9 Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners (Make Money Online!)

You want freedom. Finding the right affiliate marketing programs for beginners can help you be able to afford to live the way you want to.

Your job offers you a reliable paycheck, but you’re stuck in a cubicle 8+ hours a day. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t use the word “freedom” to describe that scenario.

What if I told you that you don’t have to trade your hours for dollars? You (yes, you) can make money while you sleep. Or while you’re vacationing in Fiji.

Now, that sounds more like it!

Did you know that some bloggers make more than $100,000 a month from affiliate marketing? They put their pants on one leg at a time (I think). And they started in the same place you’re at right now.

It may sound daunting at first, but the best place to start is at the beginning.

Keep reading to learn the basics of affiliate marketing and about 9 of the top affiliate marketing programs for beginners. Future you will be glad you did!

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What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is promoting relevant products to your audience and earning a commission for every sale you refer. Typically, you earn between 5 and 50%, but it depends on the affiliate marketing program.

Once you’re accepted into an affiliate marketing program, you’re given a unique link. You promote this link on your website or social media. One of your true fans is sold and clicks through to make a purchase.

You earn a percentage of that sale. Rinse and repeat.

However, being successful isn’t quite that simple.

The most successful affiliate marketers (the ones making bank) promote high-quality products they know and love. If your best friend recommended a pizza place but the pizza tasted like cardboard, what would you think of your friend?

That they have a bad taste in pizza.

You don’t want your readers to think you have bad taste, right? Of course not. That’s why it’s important to choose only the best of the best products to promote.

But not all affiliate marketing programs are created equal, so I’ve put together a list of the top ones to help you get started.

Bonus: Check out or list on How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything: The Top 10 Ways

The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners

These programs were chosen specifically on the basis of the experience required to get started. Check out each one and weigh the pros and cons before signing up.

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon currently holds approximately half of the entire US eCommerce industry. And nearly 200 million people access Amazon every month. Needless to say, the company is a trusted eCommerce source around the world.

Thanks to Amazon’s affiliate program, you can take advantage of their expansive reach across the globe. They offer a 24-hour cookie window, and you can earn up to 10% of every customer you refer.

Additionally, you earn a commission on any product someone buys within 24 hours, even if it’s not the one you recommended.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Up to 10%
  • Cookie Duration: 24 hours
  • Payment Threshold: $10 by direct deposit or $100 by check
  • Program Requirements: 3 qualified sales in 180 days
  • Pros: A trusted company with millions of products to choose from, low payment threshold, and earn on any sale within 24 hours
  • Cons: Low commission rate and short cookie duration

2. ClickBank

ClickBank is an affiliate network catered toward small businesses. You can find unique products within their network that you won’t find anywhere else. Unlike the other affiliate networks in this list, you work with suppliers directly.

clickbank logo

They’ve been around for over 20 years and offer more than 6 million products.

ClickBank specializes in offering digital info-products, which is a 50 billion dollar industry. And no, that’s not a typo.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Up to 75%
  • Cookie Duration: 60 days
  • Payment Threshold: $10
  • Program Requirements: Must have a tax ID or social security number (for US affiliates)
  • Pros: Specialty in small business info-products, high commissions, 2-month cookie duration, recurring commissions, low payment threshold
  • Cons: Products aren’t as well known, a lot of low-quality products

3. Flexoffers

Flexoffers has over 12,000 products in 25 different categories for you to choose from. You can also earn money by referring other affiliate marketers to their program.

flexoffers logo

Their products range from travel and entertainment to business and education, so you’re bound to find something worthwhile. Plus they’re known for paying their affiliates faster than any other network on this list.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Varies by product
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Threshold: $50
  • Program Requirements: You must have your own website to join
  • Pros: No approval process for individual advertisers, thousands of products to choose from
  • Cons: No internal training, not suitable for all niches, and high payment threshold

4. Commission Junction

CJ has been around for over 20 years. They care about providing an excellent experience for everyone involved in affiliate marketing. They’re known for providing over-the-top customer service for affiliates.

commission junction logo

Their platform is easy to use, they have the largest selection of products, and they make it easy for you to boost your commissions.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Varies by product
  • Cookie Duration: They use cookie-less tracking
  • Payment Threshold: $50 for direct deposit and $100 for checks
  • Program Requirements: You must have your own website to join
  • Pros: Excellent customer service, reliable tracking, training materials, and easy to use
  • Cons: You have to apply to individual programs inside the network, high payment threshold

5. ShareASale

ShareASale is an affiliate network with nearly 4,000 different companies to choose from. The platform is easy to use and offers products across several different categories.

You do have to pay a $5 security fee. But, after you’re accepted, you get your $5 back.

Once you’re accepted into the network, you need to apply for each individual merchant you’d like to promote.

  • Cost to Join: $5 you get back
  • Commission: Varies byproduct
  • Cookie Duration: Varies byproduct
  • Payment Threshold: $50
  • Program Requirements: You must have your own website to join
  • Pros: Easy to use, plenty of products to choose from, reliable tracking and analytics
  • Cons: High payment threshold, have to apply to individual programs

6. Rakuten

Rakuten has been voted the No. 1 affiliate network for 8 years. In 2018, they facilitated over 110 million sales around the world. Their user-friendly platform, combined with outstanding performance and features, makes them a fantastic affiliate program for beginners.

After you’re accepted, you have to apply to individual companies within the network. This can be a time-consuming process, and you’re not guaranteed acceptance. However, you do have the opportunity to work with top brands across the globe.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Varies byproduct
  • Cookie Duration: Varies byproduct
  • Payment Threshold: $1
  • Program Requirements: You must have your own website to join
  • Pros: 1,000 merchants to choose from, educational tools, reliable reporting, and easy to use
  • Cons: You have to apply for individual merchants, no PayPal payment option

7. Shopify

Shopify is a website-building platform specifically for eCommerce. They’re the back-end behind over 600,000 websites online. If your audience is interested in eCommerce, you can start earning extra cash by referring them to Shopify.

shopify logo

They have several subscription tiers, ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars a month. However, selling Shopify to your readers can be difficult becauseit sits at a higher price point than most of the other programs on this list.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: Up to $2,000 per customer
  • Cookie Duration: 30 days
  • Payment Threshold: $25
  • Program Requirements: None
  • Pros: High commission rate, excellent affiliate support, and you can link to any page on Shopify
  • Cons: Can be hard to sell

8. Buzzsprout

Buzzsprout is a podcast-hosting service. They provide all the tools you need to host, promote, and track your podcast. Plus there’s a 90-day free trial.

buzzsprout logo

There are over 700,000 active podcasts with approximately 29 million episodes in over 100 languages. Over 80% of users listen to an entire episode, which is unprecedented in any other form of content.

Podcasts, covering thousands of topics including business, culture, and health, are growing in popularity for good reason. Does your audience want to jump on board?

Buzzsprout’s affiliate program is different from the rest on this list. Both you and the person you refer get a $20 Amazon gift card.

  • Cost to Join: Free
  • Commission: $20 Amazon gift card
  • Cookie Duration: Unknown
  • Payment Threshold: 2 billing cycles
  • Program Requirements: None
  • Pros: 90-day free trial is easy to promote, podcasts arehuge right now, and you both earn a commission
  • Cons: You have to wait for 2 billing cycles before you get your gift card, and the person you refer has to upgrade to a paid plan

9. Specific Brands You Know and Trust

Think about what brands you personally use, or marketing tools you are currently utilizing to run your business. Which companies do you turn to that could benefit your audience?

You can consider:

  • Email services
  • Hosting providers
  • Online courses
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Travel companies
  • Department stores

Remember to take your readers into account. What are they interested in, and what can help make their lives better? If it doesn’t satisfy one of those two things, don’t promote it.

Bonus: Check out our list with 7 of the Best Ways to Make Money Online With Google

Smart Affiliate Marketing Starts with Choosing the Right Programs

The most important thing to keep in mind is your audience.

Successful affiliate marketers know how to approach affiliate marketing with a value-based mindset. Everything you live, breathe, and do should give your readers something valuable.

Now that you know the top 9 affiliate marketing programs for beginners, it’s time to start choosing products and promoting them. The top marketers in the game (the ones who make over $100,000 a month) know their audience and know how to reach them.

Ready to tackle the next step? Learn how to start getting more of the right visitors using these tactics to increase your traffic for free.

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