Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

The Top 8 Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

In a world becoming increasingly dominated by technology, it’s no secret that more people are turning to internet marketing as a means to make an income online.

With the increase in popularity of digital media and eCommerce, along with it has come the development of various sophisticated and intuitive platforms and software that makes it a potential source of income for almost anybody.

So how can you get your piece of the pie? This list of best affiliate programs for beginners can certainly get you on the right path

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

If you’re looking to make money online through internet marketing, affiliate marketing will always be one of your best bets .

Affiliate marketing has been around for decades and is a viable means of making a full time income for some. Even a fortune for a few!

The great news is, it’s accessible for almost everyone! The best affiliate programs for beginners are so easy to get into, I can do it, you can do it, your grandma could do it… Even your Parrot would give it a good go as well!

Affiliate marketing for beginners

Want to work once on a project and continue to make money from it? Affiliate marketing will let you do this.

Looking to earn without spending a huge amount of time ‘babysitting’ your business? Affiliate marketing’s got you covered.

Even for beginners, affiliate marketing can net you a decent chunk of change every month as a side hustle. Keep building on this, and you’ll soon find yourself replacing your main income.

It’s something I’ve invested a good amount of time learning about and is a topic that I put a decent amount of my focus in when it comes to my internet marketing journey and this blog.

Given this is geared towards affiliate marketing beginners, let’s start off with the basics shall we?

What Is An Affiliate Program?

When you join an affiliate program, you get paired with a company looking to sell products or services. You agree to send traffic through an affiliate link given to you by the program.

For every sale, email sign up, or any other kind of action desired by the sponsor, you get a commission which can either be a flat rate or a percentage of each transaction. You can usually log into the program’s dashboard to track your statistics.

Usually, you can see how many people click on your affiliate link and how many people added to cart, whether they bought items, and see the commission you have coming to you. There are many different variations of this setup.

You can get paid for every email you collect through the form codes, given to you by the program. You can also earn a bounty for every time somebody downloads software or apps from the link you are promoting.

The bottom line is, you get paid on a performance basis. You drive traffic to the link and if the user that you sent does something that the affiliate program will pay for, you’ll get credit.

The great thing is here, your only real job here is to drive the traffic. Any beginner affiliate programs worth their salt will have tried and tested sales funnels that handle all of the converting.

This is what makes affiliate marketing so attractive to people like me, I’d be useless as a salesman, but traffic I can do.

Why Start Affiliate Marketing As A Beginner?

It all boils down to two words:

Passive income.

Let’s say you put up a blog, you take the time and effort to write your blog posts and once you’re done, you don’t have to work on those posts again.

What happens when your content is found through Google? That’s right, people from all over the world can go to your blog, see your content, click on the ads, and if they buy something or enter their email address, you get a commission.

Do you see how this works? Can you see why affiliate marketing can be so much more attractive than a 9-5, even for beginners?

You only put up the content once, but there’s a possibility that it can continue to generate money for you as long as your website attracts traffic from search engines, social media, and other sources.

That is the beauty of online passive income:  you work once then you get paid many times over. Compare this with working a typical office job. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s that simple.

If you fail to show up at work enough times, you’ll get fired. With passive income through affiliate marketing, your websites can be attracting traffic and generating money while you’re sleeping off a hangover on holiday somewhere or just spending quality time with your family.

It’s no wonder so many people start affiliate marketing as beginners.

The Big Challenge For Beginner Affiliates

If you’re just cutting your teeth on the whole beginner affiliate marketing game, it’s very easy to get burned. There are many fly-by-night affiliate programs out there that talk a good game wherein they lure you in with very high bounties and their recruitment pages make affiliate marketing look so easy.

The problem is, once you sign up, you end up sending traffic only to get very little in return. There have been cases of programs severely discounting the number of transactions credited to their affiliates which is called shaving.

It’s easy to get burned, this is why I’ve listed out the top 8 affiliate marketing programs for beginners that even the most newbie affiliate marketers can achieve success with.

Quick warning

If you’re starting in the affiliate game, get the idea out of your head that internet marketing is not real work. Let’s get on the same page and let me be clear: you’re going to have to invest your time, focus, and energy.

It may cost very little to no money to become an affiliate, but you’re going to have to pay attention if you want to be successful in this industry. It is a business, so treat it like one.

Don’t think that you have this magical hobby that can somehow in some way dump extra dollars in your bank account every month.

If it were that easy, everyone would do it.

You have to remember that for every 100 beginner affiliates, only a few make real money. By joining the following pre-selected best affiliate programs for beginners, you increase your chances of being one of the relatively few marketers who make good money in this industry.

It can be done, but there is a learning curve. Joining the right beginner affiliate marketing program is a key part of learning affiliate marketing success.

Top 8 Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

Amazon Associates

This is the granddaddy of online affiliate programs. When it comes to e-commerce brands, Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and when it comes to affiliate marketing programs for beginners, it’s also the BFG.

Amazon Associates

It has almost no competitors when it comes to brand recognition and internal traffic. When you join the Amazon Associates program, you get the ability to find products that are available for sale on Amazon’s platform and turn it into an affiliate link.

Then, you set up websites where internet surfers can check out product profiles, product manuals, reviews, consumer guides, buying tutorials, and whatever other types of content you come up with and get exposed to your affiliate links.

For most, these websites will usually be in the form of blogs or landing pages. These platforms are just so easy to access and set up for people of all capabilities when it comes to tech.

For example, somebody is in the market for a wide-storage double freezer. They found your website after a Google search, they like your review, and they see a link at the bottom of your view which says “Click here to check for the latest prices on Amazon.”

When they click, they see a product for sale which they can put in their shopping cart. If they go through the checkout, you get a percentage of that sale.

Hold up, there’s more. If they go back to Amazon or they could take you to shop with your referred product in their shopping cart, you get a percentage of whatever the value of whatever else they buy.

Amazon plants a cookie on their browser so you can get a credit for whatever other products. They end up buying within 24 hours of them visiting your website. How awesome is that?

Advantages

The Amazon Brand 

When it comes to global respect and trustworthiness, nothing comes close to the Amazon e-commerce brand. You’re not promoting some shady fly-by-night upstart, people trust Amazon.

When you show a button that goes to Amazon, people are more likely to buy because they’re not put off by the fact that you’ve taken them to an online store they’re not familiar with.

Anyone who isn’t living under a rock has heard of Amazon, and you can take advantage of their household name.

Comprehensive Range of Products That Sell

One of the biggest drawbacks with other affiliate programs, is that they’re fairly narrow in terms of the merchandise you can promote for them, however, this is not the case with Amazon.

They stock almost all products under one digit. This increases your flexibility in terms of what kind of website to wield, and which audiences to market to. You will never run out of products to promote.

Solid Gold Customer Support

Say what you will about Amazon such as their commission rates, strict rules regarding disclosures, and whatnot. When it comes to the consumers that you’re sending them, they deliver satisfaction.

This is the reason why Amazon is one of the most trusted needs online. This is not going to change anytime soon.

People rightly think they offer a reliable and safe platform that they can buy products from.

Disadvantages of Amazon

The downside to Amazon all boils down to two key points. For many experienced affiliates, these can be deal-breakers.

First, Amazon’s commission rates are very low compared to other affiliate programs and the best you can do is 10%.

In fact, over the years, Amazon has lowered their affiliate commission rates a few times. Some product categories pay as little as 1%, imagine sending a $20 sale again at 20 cents.

It is peanuts in a lot of cases, but when it comes to the best affiliate programs for beginners, Amazon associates will always be a safe option to get started. Below is a better look at Amazon’s commission structure.

Amazon commission for beginner affiliates

Second, Amazon’s browser cookie, as powerful as it may be, lasts only for 24 hours which may be too little for some marketers.

CJ Affiliate

Formerly known as Commission Junction, this network acts as an intermediary between publishers such as yourself and advertisers.

CJAffiliate

If you have a blog that specializes in one particular topic, check out CJ since they may have advertisers who might want to put their ads in front of your visitor’s eyeballs.

CJ offers a wide range of tracking technologies to ensure that you get fully paid for every sales conversion or payable action you’ll deliver.

Also, just login to their system, and you can monitor clicks as well as detect traffic trends which you can then optimize so you can make more money from this network. Then, CJ calculates how much you’re owed at the end of the pay period and pays you your money.

It uses a very secure, stable, and safe affiliate statistics tracking platform.

Advantages

Wide Range of Popular Products

CJ advertisers often carry popular products. A lot of big brands run their affiliate programs using CJ’s platform, and sometimes exclusively. CJ has been around close to the beginning of the commercial Internet and is widely trusted by advertisers.

Regardless of the subject areas you cover, CJ will have you covered when it comes to offering a vast array of affiliate opportunities. This alone makes CJ one of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.

Flexible marketing tools

Maybe your blog is set up in a way where you can make more money by showing your visitors’ email signup forms. Maybe banners would’ve been a better fit for your website.

However, your site may be set up and whatever marketing materials your visitors prefer, CJ offers a wide range of marketing promotional materials from links, banners, email templates, and other tools. This flexibility makes them more attractive than Amazon for some marketers.

Commissions Vary Widely

Unlike Amazon which gives you a set schedule of commission rate depending on the category of product you’re pushing, you can optimize your earnings on CJ by signing up with high-paying sponsors. You effectively get to choose your affiliate payout percentage.

Tracking Code Flexibility

Unlike Amazon which limits how you can publish their tracking code,  CJ gives you more leeway. You can even hide your affiliate code, also known as cloaking, although this is frowned upon when it comes to SEO.

Disadvantages

If you’re just starting on this platform and are still trying to figure out affiliate marketing as a beginner, it will probably take some time until you get paid by CJ.

Why? It’s because they have a $100 threshold. This means you have to earn that amount in commissions before you get a check cut out to you.

Another drawback of this program is its affiliate customer service. There’s no shortage of affiliates complaining about CJ’s handling of their account.

Finally, while this program does offer quite several advertisers that you can sign up with, you are going to be paying a high price for that flexibility. How come?

Every single merchant that you want to send traffic to and earn commissions from, has to approve you ahead of time, otherwise, you can’t promote them. This can prove quite a barrier to entry for those who are inexperienced.

If you can compare this with Amazon which automatically approves you once you get into the program. However, the drawback is that they pay such low commissions.

I also find the CJ platform to be quite clunky in design and it can be difficult finding the types of programs you’re looking to promote.

CJ affiliate for beginner affiliates

ShareASale

This platform works pretty much the same way as CJ, making it another friendly affiliate program for beginners. You find products and services to promote, get a referral link, publish that link on your website, or advertise it through paid traffic, and then earn a commission for every single person buying something from that link.

It’s pretty straightforward. ShareASale is very similar to CJ because they recruit merchants and sponsors to join their platform.

These affiliates then get approved by ShareASale to become a member of the network, but you have to get separate approval from every merchant you want to promote.

ShareASale - best affiliate programs for beginners

The Advantages of ShareASale

It Pays Better

How much more can you make affiliate marketing with ShareASale? Well, you can earn up to 40% of the value of the product you are promoting. Not too shabby, one of the highest paying affiliate programs for beginners.

Compare this to the 1% in certain product categories with Amazon, it’s night and day.

Already easy to see why this is one of the best affiliate programs for beginners.

A Wide Selection of Merchants

ShareASale has done a good job of attracting a lot of sponsors from a wide range of industries. If you think you run a very specialized blog that focuses on a narrow range of customers, think again.

There might be sponsors on ShareASale who would love to be promoted on your website.

Unique products

ShareASale attracts merchants that are often not attracted by large platforms like CJ or don’t fit in as sellers on Amazon. This means that you can promote products that may not be found on bigger platforms.

Also, this gives you a competitive advantage because your competitors might be promoting the same saturated product. While you on the other hand are promoting something new and offering something unique to your website’s visitors.

Easy to join

ShareASale has a reputation for being very easy to join. You just fill out a form, enter your tax information after some time, and then you’re good to go.

You can see the different merchants that you can apply to and once you’re approved, you get an affiliate link. As long as you know how to make a clickable link, you are in business, perfect for beginner affiliates!

Easy payments

Payments are scheduled like clockwork on the 20th of every month. No messing, you know how much you’re getting, and when you’re getting it.

Professional atmosphere

Most of the affiliates who join ShareASale already know the affiliate game. Since they’re experienced marketers, you are less likely to deal with unprofessional people and the same applies to the merchants attracted by this platform.

The Drawbacks of ShareASale

The big disadvantage with ShareASale is that it takes quite some time to get approved by a merchant. You can quickly get approved by ShareASale, but the problem is you have to apply to promote merchants on their platform.

Some of these merchants’ affiliate managers can take quite some time to get back to either approve or reject your application.

This, once again, can prove to be a barrier to entry for beginner affiliates. However, it’s still very beginner friendly and a worthy candidate on a list of best affiliate programs for beginners.

ClickBank

If you’re looking to promote digital goods such as eBooks, software programs, or courses, you don’t need to look any further than ClickBank. This is the goliath of promoting digital products.

Even the most amateur affiliate can join this program and be successful. That’s how accommodating Clickbank is to beginner affiliate marketers.

It’s the ultimate in affiliate marketing programs for beginners, when it comes to ease of use anyway.

Clickbank - best affiliate programs for beginners

The Advantages of Clickbank

No Fees

When you sign up for ClickBank, you don’t have to pay an application or membership fee. If you enter the correct information and you live in an approved location, you can quickly get accepted and promote anything instantly!

Consistent payment system

You don’t have to worry about getting paid from Clickbank, they pay regularly via cheque or bank transfer twice every month.

The Wide Digital Product Range

As long as the product is digital, you can bet that ClickBank will probably have it. This means you can access all sorts of products, which can fit the theme of your site.

For example, if you have a website where you teach people how to write, ClickBank has so many “make money online as a freelance writer”, eBooks, and courses.

The great thing here is that the world moves further towards digital products every day. Whatever you promote is likely to get even more popular over time.

High Commission Rate

ClickBank has established quite a reputation for itself by being one of the highest-paying affiliate platforms available online. Just how much can you earn with Clickbank? To put it simply, you can earn up to 75% of each sale, and that isn’t including re-bills.

This makes it one of the highest paying affiliate programs for beginners!

Easy To Figure Out

It’s easy to get an affiliate link from Clickbank and you can even create a sub- ID so you can track which links that you’re using for a specific product perform best with your traffic.

I’ve said it before, I don’t think Clickbank can be beaten for ease of use when it comes to affiliate programs for beginners. Simply click the ‘Promote’ button on any product that you want to market and copy the affiliate link it gives you!

Clickbank Marketplace

Easy as that, you’re ready to make money affiliate marketing with Clickbank!

The Drawbacks

The main drawback to ClickBank is their refund policy. Please understand that you’re promoting digital products so if the buyer thinks that the product is a ripoff or isn’t as advertised, you best expect that they will ask for a refund.

ClickBank is very liberal in their refund policy which is why all payouts have a “refund reserve”. This means that you will only get a payout once the reserve is met and your balance is above the payout threshold.

If you’re just starting as a marketer, this may mean that you would have to wait for some time until you get paid by the system. It also doesn’t help that a lot of previous products on ClickBank were heavy on the hype and exaggeration.

Buyers get taken in by the empty promises and they end up refunding which emits a negative effect on the overall ClickBank brand, however, don’t let that discourage you.

If you’re looking for a wide product range that basically can fit any niche, you should take a long look at ClickBank.

Rakuten Marketing

Rakuten Marketing is very similar to CJ and other large affiliate marketing programs. They act as a middle man platform that helps publishers, bloggers, and online entrepreneurs such as yourself connect with advertisers who are looking to get their products and offers in front of your users’ eyeballs.

Rakuten Affiliate

The Advantages Of Rakuten

No Cash Up-front

If you want to sign up for an affiliate program for absolutely free, Rakuten and ClickBank are definitely good choices since you don’t have to pay any money to register.

Easy Control Panel

Logging into Rakuten and figuring out how your sales and revenues are doing is pretty easy. Everything is intuitive and you don’t have to bother for tech support to figure out where your sales figures are located on their dashboard.

Smart Rotating Banner System

When you install the Rakuten Marketing affiliate code on your webpages, Rakuten will automatically rotate the ad units on your page. This decreases the chances that your visitors will burn out from the ads.

In addition, it increases your chances of actually getting those people to click on the ads and buy something.

Drawbacks to Rakuten

Affiliates have complained about them in the past regarding their payment schedule. Many affiliates claim that this program is quite unpredictable when it comes to its payout timing.

Unlike Clickbank, which pays out two times every month like clockwork, with Rakuten, the payment schedule can be erratic. Another drawback is that it’s not as easy to get your money out of Rakuten since it doesn’t payout via PayPal.

Etsy

The great thing about Etsy is that it offers products that are customized and personalized. If you have site visitors that are looking for gifts that they can’t readily buy off  Amazon,  Etsy would be a good affiliate program to join.

Similarly, if your existing audience prefers handmade or customized products, Etsy would be a good fit. Particularly if you’re in a niche such as crafts or DIY.

Etsy affiliate

The Advantages of Being an Etsy Affiliate

Off The Beaten Track

The biggest advantage Etsy brings to the table for affiliates is that you get to offer unusual products. In fact, a lot of sellers on Etsy offer bespoke, custom made products. Often hand made, in fact.

For example, you’re looking for a mug with a specific design that includes your name, you can get that at Etsy, and if you promote that product you get a percentage of every sale.

Almost Print-on-Demand

There are a lot of sellers on Etsy that use a stock design and customize it based on the information provided by the buyer. This is a huge selling point if you are trying to market that Etsy seller.

You can promote the sense of exclusivity your buyers would get if they buy that product.

Print-on-Demand is quickly becoming a popular business model and something that’d be good for beginner affiliate marketers to take advantage of.

Very flexible system

You can create different campaigns and you can also tie-in your Etsy affiliate link to whatever paid traffic source you have in mind. They offer a very flexible tracking system so you can quickly figure out if you’re enjoying a positive return on paid advertising you’re using to promote your Etsy affiliate link.

Etsy’s drawbacks

The downside to Etsy is that you don’t have a special relationship with the product maker because they can partner with other Etsy affiliates.

This can mean that you can’t adjust the terms on your own, which is a take it or leave it basis, and this puts you at a disadvantage.

Very High Levels of Competition

Depending on which Etsy product you are looking to promote, you might get in way over your head. There are lots of arts and crafts blogs out there and they got the Etsy market affiliate marketing game locked down.

It’s really hard to cope and to compete with such established players. However, the good news is, you can work around this problem by focusing on product lines that aren’t as saturated

Possibly no-repeat Sales

If I was buying a mug that had my name on it using a special design, chances are, I would probably buy it on Etsy. But here’s the bad news, in all likelihood, I probably will just get that product once.

There’s no need for me to buy a dozen mugs with my name on since it’s a special gift for myself or a special gift for a loved one. A lot of Etsy sales are for personalized or customized products, and they are sold on a “one and done” basis.

There’s no need for somebody to come back and this is a deal-breaker for a lot of experienced affiliate marketers. You want an affiliate product that your users will buy again and again and just as importantly, can scale up but you normally can’t do that with Etsy.

eBay Partner Network

Next to Amazon, eBay is one of the most well-established e-commerce brands in the United States. It was one of the biggest internet players during the time of AOL’s dominance.

While it has shrunk quite a bit compared to its former self, it is still no slouch when it comes to its affiliate program. If you are looking to increase your earnings, you only need to sign up for eBay’s Partner Network, get its affiliate link, and start plugging it into your product pages.

eBay Partner Network - best affiliate programs for beginners

Like Amazon, it’s a goliath in e-Commerce, and for that reason alone it’ll always work out as one of the best affiliate programs for beginners.

The Key Advantages of the eBay Partner Network

Wide product range

This one should be obvious since eBay is an online storefront for so many vendors, rest assured  you’ll never run out of products to promote on your website. Next to Amazon, it offers the widest range of physical products available for sale online.

Reliable Payer

If you’re scared of getting ripped off by affiliate programs with erratic payout schedules, you are in safe hands with eBay. This program pays out every 22nd of every month.

Low Payout Threshold

Unlike other programs that have a hundred dollar or more minimum payout threshold, eBay is more forgiving. They will send you your hard-earned affiliate cash as long as you’re generating at least $25 in affiliate commissions.

This benefit makes it particularly friendly as an affiliate program for beginners.

eBay Partner Network’s Drawbacks

The big disadvantage of this program is that it’s very hard to get in if you’re a newbie. If you’re just new to affiliate marketing, you probably are not able to pump a lot of traffic to your site.

That’s going to be a problem if you’re joining eBay because they have a reputation for rejecting websites that have low traffic volume.

However, if you’re new to affiliate marketing, but already know how to drive traffic, this isn’t going to be a problem for you.

Erratic Commission Rates

Here’s the deal-killer for a lot of people, there is no flat commission rate with eBay. You take whatever they will give you which is just too variable and uncertain for many affiliate marketers, so they end up not bothering.

eBay is a household name and a massive brand just like Amazon, and much like Amazon you’ll have to sacrifice commission rates for the reliability of a platform that converts insanely well.

Fiverr

Fiverr is probably one of the biggest sources of low-cost freelance labour on the internet. Unlike Upwork where the customer will post a project that freelancers will bid on, with Fiverr, service providers post ads for buyers to see if you’re looking for graphics design, certain types of writing, or a certain level of SEO work.

Fiverr is the go-to platform for individuals and small businesses that are looking to outsource tasks that they either don’t have the time or skills to perform.

Fiverr Affiliate - best affiliate networks for beginners

Fiverr would be a great place to find the kind of talent your project is looking for. Also, Fiverr has a ranking system based on the number of positive reviews and feedback left by service providers’ past customers.

Their algorithm tends to reward service providers that have a very high number of reviews and rankings.

How Do You Make Money Affiliate Marketing With Fiverr?

They have an affiliate program where you can get an affiliate link that goes to a specific category of service. For example, if you run a blog that helps business owners set up certain types of websites, you may want to promote Fiverr graphic designs.

People setting up websites, after all, need specialty graphics and for every new-paying customer, you send through your link, you get paid a fixed commission rate. Pretty cool, right?

What’s more, Fiverr is another big name in the internet marketing space. It’s another high converting marketplace which lends itself well to being featured as one of the best affiliate programs for beginners.

New Selling Services

The big advantage of Fiverr is you’re selling your marketing services. As long as you have the right blog, there will be takers for such services and you can make as much as $50 in commissions for that one sale.

Top-notch Customer Service

If you have any problems with the affiliate program or the people you were referring to had issues with their transaction, Fiverr has you all taken care of since their customer service is just phenomenal.

 

Easy Interface

When you log in to their affiliate program, you can see how well your marketing efforts are going. You can see how many clicks your links are getting and the results.

30-day Cookie

This is the clincher for a lot of marketers. Unlike Amazon which only recognizes affiliate cookies for 24 hours, Fiverr will give you credit if a person whom you’ve sent to their website comes back within 30 days.

If you set up a buyer and they don’t buy anything during the first time they visit Fiverr, the system will give you credit if that person comes back within 30 days and buys a service.

Very Flexible Promotion Rules

Unlike other affiliate programs, Fiverr will let you promote your links on pages you build on social media platforms, which some programs don’t allow. Finally, Fiverr’s affiliate marketing program lets you access a wide range of tools that you can use to promote your links.

Drawbacks to Affiliate Marketing With Fiverr

The big drawback to Fiverr is you only make money off each referred buyer once. Once they buy something, you don’t get paid anymore and also, your commission is limited to $150 cap.

Finally, the commission rate can vary quite a bit because different service providers have different pricing.

The Final Word on The Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

If you’re just starting in the affiliate marketing game, congratulations, you’ve taken a step in the right direction.

By going through the affiliate program descriptions above, you will be able to pick out a program that makes the most sense in your particular situation.

Some will be better suited to your niche than others. Some will be better suited for the kind of traffic you can drive, and some are easier to access and have a wider array of products than others.

Take these things into consideration instead of just jumping into the highest paying affiliate programs you can find! Consider what programs will actually convert your traffic.

It costs nothing to get started with most of these beginner affiliate programs, such just get stuck in and give them a try and see which is the best fit for you and your audience.

There’s no definitive ‘best’ when it comes to affiliate programs, as it’s all circumstantial.

Regardless, I hope you found this article useful and feel free to let me know in the comments below where you’re having your success with affiliate marketing. Alternatively, let me know if you have any further questions!

Thanks for reading

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