Affiliate marketing and networking. You’ve heard of it. You’ve seen it in almost every blog post you’ve read. And I know that you’ve noticed how some bloggers make their entire blogging income solely from this avenue of monetization.
I also know that you’re super interested. Especially if you’re a new blogger.
So let’s talk about it!
Affiliate marketing is one of the smartest, most surefire ways to start the monetization journey of your blog. It’s easy, does not require a large audience to get going, and you can incorporate it throughout any type of content. So, it works for all bloggers!
The way to ensure success with affiliate marketing is to make sure that you use it in a natural way throughout your blog content. For example, I wrote this post about my holy grail makeup products + applicators. I originally wrote this post to simply rave about my favorite products in order to give you some amazing recommendations. But, I ended up realizing that it was the perfect opportunity to naturally add in some affiliate links to the products that I was already raving about — with or without the links.
This is how affiliate marketing should go, in my opinion. In order to gain the trust of your readers you need to only include affiliate links to products that you would rave about either way. If you start to work with brands that you aren’t actually OBSESSED with… you won’t sound genuine + your readers will know. They will see right through you.
The good news for you is that almost every product has an affiliate link somewhere.
So, almost any product that you want to rave about… you can get an affiliate link for.
I’m going to show you quite a few of the main + most popular networks to join in order to start your affiliate marketing journey. I’m going to include the ones that I am currently a part of + I’m also going to include the ones that I’m interested in trying out very soon.
The thing is, some affiliate networks can be picky about who they accept into their programs. Others can allow anyone with a legit blog in! So I recommend that on Day 1 of launching your blog, you put “start applying to affiliate networks” at the very top of your to do list.
If you put effort into your blog, show networks what you’re capable of, and are confident in your ability to shine… it’ll show. And networks have an attraction to that.
But let’s be real. Some networks are just attracted to numbers and following. And that’s okay! They are able to be picky with who they hire. You would be picky about hiring someone to advertise your blog + brand, right?! I would.
So, my advice to you is to hope for the best when applying to different affiliate networks, but also prepare yourself to be rejected. However, don’t ever let that rejection stop you. Apply, apply, and apply again.
I remember the first rejection email that I got when applying for an affiliate network. It did sting a little bit! I won’t lie. Any type of rejection does, right? Especially when what is being rejected is something that you put your heart and soul into day after day. But the best thing to do is just let any type of rejection roll right off your shoulders.
But ANYWAYS. Let’s get to the networks that I started working with first thing after launching my blog.
The good thing about Amazon Associates is that they accept almost anyone with a legit blog + brand into their affiliate program.
The way it works: you sign up for an account, verify your blog, and have immediate access to affiliate links to place into your posts, stats + reports on click rates, etc.
The other good thing about Amazon Associates is that the interface is super easy to use, search for products, and create affiliate links or widgets.
AND as you know (or should know) Amazon is an actual goldmine when it comes to shopping. You can buy literally anything. And therefore, you can link to literally anything. This means that Amazon Associates will work for any blogger in any niche.
This is an affiliate network that actually works like the middle-man between you and the advertizers/brands. So once you get accepted into this network, you don’t have immediate access to affiliate links. Instead, you have access to thousands of advertisers/brands whose affiliate programs you can apply for individually.
For example: I got accepted into Rakuten Affiliates. I then had to apply for each affiliate program with brands individually — ASOS, Nordstrom, The Body Shop. Then, once I got accepted into each brand’s affiliate program, they would give me access to creating affiliate links for their products and their products alone.
Rakuten is the network that a majority of my affiliate programs are hosted through. In my opinion, this network is the easiest one to use and navigate in. The interface is very blogger friendly and allows you to easily search through an advertiser/brand’s product list + easily create links. It’s super easy to apply to and doesn’t have any major requirements.
A compilation list of brands available through this network:
The Body Shop
This network is also easy to apply to and get accepted into. They’re also super user-friendly. The interface is easy to use and navigate through for brands + products. It really is as basic with this one as it gets. It isn’t my favorite network… but it isn’t my least favorite either.
The one thing I dislike about this network is their selection of brands to join. They are somewhat limited in options, but the brands that they do have are brands that I looove. I am OBSESSED with Lulu’s and Beautylish. Seriously it’s a sick obsession + takes all my money.
Some of the brands available on Share A Sale are:
CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
This network is also pretty easy to apply + get accepted into. The thing about this network, is that it is the most difficult to use in my opinion + it is more “service” based as opposed to “store” based. So, a majority of their programs involve things like web/tv, health services, lawn or real estate. It’s probably my least favorite network in terms of usability and practicality. But they do have a pretty good brand selection once you get past all the service-based options.
Some of the ones that I like are:
American Eagle Outfitters
Dot & Bo
Shopstyle collective is an affiliate network unlike the other 4 that I’ve discussed already.
It still acts as a middle man between you and other advertisers/brands. But instead of having to get accepted to the network AND apply to each brand’s program individually… once you get accepted to Shopstyle Collective you have immediate access to ALL of the advertisers within their network (which is TONS). I like to compare it as being very similar to Amazon Associates.
One thing to remember about Shopstyle, is that while it looks like a primarily fashion based network… it isn’t. You can find a ton of products within this network ranging from clothes, decor, beauty, home, etc.
The other main important difference is the payout. Shopstyle works as a pay-per-click network. This means that whenever someone clicks on one of your Shopstyle links, you receive a payout of a few cents per click. This also means that you don’t get paid a percentage of the sale whenever someone does make a purchase. Shopstyle does however, provide you with the analytics behind your clicks + sales. This gives you the information you need to decide when the time is right to switch from a pay-per-click network to a pay-per-sale network.
In my opinion, this is the best network for beginner bloggers who haven’t really had time to build up credibility + trust with any readers yet, or bloggers with low conversion rates. Because of instead of waiting until a product you recommend gets purchased, you get money every time someone clicks to simply check it out.
The problem with this is that you need to keep an eye on your click + sale analytics. Because as soon as you notice that your readers are actually making full purchases, you need to switch to a pay-per-sale network in order to get the full use out of your links.
I love to use Shopstyle. It’s the most user-friendly out of every single network that I use + provides so many useful tools for bloggers. You can create widgets, look at your conversion rates, and make money from Instagram + Pinterest.
Other networks that interest me… but that I don’t use. Yet.
I think the smartest move as a newbie blogger trying to establish yourself in the affiliate marketing world, is to expand your options. You should be making use of every single affiliate network that you can get access to. So instead of only telling you about the affiliate networks that are working for me right now… I’m also going to tell you about a couple of other options that I hear great things about + am in the middle of the applying for.
Impact Radius is a lesser-known affiliate network that works in the same manner as the other huge networks mentioned above. It acts as the middle man between you and the advertisers. So, you must apply to Impact Radius, get accepted, and then apply to each advertiser/brand individually.
I’ve applied to this network and my application is in processing. But there is ONE thing that I already dislike about this network: the application process. It is more difficult than the other networks to get your application through processing and accepted.
BUT the one single reason that going through this process is worth it — Target.
If you don’t shop at Target, or know someone that shops at Target… then what planet are you living on? Target has everything from health, to clothing, to patio furniture. So, having access to affiliate links for products sold at Target would be absolutely amazing for your blog’s monetization.
This is also a lesser-known affiliate network that works in the same way… again. As a middle man.
The one thing about this network that is unlike any other network, is that it requires a $5 application fee that immediately goes back into your account within the network once your application is through processing. So, you will get your $5 back. Affiliate Window requires this application fee as a way to weed out the spammers or robots. They’re just trying to make sure that the bloggers or networkers that they accept into their network are legit.
Again, there is one simple reason why this network is worth it — Etsy.
Yes! There is an Etsy affiliate program and it’s on Affiliate Window. Etsy is amazing for everything from jewelry, stationary, clothing, home decor. I plan on using this program a ton once my wedding planning picks up. Because Etsy is an amazing place to find little homemade goods for party planning, etc.
This is a new one for me. Bloglovin’ is a site that I have been active on for a while now. It’s kind of an obsession. So honestly, I really am unsure of how I didn’t know about this Activate business. But it seems amazing. As an influencer, you get to choose from top brands/campaigns to work with.
These brands create their campaigns, give all the details about what is required, and allow you to apply with your own price tag.
They also give specific instructions on how they would like for you to advertise their brand — the month the advertisement would need to go live, the social media platforms it needs to go on, what type of images to use. It definitely is unlike any of the other networks out there.
The other really cool thing about this network is that they allow you to create an amazing media kit within the network that you can share with brands to increase your chance of working with them. You can connect all of your social media accounts so that brands can see your following and also show your latest images or content.
This is a network that I’m probably most excited about using in the near future.
There you have it!
… a full breakdown of the best affiliate networks for beginners bloggers that are so helpful in starting your monetization journey. From pay-per-sale to pay-per-click, from small businesses to huge brands, from homemade goods to services. So, find products and brands that you are passionate about and recommend them for your readers! Seriously, there is an affiliate link for nearly anything and everything. That is why affiliate marketing and networking is the smartest way to monetize your blog. So get started! Apply, apply, and apply again.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest + check out the other posts linked below under “these too” if you’re a newbie blogger! They’re super helpful.