I’ve done business with a lot of different affiliate programs and in this post would like to help you choose the best one for you based on your type of site and what it’s aiming to sell.
Here are the 2 places where I’ve done most of my business through:
- Wealthy Affiliate.
- A bit on Amazon.
- And a bit on independent affiliate networks like DJI (which sells drones).
Understand that the whole process is rather simple and because there’s so many choices, even if one doesn’t work out, there will always be another!
Before you look for an affiliate program, make sure you have this:
1) You need to have a niche chosen as well as a website designed for it.
2) After that, I would hold of on looking for any affiliate programs and focus entirely on writing massive, high quality content on your site. The reason is that this is what will make your site rank well on search engines and eventually get consistent visitors.
You can look for affiliate programs right from the start, but if you plan on going the SEO route (writing content to get natural rankings), you’re really wasting your time since you won’t have visitors until later in your site’s life cycle (weeks-months).
So just remember that. Or just read about these 4 steps for an online business to go through if it were using this strategy.
Once you are ready, it’s time to choose. So which is the best choice? Well let us examine the options:
So what is or are the best affiliate network/s available today?
There’s 2 types of affiliate networks that exist online. The first is businesses that promote one type of service/product. These can be local businesses (online or off).
The others are massive networks that sell anywhere from 2 to millions to different products and allow you to promote them. I have listed a few you should have on your radar right here. They are awesome because of their access to pretty much a limitless supply and any type of product you can think of promoting.
In short, whatever product you want to promote or are thinking of promoting, I can assure you, these networks will not only have them, but they will also be trustworthy and will pay you fairly.
Here are just some of the options:
Amazon Associates: The biggest there is and probably the best for picking out products with the highest qualities. You won’t have any problems finding a product to promote from there on your niche site and because there’s going to be so many options, you will also have the ability to choose to promote one or many different ones.
The only downside is that most commissions will be low so if you plan on promoting low cost products, expect low commissions. But if you have a good website that gets good traffic numbers and converts well, this can add up. You can also promote very expensive products and thus receive high commissions.
Signing up with Amazon is easy. Simple head over to Amazon associates and fill in the form and you should be good to go. And if they don’t let you in, follow these steps to get any affiliate program to approve you.
E-Bay: I’ve sold on eBay, but I’ve never done affiliate work there. I do know you can promote products there and it’s also gigantic in terms of options. And it is eBay, meaning it’s trustworthy. Also for reference, the official name of the program is “eBay Partner Network”.
Clickbank: This is the one where I’ve made most of my money from. It’s a a gigantic website with 1,000’s of different digital (and some physical) products you can promote. Clickbank is also a very honest company and while many of the products sold there aren’t things I’d personally promote, there’s still very good ones available.
You can also get paid out very high commissions which makes it one of the most favorable affiliate networks to do business with. Usually if you’re in the fitness, weight loss, make money online topics, you will find plenty of things to choose from on Clickbank.
Linkshare: If you want to promote products from Best Buy, Wal-Mart and other big name companies like it, you’ll have to go through Linkshare.
Signing up was a bit complicated for me and though I’ve never done business there, just know that if you’re into electronics, you may want to consider this place. Promoting things like tablets, computers, game consoles is very simple there.
And as for Wal-Mart, well we all know that they sell just about anything so I think that any niche site you make will have the opportunity to sell those niche related items from Wal-Mart.
Also keep in mind you can do the same with Amazon in that you also have access to just about any product in existence there as well.
Note: Linkshare may be favorable if you live in a state where Amazon does not allow affiliates to register for their associates program.
Wealthy Affiliate: If you’re into the online marketing niche and want to promote products related to making money online, honestly, I’d say this is the best program to associate with. They pay on time, are accurate with their reporting and the set up is really simple.
They also offer a lot of email sequence messages for people you send there, sort of like an email marketing campaign. I’ve personally promoted this program for years and loyally stick to it. It is in my opinion one of the most ethical networks I’ve ever come across. My personal experience with Wealthy Affiliate.
Commissions here range from a monthly rebill, meaning you get recurring commissions for members who stay month after month.
They also offer the ability to make money through people buying domains through them which if you promote, you get paid $1 for each domain purchased, which is also a recurring commission if they extend the domain year after year (not month after month). I made over a $1,000 on the domain selling alone (case study).
If you find an affiliate program that’s promising but then turns out to not work or for whatever reason doesn’t fit your criteria, just move to another one like it. I’ve had programs come and go that used to pay me well and then basically went out of business. It’s not a big deal. Just find another and as you already saw, there’s more than a few choices out there!
Focus on the niche site, not really the affiliate program. As long as you have a good site that’s targeting a niche audience, you’ll always be able to switch over and promote other products. It won’t matter as much because the real keys to your businesses are success will already be there: The niche site and the fact that you’re getting visitors to your site.
Try to promote products that are high quality. It’s not easy to find, but I would avoid the networks above I mentioned which are known to have scams. Think of people, not money when you promote programs.
Trust is an important part of online business and if you sell people something they love, they’ll come back to you and even recommend you to their friends. If you sell them things that rip them off, up-sell them to no end, you’ll lose their trust and their business. The money isn’t as valuable as the customer themselves. Focus on making the customer happy.
Remember to offer your customers high quality information that helps them! Selling should be the last thing you do on your site. Instead give them information that helps them solve their problem and then offer the affiliate program/service as a way to make that happen.
Update: Need help with affiliate marketing?
I began a new site dedicated to affiliate marketing help called HelpingHandAffiliate.com. Check it out if you’re looking to learn the skills necessary to do this stuff.
6 thoughts on “How to Choose The Best Affiliate Program to Promote”
Great advice for those looking to join an affiliate program. I totally agree that without good content it really doesn’t matter how many affiliate programs you join. Trust and believe, if you join prematurely without any heavy traffic you will succumb to getting dropped.
Commission Junction is notorious for dropping affiliates that don’t make sales. Yet… they are a great network. Have you tried them?
I know they are one of the most popular Mark and I did once register with them, but the truth is, I have never had to promote any products from their network, yet. Everything I’ve promoted thus far has really been isolated between Amazon and Clickbank, although I am pulling away more and more from Clickbank.
Very a informative article, thanks!
I have a question: Do you think that joining multiple affiliate programs for the same niche site is a good idea?
Also, could I get in some sort of legal trouble if I’m for example offering the same product to customers via Amazon Associates and eBay at the same time?
Hi JT, you can totally promote from multiple affiliate programs and I get asked about this a lot. Nothing wrong with signing up with different companies, so long as they provide access to the products that fit your niche and the types of commissions you want to earn.
As for the legal thing, while I’m not a lawyer, I don’t see why it’s wrong to provide 2 of the same products through 2 different links, although I fail to see the point of that.
If a product on say eBay is selling for less than the same exact product on Amazon, it would benefit you to promote the eBay one but as a comparison make a screenshot with the same Amazon offer and say that buying it on eBay would be cheaper to improve the chances of the sale.
I am already an affiliate marketer, but I made a mistake when I first started, which you highlight here. This is trying to hook up with affiliate programs too early in the game! I joined Amazon very early on, and then got kicked off the program because I hadn’t made a sale.
Long term it wasn’t an issue, because you can just reapply. Amazon is a fairly easy one to join though, and I have found that some programs ask you to detail your site traffic as part of the application process, and it doesn’t look very good if you don’t have much.
Have you come across this request for site traffic stats before? Either way, I think your advice to focus on content first, if you’re blogging, is definitely the right way to go!
Hi Mara, I haven’t come across that traffic requirement programs ask for but I have seen and heard about it before. It does make sense and helps the vendor company filter out potentially good affiliates from the bad.
Keep in mind that if the bar is set low for who can join, just about anyone who has little content on their pages or even no sites will try to get in without properly first understanding this stuff and this can cause a server strain on the vendor company, which may increase their costs of hosting and other things to manage all these new affiliates, so having some sort of filter and requirement like they have, again, makes total sense.
I do point to tips people can utilize if an affiliate program doesn’t let them in here and I would recommend that read, but it seems like you managed to get past that problem and are now an affiliate for Amazon.