Looking to join affiliate programs for beginners?

Perhaps you’ve been blogging for 1 week, 1 month or 3 months.

While you enjoy blogging, you want to recoup your blog costs or explore making money from your blog.

Amongst all the opportunities to make money from a blog, affiliate marketing is often the first and easiest to implement.

Since you’re probably already suggesting products or services that you love, you might as well get paid for it.

Once you put the links in place, it becomes a relatively passive source of income.

 

So you’re interested in joining affiliate programs for beginners, but you don’t know where to start?

Or maybe you’ve been rejected from an affiliate program and you don’t know why?

 

I started blogging in October 2018.

When my website was still being built and only had a handful of articles, I started applying to affiliate programs.

I had no idea what I was doing.

At the off chance any of these early posts became popular, I wanted to have affiliate links in place.

It hadn’t occurred to me that some companies might take a deep dive audit into the site.

That I would get rejected because they only accept websites that have certain elements or traffic.

 

Below I’ll discuss what affiliate programs (for bloggers in any niche) I got approved for and rejected from. I’ll also discuss tips about the process and implementation.

Before jumping into this, here are the fundamentals of affiliate marketing…

 

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What is affiliate marketing?

It’s when you get paid for promoting a product or service you love to your readers.

How it works:

  1. You are given a special link with your referral code (so the company can track the referral).
  2. You talk about that product and insert your affiliate link to it.
  3. When a reader clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you get the commission.

 

You can promote your links on your blog articles, emails, and social media pages.

Each program will have its unique restrictions for promotional methods.

This often involves a requirement that you disclose that you’re getting a commission on the product.

 

There are 2 types of affiliate programs:

  1. Internal affiliate programs (single brand)
  2. Third party affiliate networks (that give you access to hundreds or thousands of brands)

Internal affiliate programs are when companies have an in-house affiliate program.

Third party affiliate networks are organizations that take care of other companies’ affiliate efforts.

Some brands have both internal affiliate programs as well as work with third party affiliate networks.

 

For example, Ebates.com (or Ebates.ca if you’re Canadian) has an internal referral program. They’re also listed with the affiliate network iGain.

A good practice is to compare the commission rates to see which offering is higher. Often the internal referral program has a higher rate.

 

If the company’s brand name is less known, it might be worthwhile to use the affiliate network’s links.

For example, Amazon is an affliate network that is a household name. Amazon sells Ergobaby (which has its own internal affiliate program) products.

A reader might be more inclined to purchase from Amazon, especially if they have Amazon Prime and have free shipping and other incentives, than from Ergobaby directly.

 

What is the bare minimum you’ll need before you start applying?

For some affiliate programs, you don’t even need to write a blog post to market your affiliate links. You can just post on social media for example. It’s important to read the program’s restrictions to understand your promotional options.

In general, if you have a blog, you’re more likely to be accepted into the program. If you don’t have a blog, here are the strategies and steps I used to start a blog in October 2018 and make money from it.

You want to have a basic blog structure including a Home, About, Contact and Privacy Policy page.

It’s important that you have a Disclosure page as companies want to see that you’re disclosing your commission for affiliate links.

It’s particularly important that you’re self-hosted.

If you’re self-hosted, you own your domain and its content. When you’re free hosted, your domain can be deleted! All of your hard work creating and building the blog could be gone and there’s nothing you can do about it.

My blog is self-hosted with Siteground. You can get Siteground hosting for as low as $3.95/month.

Here’s why and how I set up my blog with Siteground.

 

How do you locate and apply for affiliate programs?

To find affiliate programs, you can often google the company name and “affiliate” to see what’s available.

When you apply to the affiliate program or network, you’re often joining as an “affiliate”, “referrer” or “publisher” so you want to watch for those terms when you’re navigating the sites.

 

For affiliate networks, once you apply and get approved, you get access to the individual brands. You often have to apply to each brand separately.

When you get approved with the brand, then you have access to the affiliate text and banner links. Deep linking to a specific product (as opposed to the home page), which just makes the reader experience better, is often an option.

 

Now that you have some information about affiliate marketing, here are the affiliate networks and programs I was approved for within the first 2 months of launching my blog.

I’ve included the affiliate networks for bloggers in any niche or blogging specific affiliate programs.

I strongly recommend that you only apply to the brands that are relevant to your content. Brands that you believe in that will benefit your readers because they will solve a problem.

 

Affiliate networks I was approved for

Each of the below affiliate networks has access to hundreds or thousands of well recognized brands. I’ve included a few notable brands. Some even have a dedicated account manager, which I’ll also indicate below.

 

Shareasalebrands include NBA.com Shop, NHL.com Shop, Freshbooks, Viator, Gymboree. There are many blog merchants including Grammarly, Tailwind, PicMonkey, and MonsterInsights.

FlexOffersbrands include Airbnb, DollarTree, Groupon, Target, Kohl’s, Nordstrom Rack, Trip Advisor, Macy’s

MaxBounty (dedicated account manager that will even try to get a better commission rate for you if there’s a more competitive rate for the same brand at another network) – brands include Booking.com, Norton AntiVirus, T-Mobile, Ipsos, Fiverr

iGain (dedicated account manager that helps you set up your account and answer questions) – brands include many survey companies (e.g. Inbox Dollars, E-Poll, Vindale Research, Global Test Market, PineCone Research)

Awin – brands include Etsy, Trustedhousesitters, Agoda

Rakuten Marketing– brands include Walmart, Best Buy, Air Canada Vacations

CJ Affiliates – brands include Apple, Home Depot, Expedia

Amazon Associates

This is another great network for new bloggers because it’s a household name that people trust and Amazon has a product for almost every need. I’ve written more on Amazon Associates as they have terms that new bloggers should be aware of.

The Amazon commission is generally low, but the bounty program (including e.g. Amazon Prime) is higher. The program involves a 24 hour cookie; once a customer clicks on a link, if he/she makes a purchase on the site (even if it’s not necessarily the product you linked to) within 24 hours, you’ll get the commission.

One thing I would caution is that you need to make 3 sales within the first 180 days of opening your account. Otherwise it will be suspended.

If you or your audience are located outside of the U.S., you might want to apply for the additional non-U.S. countries (e.g. Canada, U.K.) and activate the OneLink feature to link the accounts together. This ensures that when these non-U.S. visitors click on your affiliate link, they will be redirected to their local Amazon site.

Just ensure that you’re posting Amazon.com links (and not Amazon.ca links for example) as it won’t otherwise automatically redirect. There are 7 countries that can be synced with OneLink (United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Japan).

 

Blogging programs I was approved for

Here are blogging resources I use and love! They not only provide excellent products, but also have generous commission structures for affiliates.

 

Siteground– This is the web hosting company I use with my blog. When I was doing initial research, Bluehost was often recommended.

Then I came across articles of bloggers who had difficulties with Bluehost from speed load time to customer service. I’ve personally noticed that some bloggers who I regularly follow and recommend Bluehost – sometimes their page doesn’t load! That’s when I started noticing Siteground. I have had no complaints thus far! You can sign up for as little as $3.95/month here.

 

Elegant Themes’ Divi – I’m a huge proponent of Divi. You have access to 80+ themes or you can create your own site which is what I did.

For non-tech saavy people like me, Divi is the way to go. Divi is a drag and drop builder so you don’t need to know how to code, but you can still build the site the way you want it to look.

If I had questions, I contacted their customer service team or watched their training videos which walk you through every option. Their theme is mobile responsive.

 

Stencil – I love Stencil! This platofrm makes it so easy and fast to create images for your website. There are over 2 mil royalty-free photos, 680 templates, 1 mil icons, tonnes of preloaded sizes or easily create your own.

I’ve heard some bloggers use free images from Pixabay and upload them onto the free version of Canva or PicMonkey. I initially tried this, but then switched to Stencil because everything is all in one place. You save so much time. If you’re resizing images for multiple social media accounts, this is especially easy to do as they have preloaded sizes.

There’s so much involved with setting up and learning about blogging. It’s great having image creation easy! If you want to try Stencil out, there’s a FREE package where you can create and save 10 images per month, but you have access to limited photos and icons.

 

Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell and Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers: Everything You’re Missing by Carly Campbell

I’m an affiliate for both of Carly Campbell’s courses because they’re informative and comprehensive.

In her affiliate marketing course, she uses her previous articles as case studies. It includes videos so you can see exactly how she’s applied her affiliate marketing strategy.

I loved the Affiliate Marketing course so much, I ended up purchasing her other course Pinteresting Strategies, which is beloved by many reputable bloggers! It did not disappoint. It has an extensive overview of Pinterest – all the strategies you need to optimize your Pinterest account and boost your traffic.

This course is actually how I got my first affiliate sale.

 

Conquer Your Business Analytics: A course for Creatives and Non-Techies by Jenn Zellers

This course is jam packed with useful information about how to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console – 2 FREE must have tools for your site – the right way and optimize it. If you’re not tech saavy like me, this course will help. She includes detailed, step-by-step directions and images.

If you want to get a taste, check out her FREE course Google Analytics 101 – for Non-Techies!

 

Here are the programs I was rejected from.

Impact Radius is an affiliate network with brands like Uber, UberEATS, and Target. I initially applied in October 2018 and was rejected. When I asked them for the reason, they said it was due to low traffic. I’ve since reapplied and got approved.

Through CJ Affiliates, I was rejected on Hotels.com and HelloFresh. When I asked them for a reason, I never heard back. I haven’t reapplied since.

 

Bonus – Ad network

If you’re looking for an ad network, I was recently approved on Media.net.

I initially tried going the Google Adsense route, but I found it difficult to set up properly.

Media.net has been easy to implement. Once you’re set up, you get an account manager who will help you with any questions and strategies for ad placement.

I like how the ads are related to the content of the page so it’s more relevant to the reader.

 

As you can see in my experience, the majority of the above affiliate programs are fitting for new bloggers.

Don’t forget that if you get rejected, you can often reapply. I know it can be discouraging to receive a rejection to something you’ve put dozens of hours into.

The rejection just means you need to make a few changes and increase promotions. In the end, you’ll get there. It’ll just take some time.

Good luck with your applications!

 

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Best affiliate programs for new bloggers in any niche - what I got approved for and rejected from in 2018

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