Affiliate marketing is a great way for bloggers to start making some money with their blogs.
It can inject money into your blogging business with a relatively small investment of your time and no extra investment of money. Plus if done correctly, it can set you up for months and even years of passive income!
So, how do you start and where do you find companies and products to promote that are aligned with your blogging niche and audience?
In this blog post, I am talking all about getting started with affiliate marketing and the best affiliate marketing programs for bloggers.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more info
There are several different ways that bloggers make money. Click here to read my blog post: How to Make Money Blogging: A Proven Beginner’s Guide
One of the five main ways bloggers make money is with affiliate marketing, so let’s first start off by defining what affiliate marketing is.
Affiliate marketing means that you are selling other people’s products or services through links on your blog. You recommend products and services that you use and love by linking to them.
Then when someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases something, you earn a commission.
There typically aren’t any requirements to become an affiliate for a company, other than filling out an application and creating an account.
Once you are approved you will have access to an affiliate dashboard. In your dashboard, you can read over the affiliate rules and receive access to an affiliate link specific to you. This is the link you will provide when sharing the product or service with your audience.
When anyone clicks on your specific link and purchases something it is tracked and you will get a commission.
The commission you receive will vary widely depending on the program and/or products you are promoting. Typically commissions range anywhere from 1%-50% and the payout time and threshold to get paid will also vary by program
To be successful with affiliate marketing you want to make sure that:
1. You are recommending a product/service related to your specific blogging niche and audience.
2. You are being authentic and honest with your audience by only sharing products and/or services that you have used or currently use and love.
You cannot give an honest review or confidently recommend something that you haven’t tried yourself. Trying to promote something to your audience that you have never used is dishonest and puts you at risk of losing the trust of your audience, which is a big mistake.
There are affiliate programs for every niche and you can search them out in a few different ways.
1. You can simply search for individual affiliate programs by typing in a keyword or business related to your niche in a Google search and put the words ‘affiliate program’ after it to see what comes up.
2. Reach out to brands/companies that you use within your niche to see if they have an affiliate program that they offer directly.
3. Discover affiliate programs for your niche by signing up with affiliate networks.
While affiliate programs are managed directly by the company you are promoting, affiliate networks are platforms that act as a middleman between companies who want to promote their program/product or services and you the affiliate.
I personally work with both direct affiliate programs and affiliate networks.
Alright now that you have a better idea of what affiliate marketing is, how it works and what you should promote, let’s jump into my recommendations for the best affiliate marketing programs for bloggers.
Side note: These are in no particular order.
Amazon Associates is the first affiliate program that I worked with. It is one of the most well known but unfortunately one of the lowest paying affiliate programs around.
I still recommend it though because while it doesn’t have a huge commission, it’s a great way to dip your toes into the affiliate marketing space, get experience, and see results.
The majority of people shop at Amazon. There is something for you to recommend to your audience no matter what your niche, so it’s an easy way to start making a few dollars here and there. This is the main reason I still recommend this affiliate program to new bloggers.
If you blog about crocheting, you can recommend specific yarn or crochet needles, if you have a baking blog you can link to specific ingredients you use in your recipes, if you blog about parenting a child with special needs you can link to specific therapy tools, toys or books you use and the list goes on and on.
This was the first affiliate program that I signed up with when I turned my parenting blog into a business and one of the biggest perks of this program is that no matter what you link to, you get a commission on anything the person buys through your link.
This means that if a person clicked on your link for a specific book on Amazon and instead ended up buying a laptop and a shirt you still get the commission for those things!!
This affiliate program is one of my income streams, but I can tell you Amazon affiliates commission is one of the lowest around. In 2020 they drastically reduced their commission rates for affiliates and now some commissions are as low as 1%.
However, Amazon also offers higher fixed commissions for bounties– which are trials and/or sign-ups to specific programs like Audible, Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Baby Registry. These are definitely worth looking into if any of these fit in with your niche.
I believe as of now they give commissions of $3-$10 per sign up depending on the bounty.
One more important thing to know about the Amazon Associates program– it requires you to make a sale within your first 90 days to stay in the program, so make sure that your blog is generating some traffic before applying.
This company hosts affiliate programs for big companies, but they are not considered an affiliate network. They simply help brands contract and pay bloggers and other partners.
There are some really big brands that use Impact to run their partnerships like- Target, Walmart, & Kohls.
Target is a great alternative or addition to being a part of Amazon’s affiliate program. There is such a variety of products you could recommend within your niche. It’s definitely one of my favorites. I am an affiliate for Target with my parenting blog.
If you are in the DIY space, Impact also partners with companies like Home Depot & Lowes.
For travel bloggers they partner with Airbnb & Hotwire.
In a beauty niche? There are affiliate programs connected with Impact for companies like L’oreal & Ulta.
Plus companies like Shutterstock, Zulily, and Hello Fresh
Once you log in to Impact you can click on the Brands link to see what other companies within your niche you can be an affiliate for. There are a ton!
ShareASale is a user-friendly affiliate network that works with companies like Cricut – which is a great affiliate for DIYers and crafting niches.
They also partner with companies like Minted, Grammarly, and Masterclass– which hosts online classes from the best of the best that feature courses by celebrity chefs, authors, actors, athletes, etc. You’ve probably seen the ads for Masterclass. Super cool idea!
In addition, ShareASale also works with companies like Legacy Box, Cratejoy, Erin Condren, and even places like the Dollar Tree for those in budgeting/saving money niches.
Awin offers affiliate programs for companies like Etsy which is great for crafters and those in the home decor niche.
If you sell stuff on Etsy and it’s related to your niche, you can send people to your store via your affiliate link. If they buy, you will get money from the sale and also money as an affiliate from that sale. Read their policy on this to be sure, but that is how I make extra commissions through Amazon.
I created a journal for anxious kids that I self published on Amazon via my first blog in the parenting space. I refer people to it via my blog using my affiliate link for Amazon which is all closely linked with my niche.
This helped me to make my first $100 blogging when I was just starting my blogging business.
Awin also partners with companies like:
Check out their site to learn what other companies they work with!
Commission Junction is the largest and most established affiliate network company that I know of. They work with companies like Barnes and Noble, Overstock and Wayfair.
They also partner with brands like Zappos, ABC Mouse and Buy Buy Baby and so many more.
Same company, different premise.
You are probably familiar with Rakuten where you can get Cash Back for shopping at over 2,500 stores online. You sign up, go through their link when you shop at a store, and get a percentage of money back in your account. It’s a no-brainer! You can even earn more by referring other people! If you are not using this yet and you want to save money, you must check this out.
But in this post about the best affiliate marketing programs for bloggers, I want to tell you about Rakuten Advertising which is again part of the same company.
It is an actual affiliate marketing network that works with brands like Lego and Melissa and Doug which are huge in the parenting space.
They also work with the giant beauty company, Sephora, plus many more!
I have one more to share with you, but I want to know – are you getting some good ideas here? Is this blog post and video helpful to you?
Let me know in the comments below. Put your niche in the comments section too and I’ll give you an idea or two of where to start.
Ultimate Bundles is an affiliate program that offers bundles at various points throughout the year for different niches. These bundles include ebooks, courses, workbooks, videos, and even membership sites for a specific niche, in one bundle, for a low price.
At the time I am writing this they just had a gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle. Now they are currently offering an Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and in June a Writer’s Toolkit Bundle will be available.
This company works with new and established bloggers. It is a great place to start if you are new because as an affiliate they give you free marketing training before each bundle releases.
They also have a generous commission of 40% as an affiliate!
If you want to apply to be a contributor and have your product in a bundle that fits your niche, you can earn up to 70%.
You now know 7 of the best affiliate marketing programs for bloggers. Affiliate marketing is just one of the many ways that you can make money blogging.
Be sure to check out my other blog post: 5 main ways to make money with your blog to learn about the other 4 ways!
I highly recommend diversifying your income streams over time, but affiliate marketing is a great place to start.
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