Last updated on October 4th, 2018 at 04:51 am
Are you ready to start monetizing your blog? If so then I am going to introduce you to some of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners as well as everything you need to know about becoming an affiliate marketer.
Maybe you started your blog because you wanted to share your passion with the world. When you started your blog, you had no intention of monetizing. Maybe you’ve thought about investing in affiliate marketing training for beginners, but don’t know which one is the best?
I started this blog to share my WordPress and blogging knowledge with beginners. As you know, I’ve been working as a WordPress freelancer for about 3 years and I have over 8 years of experience of working with WordPress.
While I love working with WordPress. I am tired of working as a freelancer. My goal is to share my knowledge with you regarding WordPress and my journey to a full-time income.
In turn, I am helping you understand the basics of WordPress and I am monetizing it through affiliate links, products and other income streams.
Why did you start your blog?
If you are blogging and haven’t decided to use it as an income yet, I think this post will help you out. If you’re passionate about blogging and are creating awesome content. You might be leaving money on the table if you have a blog that gets readers but isn’t monetized yet.
The best part is that you can start monetizing from day one. I am going to share the 3 best affiliate marketing programs for beginners that are:
- Free to join
- Money making potential is good (if used properly)
- Easy to use
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing means that you become the middleman. You enter an agreement with a company that pays you a percentage or a commission for sending them sales.
For instance: I have created a step-by-step tutorial on starting a blog on SiteGround. I am an affiliate with SiteGround. If someone signs up with hosting through my unique affiliate link, I will make a commission of $50.
It’s a win win for both the blogger who signs up through my affiliate link and myself. They get a step-by-step tutorial that helps them build their blog foundation.
In a hurry? Want to Save This Post for Later?
I get a small commission for sharing my personal knowledge and expertise on setting up WordPress with them. Plus I know that it’s a great hosting company because I host this blog there.
Once you have been approved to become an affiliate for a certain vendor, you will get a unique link that you will share with your audience. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, once you get done reading this post, you’ll understand how it works.
Before You Join Any Affiliate Programs
There are literally tons of different affiliate marketing programs you can join. Many new bloggers make the mistake of trying to join as many of them as possible.
I remember when I started my very first blog years ago. One of the first things I did was run out and join as many programs as I could. For some reason, I thought that the more I joined, the more I would make.
However, that’s not the case. You don’t need to become an affiliate for every program. I recommend sticking to just a few programs and getting familiar with affiliate marketing.
If you’re brand new and have never ventured into affiliate marketing, I recommend the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. This course will cut your learning curve in half and will help you start earning quicker.
My 3 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
Okay now that you know what NOT to do, I know that you’re probably looking for some of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.
Here are some of the networks that I am a part of, or have had experience with. I’ll also share some of the products that you can consider promoting using these vendors.
I love ShareASale because they have tons of different products that will fit almost any niche. I use it it promote products such as the Genesis theme for WordPress. It’s the same theme that I use for my blog so I can write beginner Genesis tutorials that help my readers.
If you’re using the Genesis theme, why not sign up as an affiliate and place the affiliate link in your footer?
As your blog starts to grow and you build an audience, someone may want to know what theme you’re using. If you have your affiliate link in the footer, you’ll get a commission when someone purchases through your link.
Plus you only have to add it once and that link is working for you 24/7.
Commissions will vary a lot: Some of the products that I promote pay a flat commission percentage while others will pay a percentage of the sale. The best advice I can give you is to find the product that you want to promote and just go for it. Here’s a great article on Understanding the Commission Hierarchy if you want to dig deeper.
I personally love ShareASale because I have been able to find products that I personally use and can recommend. If you want to have success as an affiliate, it’s important to understand and use the products that you recommend.
I am a huge fan of the Amazon Associate Program. Not only because it’s extremely easy to join, but it’s so easy to make sales. I remember when I made my first sale. It was a whopping $.45 but it was the easiest money I ever made online.
The best part is that I still get sales from Amazon and I don’t have to do much to bring in sales. As you know, I started this blog to move away from my WordPress freelancing gig if you haven’t read my Kindle book, you can pick it up here.
I’m all about joining the best affiliate programs that are easy to make money with. I have found that making sales is extremely easy. Everyone loves and trusts Amazon so it won’t take a lot to start making sales.
Thousands of Products to Promote
The great thing is that you can start promoting products from Amazon in almost any niche. Depending on your blog niche, you could recommend books for your readers.
If you’re recommending books don’t forget to show them the latest Kindle or even the latest Mac Computer (I love my Mac computer). Of course, if you’re audience still has kids in college, you could even promote textbooks or gift cards.
You Make A Commission Off Everything
One of the great things about Amazon is they will pay you a commission on everything that someone buys through your unique link within a 24 hour period.
Let me explain:
If you blog about “bed mattresses” and someone visits Amazon through your affiliate link. They may be interested in buying a mattress. However, when they get to Amazon they end up buying a water filter.
You still get credit for the water filter that they bought. As long as they make the purchase within 24 hours of visiting Amazon through your affiliate link, you’ll get credit.
That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
I personally know this because I have had people visit Amazon through some of the links I have on this blog. I’ve seen people purchase water filters and other weird stuff that has nothing to do with what I blog about.
How Amazon Works for Affiliates
- You send people to Amazon through your unique link.
- If they buy you get paid once the product has shipped.
- When you send a customer and they don’t buy right then and there, you have 24 hours before their “cookie time” expires.
- If a customer visits Amazon and adds a product to their shopping cart, you’ll get a 30-day cookie. (You’ll only get credit on the actual product they saved in their cart from your link.)
This definitely makes Amazon worth promoting in my book.
How Much Does Amazon Pay Their Affiliates?
One of the main reasons that so many beginners avoid Amazon is because they don’t have high commission rates. They start out at 4% commissions, which are less than most affiliate programs.
However, as you start increasing your sales, you could get a commission to increase up to 8.5%.
Don’t Overlook Amazon
I know that it’s discouraging to think that the commissions are so low. You might even be tempted to avoid signing up as an affiliate.
Remember, Amazon is a trusted site. Most likely when you send a customer to them, they’ll end up buying more than one product. Plus they may end up buying some products that cost more than what you are offering on your blog.
As long as they buy within a 24 hour period, you’ll get the commission off of everything the buy. In my book, this makes it one of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners. You can join the Amazon Associates here and start recommending products on your blog.
I am a member of CJ Affiliate and to tell you the truth, I don’t really promote a lot of products with them. However, just like ShareASale, they have a ton of different products that you can choose from.
It doesn’t matter what niche you blog in, chances are you will be able to find products that you can recommend.
The best thing you can do is sign up to become an affiliate. Once you get approved, you’ll want to go through and find the right products you can start recommending on your blog. Apply to become an affiliate here.
How to Find the Right Affiliate Programs
I know that not everyone is in the blogging niche. These are the programs that I use and make money with on this blog. I’ve made it easy for you to join these programs by giving you the link to join.
However, you can also look for affiliate programs using Google. All you have to do is type in“your blog topic + affiliate program” this should bring up several affiliate programs you can join.
Here’s a quick search I did for the running shoe niche:
As you can see, this brought up several affiliate programs I could join if I was in the running niche. I have no doubt that you would be able to find some great products you could promote using my best affiliate programs above.
You, Will, Need A Site
I know that many people talk about making money on Pinterest without a blog. However, from my personal experience, most of the affiliate programs will require you to have a site set up.
Companies do this because they don’t want to allow just anyone and everyone to join.
Never Pay to Join An Affiliate Program
You should never pay to become an affiliate for any company.
I’ve personally never paid to be an affiliate for any program. I recommend staying away from affiliate programs that require you to pay an upfront fee.
Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?
No affiliate marketing is not a scam. There are companies that will pay you to help them sell their products. These companies understand that by paying bloggers a commission or small fee, they have the potential to increase their bottom dollar.
They also understand that they won’t lose any money because they are only paying for actual sales that you make.
It’s much cheaper than hiring employees to work for them. Yes, they could hire salespeople to work for them, and most of them do.
When I go to ShareASale and look for a new affiliate program in the shoe niche. I can find companies such as Reebok and Gymboree. These are well-known companies that most people have heard of.
These companies are willing to pay bloggers to help them drive sales. In turn, they are willing to their affiliates a commission for every sale they make.
There are plenty of people who make thousands of dollars every month just by being affiliates. Some of them are:
- Making Sense of Cents: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner blogs about personal finance and shares her story about how she was able to pay off student loans quickly. Michelle currently makes over $100,000 per month with her blog, you can visit it here.
- Pinch of Yum: A current 4th-grade teacher is now a full-time blogger. She is a food blogger and shares her some awesome recipes and delicious food pics. She’s been blogging for over 7 years and is making well over $50,00 per month.
- Learning Herbs: A blog that will teach you what you need to know about herbs makes over $20,000 per month.
These are just a few of the well-known blogs that are actually making real money online. Yes, I know that there are several other people who are making a killing with affiliate marketing.
The truth is that it really doesn’t matter how much someone makes online. Their results won’t guarantee your success. If you want to make money with affiliate marketing, you’re going to have to set up your blog and start your own journey.
That’s the only way that you’ll be able to see what’s possible for you!
How Do I Get Paid?
Now that you’ve signed up as an affiliate marketer and are working hard to grow your blog and drive traffic to your affiliate links, you might be wondering how do you get paid?
Many of the affiliate programs will require you to have a PayPal account. Others will allow you to get paid via check or direct deposit.
Every program is different, once you start joining some programs you’ll see what payment options they offer.
Paying Taxes As An Affiliate
Yes, you will have to pay taxes on the money you make online. If you’re new to building an online business, I recommend hiring a CPA in your area and find out what you need to do when it comes time to pay taxes.
Taxes are different in every state. Plus, I am NOT a tax expert so I don’t provide any advice. All I can say is you make sure that you are putting enough aside to pay your taxes at the end of the year.
Should I Start Affiliate Marketing?
One of the biggest things that new bloggers worry about is whether or not they should start monetizing their blog. Many people start a blog because they are passionate about something.
Maybe you started your blog because you wanted to help people solve their problems. You have never thought about using your platform as a way to make money.
Maybe you even feel like a sell out when you start thinking about making money with your blog. If this is you, I am here to say that it’s okay to want to make money.
If you’re providing valuable content for your readers, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t monetize your blog. It’s no different than someone going to a job and getting paid for their work.
The difference is that you’re working hard on your blog to create passive income. This means that at first, you’ll be working for free.
At first, you might make a sale here or there. Maybe you won’t make anything at all for several months. However, the more content you write and the more readers you get.
Eventually, people will click through and buy the products that you recommend. Your job is just to recommend the products and demonstrate how they can help your readers.
Some of them will buy and some won’t.
How Many Page Views Do I Need?
Everyone always wants to know, how many page views do I need before I get started with affiliate marketing? I’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t start monetizing until you reach 5,000 page views per month.
However, from my personal experience, I have made affiliate sales on this blog and it still isn’t getting 5,000 page views per month.
You shouldn’t be asking how many page views you need.
Instead Focus On
The quality of content that you are providing for your readers. You won’t make any sales if all you do is place banners or toss in affiliate links in your content.
Okay, you might make a sale or two. But the best way to make sales is to help people. You can do this by creating:
- Tutorials for your readers (this will require you to be familiar with the product)
- Writing in depth how to posts (I love creating these posts and you can see some of them here)
- Product reviews
- Comparisons between products
- Resource page (here’s the one I created for my blog)
- Recommendation posts
The best thing to do is to test things out on your blog and see which posts convert better. You should also focus on the types of blog posts you enjoy writing.
After all, you’re going to need a lot of content. The last thing you want to do is spend time writing blog posts in the format that you don’t enjoy.
How Much Money Can I Make As An Affiliate?
As soon as someone says it’s possible to make money with a blog, you might start seeing dollar signs. It’s so easy to think that money will come overnight.
However, the truth is that it’s going to take a while before you actually start making money with your blog. I know that you’ve probably have seen those instant overnight success stories.
The truth is that it takes time to grow a blog. If you’re brand new and you’ve never had a blog. That most likely means that you’re still struggling with the basics. Maybe you still haven’t written your first blog post?
Your learning curve is going to be longer than someone who has been blogging for a while and already understands SEO.
Maybe you haven’t learned how to do keyword research yet. If not, I recommend using Long Tail Pro to help you find low competition keywords.
I wish I could tell you that you will earn thousands from affiliate marketing. I’d also love to tell you that your blog will be earning in just 6 months.
However, the truth is that I don’t know you. I don’t know how serious you are about wanting to earn money online. What your work ethic is or if you’d rather just sit and watch TV all day?
What I Can Tell You
Is that it is possible to make money with affiliate marketing. How much you make is completely up to you. One of the things is that there is no limit on the amount of money you can make per month.
Affiliate marketing is NOT like your typical job. There is no limit on the amount of money you can make.
If you create a blog that has awesome content and your readers trust you then you will most likely create a profitable blog that earns good money with affiliate marketing.
On the other hand, if you are constantly promoting products that don’t help your readers. And you’re just in it for the commission, you might make some money at first.
However the more that you promote products that are junk, you’ll lose your reader’s trust. This means that no one will ever buy the products you recommend.
Promote Products That Are Helpful
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you as a beginner is to always promote products that actually help your readers.
This means that you might have to purchase the product yourself. After all, it’s hard to know everything about a product unless you actually use it.
Why would you want to promote something if you don’t know anything about it? Your readers work hard for their money so always put their best interests in front of your need to make money.
If you won’t step up and buy the product. Why would you promote it to your readers?
Do I need to Cloak Affiliate Links
You’ve probably heard the term cloaking affiliate links and may be wondering what that is. Cloaking an affiliate link is nothing more than just taking an ugly affiliate link and making it pretty.
For instance, this is what an ugly affiliate link looks like that I get from ShareASale.
If I wanted to share that link quickly in a forum or a Facebook group, it would be virtually impossible. There’s no way that my memory is good enough to remember that link.
This means that I wouldn’t be able to share my affiliate links anywhere except on my blog. Plus I would need to add that link to every post that I write where I actually wanted to recommend the product.
If you’re using a self-hosted WordPress blog, which I highly recommend. You’re going to love the fact that you can easily cloak your affiliate links with 2 plugins.
These plugins make it easy to take that ugly link and make it easier to share.
Both of the plugins are free to use. You can upgrade to a premium version, but as a beginner, I truly believe you’ll be fine with the free version.
You can’t forget to add an affiliate disclaimer to your WordPress blog. While I don’t know everything there is to know about affiliate disclaimers. The best thing you can do is spend time reading the FTC guidelines.
As an affiliate marketer, it’s important to let people know that you will make a small commission if they purchase products from your blog.
Personally, I think it’s morally ethical anyway. As you can see from my blog, I have my affiliate disclaimer on all my blog posts. I would rather put it on all my blog posts that have to worry about adding it every time I publish a new blog post.
The Advanced Ads plugin makes it easy to add your affiliate disclaimer to WordPress. You will add it once and it’s there forever and you won’t have to worry about publishing a post without it.
Final Take Away
Remember your readers come to your blog for help. You can’t look at them as a way to make money. Yes it’s okay to recommend products and some people will purchase it and some won’t.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve joined the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners or not. If you’re not providing helpful useful content, you can not expect to make money.
Your job is to provide the best possible content possible that actually helps your readers. You don’t have to cure world hunger and you may not know everything in your niche.
All you can do is provide the best possible knowledge for your readers. Whether you do that by sharing your personal experiences or you did some research online. Keep learning about your niche so you can keep sharing the best content possible.
Always treat your readers the way that you would want to be treated. If you’re providing the best content that you know how you will make affiliate sales.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- Affiliate Marketing Tips That Will Increase The Conversions On Your Blog
- How to Monetize A Blog 5 Simple Methods Discuss
- How to Add An Affiliate Disclaimer to Genesis Via A Widget
Are you using affiliate marketing for your blog? If so, let me know your experience that you think would be helpful for beginners who are just getting started.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)