Affiliate Programs for Beginners: Start with Reliable Partners

affiliate programs for beginners

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money online.

However, it’s important to start off with reliable affiliate partners.

You’ll want to pick a trusted, long-standing affiliate program at the beginning of your journey as nothing can be more damaging to your budding carrier than a commission check you never receive.

Some of these programs might not offer the highest commission percentages but they have built up their reputation to a point where they don’t have to compete on price.

Related post: The basics of affiliate marketing

As you gain more experience as an affiliate, there will come a time when you want to diversify and negotiate for higher commissions or go for high-ticket programs but you are probably not there yet.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best affiliate programs for beginners and how to get started with them.

What makes an affiliate program beginner friendly?

In our opinion, the best affiliate programs for beginners are ones that have:

  • A low minimum payout amount
  • A wide range of products or services to promote
  • A simple application process
  • A good reputation

You will also want to pick a brand or program whose values align with yours. There are many affiliate programs that lure affiliates in with high commission payouts but the products you are supposed to promote are kind of shady.

Don’t fall for this trap!

Reputation is everything if you want to build a long-term business as a content creator and you should always look out for your followers or readers.

Not only is this the right thing to do, but it also leads to repeat business and more money for you down the line.

Affiliate programs vs. affiliate networks

An affiliate program is a partnership between a brand or company and an individual (you) who gets paid for promoting their products or services.

Affiliate networks are platforms that connect brands and companies with affiliate programs to one central location.

They make it easy for affiliates to find the right programs to join and also handle payments.

The benefits of promoting a brand with an in-house affiliate program include:

  • You have a direct relationship with the merchant
  • They can offer exclusive deals and coupons to their affiliates
  • Usually, higher commissions with room to negotiate if you bring enough customers

Some of the cons to consider:

  • Their setup and tracking can be less robust
  • Higher chance of non-payment in some cases
  • More time-consuming to keep up with the documentation of several individual vendors

The benefits of promoting products through an affiliate network include:

  • Access to many different brands and products in one place
  • More payment options (e.g., Paypal)
  • Easy to use interface and comparison of multiple vendors
  • Reliable tracking system
  • Helpful affiliate managers

The cons to consider:

  • Usually, lower commissions
  • Less direct communications between you and the vendor

The best affiliate programs for beginners

2 – Amazon Associates Affiliate Program

The Amazon Associates Program is one of the oldest and most popular affiliate programs.

It’s also beginner-friendly as it’s easy to sign up and get started promoting products.

There is a wide range of goods to choose from and even though the commissions are on the lower side it adds up due to the sheer number of available products.

Another great thing about the Amazon Associates Program is that they offer a first cookie wins policy.

This means that if someone clicks on your affiliate link and then buys something else from Amazon within 24 hours, you still get credit for the sale.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $10

Payment terms: net 60

Cookie duration: 24 hours

3 – ShareASale Affiliate Network

ShareASale is one of the most popular affiliate networks with over 5000 merchants.

They offer a wide range of products in many different niches and have a simple application process.

You will find a good mixture of established brands and smaller companies among the list of vendors.

The payment terms are also very favorable at net 30 with no minimum payout amount.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $50

Payment terms: net 30

Cookie duration: varies

4 – Shopify Affiliate Program

Shopify is a platform for creating online stores.

They also have an affiliate program that pays you a commission for every new customer you refer to their site.

The commissions are very generous at 100% of the customers’ first two month’s subscription.

The downside is that it can be harder to get approved for the program as they are looking for high-quality affiliates.

Also, this program caters to a narrow range of readers so it might not be a good fit for many content creators.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $25

Cookie duration: 30 days

5 – CJ Affiliates Network

Formerly Commission Junction, CJ Affiliates is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world, representing thousands of advertisers across dozens of different verticals.

For new affiliate marketers, this can be a great thing as you’ll have plenty of programs to choose from to promote.

In most cases, you’ll also be assigned a dedicated affiliate manager. This is someone who can help guide your affiliate marketing career and offer their insights and advice along the way.

With their help, you can take your affiliate marketing to the next level.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $50

Payment terms: net 30

Cookie duration: varies

6 – Rakuten Affiliate Network

Rakuten affiliate network used to be known as LinkShare. It’s one of the oldest affiliate networks and it’s still going strong today.

They have a wide selection of merchants in many different niches, so you’re sure to find something that fits your site.

The commissions are on the lower side, but they offer a bonus structure that can increase your earnings.

For example, if you refer a certain number of sales in a month, you’ll get a higher commission rate for those sales.

Note that it can take longer to be accepted into the program compared to other networks.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $50

Payment terms: net 30

Cookie duration: varies

7 – Etsy Affiliate Program

Etsy is a well-known marketplace for handmade, craft, and personalized items. They also have an affiliate program that pays you a commission for every new customer you refer to their site.

They offer a wide variety of products from creators, making it a great option for those looking for a unique gift or something quirky.

The ease of use and popularity of the site makes it a great choice for those just starting out in online selling. 

With a flat 4% commission rate, this might not be a huge income generator, but no matter what your niche is, you can usually find a way to include a few recommendations from Etsy that your audience may find interesting.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $50

Payment terms: net 30

Cookie duration: 30 days

8 – FlexOffers Affiliate Network

The FlexOffers name might not ring familiar to many beginner affiliates but they host a wide range of vendors, including some which are not easily accessible to new affiliates, such as credit card deals.

With over 12000 claimed vendors – 500 of which are considered premium household names – you’re bound to find a program that’s a good fit for your audience.

Where FlexOffers really shine is the friendly and helpful support team which can be a real bonus when you are just starting out on your affiliate journey.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $25

Payment terms: varies, can be as low as net 7 for top affiliates

Cookie duration: varies

9 – ClickBank

One of the best-known affiliate networks, Clickbank has been around for over 20 years and has earned a reputation as a go-to platform for digital product vendors.

They have a wide range of products in many different niches, making it easy to find something that will appeal to your audience.

The commission percentages can be some of the highest you can find, due to the primarily digital offers.

ClickBank is a good place to start if even without a website, you can earn just as well with social profiles or paid ads too.

They also offer a wide variety of tools to help you succeed as an affiliate, including tutorials and training materials.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $50

Payment terms: net 60

Cookie duration: varies

10 – Fiverr Affiliate Program

Fiverr is a popular freelance services marketplace where you can find everything from logo design to programming and writing services.

They also have an affiliate program that pays up to $150 per customer signup.

The signup process is super simple and they take on just about anyone.

If you can find a fitting service category from the wide selection offered, it might be an easy recommendation to your audience. They will even feel that you have helped them out instead of selling something.

Cost to join: free

Payment threshold: $100

Payment terms: net 30

Next steps

Now that you have our starter list of beginner-friendly affiliate networks and programs, it’s time to get out there and start promoting!

Remember to do your research on each program before you sign up, as some may have requirements or conditions that you need to be aware of.

And always disclose your affiliations when promoting products or services – it’s the law, and it protects both you and your audience.

With a little effort and the right partners, you can start generating some income from your blog or social profile today!