What is the best affiliate marketing program for beginners? Why was that one of my first questions when I started with Wealthy Affiliate?
Well, online entrepreneurs who wish to rake in good returns from their efforts can hop onto the affiliate marketing juggernaut and fulfill their dreams. According to pundits, it is a multi-billion industry already, and yet it hasn’t reached its full potential. The number of merchants who rely on affiliate marketing as their primary source of income continues to proliferate, thus, creating more opportunities for bloggers and web publishers to develop an online audience and promote offers.
Currently, there are many affiliate marketing programs. Each of these programs is unique with its set of drawbacks and benefits. The most popular and arguably the best affiliate marketing program for beginners is Amazon Associates. Other affiliate marketing programs that deserve recognition as outstanding include: C J Affiliate (Commission Junction), Google AdSense, ClickBank, Rakuten (LinkShare), Neverblue, eBay Partner Network, OmniStar, and Web-Set.
All the listed programs are good and beneficial to marketers, but Amazon Associates surpasses them all owing to a number of factors as you’ll shortly see.
“THE LINKS I AM PROVIDING BELOW TO JOIN THE VARIOUS NETWORKS ARE NOT AFFILIATE LINKS, AND I DO NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION OR RECOGNITION IN ANY FORM SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO SIGN UP WITH THEM.”
C J Affiliate (Commission Junction)
The one thing that makes C J Affiliate rock is the fact that so many of the major merchants have listed offers there – effectively making the program a somewhat one-stop shop in the industry. What is more? It is a vast network having on board in excess of three thousand merchant partners as well as a swifter payment system that ensures affiliates get their commissions every month.
The training and help offered is immense, it is a well established organization, is reputable and most importantly, is highly trusted by advertisers as well as publishers (that’s us).
If there is a catch, it is that the program is a bit difficult to come to grips with, especially for novices in the industry. However, if you are new to affiliate marketing and have no traffic, this is not the setup for you. You should have a website that is reasonably established and has, or is starting to generate, some traffic. Also, the huge number of affiliates and merchants has been known to overwhelm their customer support, but improvements seem to have been made in the past year..
This program has long been very popular owing to the fact that it can be very lucrative. It belongs to Google. Publishers signed up for the program network receive advertisement units from Google, meaning, Google can post ads on their blog or website. The ads are selected by Google although you do have the ability to block certain advertisers and categories of advertisements.
Besides being lucrative, the program is also popular for its multiple monetization options and low traffic requirements. The downside of this low traffic requirement is that you are not likely to make much money if you don’t generate a lot of traffic.
To give you an idea, I signed up one of my new sites – admittedly not a particularly good site, for this program. The results were:
Viewings – 197
Ad Impressions – 157
Clicks – 3
Earnings – $1.72
Hardly awe inspiring stuff is it? However, if you do get decent traffic, this can be almost a perfect form of passive income – essentially for doing nothing except pasting a piece of code on your site. The ads will change automatically.
Another downside is that the ads are sometimes seen as “intrusive”. I am not a great fan of ads popping up either – the flip side is that this is Google we’re talking about here, so I’m sure they will find a solution.
Google Adsense has many policies, including a strict “family-friendly” requirement – if your site has, or has links to, adult or sexual content, you cannot run their ads. Also, when you place the ad code into your site, you cannot simply paste it right at the top of your content so that it’s the first thing people see. If visitors to your site have to scroll down below your ads before seeing any actual content, Google considers that a violation. As a guideline, keep your ads “below the fold”.
You also have to adhere to a very stringent uniqueness requirement. If a blog post or page on your site gets flagged for plagiarism, your AdSense account is going to be declined and,or suspended..
Mainly geared towards digital products. Timely payment, huge number of vendors and hordes of affiliates make this program definitely one to tick. Excellent training and support also available. Moreover, you can advertise thousands of products on your website and you are entitled to very generous commission rates, 60-70 per cent is not uncommon. The downside is that there are some product scams and although Clickbank does a great job of weeding them out, you may fall victim by promoting such an item if you aren’t careful.
I have recently signed up again with Clickbank after leaving a few years ago, and I must say that they have really improved their service, the quality of the products that they allow to be promoted and their protection for affiliates and consumers in regard to any scams or poor business practices.
Rakuten – (previously LinkShare)
This is one of the oldest affiliate marketing programs in the industry today.
Two of its greatest strengths are the ability to rotate ads and flexible deep linking. The program allows the automatic rotation of the various banner ads for a particular product, thus, making the website easier to administer and optimize. In other words, you can have, say four different banner ads for a single product and you want to know which one works best – with these rotating banners, you will receive a report that will give you this information.
The deep-linking feature basically bypasses a product’s sales page, where a buyer usually clicks on the “more information” or “product details” link, before they then click on the “buy now” button. This feature sends the customer straight to the product page where, statistics tell us, the conversion rate from shopper to buyer is much higher.
Compared to CJ Affiliate, Rakuten is much smaller, but still has in excess of 1,000 vendors.
EBay Partners’ Network
Ebay is a household name and, therefore, is considered reliable by many affiliates. Its commissions are handsome, if somewhat unpredictable and of course, there is an impressive range of products on offer. The payments are made swiftly through PayPal.
Aside from the earnings being hard to figure out, some people claim that getting accepted by the program is some kind of herculean task, with the issue being that if your site doesn’t have traffic, you won’t be approved. The “cookie” issue also seems to be complicated with various claims that with only a 24 hour cookie, someone checking out an auction item through your link on day one of a three day auction probably won’t bid on it until the last few minutes. When they return to the auction at the end, they will almost certainly go straight to Ebay so your chance of a commission has gone.
I may have a site where I could use their program soon, so I will see for myself how this works out.
Amazon is the best and most popular affiliate marketing program available in the industry today. It has dominated scene since the inception of affiliate marketing.
Online entrepreneurs rake in good money through promotion of Amazon products in their websites and blogs. It is loved thanks to the impressive range of products available, dependability, and the high quality of service offered. Their customer support is very responsive and ready to resolve any glitches you might experience while using the program.
In short, consumers trust Amazon.
The most obvious question lingering in many people’s minds is how much they can make through Amazon Affiliate marketing. One of the stubborn myths that refuses to go away is the belief that Amazon pays just four percent in commission (less for major electronic items). Granted, the commission structure for the general products starts at four percent; but, the percent rate you are entitled to rises according to the number of items you are able to sell each month. For example, if you manage to sell seven items, the commission rate will increase to six percent. And, each time you rise to a higher level, the new percentage you are entitled to is applied to all the sales in that month, not just the later sales.
Visitors don’t have to buy a product that you linked for you to be entitled to a commission. Even if a visitor purchases a different product which you didn’t link to, you’ll still get paid. You also get paid for anything bought within a day of arriving on the Amazon site through your affiliate link.
For example: If your site is promoting books, and the visitor to your site clicks on a link for one of the books that sells for, say, $10, and whether they buy it or not, they decide to do some other browsing or shopping on Amazon, at that time or within 24 hours, and they then purchase say, a bed for $1,000, you will get commission on the sale of the bed.
If the visitors fail to buy a product within a day but add it to their cart, you’ll still receive a commission provided they check out that same item before the expiry of the shopping cart, which is usually 90 days.
How to join
Joining the Amazon Associates program is free of charge. And, there are separate programs for different geographical storefronts such as Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, etc. After signing up for the program, you are required to wait for between 24 to 48 hours for the account approval.
While Amazon Associates affiliate program is a splendid and reliable program one can rely on to make good money, there are a few things you need to be aware of so that you don’t lose your hard-earned monies. First off, ensure you read their terms and conditions. If you do not adhere to their policies, you risk your account being closed, getting banned and losing your money. Do not try underhand ways that violate the program’s terms and conditions.
The terms and conditions are not too onerous but please heed the warning above; I have heard of many people who have been rolling merrily along, making a nice steady income through Amazon until, one day, they violated their agreement and in an instant, their account was suspended or closed. Their main, sometimes their only, source of income came to a halt.
So, What Is The Best Affiliate Marketing Program For Beginners?
All in all, the Amazon program remains the king in the affiliate marketing industry. While it can take a long time, usually up to two months, to receive payment, you are at least certain that the payment will come anyway.
As stated, the terms and conditions are strictly enforced but you also need to remember that you are being given access to the largest online market in the western world, 183 million unique monthly visitors as at July 2016, so following some rules is to be expected.
Many other programs are implementing similar standards to these anyway, so we’d better get used to them.
Ideally, in time, you should try and diversify by using other affiliate programs along with Amazon, so that you are not 100% reliant on one source of income.
My name is Joey and I am always here to help and to answer your questions, so feel free to leave a comment or question below or contact me on my Wealthy Affiliate profile.