Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start earning money online and one of the most popular. Bloggers partner with companies that need help marketing their products or services. The bloggers spread the word, and when someone makes a purchase or performs a specific action (like signing up for an email list) based on their recommendation, the blogger receives a commission.
Affiliate Program vs. Affiliate Network
What’s the difference between an affiliate program and an affiliate network? When you become an affiliate for one particular program—say an online class you took or a service you use—you’re working directly with the creator or their staff and you typically have just one product or company to promote.
It’s great to promote products and services that you use and love. However, as your blog grows and your business blossoms, you may realize that finding affiliate programs one at a time and signing up individually, learning each new system, tracking your sales and income on dozens of different platforms, and monitoring a dozen or more payout schedules becomes a LOT of work!
Enter the affiliate network.
Think of an affiliate network like a speed dating service. They get all the bloggers who want to market and all the business who want help marketing into the same giant online “room” and let them mingle. If they find a good match, they can pair up.
The affiliate network serves as an intermediary between numerous marketers (bloggers) and the merchant affiliate marketing programs. They set up a system that allows many blogger/marketers to connect with many different affiliate programs. The network serves as a middle man who provides coordination services, tracking, reporting, and facilitates payments between programs and marketers.
When you sign up for an affiliate network, you have access to hundreds (or in some instances thousands) of affiliate marketing programs, making it so easy to find products and services related to your niche that your audience will love!
So what are the benefits of working with an affiliate network?
Here’s a few that I appreciate:
- One login gains you access to all your programs
- A single system to learn to navigate and use
- One payment system to manage
- A solitary payment schedule to monitor
- One payout threshold to meet
- Hundreds or thousands of vetted programs to choose from
- An intermediary to help with problems or issues that arise
While it’s great to work with individual programs, you will invest more time and energy in individual systems over a network, so I have made several networks part of my affiliate marketing strategy.
Best of all, a great affiliate network will give you access to affiliate links on a huge variety of topics, which means you can find affiliate links that blend seamlessly with almost any post or any page of your blog. This makes your monetization strategy so much easier!
Interested in giving affiliate networks a try?
I’ve listed my top 5 recommended networks for new bloggers below along with the aspects I appreciate most about them. Sign up for a few, then download my ebook to get ideas and strategies to promote your links!
I was blown away by the number of big brands and stores that partner with FlexOffers! They partner with names like Hertz, Medifast, Sketchers, Banana Republic, TJMaxx, Gap, Calvin Klein, Dockers, Bloomingdales, JC Penney, Dick’s, Nike, Reebok, Asics, McAfee, Norton, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Sprint, USCellular, Verizon, TMobile, TracFone, Straight Talk, Avon, Jelly Belly, Audible, Marriott, Caesars Entertainment, and soooooooooooo many more!
It would take forever to list them all because this network contains thousands of programs!!!
Whether you blog about fashion, tech, business, babies, food, travel, dating, or any number of other topics, they have dozens of programs in your niche. Check it out! It’s free to sign up.
MaxBounty is another huge affiliate networks with thousands of programs covering all kinds of interests. Finance, dating, fashion and beauty, business, tech, family, travel, pets, fitness, food, and many more niches are supported by this network. You will recognize dozens of stores and brands who use MaxBounty to help promote their products and services.
Then there’s the fact that I love MaxBounty’s dashboard and user interface! I think it’s the easiest one to use of all the affiliate networks and programs I’ve tried. Finding your affiliate links, banners, and promotion aids is super easy!
This network also offers great support services. When you join, you’re assigned an affiliate manager to help you with any questions you have. My affiliate manager has gotten back to me right away every time I’ve sent a request. Super efficient!
Want to take a closer look at MaxBounty’s affiliate network? Sign up is free!
Share-a-sale also has an incredibly user-friendly interface. You’ll have no trouble learning to navigate their system and find the companies, products, and links you need to monetize your blog.
This network has a lower payout threshold than many of the affiliate networks.
They also have great programs for other niches. Here are some brands you may have heard of:
Wayfair, Cricut, Reebok, Erin Condren, Gymboree, FreshBooks, Sears, Sally Beauty, Weebly, Namecheap, and hundreds more.
Interested in taking a closer look at Share-a-sale? Here’s the link to sign up for free:
One of the primo benefits of Amazon is that nearly everyone has shopped there.
Plus Amazon sells everything! If you like doing roundup posts or reviews, you have millions of products to choose from. Use your affiliate links and you get a commission if your reader chooses to purchase based on your article.
And BONUS, you also get a commission from any other products that person buys from Amazon within 24 hours of your referral.
The only drawback is that if you don’t make any sales in a set period of time, Amazon will suspend your account and you’ll have to reapply at a later date. So once you apply, get to work on a few posts that promote Amazon products and make your first sale or two!
Learn more about Amazon Associates here. There’s no charge to apply:
Awin has some amazing programs for lifestyle bloggers and I found quite a few affiliate programs in their stables that would work well with the fashion niche. Probably the greatest benefit of belonging to the Awin affiliate network is the ability to become an Etsy affiliate.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Etsy. I could sit for hours and look at the listings of amazing handcrafted goods that people have made and sell on there. When it comes to the holidays, people are searching out gift guides and ideas for that special someone (or that specially-hard-to-buy-for someone). Etsy offers so many awesome solutions!
Consider the possibilities:
If you’re a mommy blogger, think of all the great roundup posts you could do with darling handmade baby clothes or toys.
Fashion bloggers could find all kinds of fun, original clothes and accessories to promote on Etsy.
Food bloggers could promote custom made kitchen accessories and cool handmade aprons.
Business bloggers, there’s something for you too. Etsy is full of planners and printables that you can recommend to help your readers stay organized.
Lifestyle bloggers can promote custom decor items by the hundreds.
Honestly, I think there’s something for every niche on Etsy.
The only drawback of Awin is that you have to pay $5.00 to join the network. I think this is to keep the not-so-serious people out. When you join, the $5.00 is immediately credited to your account and you get the cash back with your first payout, so no worries. Just get to selling!
Learn more about Awin’s Affiliate Network here:
That’s my top five, folks! There are dozens more out there, but these five are reputable, reliable, and will give you access to thousands of affiliate programs and keep you more than busy marketing and making money. I hope you find exactly the programs your blog needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing you might want to check out these articles:
Wishing you success with your affiliate marketing efforts!