Affiliate Programs enable a blogger, influencer, or website to earn a commission whenever someone clicks through on an affiliate link and ends up buying through the link itself. Placing the link on an applicable post is another topic in itself. Affiliate Marketing is something someone seasoned within Digital Marketing can do, or a beginner just like you!
Though I can’t give exact numbers, my experience as an affiliate manager at one of the Affiliate Networks below as well as being an Affiliate Blogger have shown me a few programs that have been very rewarding to publishers. Here are the top paid out programs we’ve found bloggers utilize to their advantage:
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Top 10 Blogger Affiliate Apps
Comes as no surprise that the number one on our list is amazingly popular amongst “How to Start a Blog” publishers. The high payouts combined with good support and co-branding opportunities make this a good one. Many of the “How to’s” make $50k-$150k PER MONTH on this program. Ironically, some of these publishers don’t use BlueHost.
- Popular Amongst “How to Blog” Publishers
- High Commission
- Good Support
- Top Earners make $50,000-$150,000+ Per Month
- Steady list of alternatives with solid payouts
- SiteGround ($65)
- Dreamhost ($100)
- GoDaddy (Commissions are too low for bloggers these days)
- HostGator (owned by BlueHost, offers same commission at $65 and up)
- HostPapa ($100 and up)
2: Any Credit Card Affiliate Program
If you were around during the start of the affiliate marketing world, you’d be surprised at how laid back and comfortable it was to be approved for many things, including Credit Cards. Publishers would be able to produce significant commissions ($100+ per sign up).
Things have changed dramatically, however, and the credit card publisher niche is overcrowded and hard to keep compliant. Publishers like Mr. Money Mustache have even written about how annoying affiliate compliance can be, and credit cards are the main culprit. We work with Barclaycard, and they’ve been the easiest to deal with any provider.
- High Payouts
- Niche is Tough to Compete With (The Points Guy, Nerdwallet, etc.)
- Tough as nails to be approved for
- Compliance is a pain
Love shopping online? Then you shouldn’t be surprised at how important affiliate marketing is to the Kohl’s Department Stores. If you’ve ever shopped there, you’d know the coupons, promo codes, barcodes, and other value propositions are a primary marketing focus for the company. Well, Value Propositions and Affiliate Marketing go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise to see Kohl’s pop up on sites like Ebates, Promocodes.com, Retailmenot, and more.
- Popular Amongst Deal Sites
- Promo codes are the primary driver for business
- Commissions are somewhat low, but the Average Order Value is ~$45+ (AOV)
- Found on Impact Network
Side money and survey taking are easy write-ups for bloggers. Swagbucks is a relatively new business that has taken Survey Taking by storm. Blogs that focus on personal finance, side hustle opportunities, and related topics like Swagbucks for its easy-to-sign-up commission.
- Found on Impact Network
- Commissions $2.50 for each confirmed Email Sign Up
- Popular Amongst “How To” and “Side Hustle” bloggers
- Swagbucks (Proedge) also owns ShopAtHome and MyPoints (both offer similar commission)
5: Amazon Associates Program
Surprised to see Amazon so low? We’re not. Amazon is a pain to work with because they don’t necessarily need an affiliate program, to begin with. Still, many bloggers tend to go all out with Amazon’s program or not at all. It’s probably to do this type of strategy when you operate a very niche website, for example, SwimUniversity.com which offers top lists on pool related products.
- Self Hosted on Amazon.com
- Commissions are low for pretty much everything
- Still the web’s #1 E-commerce Store (so it’s a significant revenue source)
- Probably best to go all-out on Amazon and not utilize other programs if you operate a single niche
6: eBay Partner Network
With loads more flexibility than the Amazon program, you can earn commissions referring people to auctions, store pages, and product feeds. With a huge market in the reseller and used space, eBay has a different type of product base that might intrigue a blogger’s audience!
BeRush is the Affiliate Program for the SEMRush software, which allows bloggers to research competitors and what topics they rank for. Yes, you heard it here first: the Blogging world is an ultra-competitive space. Don’t let the beautiful Pinterest pictures detract you from the ever going world of competition! SEMRush’s Affiliate Program is unique in that you’ll earn what is calledrecurring commission.What this means is that when you refer a buying customer, as long as they keep the monthly subscription you’ll earn a commission each month.
Though the payout is nice, Shopify suffers from an ever-changing affiliate program that we can’t rank higher. You’ll be able to receive the first several months of recurring commission and it’s easy to refer customers to the world’s best e-commerce platform.
Top bloggers rely on email marketing as a part of their sales funnel. Sales funnels, or as I like to call, cold calling for bloggers, is the method in which you keep bothering a reader until they actually purchase or do something on your blog. Yes, we do it here, but that’s because you have to. Building trust is an essential part of running a blog, and if you are successful at it, you’ll earn some serious coin. ConvertKit is one of, if not the top option when it comes to Blogger outreach through email! Their Affiliate Program offers a competitive commission and you’ll sleep well knowing you are referring a decent email service.
10: E-Courses through Teachable
We’ve seen popularity in referring others e-courses like “How to Learn Affiliate Marketing” or “Learn Pinterest” courses through Teachable and alike. There are highly converting programs because of high commission rates, but we also don’t expect the longevity that major e-commerce stores offer.
Interested in Travel Affiliate Programs? We’ve ranked the Best Travel Affiliate Programs!
Refer Side Hustles and be a Hustler Yourself!
For many affiliate bloggers, side hustles are an easy write-up You can tell your readers on how to make extra dough by riding your car around picking up people or food, and if they end up trying it out, you can make some serious coin. With the explosion of apps in the early 2010’s the ability to turn your smartphone into a money making machine helps people live a better life, picking and choosing their schedule to work.
If you are a blogger where these types of value propositions apply, then you are in luck, because the companies behind such money making opportunities also want to share and bring the app to as many people as possible. Affiliate Marketing empowers apps and companies with the power of the referral. Let’s take a look at those Side Hustles now!
The obvious choice when it comes to side hustling. If you have a recent enough car, you could earn money. But you already know about UBER’s business model. What about its affiliate program? Well, it’s always changing management, that’s for sure. Bigger companies like UBER who understand how vital affiliate marketing can be, sometimes hire contractors (OPM) as well as in-house employees to manage its affiliate program. Here are the juicy details behind the ride-sharing app:
- Found on the Impact Network
- Car OWNERS and NOT RIDERS
- There is a program for Riders but its closed off to the general public
- UBER Eats also Available! (with Bike Rider capability)
- Commissions Range from $15 Approved Bikes to $45 (and up) Approved Drivers
The main competitor of UBER has an affiliate program, but it’s a bit different. Our experience with the program has been inconsistent and if you check around other “make money blogs,” you’ll likely see Lyft rarely written about due to its lack of consistency. Here are the details:
- Found on the Rakuten Marketing (Linkshare) Network
- For RIDERS and DRIVERS
- RIDER Program is Inactive at Most Time of the Year ($2-$4 per ride)
- DRIVER Program is more consistent at $80-$100 per approved Driver
One of the more missed out opportunities bloggers tend to overlook is this neat app. You can rent out your own car, or be the renter itself. There are barriers for many customers including the fact that cars aren’t company owned, but if you can convince your readers to sign up there’s a good opportunity there. The major missed opportunity here is their Car Owner side, that is not very actively advertised within their program. (But it’s there)
- Found on the Impact Network
- Car Owners and Renter Programs
- Tiered Commission (Both Renter and Owner)
- Sign Up is a Commission
- Confirmed Email
- First Drive
- Commissions vary from approximately $4-$45
- Here’s a tip: Alternative Network for the Turo Car Owner Program:FlexOffers
For those who own or have extra space that’s just lying around, Airbnb is a good opportunity to make some money. With growing support and a large clientele, there are alternatives out there, but Airbnb is the undoubted king in this space. Yes: VRBO, HomeAway, TurnKey all have programs on the Commission Junction network in case you were wondering. If you want to push the best, let’s examine Airbnb:
- Found on the Impact Network
- For Renters and Listings
- Compliance is very strict(Terminology must match theirs to be approved)
- Renter Side is nearly impossible to be approved for
- Listing Side offers commissions in specific locations (ever changing)
- Commissions can vary from $25-$100
Millennials tend to buy more experiences than real estate because well…buying a home is too expensive nowadays. RVs are on the rise for its mobility, yet efficient way to travel across the country. You can see the Grand Canyon one day, then Disneyland the next all under the same roof. Sites like RVShare and Outdoorsy offer a way to RV owners to rent out their RVs to those who are willing. Commissions are pretty high (for now) so here’s a good opportunity for a blog piece!
- RVShare is Self-Hosted (but with a Commission Junction Program Pending)
- Outdoorsy is Self-Hosted with Co-branding available
- Payouts are anywhere from $20-$80 for renting out RVs
We’re Waiting for These…
As we mentioned in one of our articles, Affiliate Marketing is an extra marketing aspect for digital companies with unique knowledge required. Sometimes, it’s too expensive or risky to start an affiliate program. Here are some apps that should consider starting aSide Hustle Affiliate Program, for some of these, they have a customer faced affiliate program, but not an app owner side.
- Rover Dog Walking
- JustAnswer (Asked, and they said they’ll look into it)
Difference Between Affiliate Programs and Affiliate Networks?
For the most part, to find Affiliate Programs you’ll need to partner up with an Affiliate Network. To do this and improve your odds of being accepted to most of these you’ll need:
- An Active Website with Content that isn’t copied from another location
- Social Following of at least 25 people and up (no matter the network)
- A company email address (Gmail/Hotmail is OK but could delay your application)
- Blog/Company description
- Telephone number
Now that you’ve got all the info down and you are ready. You can apply. Sometimes it does take time for your application to be approved! Once you are accepted, you can log into the network and find hundreds of affiliate programs that may apply to your blog’s overall purpose.
If one program doesn’t convert, try another!
Note: There are some programs that do not require a network sign up. Noteworthy ones include Amazon and eBay. For reference, we’ll call these two networks as they require an additional sign up.
Top Performing Affiliate Networks
Below is a list, last updated on August 23, 2018. Readers should be able to find these networks attached below, however, in many cases, a network may be restricted only to accept a few publishers and websites. Have a question? Let us know with a comment!
- Impact Radius
- Commission Junction (CJ)
- Rakuten Linkshare
- Share A Sale
- Aragon Advertising
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network
If You Don’t Want to Go Back and Forth…
Listen, there are dozens among dozens of Affiliate Networks that have respectable Affiliate Programs. The problem with this is that as a blogger or affiliate publisher, you may not have the time to go back and forth between networks and programs to manage your payouts and links. There’s a solution! Actually, 3 of them to be precise.
A recent question someone came up to me with is: “How can one blogger or website manage going to multiple affiliate networks, managing all links, payouts, programs, and not forget something?” There are multiple solutions to this exact problem in the affiliate industry, yet only a few select bloggers and publishers take advantage of it.
First off, if you can manage to switch back and forth to many networks than you shouldn’t choose a one-stop location. Reason being payouts are higher when you do this as opposed to working with a one-stop affiliate network or solution.
Yes, there are solutions out there, but they pay slightly less than what you’d get if you were to go directly to the proper affiliate program listing themselves. Solutions that do offer this one-stop place take a part of the commission because that is a part of their business model.
Still, that shouldn’t deter you on the fact that these solutions are legit options with a massive amount of great affiliate programs you can work with and get commissions. After all, time is money! Plus, if you get denied an application in one network, you could always apply to the major consolidated networks and see if you can run the program you want that way!
Bloggers who are experts in affiliate conversions know all about FlexOffers. Heck, we’ve even chatted about them briefly in our beginner’s affiliate marketing post. FlexOffers works a lot like an affiliate aggregator of sorts where you’ll find thousands of programs that are found not only on their network but Commission Junction, Linkshare, Pepperjam, and many others. FlexOffers hosts the technology to be able to entertain these offers as well on their network and give publishers (bloggers) a one-stop place for affiliate programs typically found on those networks. By consolidating the programs in one location, you save a ton of time switching back and forth between networks!
Other Major Benefits of Working with FlexOffers?
- Proficient Reporting Options
- Faster Program Approvals
- Easy Payout Options (i.e. PayPal)
- Also Hosts Unique Programs like Car Dash and Personal Capital
It should be of note that commissions like all other one stop or single affiliate network solutions do take a part of the commission that you’d normally receive if you went directly to a Commission Junction, for example. On the other hand, FlexOffers does have a team in place to make sure your commissions are what you’d want to work with. Be sure to reach out to FlexOffers for any questions and let them know Todd (MoneyHax) sent you!
So you are the kind of website that would prefer not to deal with affiliate politics and programs altogether, but also understand that there are monetization opportunities through affiliate links. Enter Viglink. Acting similarly to the model of FlexOffers, you’ll be able to download a plugin that will automatically translate possible affiliate products and services into affiliate links seamlessly. Many, many larger corporations utilize Viglink for this ability, but for smaller bloggers, it may not work as well since your content is sensitive to SEO and Social purposes. In fact, in 2016 Reddit confirmed that they would be utilizing Viglink as their affiliate network solution so that they don’t have to translate specific products into affiliate links for further monetization manually.
As you can see, Viglink is a legit affiliate marketing solution that companies like Reddit and even venture backed by Google themselves. For smaller bloggers, you can easily install the ability to work with Viglink via WordPress through a plugin.
Other benefits of working with Viglink are:
- Largest Affiliate Program selection, including Amazon and eBay (though they are restricted)
- The hands-off solution when it comes to affiliate links
- Always on-boarding new programs
Because this is an affiliate aggregator, much like FlexOffers, Viglink takes a part of the commission for themselves. We do also think that FlexOffers pays out quicker and you can negotiate more with them. Viglink, on the other hand, is a major solution for those who do not wish to grow affiliate partnerships, but rather monetize rather quickly and easily.
We could go into depth about what Skimlinks is, but it wouldn’t be worth it. They are in the same business as Viglink, however under a different label. For Skimlinks you can download a plugin for WordPress and automatically translate potential products into links…exactly like Viglink. Viglink has been around slightly longer, and we have a better connection with them in the long run, but both Skimlinks and Viglink are both terrific options.
*If you have a European presence there’s even a one-stop solution there at LinkPizza.com*