Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your website and turn blogging into a career. And while you know that great affiliate programs exist, how do you go about finding them?
I’m happy to tell you that it’s not a difficult process—you just need a few tried and true methods for searching out programs related to your niche, and an introduction to a variety of affiliate marketing programs that help connect you with top brands. I’ve got both for you below.
1. Be Familiar with Your Chosen Niche
The niche that you choose for your website will largely define what affiliate marketing options are available to you—that’s why it’s so important to research your website’s niche before you jump into purchasing a domain and setting up your website.
Be familiar with your chosen niche and how it performs across the Internet: familiarize yourself with other popular websites with the same or a similar niche. You can see what affiliate offers they share in their posts or on banners across their site. Looking into those affiliate links is a great way to build a list of offers you could share yourself.
2. Think of Your Favorite Merchants
Another way to go about finding affiliate programs to feature on your website is to brainstorm a list of your favorite merchants, then choose the merchants from that list that actually offer a product or service that might be popular with your target audience.
Once you’ve got that list, visit their websites and check to see if they have affiliate programs. (Pro-tip: they often list these in the website footer links.)
3. Do A Judicious Google Search
You can also do a few simple Google searches to put you on the right path to finding all the affiliate programs you could want: simply type in your website’s niche, then “affiliate programs” or “affiliate marketing.”
For example, if you specialize in blogging about beauty, you might do a Google search for “beauty affiliate programs” and, in a few seconds, find yourself with plenty of lists of the best beauty affiliate programs out there for beauty bloggers.
You can do the same Google search to find affiliate programs for specific merchants. Ex. Target affiliate program.
4. Affiliate Networks
Now that you have a few tactics for finding a list of affiliate programs, take a look at the affiliate networks I’ve compiled for you below—many of these networks consolidate a variety of merchants (including the big brands) into one platform and help you track your earnings for each.
As with most affiliate networks, your website will need to be approved by the platform itself. Then, you will need to apply to the individual programs for which you would like to promote. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have an established website with quality, unique content no matter which programs you want to promote. Don’t put the cart before the horse!
Amazon is very popular with affiliate marketers because they seem to sell everything and nearly everyone shops there. They offer commission rates between 1% to 10% on eligible categories (from physical video games to luxury beauty items) and also offer bounties on specific products such as Audible gift subscriptions, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime trials.
Their cookie durations are only 24 hours in most cases, so you won’t earn a commission unless someone purchases the product or service within that time frame. But, they have a broad and strong database of articles to help you make the most of your affiliate links, and offer payments in Amazon gift cards, direct deposits, or checks (with various thresholds for each before you reach payout).
CJ Affiliate, formerly Commission Junction, has been one of the leading affiliate marketing networks for over 20 years, advertising on their site that they've reached $1.8 billion annually in commissions paid out to publishers (which is what they call those of us sharing affiliate links). They partner with major brands such as Barnes & Noble, Lowe's, Office Depot, and Priceline.
They offer tools to promote your affiliate links across device types and provide analytics to help you determine which offers work best for your readership. Their team can also promote you to brands looking for influencers based on your performance.
ClickBank has been around for almost two decades, and they serve affiliate links for the global market. They advertise that you can earn commissions as high as 75%, and that you can set your own payment schedule to weekly payments if you like.
ClickBank offers opportunities to share affiliate links to items with upsell options and to products that recur on a monthly basis (meaning your commission also recurs). They have tens of thousands of products in their system, most being digital products, and offer a robust dashboard area to help you track how your links are performing.
Once you sign up, you can browse through their categories to find offers relevant to your niche.
eBay Partner Network
Much like Amazon, nearly everyone shops on eBay at some point—and they have an affiliate program to help you take advantage of that. The unique detail about eBay's Partner Network is that you earn a commission based on the fee that eBay charges on an auction. Depending on the category of the auction you share, you could earn between 50% to 70% commission on that fee.
eBay Partner Network pays out on a monthly basis (so long as you've earned $10). They have resources to help you choose what to feature and how to optimize your earning performance, too.
FlexOffers has been around for more than 10 years and they offer affiliate programs in a wide array of industries from Clothing & Accessories and Digital Products to Education and Entertainment. They currently have over 12,000 advertisers working with them to offer up over a million products for your affiliate links.
Their dashboard includes comprehensive reports so you can follow the performance of your various offerings, and they keep folks on hand during normal business hours to offer you any support you might need in working with their platform. You also have access to their FlexRev-$hare program which breaks down all your earnings for a given period, your tier level, the status of your referrals, and more.
Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare)
Rakuten Marketing, formerly LinkShare, is an affiliate network I have used for many years. This is a well-known and trusted global network. Within Rakuten Marketing’s platform you will find merchants like Udemy, Walmart, Macy’s, and more.
Your payment choices are either Check, Direct Deposit or PayPal, depending on your location.
Panthera is a bit different from the other networks I’ve shared with you here, as they focus on cost-per-action rather than specifically driving purchases—meaning they often pay per lead gained for their advertisers rather than per sale. They have several hundred live offers currently, have a referral program, and occasionally run publisher incentives. They also offer custom tracking so you can check how your links are performing for you.
Publishers are paid on the 30th of each month for the previous month's activity. Payment can come in the form of check, wire, ACH or PayPal. If you prefer PayPal, your PayPal account must be in “Verified” status.
ShareASale is another affiliate network that connects you to affiliate opportunities you can promote on your website. They have over 39,000 merchant partners on their network including SmileDirectClub, Erin Condren, Scrapbook.com and more.
They have a solid development team that will assist you—answering your questions and helping you grow as an affiliate marketer. They have a blog and monthly newsletter full of tips and training in affiliate marketing. Commission rates vary depending on the merchant.
Have you gotten started yet on finding those affiliate programs that’ll make your website work for you? There’s no time like the present!