Affiliate marketing

9 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

Affiliate marketing is a great way for beginners to start earning money online. As an affiliate, you promote products or services and receive a commission when someone buys through your link. The best part is you don’t need to create your products. You simply refer people to products that are already selling and take a cut of the profits.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. There are so many networks and programs to choose from. In this post, I’ll share 9 of the best affiliate programs for beginners to join to start monetizing your online presence.

What Are Affiliate Marketing Programs And How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing programs allow people to earn a commission by promoting other companies’ products. It’s a way for companies to market and sell their products without having to directly pay for advertising.

The main players in affiliate marketing are:

Merchant – The company that sells products or services and offers an affiliate program.

Affiliate – The person who promotes the merchant’s products in hopes of earning a commission.

Network – A third party that connects merchants with affiliates by providing tracking technology and a platform for paying commissions.

Here is how affiliate marketing typically works:

1. A merchant provides unique affiliate links to each affiliate. The links have a unique ID that allows the merchant to identify sales that come from that affiliate.

2. The affiliate shares the link on their website, social media, videos, or other platforms to promote the merchant’s products.

3. When a customer clicks the affiliate’s link and makes a purchase, the merchant can track the sale back to the affiliate through their unique ID.

4. The merchant then pays the affiliate a commission for driving the sale. This is usually a percentage of the sale amount or a flat fee.

5. The merchant works with an affiliate network to provide tracking technology and handle the payment of commissions.

So in summary, affiliate marketing creates a win-win-win situation. The merchant only pays when a sale is made, the affiliate earns a commission for promoting products, and the customer buys from a source they know and trust. It allows everyone to benefit from online marketing.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is one of the largest and most popular affiliate programs. As an Amazon associate, you can promote over 1 million Amazon products including books, electronics, toys, jewelry, and more.

When someone purchases through your affiliate link, you earn a commission of up to 10% on the sale. The great thing about Amazon is people already know and trust the brand and there are endless products to promote.

Joining Amazon Associates is easy and free. Once approved, you’ll be provided with affiliate links and banners to promote products. The program also offers excellent tracking and reporting features to monitor your campaigns.


ShareASale is an affiliate network with over 4000 merchants and 700+ product categories. Some popular brands include Best Buy, Etsy, Sephora, Target, and Walmart.

With ShareASale, you can browse products to promote by category or search for specific brands. Commissions vary based on the merchant but are typically between 8-20%. Payments are made monthly when your account exceeds $50.

Some key benefits of ShareASale include real-time reporting, cookie tracking of up to 120 days, and a great merchant reputation system. Overall, ShareASale is a great program for beginners with an immense catalog of products.

CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is one of the largest and longest-running affiliate programs. It’s been around since 1998 and has over 2500 merchant programs.

Some popular brands include Dell, Disney, Honest, Microsoft, HP, and Verizon. You can search for products to promote by category or brand. Most CJ merchants provide banner ads, text links, and reporting capabilities to help you track your campaigns.

Commissions average around 8-10% but rates vary by merchant. Overall, CJ Affiliate is a long-standing program with a large network of trusted brands.

Rakuten Affiliate

Rakuten Affiliate (formerly LinkShare) is a go-to affiliate network for big brands in categories like finance, travel, apparel, and more. Partners include American Express, Macy’s, Nike, Pottery Barn, Sephora, Target, and Walmart.

The program provides you with text links, banner ads, and reporting tools. Commission rates vary depending on the merchant but average around 4-8%. Payments are issued monthly when your balance is over $50.

Rakuten has been around since 1996. The large brand partnerships and competitive commission rates make it ideal for beginners.

Etsy Affiliate Program

Etsy is a popular marketplace for creatives selling handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. The Etsy affiliate program allows you to earn a 3% commission on referred sales.

There’s a wide variety of unique products to promote. You can share your favorite items or browse by category. Promotional methods include links, banners, and targeted product recommendations.

The Etsy affiliate program is free to join and easy to get started. It’s great for beginners who want exposure to the massive Etsy audience.

eBay Partner Network

The eBay Partner Network allows you to earn commissions promoting eBay listings. You can browse products to feature or let eBay suggest relevant listings.

Commissions range from 50-70% of eBay’s fees. The program offers banner ads, text links, and extensive analytics. You don’t need to be an active eBay seller to participate.

eBay is a trusted marketplace. The Partner Network gives beginners access to eBay’s 192+ million buyers. Commissions are competitive and it’s easy to get started.

Airbnb Associate Program

The Airbnb Associate program allows you to earn commissions by referring hosts and guests to the site. You’ll earn up to $100 for each new host you refer and $75 for every first-time guest reservation over $250.

To get people to sign up, you can share referral links, banners, buttons, and text links. The program has excellent branding and marketing materials to help you spread the word about Airbnb.

This program is ideal for beginners who want to tap into Airbnb’s loyal community and earn rewards.

Tripadvisor Affiliate

Tripadvisor Affiliate pays you to refer users to one of the world’s largest travel sites. You can earn commissions by promoting hotel listings, Tripadvisor experiences, restaurant reservations, vacation rentals, flights, and more.

The program offers text links, banners, and reporting tools. Commission rates vary by vertical but are competitive. Payments are made monthly once your balance reaches $100.

Whether you operate a travel blog or a local city website, Tripadvisor is a brand travelers know and trust. It’s a great affiliate program for beginners in the travel niche.

Music Bed Affiliate

Music Bed is a music licensing site that pays you a 20% commission on any subscriptions generated through your referral link. They feature a library of high-quality, affordable songs for video creators.

It’s free to join and easy to share your affiliate link. Simply place the referral link on your website, social media bio, or anywhere your audience may see it. You can also leverage custom banners, buttons, and promo codes.

This affiliate program is perfect for beginners in the content creation and video marketing space.

What to look for in a good Affiliate Marketing Program

Here are some key things to look for when evaluating a good affiliate marketing program:

High commission rates: Look for programs offering commissions of at least 5-10% per sale or higher. The higher the rate the more you’ll earn.

Relevant products: Choose affiliate programs that offer products relevant to your audience and niche. This will increase your chances of conversions.

Well-known brand: Promoting products from a reputable or well-known brand can boost conversions and commissions.

Recurring commissions: See if the program pays out commissions on repeat customer purchases in addition to new sales. This provides long-term earnings.

Payment threshold: Look for a low minimum payout amount so you get paid faster. $50 or less is ideal.

Start Your Affiliate Marketing Journey

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, I recommend starting with one or two of these programs. Look for brands relevant to your interests and audience. Take advantage of the promotional materials, track your campaigns, and optimize based on performance.

The keys are choosing reputable merchants and networks, providing value to your audience, and being transparent about your affiliate relationships. With a little time and effort, you can start monetizing your online presence with affiliate marketing.

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