If you’re thinking about making money with your blog you’ve probably heard people talk about affiliate marketing and if you’re reading this you’re looking for a direction to take when looking at affiliate programs. I’ve tried quite a few of them and had some mixed experiences so thought I’d set you up with a few different ones to get you started off on the right foot!
Why do you need an affiliate programme – do you not just deal direct?
Sometimes companies have their own referral or affiliate programmes but what you’ll often find is that because it’s quite a tricky and complicated process for the vendor that it’s easier for them to employ an external company to administer it.
It doesn’t mean to say that it’s a scam or that it’s not legitimate – it’s quite normal for this to happen.
What are the best affiliate programs for beginner bloggers?
If you’re a beginner then I want you to pay attention to a couple of things:
- the payout terms
- the payout level
- if the programme is established
Many programmes have a minimum payout level for their commissions and although that shouldn’t stop you using them, it should be born in mind when signing up. You might need to wait quite a while for a payout if you don’t have a lot of traffic at first or if you end up just not being able to sell as much as you thought.
Also check if a programme has been around for a while – don’t get sucked into new and shiny companies especially when you’re new.
What you don’t want is to carry a balance of commissions that you can’t access well. Forewarned is forearmed!
This is always the first affiliate company people recommend and there’s good reason for that:
- they are a well known name – no worries about people trusting the site
- there’s a chance people will buy more than the item you are promoting
- they are fairly easy to sign up for
- there’s a low payout threshold
I have used Amazon a lot over the years and really have loved the ease that you can make money with them. I will temper this with a bit of a warning though…
Amazon is a big player and they don’t really need affiliates any more. They are well known for changing their commission rates and rules overnight and it can and has affected people’s businesses in a devastating way. I love them and use them but I don’t ever trust that the money will be there always. Diversify and have some other options if you can.
You can sign up to be an affiliate here.
This was one of the first schemes I signed up for many years ago and although it took me a while to use it well it’s one of my main ones these days. There is a sign up fee when you sign up which is around $5/£5 which you get back when you reach the payout threshold.
They have a decent amount of companies on there – I promote a lot of UK companies and it’s really good for that but also has other companies around the world too and if you want to promote Etsy products it’s on there.
There is a low payout threshold and it’s easy to use too.
I find this one a little better for US orientated companies and I do use it for my travel blog a little. It’s another of the big companies so they have a lot of choice and people you can refer.
There’s no sign up fee for this one and the payout threshold isn’t too high either.
Skimlinks is one of those programmes where you can put some code on your website and it will turn any link you have into an affiliate link (if appropriate). Really easy and if you have a site that already has a lot of places you’ve linked to it could generate you some money fairly quickly. You don’t need to use it in that way though – you can use it just like the other sites and create an affiliate link.
They have access to a huge amount of worldwide retailers and what I like about them is that you don’t have to apply for and get approved for each individual program like you do with the others.
What about others?
There are some others that I am testing and I’ll update when I have some more information for you. It can depend on your niche as to which ones will work for you but hopefully these very general ones will help you get started! Doesn’t mean it’s not good and everyone’s experience will be different.