The Top Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners (and everyone else)
So you’ve started your blog, you’ve got a good following going. Now the money should just come rolling in, right? Not exactly. In order to start making money through your blog, you have to start monetizing. Which means affiliate marketing. Which is just a fancy way of saying you need to put up ads and link to products that you’re writing about so that you make money either a) when someone clicks on the ad or b) when someone purchases a product through your link.
That said, monetizing doesn’t have to be a painful process. There are lots of options out there for how you can monetize your blog, and affiliate programs are one of the best options out there. For most affiliates you generally search for vendors that you want to promote (for example, Sephora), then you either put ads on your site or you link directly to pages on the website via hyperlinks.
There are a ton of affiliate programs out there that you can join, and lots of vendors through each of the programs. In most cases, you have to join several because not every network supports all the vendors you may want to work with. Each affiliate network has different features, and a lot of them have similar features. Here are just a few of the good ones out there:
Google Adsense was the first affiliate platform that I joined on the first website I ever designed, and it’s definitely the simplest to integrate. There are plugins to insert ads into your site, and basically you make money every time someone clicks on an ad. That said, it’s not very much money. But this is the best, easiest example of what is called pay-per-click advertising. If you have a lot of traffic to your blog, it can bring in some revenue, but keep in mind that it may take a while for that to build up.
- Tons of advertisers (more than 10k)
- Support available via email and phone
- Must have balance of $50 to receive payout
- Paypal payout available for payouts $100 or more for affiliates outside U.S. only
- Plugins and browser extension tools available
- Large database of advertisers
- Payouts available in multiple currencies
- Live chat and phone support
- Twice monthly payouts with lower thresholds than most
- Easy dashboard
- Great help center
- Payment terms not as clear as some other affiliate programs
Viglink is cool because they will insert links for you on your site, instead of you having to insert individual links into your pages, which is very convenient.
- Easy sign up
- Lots of banner ad sizes available and mobile ads
- Must maintain minimum of $50 in account to get payout monthly
- Has exclusive brands not available on any other networks
- Easy to use interface
- Payout info not available for preview on website
- Only work with ethical affiliates with zero tolerance fraud policy
- Short simple links for referrals
- Unique coupon attribution to prevent coupon hijacking
- Payout info not available on website
You can find links for just about everything through Amazon’s affiliate program. The only drawback is that the payouts are quite low :\.
Ebates is awesome because not only can you earn by referring, you can also earn by shopping! I furnished a room in my house a couple months ago and earned a ton of cash back from Ebates. You can also earn cash by shopping at retailers such as Nordstrom Rack, Saks OFF FIFTH, Amazon, and many more. They pay out quarterly.
This is another program where you can earn money shopping as well as through their affiliate program. I use the app on my phone to get cash back from grocery shopping. Nothing that I like more than saving money on stuff that I have to buy. You earn $5 for everyone you refer to this program, so tell your friends, family, strangers on the corner, everyone!
Swagbucks works much the same way as Ebates or Ibotta, as you can earn cash back for shopping. Instead of earning straight cash, sometimes you earn Swagbucks (which then can be turned into cash or gift cards). Swagbucks also has bonuses for downloading apps, taking surveys, enrolling in meal delivery services such as BlueApron, and more.
I. Love. Style. Collective. Their membership is not open at all times, so I put myself on the wait list and jumped as soon as they opened up membership. There is tons information available on the SC website including stock photos, media kit examples and resources, courses, rate calculators, a social forum – the list goes on and on. They also publish a monthly calendar with relevant dates outlined such as “National Lipstick Day,” as well as suggestions for posts based on sales going on for the month.
My office is littered with the worksheets I’ve downloaded, and I consult them for just about every post. Plus, at $10 a month, you can’t go wrong. The community consists mostly of lifestyle, fashion, travel, and beauty bloggers, and there’s also a cool feature where you can look at a map and see what bloggers are in geographic proximity to you. You can also see what members are online at the moment in case you want to chat or bounce ideas off of someone. And there are regional leaders to help schedule mixers and meetups, which is incredible if you live in a city like Los Angeles which is so densely populated. I absolutely recommend joining.
I hope this information has been helpful, and you use these affiliate programs to grow your earnings and make some cash!