Getting started with affiliate marketing is a challenge because it can be difficult to find affiliate programs that will accept you. It’s important for you to have a solid amount of traffic and content before you apply for any affiliate programs or ad networks.
Even so, there ARE ways to get accepted even if you’re just starting out. Below I list some of the best affiliate programs for beginners (in my opinion), along with some solid ad networks too!
Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners
Before we begin, I want to remind you that the key to choosing any affiliate program is that it offers a product/service that one, you can stand behind (your reputation is on the line here, after all) and two, will actually help your target audience! So when you’re considering which affiliate programs you want to join, think ahead to what kinds of blog posts you can write in which you can include affiliate links that will be very helpful to your readers.
Amazon Associates – This is one of my favorite affiliate programs because I use Amazon ALL the time (like every other day…), and it’s such a huge online store that there is bound to be some product on there that your audience would be interested in buying. But you’re not limited to only promoting products via Amazon, you can also promote their Kindle program and their Prime membership (I use my Prime two-day free shipping all the time!).
Word to the wise: If you become an Amazon Associates affiliate, make sure to abide by the strict rules. For example, you cannot list prices because prices on Amazon are subject to change. You also need to paste their disclosure on your blog (mine is in the footer of my blog). Lastly, you are NOT ALLOWED to use Amazon Associates links in emails, ebooks, PDFs, or other “offline” things. Stick to using their affiliate links on the site you submit in your application.
Skimlinks – Skimlinks is a great affiliate program for beginners for two big reasons:
One, when you paste Skimlink’s code into your site, it will automatically turn every link (where possible) into an affiliate link, thereby maximizing your affiliate revenue opportunity.
Two, if your application for a certain affiliate program was rejected, Skimlinks allows you to become an affiliate anyway! Here’s an example: Let’s say you applied for Amazon Associates, but for whatever reason, you weren’t approved. Well, if you have Skimlinks, it will automatically (where possible) turn your product links into Amazon affiliate links! So you would earn money from making sales on Amazon, but it would happen via Skimlinks. Seriously, go check out Skimlinks now!
Keysearch – Keysearch is the premium keyword research tool I use for SEO. Their affiliate program, hosted via JVZoo, explicitly states that everyone is accepted!
Clickbank – For this one, you join the entire Clickbank program, then search its database for products that are a good fit for your audience. You can choose to promote those products with your affiliate link generated by Clickbank.
Tailwind – There are two ways to go about this: The first way is, if you use Tailwind, you already have a referral link available to you in your dashboard. That means if someone signs up via your link, you get Tailwind credits—not cash. However, if you use Tailwind to schedule your pins (I do!), then it would be awesome to be able to pay for your annual subscription with your referral credits.
The second way to do this is to join the official affiliate program via Shareasale. This way, you earn 15% cash commission if you refer someone.
ConvertKit – If you use ConvertKit (I do!), you can sign up for their affiliate program, which will give you a 30% monthly recurring commission.
Best Ad Networks for Beginners
If you have low traffic, it’s going to be very hard to sell ads directly to a brand. In that case, you’ll want to join an ad network. An ad network places code on your site and serves different ads automatically. However, even with ad networks, you usually need to meet a minimum traffic requirement. Mediavine, for example, requires a minimum of 25,000 sessions per month. Two ad networks I know of that do not state a traffic minimum are:
Media.net – I’ve seen a lot of good things about this ad network, though I haven’t used them myself. I also asked them, and they said there’s no state minimum traffic requirement. It’s probably still a good idea to have some traffic (AKA not zero) coming to your site before you apply.
Google AdSense – I used Google AdSense when I first started monetizing my site with ads. However, as soon as I hit 25,000 sessions/month, I switched to Mediavine and saw a huge jump in ad revenue.
Those are just a few of the best affiliate programs and ad networks for bloggers. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too many, but these are great ones to start with. Go through the list and apply to at least 3 of them!
Even if you apply and don’t get accepted this time around, take the feedback from the affiliate manager and go back to your blog and revise it. Often, you just need to ad more content or grow your traffic a bit more. You can always reapply later!
You might also want to check out my blog post on how to monetize your blog.