9 Best Beginner Affiliate Programs of 2021
We know why you’re here.
You have your niche WordPress site, social media account, or email list.
And you’ve heard all of the affiliate marketing success stories.
Now you want to get some passive income going as well.
Afflytics is here to help.
While researching this article, we noticed many of the top articles promote affiliate networks, not affiliate programs. The affiliate networks you use are definitely important, but not as crucial as the affiliate programs the networks host.
Another thing to note, is that the best beginner affiliate program for one person, will not be the best for another.
A travel bloggers favorite program will not be the same as a cryptocurrency blogger’s.
If you’d like to start from the very beginning, and learn step by step, check our ultimate guide to affiliate marketing.
Have some background already?
Then let’s first clarify what we consider a beginner affiliate program.
What Makes An Affiliate Program Beginner Friendly?
Low Barrier To Entry
If a program is very picky with who they select, are private, have long application processes, or require certain levels of traffic, we would not consider them to be a great fit for beginners.
Even if a program pays a large commission, converts insanely well, but only lets 10% of people in… it’s not a great newbie affiliate program.
Intuitive User Interface
If you’re a first-time affiliate marketer, you’re not going to want to deal with some complicated interface.
We keep in mind how easy it would be for a beginner affiliate marketer to navigate the interface, create affiliate links, coordinate payouts, and more, when ranking programs.
Conversion Rate, Cookies, and Commission
Another key factor in what makes an affiliate program great for beginners is how well the program converts, and how much affiliate commission the program pays.
There’s nothing more frustrating than sending high value clicks to a program and see barely any money coming in, or even worse – no money at all.
Cookie duration is also something that can’t be ignored. Some programs offer a 24 hour cookie while others last for an entire year.
Has Affiliate Managers
Affiliate managers are a key part of the beginner affiliate marketing experience, they help guide beginners through their journey, assisting them with various tasks like payouts, link placement, and more.
Ease of Payout
We think that an affiliate program should feature lots of payout methods in order to make them as accessible for people as possible. While low minimum payouts aren’t typically a selling point, we can see why it could be for beginner affiliate marketers.
Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners
We all knew this would be number one, didn’t we?
Love or hate them, Amazon Associates Program is the best beginner affiliate program out there. Regardless of your niche, Amazon has a product you can promote.
The entire Amazon affiliate experience from affiliate link creation to tracking to payouts, is as streamlined as can be. Anyone can join their affiliate program, and begin creating tracking links right away.
Amazon pays out 60 days after the month you’re being paid for, so there’s definitely a bit of a delay compared to some other options on this list. They support payouts in checks, ACH, and Amazon Gift Cards.
I’ll be the first to say their commission rates are pretty lame, but they convert better than anyone else, due to their immense trust and recognizability in the world.
Amazon Associates has decent customer support, but doesn’t have affiliate managers, in the traditional sense. One thing to note is that if you don’t generate 3 qualifying referrals in 3 months, your account will be disabled until you reapply.
Amazon does have some strange rules that can be unintuitive to beginners, so be sure to read up on the most common mistakes that will get you banned from Amazon.
Overall, well done Mr. Bezos.
Similar to Amazon, eBay is great due to how well known it is, and their massive selection of products to promote. eBay functions a bit differently than Amazon where you bid on a large majority of their items.
eBays commission is definitely a step up from Amazons, but you’ll have to test if they convert as well as Amazon. What we like about eBay is that they are much less strict compared to Amazon.
eBay also pays 60 days after the sale, and supports most electronic bank transfer options (ACH, SEPA, etc), and Paypal.
After someone clicks an eBay affiliate link of yours, you’ll earn a percentage of their sale, depending on the category.
eBay hosts their affiliate program on the affiliate network Impact, which is extremely beginner and user friendly.
Barnes and Noble is everyones favorite book store. We include them on this list, as no matter what niche you’re in, there’s going to be a relevant book sold with Barnes and Noble.
The retailer hosts their affiliate program using CJ affiliate, allowing beginner affiliates and publishers to easily promote their favorite books to their audience.
Next up, is Udemy. Udemy would be somewhat of a hybrid between an affiliate program, and an affiliate network. They feature digital products in the form of courses, from all ranges of niches, allowing affiliates of all background to promote their offers.
Udemy’s affiliate program and tracking are hosted using Rakuten Linkshare, an extremely popular and well-known affiliate network.
Shopify is the king of e-commerce store building platforms. They make it easy, regardless of their niche, to set up a shop in no time. Again, due to the nature of the Shopify platform, it’s not some specific to a niche, which is what makes it such a great beginner affiliate program.
Their affiliate program is entirely in-house, and pays 200% of the a referrals monthly value. So a basic Shopify plan would pay affiliates $58, the middle plan $159, and so on.
Shopify pays out via Paypal as well, which can be an attractive and smooth options for those with an account setup.
Fiverr is like the Amazon and eBay of digital services. If you’ve spent any time at all on Fiverr, you know it’s an interesting place. From silly and spammy $5 offers all the way to $100 gigs, the platform has something for everyone to promote.
When it comes to Fiverr’s affiliate program, they allow you to choose between a dynamic CPA up to $150, or a $10 CPA with a 10% lifetime revenue share.
Depending on your time preference, one option is better than the other. High commissions can be appealing but you’ll want to begin thinking long term if you want any success in the online business world.
We list Fiverr as a top beginner affiliate program as they can be promoted in a wide variety of niches, pay pretty well, opportunity for recurring commission, and have an intuitive beginner interface. Fiverr hosts their affiliate program on CELLXPERT.
All beginner affiliate marketers should definitely sign up for ShareASale, given their enormous credibility and wide variety of affiliate programs to promote. ShareASale does a great job of encouraging the affiliate marketing ecosystem, as they run education classes, interactive webinars, and more.
Once you’re all onboarded to ShareASale, you’re free to browse all their different affiliate programs and finding the best ones for your audience. It’s super simple to create affiliate tracking links, view sales, and get paid out using ShareASales platform. They’ve also joined forces with Awin adding even more credibility to their massive brand.
Clickbank is another top affiliate marketing platform hosting endless high-quality affiliate offers. We definitely recommend beginner affiliate marketers to get setup and have an account with them, in order to gain access to tons of affiliate programs. Affiliate networks like Clickbank also host other resources specific to a merchants affiliate program like varying landing pages, estimated EPCs, and more.
On the network, you’ll find a large variety of offers, ranging from software to physical products. Anything digital is almost always going to have higher commissions than something physical, so keep that in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best affiliate programs without a website?
There are some affiliate programs that require you to have an approved affiliate website, with a certain amount of traffic, or other metrics like that. If SEO blogging isn’t your thing, we assume you’ll be marketing via social media, email marketing, or advertisements. Nearly all of the programs we mention in this list allow their links to be distributed via these methods. One thing to note is that Amazon does not allow affiliate links to be distributed via email.
Why isn’t Bluehost on this list?
You may see Bluehost’s affiliate program on many other lists, due to how lucrative their program is. In my experience I’ve had nothing but poor experiences using them and their web hosting, so they are left off. If you are a good friend, you will not send someone a Bluehost affiliate link.
Common Beginner Affiliate Marketing Mistakes
Sending Traffic to the Wrong Programs
One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes is sending traffic to all of the “highest paying” affiliate programs.
Just because a programs has higher commission or EPC, doesn’t mean they’ll convert well. It’s key to keep in mind what your audience truly wants, not what you think they want. There’s no point sending your audience an affiliate offer thats completely unrelated to your niche.
Promoting Offers Before Establishing Trust
Another important thing to think about when promoting affiliate offers to your audience, is being aware of how much trust you have your audience. If you’re just getting started, it’s probably best to not monetize right away.
The must successful affiliate marketers have been building their marketing channels for years, and establishing a connection with their audience. Only then can they promote offers effectively, and without being called a sellout.
Now you have some background on the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners, and why affiliate marketing is such a great monetization strategy, it’s up to you to figure out the ways to best use them.
A main takeaway we want beginner affiliate marketers to take away from this post is the distinction between affiliate networks and affiliate programs.
This guide contains a mix of beginner affiliate programs, the networks they’re hosted on, as well as some networks in general. Affiliate platforms (networks) host affiliate programs, but it’s possible for an affiliate program to exist not on a network.
After you’ve identified the best beginner programs for you to promote, it’s time to think about how you want to promote them. If you’re an affiliate site, it’s probably going to be a long form blog post. If you’re an email marketer, it’s likely a flow of emails walking a potential consumer through a journey.
We’ll leave this part to you!
Have you made your first affiliate income yet?
Just get started?
Let us know in the comments!