pay you to send them sales. So really quick, I want to cover this, because by better understanding this, you’ll have a much better idea on where you fit in the equation and how to create more value for a WIN WIN relationship between you and the companies themselves.
So what is an affiliate program? It’s very simple really…
You sell products for companies, and get paid a commission or signup bonus on those sales you refer.
Why would a company be willing to pay ME for customers?
If you Google what is an affiliate program, and how do they work, you’ll find a bunch of nonsense about how companies are willing to give you a portion of their customers sales and yada yada yada. This is essentially bullshit, and what’s really going on, is you are either a recruiter for a company, OR you offer a cheaper sales channel than their best option for advertising.
Sound confusing? It’s not, let me explain…
Let’s take a big company like Freshbooks for example… they’re a top tier software company, who provide a service to millions of people right? To get their message in front of those millions, they only have so many advertising choices, and most of them are expensive. So if you’re willing to promote their service, it’s cheaper for them to pay you a percentage of sales, than it is to continue to pay for television ads. (kind of an extreme example, but you get the point) Then there is this little thing called recurring revenue, and recurring users. A company is also likely to have a loss leader in order to gain subscribers, so if you have an audience that is a good fit for that, they’re willing to give you money. Any point of leverage that gives them access to new customers, is why they create an attractive affiliate program/offer in the first place… to be able to create connections with influencers, do joint ventures with other companies, have a heard of promoters for the next product launch, etc…
Will it cost my readers extra money because I make money?
No not at all, the merchant fees all come out of the merchant side for your commissions. Customers pay the same whether they go through your affiliate link or not… which is another reason why they’re HAPPY to come back and use your link if you have saved them time, money, frustration, etc… (as a real life example of this, it would be just like the emails I get for this standing desk chair review video I did in my office. People were spending hours and hours trying to find a drafting chair that was high enough for a standing desk, just like I researched at one time. It was a pain in the ass to find, so I thought I’d make a video about it to help out the next guy, and avoid wasting money on that silly wobble stool I bought. It turns out, a lot of other people have the same problem, and it’s very helpful.)
Also what a lot of people don’t consider, is in a lot of cases if you can build up enough of a reputation for doing cool stuff, certain companies will give you an exclusive discounts like I get after working with them for over a year… And be able to pass that discount on to my readers (same service, but they would pay more unless they used my aff link since the discount code is automatically embedded). At that point, it really becomes cool, because you can help people out by saving them time, money, frustration, AND save them money! (and who doesn’t like that right?!)
Get Insider Info On The Top Rated High Paying Affiliate Programs I Use To Make Over $5,000 A Month Online
So I’ve already started dropping some hints above about how you leverage these affiliate programs to start making extra money for yourself, but the underlying principle that makes the wheels go around is creating value and helping people.
I subscribe to a belief that if you’ve struggled with it, most likely thousands if not hundreds of thousands of other people are too. This presents massive opportunity that is very unique in each of our own lives, and the internet allows us to connect with millions of people thousands of miles away from our social circle and hometown. A lot of people look at this and say… well someone else is already doing this, it’s too saturated. That is a bit naive, because you don’t know what you don’t know. You haven’t experienced what it’s like to have a bit of success with it yet, and begin to open your eyes at the opportunity. And I won’t lie to you, it is hard in the beginning, because you have to work at it and build momentum for a little while when nothing seems to be happening. But if you think about what you can create long term, and how many people you can help if you want to big picture, this whole lifestyle blogging and affiliate marketing thing is a pretty cool gig!
How Do You Decide Which Affiliate Programs To Start With That Will Make The Most Money?
That question it itself, is flawed. What you should be asking is, what is one thing I have in my house right now that I bought, that I know well, that I could make a video on TODAY!? You need to get started before you can get picky, because refinement is a privilege you haven’t earned yet.
But what about making the most money possible?
Sure, you want to make sure everything backs out, but if you focus on value and not on the money, the doors will open as you build out your foundation. YOu may see other people doing the same thing as your idea, but that doesn’t matter because you can’t do it the way they do it, and they can’t do it the way you will do it.
[but that’s a good thing] because that makes it easy for you to promote quality stuff you would use yourself, and recommend to friends and family. That’s my litmus test on whether of not I will promote a product, but fortunately for me, thus far I buy enough stuff to where I’ve never had to go out looking for good affiliate programs to promote… I simply review everything I buy, and the stuff I like, I go and find an affiliate program for that company, and for the stuff I hate… well, I say how much I hate it (like in this gopro session review video) and stop buying from that company usually altogether. (there are exceptions to the rule like with anything in life… for example, I’ll try another Gopro product again since they’re making drones now, but just not another Session camera even if they have a new model of it.) Make sense?
More About The Affiliate Programs I Make Money With (and which one’s would be a good fit for bloggers and affiliate marketers)
So I added a summary section above, with some teaser info about how I started using them, which one’s allowed me to increase and diversify my income, and so on. By the time you read this, that may have changed a little bit as I continue to ramp up my blog and update this post along the way. I started writing this post in December of 2016, and will continue to add new ideas as I grow.
Amazon Affiliate Program (Amazon Associates)
As it stands right now, the Amazon affiliate program is my #1 earner. I also think this happens to be the best affiliate program for beginners, but not because I make the most money from it… I think they have the widest variety of products, on a platform that people already trust, and offer excellent service so you know your friends and family will be well taken care of if you recommend buying something on there.
Is Amazon Associates The Best Affiliate Program For Beginners?
As a habitual weekly buyer on Amazon myself, it’s also the path of least resistance when reviewing products. They have the largest inventory, and most people are already Prime members… so when you do a product review and link to them with your affiliate links, naturally people were most likely to buy from there anyway so it’s the best fit. Sure there are exceptions to this rule, and certain things like highly specialized outdoor gear are better purchased directly from a specialty retailer or manufacturer.
But we’re talking about what’s bets for beginner bloggers and affiliate marketers here. It’s a lot more complicated to setup 20 different in-house affiliate accounts to each product manufacturer when promoting something highly specialized like I mentioned above — compared to just going to another Amazon product page and clicking the drop-down box to grab your next affiliate link.
When you’re starting out, it’s important to realize you need some momentum so you’ll keep working on your craft. Keeping things easy and simple is key, and the Amazon affiliate program is about as easy as it gets.
If you notice in the summary at the top of this page, I added some blurbs about how I started with Amazon, and then over the next several months, kept finding and adding new affiliate programs to my repitroie. That whole time however, I was producing content on things I knew well, doing product reviews, and writing guides to help people. Sometimes it wasn’t until many months later that went back and added affiliate links to old posts, as I signed up for new affiliate programs and applied to new merchants. I couldn’t have done that all at once, so it’s important to just start somewhere, and begin moving forward everyday. The rest will come in time…
Amazon Associates Pros And Cons
Once you get established, and are already making money with Amazon, there a few pros and cons to the platform. Wouldn’t worry about these in the beginning if you’re just starting out as an affiliate marketer or blogger, but on down the road I would take a look at your conversions and see if there are other options after you get established.
For example, when I first started my blog, I just used Amazon for everything (and still do today for most things). But there are times when it becomes a problem, like during the holidays when things sell out and vendors on Amazon don’t have products in stock. The holidays are one of the most profitable times of the year, and it’s important to be on your A-game during this time, so you can keep your earnings increases going after the slump. In some cases, you can go back to old posts, and edit them to add multiple places for readers to buy a product, and give them choices on whether they want to buy direct from the manufacturer, buy everything through Amazon, or even a mixture of specialized retailers that might have limited time BOGO’s and other deals.
This will also help with volatility when it rears it’s ugly head…
Great Alternatives To The Amazon Associates Program
It’s no secret that Amazon will likely cuts commission rates in the coming month. As an affiliate with decent volume, I think my Amazon commission rate is always 8.5% except on select items/categories. (for instance, electronics and whatnot are capped at 2.5% all the time… so if someone buys a laptop I reviewed or something, I get a lower percentage)
it looks like this will get cut in half for a lot of folks, including myself. We may look for alternatives to the Amazon affiliate program, but they’ve built up enough of a user base to where I would imagine they will remain the powerhouse no matter what.
I’m not exactly sure which categories will stay at the rates recently posted, but for things like my construction toys I did an experiment on when I first started, I’ll be swapping (or simply adding) links for other places people may want to buy from. I’ll do some research and see if there are any cheaper prices on other retailers, which parents and others would like during the holidays when money is tighter. I’ve already found some direct merchants listed on the ShareAsale platform for some of these, and would be a good alternative replacement if things continue to go south.
6 Good Amazon Affiliate Program Alternatives
- ShareAsale (many merchants to choose from on the platform)
- Walmart Affiliate Program
- You could also choose to focus more on private products too (blogging books,
The Top 5 Best Affiliate Programs (in my opinion) That Pay Me Reliably Every Month
My new favorite affiliate program, is Commission Junction. While it’s not my highest earning company (Amazon), I’m beginning to earn around $1,000 a month from them, and found a lot of other opportunities to promote companies I’ve been using for years listed there. I knew that had affiliate programs, but I’m only one guy… it took time to go back and realize I had old content and videos that I could add links to, and also spotted some new opportunities as well.
Below is still a work in progress… there’s just WAAAAAY too much to cover. If this post seems off, it’s because this was written over the course of months as I went along. I’m just now getting around to publishing some old content, and everything below this point is going to be a jumbled mess for a while until I can get all my notes and questions in the right order.
I’m going to add a bunch of stuff that most bloggers aren’t talking about, such as two and three tier affiliate programs, whereby you get paid multiple times from those under you. (kind of like an MLM, just without the scam part) 😉
More to come… if you have any questions, be sure to ask them in the comments before I get around to finishing this, and I’ll include yours specifically.
the secret to high paying (and high earnings for you) affiliate programs
Why you don’t see me talk about Adsense
Why other bloggers and affiliate marketers thrive with adsense and display ads
what is a teir 2 affiliate program
teir 3 and multi tier affiliate programs
Why I don’t Promote any MLM affiliate companies
they’re a scam more often than not. There’s nothign wrong with promoting a product you review or use personally everyday as an affiliate… I mean hell it doesn’t cost the customers anything extra, since the couple bucks you make out the purchase comes straight from the manufacturer anyway… but it’s super unethical what some of these MLM companies do to people, and it’s essentially a house of sand built on false promises, preying on desperate people. I don’t want anything to do with that, I don’t care how high the payout is.
promote the hosting company you use for your blog as a teir 2 affiliate
earn commissions on yor readers affiliate accounts
for example, dreamhost, inmotion, wpengine, spam arrest, getresponse, aweber, flexoffers, studiopress, logonerds, diecast models wholesale, bestchoiceproducts, mythemeshop, freshbooks,
here’s a list of WordPress Hosting Companies I feel Are Reliable To Promote
shared hosting companies
managed wordpress hosts
Good teir two affiliate pograms for freelancers to use and promote personally
freshbooks offers a % payout for other people you refer to the program
how to promote? the best way to promote freshbooks is to use it yourself to incoive your graphic design, writing, or web design clients (great solution for this btw!), and then take screenshots or make videos of how you use it to help others looking for a solution.
how you make money with freshbooks? two ways. First, when your readers sign up for a paid account to freshbooks, you’ll earn a commission on that sale… but the even cooler part, is if you show those people how to be a freshbooks affiliate (much like I’m doing with you right now…), you can earn XX on the sales they bring to Freshbooks as well. Pretty cool right!?
embed freshbooks ad image – “how creatives get paid 11 days faster” from their merchant page
top affiliate programs
Why I love (and hate) affiliate networks
many shops under one roof, kind of like a retail strip center. Isn’t it easier to drive to a local plaza and hit 3 to 5 stores in one shot, instead of driving across town to individual retail stores? (I mean, I guess this is kind of why they built malls eh? lol)
so you don’t have to run around and sign up to a ton of different companies affiliate programs, which can be time consuming in itself… not to mention keeping track of all your anaylitcs and payments, if you do blog income reports like I do each month.
Like anythign in life, sometimes there are networks that I just don’t jive with, but are still nessecary because a company or product that I LOVE will have their affiliate program lised there. Most of the big networks I’m mentioning in this post will all pay you reliably, but there is sometimes a lack of “low tech, high touch” if you know what I mean. Unless you’re a big fish, it’s difficult to get responses from some affiliate managers, like I recently experienced when reaching out to new program managers on CJ. (not there fault really, just slow to respond since they’re probably under staffed and likely have thousands of affiliates already to deal with… it’s just not my favorite since the messaging system leaves something to be desired, and contacting outside of the platform itself via phone, doesn’t always ring a bell with who you are upon first contact.)
Overall though, I still prefer networks for trying new affiliate programs, since going direct to a manufacturer can sometimes be a pain to use their in house tracking/payment platform. (especially if you have to manually request payment each month!)
the highest paying aren’t always the best either
out of reach to do decent volume for a lot of people, or flat out unnessecary. This is why I stick by the recommendation to only promote products as an affiliate that you yourself either use personally, or know very very well. (for instance, I may not currently use Pantheon or Kinsta for my blog hosting, but I have ZERO hesitation recommending them and putting my name/reputation behind them, because they are some of the best in the business. In addition to that, I also have a good technical understanding of the server configurations they use, and why they’re awesome web hosts… So just because I use a cheaper option myself until the blog gets more traffic to justify the expense, doesn’t mean I can’t ethically and confidently recommend them. Make sense?
on the other hand, to continue the example, I would NOT feel comfortable promoting some Joe Shmoe wordpress hosting company that has a semi-green offer on web hosting talk, simply because they’re paying out $300 per signup. (they could be taking customers for a ride for all I know, and I’m not going to get in front of the camera and put my face and reputation on the line for a product/service/company that I have no intimate history with, or at the very least, couldn’t reasonably access their quality at quick glance using my experience in the industry.
I would recommend you do the same, otherwise people will eventually find you to be untrustworthy, and willing to promote anything to make a buck. (this is why I hate the idea of sponsored posts so much for things I’m not ALREADY using!) and why I refuse to throw up blog posts for products that manufacturers that get their affiliate manager to ask me to “see how I do, and then maybe we can talk about sending you a demo unit to test.” Uh uh honey, I don’t work that way… I’d rather buy the product myself and be out $1k bucks, than help cause clutte rin someone’s home with another pile of junk.
the 3 best affiliate marketing programs for beginners (and easiest to use and make money quickly on a wide variety of items)
maybe not wpengine, unless you use them yourself, because you probably won’t know all the finder details of good wordpress hosting. And in addition to that, the best way to promote web hosting companies, is to talk about the problems you may have had on your online journey like I have mentioned when my wordpress blog was loading slow, and when I put together the blog hosting buyers guide after using 31 web hosting companies over the last 8 years. (but by all means, use those as example, and apply them to whatever is in your industry/field/area or product niche expertise… for instance, it could be sewing machines and a subscription service to sewing patterns, instead of wordpress themes and blog hosting… as a comparison)
Ps. – I shoudl probably do a separate article on this, since there are a lot of tools I liek and use for this.
But here’s the quick list of things I’ve used over the last couple years and like:
Other people are asking things like:
What’s The Best Web Hosting For Affiliate Marketing?
I’m assuming you want to know which web hosting company has the best payout?? Please stop right there, because just because a web host has a high paying affiliate program, DOES NOT mean they’re worth a shit. Picking a web host is one of the most crutial decisions you will make in this business of blogging and affiliate marketing… simply because if your site has troubles, so does your pocketbook. “You can’t make money online without a website.”
But, I have some goods news for you…
Here are 5 Of The Best High Paying Affiliate Programs From Blog Hosts That Are Reliable and Pay Very Well
top affiliate programs
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top 10 affiliate programs
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commission junction competitors
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affiliate programs for bloggers (that I personally make money with every month)
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– in house or networks
– why I like networks so I can deploy links much faster and get paid all at once instead of tons of checks or wires
– my top 5 favorite affiliate programs
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– list of affiliate programs that earn bloggers good money
– best affiliate programs for bloggers
– macy’s affiliate program
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– blog hosting affiliate programs
– cashback affiliate programs
– how to really make money with the amazon affiliate program
– best affiliate programs to earn money with as a blogger
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landing page tools
wordpress themes and plugins
most popular themes
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list tier 2 aff programs here