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So, you’ve started a blog and now you’re wondering “hey, how do I actually make money doing this?” I’m glad you asked, because this article is here to take you through the best affiliate marketing networks for newbie bloggers.
As I explained in my article on how bloggers make money, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn an income as a blogger. This type of marketing means an influencer promotes a product and earns a commission when people buy it using their links. When done well, it can be very lucrative. For a more in-depth explanation, make sure to check out this guide.
Most affiliate marketing involves a third party network. This is a whole lot easier than contacting hundreds of merchants individually. But how do you know which networks to join? They weren’t all created equally, and some are far more reliable than others. Today, I’m going to introduce you to the best affiliate marketing networks to get you off the ground.
RewardStyle is one of the most popular affiliate marketing networks out there. It’s got a huge product database that’s fairly easy to use. You can create favorites folders to stay organized and easily add widgets and buttons to your blog posts.
What I dislike about RewardStyle is that you can’t filter your searches. If you want a certain product to come from a certain vendor (let’s say, Nordstrom rather than Walmart) you’ll have to spend time scrolling through hundreds of results to find it.
RewardStyle’s wide range of products make it worthwhile for any niche. To get accepted into this network, RewardStyle recommends that you have 3-4 months’ worth of quality content under your belt. So no, you can’t join it on day one of your blogging journey. However, you can still start making money pretty early on. That’s the case with all good affiliate marketing networks, to be honest. They don’t want their name associated with spammy sites. Create a small but mighty track record of content and you shouldn’t have a problem getting in.
The Amazon Associates program is popular because it’s so easy to use. Well, and because virtually every product under the sun is available on Amazon. Amazon understands that content creators come in many different forms, so they have individual tools for social media influencers, bloggers and larger scale publications, too. The best part about this program is that if someone uses your link to check out a specific product but ends up buying something else instead, you’ll still earn a commission.
It’s not as easy as it once was to become an Amazon Associate but it’s still possible. Again, you need to consistently produce quality content for a few months for them to accept you. Amazon wants to see that you provide your audience with a significant amount of meaningful and valuable content. Your page views count too; you’re not going to make any sales if no-one reads your blog. If you get a rejection, you can reapply. That being said, I do recommend taking some time to work on your site first. If not, you’ll just get the exact same answer. Once you’re accepted into the program, you have 180 days to make a sale or your account will be closed.
ClickBank is one of the oldest affiliate marketing networks around. Unlike Amazon or RewardStyle, it focuses on digital products, such as eBooks and online courses. The benefit of this is that digital products tend to have high profit margins, which means more commission for you – seriously, we’re talking up to 75%. Plus, online education is a huge (and ever-expanding) market, so there’s ample opportunity here. It’s pretty easy to become a ClickBank affiliate. I’d say that the network’s main drawback is that it takes more skill and effort to sell digital products than physical ones.
With over 4,800 merchants, Share A Sale is another excellent choice for bloggers looking to earn some passive income. Admittedly, the site looks pretty sketchy and could use a face lift but I assure you, it’s legit. However, you need to earn a minimum of $50 before you can cash out so if you’re just starting out as a blogger, it might be a while before you see your earnings. Remember, blogging is a long game.
Share A Sale like to see that you use a reputable blogging platform. They won’t approve sites with adult material, or that promote illegal behavior. If you keep it clean and stay on the right side of the law, you should be fine.
Some affiliate marketing networks simply provide you with links to specific products on a merchant site. For example, if you want to recommend a set of makeup brushes, simply search the database for one you like, copy the link and then paste it into your blog article. However, Share A Sale partners you up with merchants. This means the merchant has to accept you into their specific program before you can start generating links and widgets.
Also known as ‘Commission Junction,’ CJ Affiliate operates in a similar way to Share A Sale. What I like about it is that you get the chance to partner with some of the world’s best known brands, should they accept you. However, this can be a slow process. In fact, it sometimes takes months. I’m always saying that patience is key in this line of work but it can be frustrating nonetheless. Merchants who use CJ are very picky – which is a good thing in the long run – so don’t be disheartened if you get a few knockbacks. You can always apply again once your site has done a little more growing.
Of course, joining an affiliate marketing program is only the first step. Being good at it is a different matter entirely – and spamming your readers with irrelevant links is not a good idea. Make sure you check out this blog post to learn how to excel at affiliate marketing, and thank me once you hit the big time.
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