If you’re just starting out in affiliate marketing, it can be hard to know where to begin. That’s why I have put together this list of 15 of the best affiliate programs for beginners.
In this list, you will find a variety of programs with different payment structures and opportunities for success. Best of all, you don’t have to cough up a boatload of money to get started.
I hope that by reading through this list of affiliate programs, you’ll get a better idea of what each program has to offer. This way, you can choose the affiliate program that’s right for your business!
So you Want To Be An Online Business Owner?
Before I jump into the list, I think it is important for you to understand the amazing benefits that come with running your own online business. Personally, I love having an internet business because it is very flexible.
And the best part is you can earn affiliate income anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.
In addition, you get to decide how much time and energy you want to put into your business each day, and there are no limits on what you can achieve.
But, if you’re thinking about running a business online or offline – then there are some things that you should know. You will need to be prepared for the following:
- Tons of hard work
- Learning as much as possible before getting started
- Making mistakes along the way
Starting and growing any type of company takes hard work, dedication, and discipline. But, the thing is – it’s worth it in the end.
Be prepared to do some learning because technology changes at a rapid pace. What is the in thing today, maybe obsolete six months from now.
You can easily keep up with the latest trends in technology by subscribing to technology-related newsletters or blogs.
Lastly, there are so many mistakes that can be made when you’re first starting a business online, and there’s no way of predicting what will work for your particular situation.
That is why I decided to make this list because I made plenty of mistakes when I first started out online. I started with affiliate marketing, but I took a lot of shortcuts to try and make money quickly.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based advertising where the Advertisers, or Publishers, pay commissions to their affiliates for referring customers.
The customer does not need to buy anything; they only have to be referred by an affiliate. Affiliates could include bloggers or content creators who write reviews and post them on their blogs as well as social media influencers with large followings like YouTubers (e.g., PewDiePie) and Instagram stars (e.g., Selena Gomez).
This arrangement is ideal for both parties because the merchant doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising, and the affiliate makes money by promoting the product or service on their blog or website.
Affiliate marketing is also a terrific way for beginners to get their feet wet in the online world. It’s also a great way for more experienced marketers to supplement their income and diversify their streams of revenue.
You can earn commissions by promoting products that are relevant to your audience while gaining valuable experience on how affiliate marketing works.
And if you’re not interested in promoting other people’s products, there are plenty of opportunities out there where you can promote your own product or service.
The one downside of this business model is that sometimes an inexperienced affiliate will try and emulate other affiliate marketers and promote a product but do it so poorly that can potentially affect all other products sold through the affiliate program (or affiliate network).
Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable For Beginners?
Affiliate marketing is profitable for all experience levels. However, for a beginner, the best way to start is with a merchant affiliate program.
Merchant programs are simple because they allow you to make money by simply placing affiliate links, banners, or text on your site pointing to the merchant’s products and services.
There is no absolute need to build a website (although some more advanced affiliates may find this easier). You can simply make a YouTube channel and place your affiliate link in the description. It’s that simple!
The only drawback of these types of programs is that you earn commission from only the sales made through those links. So the trick is to drive steady traffic to whatever medium you have chosen to promote affiliate products.
The goal here is not just about getting paid when someone buys something online; it’s also about building brand awareness so that people become familiar with you.
Over time, you can build a following and reach out to them, and pitch products you want to promote.
Difference Between Affiliate Networks and Affiliate Programs
As you gain more experience, you will start to branch out from affiliate marketing programs to an affiliate marketing network.
The difference between affiliate programs and affiliate networks is the level of service support provided.
While both are based on the same marketing strategy, they have different ways when managing affiliates and the work that goes into a company’s marketing efforts.
Affiliate Marketing Program
An affiliate marketing program is a business agreement where an advertiser agrees to pay an affiliate to promote their products on their channels.
For instance, a blogger or content creator places an affiliate link on their blog, which takes the customer to the advertiser’s website.
Affiliate networks are online marketplaces where Publishers and Advertisers come together to find new audiences. They make the process easier by automating commission payments, approvals for traffic sources, etc.
Affiliate Networks also standardize rates per sale so it doesn’t take as much time for advertisers to find the most qualified affiliates for them. You’ll also have an affiliate manager that oversees your account and provide you with any required support.
What To Look For In A Good Affiliate Program?
There are tons of affiliate marketing programs for beginners, but you just don’t want to jump into just any program. You want to look for a program that includes:
- A reasonable payment threshold
- Commissions that are high enough to give you the potential for an income
- Sign-up procedures that don’t require much of your personal information
Some other qualities you want in an affiliate program are access to affiliate managers and products with great conversion rates. You also want merchants who have strong SEO rankings so that they can compete against competitors in their niche.
Merchants will appreciate if the affiliates provide honest reviews about the product or services being sold by them too since this increases chances of sales and customer retention from happy customers.
The Top 15 Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what affiliate marketing is and how it can be a great introduction for a beginner to start their journey of creating an online business.
Below, I have identified some affiliate marketing programs for beginners that they can get into right now. I have broken down each one and the different features they provide.
Each company offers something different so there will be something perfect for any person looking at starting their own business.
The Amazon Associates Program is one of the top affiliate marketing programs for beginners getting started in affiliate marketing. The reason why is that it is free to join and only requires that you have a functional website.
Amazon’s affiliate program is vast, encompassing all sorts of items available through its online store. They have everything from books to TV shows which means you can easily find anything your heart desires while contributing towards being rewarded by them as well.
In addition, Amazon provides all the tools necessary to identify key products, set up promotional offers, manage ads linking back to Amazon’s website, and track conversions from clicking on those links. They provide everything that an affiliate marketer needs.
The only drawback of Amazon is that they change their commission rates too often and their 24-hour cookie duration constrains customers. This means you may not get the sale on the exact product you are promoting.
ClickBank is also another good affiliate marketing program for a beginner affiliate. ClickBank is a marketplace for digital products. You can buy and sell anything from web-based businesses to e-books.
ClickBank offers you a ton of the best programs that offer high-paying commissions. With their over 17 years of experience, they have access to more than 200 million customers and can help you make up to 75% in commissions on your sales every month!
The downside of going with ClickBank is that since they’ve been around for so long, their Marketplace hasn’t seen any updates in almost two decades. In addition, certain products can result in very high refund rates which can lead to loss of revenue for your affiliate marketing business.
Commission Junction (aka CJ Affiliate is among the most well-known affiliate networks around, one I’ve been utilizing since I have been doing affiliate marketing.
What makes them unique from Amazon is that Commission Junction concentrates on advertising products that have recognizable trademark names, along with smaller-sized services and product providers.
Ever since its launch over 20 years ago, it seems like every major company has partnered with them. Some of these companies include Zappos, Walgreens, and Verizon just to name a few.
Commission Junction has a wide variety of products and brands available, outstanding customer service that responds quickly in getting any questions or concerns addressed promptly and efficiently—and their affiliate link development tools are easy-to-use among the best I have come across so far.
One of the things I really like about Commission Junction is that it gives me all the information you need at the click of a button. With their metrics, you can see if the affiliate programs you have joined are successful or not.
There’s no uncertainty included, so you can target precisely the products you want to promote and approximately just how much you can anticipate making per sale.
ShareASale is another popular affiliate program on this list, and it is partnered with the Awin network. It has been around for quite some time and it presently features more than 1,000 active merchants within its network.
It provides everything from e-commerce to software applications, meaning you’ll have an additional extensive option of deals to choose the right fit for your online business. Whether you are a blogger looking to monetize your site or a beginner in search of your first affiliate program, you can make money with ShareASale.
Awin is an affiliate network that was launched in 2017 as a result of combining several affiliate networks into one. Since this merger, it has actually grown to become one of the most popular affiliate networks. It’s presently operating in 12 nations.
Awin is specifically created for affiliates, companies, and start-ups who want to promote products through affiliate marketing. This program has over 15,000 products and services, all of which cover all sectors of businesses operating online.
Awin is a great way for content creators to find the perfect advertisers and vice versa. Affiliate marketers can use it as an easy way to find products to promote and earn an affiliate commission in the process.
eBay Partner Network
The eBay Partner Network is much like many of the other networks that I have mentioned. In the past, it was just used as a way to clear out your garage and make some extra cash by selling other people’s junk.
Now eBay has turned into an online retail giant where you can find anything from antique furniture pieces to celebrity memorabilia on any day of the week. They even have their own affiliate program.
Ironically, this is overlooked by many new affiliate marketers who instead opt to go with Amazon or the CJ Affiliate network their first time out (not necessarily a bad thing.
While there are plenty of benefits to Amazon and its affiliate program in general; newcomers should take some time before jumping into bed with Amazon and give eBay a look at least once.
The Rakuten affiliate network is a large Japanese marketing company that offers affiliate marketing services. Since 2005, they have been dominating the affiliate market by acquiring LinkShare.
For those just starting out, Rakuten offers newcomers to Affiliate Marketing programs something they might not have before, a clear, easy-to-follow plan that will help them get up and running with their very first site without any of the hard work involved.
The interface is pretty similar to most other affiliate networks, but the merchants they represent are some of the best. They supply everything from gifts and flowers to consumer electronics and office supplies. The only potential downside is that Rakuten can be a little slow when it comes time for approval if your site has no traffic or low volume because you’re not considered as “big” in their eyes.
FlexOffers is one of the largest affiliate networks available, as it has more than 12,000 merchants in its system. FlexOffers offers many opportunities for affiliates to earn money by promoting their products and services which means that there are a variety of options at your fingertips when you sign up with this network.
FlexOffers is a unique company because it allows bloggers to become affiliate partners for many different merchants. This means that you can easily promote the products from one merchant on your blog without having an account with them or being accepted into their program, just by using FlexOffers’ exclusive links!
One of the disadvantages of joining this program is that you will get less money than usual because FlexOffers takes its cut for every transaction. Additionally, the application process to join FlexOffers is somewhat cumbersome. As an affiliate, you’re partly responsible for the quality of conversions – so if your conversion rates are low, they might not let you in!
Shopify Affiliate Program
Shopify Affiliate Program is an affiliate network where entrepreneurs and others can share their passions with the world, and earn money by referring people to Shopify’s excellent services.
I think it stands out as one of the better affiliate marketing programs for beginners because it’s really easy to get started. It has a free and simple sign-up process, which is nothing more than answering two questions:
What’s my plan to make money as a Shopify Partner?
Which eCommerce platforms have I previously worked with?
Once I got approved for the program, I got my unique affiliate link, then all I had to do was find something that appealed to me on their site and start promoting it. It makes earning money from home as an affiliate possible in just minutes.
Impact is literally one of the younger affiliate networks on this list. The business was started in 2008 by previous team members of Commission Junction, Savings.com, and Leadpoint.
At the time of this posting, there are in excess of 1,000 merchants in Impact’s network. Similar to Commission Junction, there’s a mixed selection of merchants that ought to fit most verticals.
The application procedure to register with Impact can be a tad bit more difficult than it is for CJ, but once approved, I discovered it is much simpler to get accepted by the merchants.
I believe Impact’s reporting and postback alternatives are a lot more versatile than those with the other affiliate programs. If a merchant utilizes several affiliate networks (which is typical), I typically will go with Impact.
If you are looking to take advantage of the explosive sales in the health and beauty niche, then Market Health is a great place to start. As its name implies, Market Health is all about selling health products like vitamins, supplements, skincare, and homeopathic remedies for common ailments.
Once you are approved as an affiliate you’ll have access to banners or landing pages depending on the promotion’s type in order to increase your chances of converting potential customers into paying ones.
You’ll get paid twice a month on the 1st and 16th with a $20 minimum payment threshold. If you generate up to 20 sales per day, you will earn commissions of 60%.
Getting approved is relatively easy, but you must have a website if you would like to be considered for this affiliate program. They don’t tell you this upfront during the application process.
MoreNiche is similar to Market Health as it too is a health and beauty affiliate network. The key difference between the two is that MoreNiche’s network is geared more toward international audiences.
The payout schedule is about the same as Market Health, but instead of the 1st and 16th of each month, you’ll get paid on the 15th and end of the month. However, you must meet a $100 minimum payment threshold. Splitting hairs I know, but I think it’s worth mentioning.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is their commission rates. MoreNiche offers 30-80% commissions on many different products that are available for you to promote. So far this is one of the highest-paying affiliate programs that I have come across. With those types of earnings, you can make substantial income with the right marketing efforts.
Fiverr Affiliate Network
Fiverr is a global marketplace for providing services, many of which include “gigs” such as logo design, video editing, music production, and so on. If you do affiliate marketing for any length of time there is no doubt that you will use Fiverr to find freelancers to outsource to.
Many people use Fiverr for just that, findings outsourced services or providing their services as freelancers. However, not too many people are aware that Fiverr also has an affiliate program.
Fiverr’s affiliate program works just like any other affiliate program with the exception that they pay out up to $150 for every first-time buyer with their dynamic CPA model. Essentially you drive traffic to Fiverr from your blog or website and you get paid.
Wealthy Affiliate (WA) is primarily an affiliate marketing training program that offers beginner-level tutorials on how to earn commissions through affiliate marketing. Once you complete either their Online Entrepreneur Certification or Affiliate Bootcamp, you are encouraged to join their affiliate program.
Believe it or not, you can earn consistent, reliable income by simply referring others to Wealthy Affiliate by referring customers using blog posts or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It’s not one of the premier affiliate marketing programs out there. But I added it to the list because I think newbie affiliate marketers can benefit from the training they provide. That’s because you not only get to learn the basics of affiliate marketing, but you can apply what you learned using their affiliate platform.
Avangate is the most innovative and diverse software affiliate network, with 22,000+ products to choose from. You will find everything you need in one place. This makes Avangate an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for both beginners and advanced users alike.
What I really like about Avangate is that it gives you the ability to make your own links that you can post banners, blog posts, etc. that go directly to a product page, which means more people will be able to see and buy what you’re selling.
As with some of the other programs I have mentioned in this post, Avangate pays you monthly in a variety of ways once you reach the $100 payment threshold. You can get paid by wire transfer, PayPal, check, or Avangate MasterCard.
If you are into software products, I would definitely check this one out.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that it doesn’t require a large capital investment, and you don’t have to be an experienced marketer. These 15 programs are perfect for beginners who want to explore the world of affiliate marketing before committing to anything else.
You can’t go wrong with these affiliate programs. They’re all excellent for beginners and have a great support team behind them to help you get started on the right foot.
If you’re looking for more information on how to get started in this lucrative industry, we’ve got tons of great resources here on ShoestringAffiliate.com
Which Affiliate Program Is The Best For Beginners?
Now that you have a good idea of the different types of affiliate programs that are available to you as a beginner. There are tons more trust me! But these are programs that you can get started with relatively quickly.
Most importantly, they offer a wide variety of products that you can promote as well. Out of the 15 programs and networks mentioned, the best and most obvious affiliate program for a brand-new affiliate marketer is the Amazon Associates program.
In my opinion, this is because it has one of the lowest barriers to entry. You can find and promote products for whatever niche you choose for your business. The commissions are not that high, but you will get a steady conversion rate on any product on Amazon.
For me, the key is if you understand the basics of affiliate marketing you can promote anything in any program. I believe Amazon gives beginners that opportunity by allowing tho start off small and grow big over time.
Which Affiliate Network Is Best?
Based on my recommendation in the previous section, you know that I think Amazon is the best program for beginners, but what about the top affiliate network?
I noted earlier in this post that affiliate networks vary greatly in the size and scope of products they offer, so do some research before committing to an affiliate platform that may not be suitable for you.
However, In the affiliate marketing world, there are two large companies that dominate in this arena. They are ShareASale and ClickBank. You can read more about them in the sections above.
What Are The Highest-paying Affiliate Programs?
Finding the highest-paying affiliate programs depends on your goals for earnings and time spent working. Would it be more important to you to make as much money as possible in a short period of time or earn less per commission by earning commissions over an extended amount of time?
Most people who want high paychecks will choose one single program with higher CPA offers instead of joining many smaller ones. You can find this information all online – just look up “high-paying affiliate programs”. But for the purpose of this list, MoreNiche is the highest-paying program.
What Are The Best Free Affiliate Programs?
The best free affiliate programs for beginners are those that do not require any initial deposits and don’t require any special marketing or technical knowledge. For this reason, I choose:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
There are many affiliate programs available for beginners. I know I’m beginning to sound repetitive, but these are the top three affiliate programs that beginner affiliate marketers should start with.
Can I do Affiliate Marketing Without a Website?
Short answer. Yes!
Years ago, affiliates would build websites focused on promoting a particular product or group of products. Nowadays, social media is to go-to method o draw traffic and gain visibility.
By posting links on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest…etc., affiliate marketers are able to reach wider audiences who may be interested in your products or services.
Forums are another area in which you can post affiliate links that are relevant to your industry category and keep updating your profile page with hot topics about what people are talking about in these forums.
More importantly, having an active presence where people are interested in what you are promoting can lead them to become potential leads for your company’s business.
Which Website Is Best For Affiliate Marketing?
The best website for affiliate marketing is WordPress. This is because WordPress has the most customization options available to fit any need which makes it the best platform to market on. WordPress is also completely free and easiest to use, which makes WordPress a great starting point for beginners.
WordPress has many features that are helpful to affiliate marketers such as one-click plugins, social media integration, newsletter options, email campaign hosting, and contact forms among other things.
What Is The Best Program To Learn Affiliate Marketing?
There are a lot of different schools of thought on what the “best” affiliate marketing program is. In my opinion, one that I’ve seen to be effective and probably better than most in terms of teaching students how to actually implement affiliate links with popular shopping cart systems and optimize their campaigns for conversions.
My program of choice is Wealthy Affiliate. I used Wealthy Affiliate to learn affiliate marketing a little over 7 years ago. It gave me the foundation that I currently use today. They also have some great community support, including tools like live chat which you’ll need if you’re just starting out as an online marketer.
How Much Do Beginner Affiliate Marketers Make?
A beginner affiliate marketer can make between about $200 per month to about $2,000 per month. Those averages depend on the niche you’re specializing in, which means it’s very hard to reliably calculate how much your first income might be.