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Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners: Top Options to Consider

As someone in the affiliate marketing business for a while, I know that finding the right affiliate program can make or break your success. With so many high-paying programs out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. That’s why I’m here to help.

In this article, I’ll share my insights on the best affiliate programs for beginners. I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of affiliate networks versus in-house affiliate programs so that you can make an informed decision. Whether you’re just starting or looking to switch things up, this article will provide the information you need to succeed in affiliate marketing.

Key Takeaways

  • Finding the right affiliate program is vital for success in affiliate marketing.
  • Affiliate networks and in-house programs both have their pros and cons.
  • This article will provide a complete guide to the best affiliate programs for beginners.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

Selecting the right affiliate marketing program can be overwhelming for a beginner. Here are some of the best programs to consider:

  • Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
  • CJ (Commission Junction) Affiliate Program
  • ShareASale Affiliate Program
  • ClickBank Affiliate Program
  • Rakuten Advertising Affiliate Program
  • Impact Affiliate Program
  • Awin Affiliate Program
  • Etsy Affiliate Program
  • eBay Partner Network Affiliate Program
  • Fiverr Affiliate Program
  • Refersion Marketplace
  • PepperJam Network
  • FlexOffers Affiliate Program
  • Avangate Affiliate Program
  • MaxBounty Affiliate Program
  • LinkConnector Affiliate Program

Each program has unique features, so it’s essential to research and find the best fit for your affiliate marketing niche. Remember to promote products that align with your audience’s interests and needs. Doing so will increase your chances of success.

Affiliate Networks vs. Affiliate Programs

As a beginner in affiliate marketing, it’s essential to understand the difference between in-house affiliate programs and affiliate networks. While some may use these terms interchangeably, they are not the same.

A single merchant or supplier creates an in-house affiliate program, and you must sign up directly to become an affiliate. On the other hand, an affiliate network serves as a middleman between affiliates and multiple merchants or suppliers.

For example, if you have an affiliate website promoting outdoor sporting equipment, like the Lids Affiliate Program, you could sign up for multiple in-house affiliate programs for manufacturers and suppliers. Alternatively, you could sign up for an affiliate network that connects you with various suppliers in the outdoor sporting equipment industry.

While signing up for an affiliate network may seem like the more sensible option for beginners, it’s important to note that some affiliate programs only exist outside affiliate networks. In these cases, you must sign up directly with the merchant or supplier to become an affiliate.

For instance, when I started as an affiliate marketer, I focused on selling replica lightsabers. The company behind them, Master Replicas, had a great affiliate program but was not part of any affiliate network. I had to sign up directly with them to become an affiliate.

That being said, there are many popular and reliable affiliate networks available. Some of the best include:

  • Amazon Associates
  • Commission Junction
  • ClickBank
  • ShareASale

In addition to affiliate networks, many diverse and generic affiliate programs apply to most audiences. Some examples include:

  • Bluehost affiliate program
  • Grammarly affiliate program
  • Airbnb affiliate program

Ultimately, deciding between signing up for an affiliate network or an in-house affiliate program depends on the specific industry and merchants you are promoting. It’s essential to weigh each option’s pros and cons before deciding.

What To Look For In A Good Affiliate Marketing Program

a) Ease of Use

As a person who has been in the affiliate marketing game for a while, I know firsthand how important it is to choose an affiliate program that is easy to use. When you’re just starting, you want to make things as simple as possible for yourself. This means signing up for affiliate programs with excellent management and design that don’t have a confusing or cluttered interface.

Affiliate networks tend to be a safer bet, as their goal is to make the affiliate marketing process as easy as possible. However, there are also in-house affiliate programs that are just as user-friendly. The key is to look for an affiliate program that is straightforward to navigate.

b) Point of Contact

No matter how user-friendly an affiliate program is, there will be times when things go wrong. Links might stop working, or you might have a question about your sales report. That’s why choosing an affiliate program with a dedicated point of contact is essential.

Affiliate networks usually have an advantage here, as they typically have a support staff and an affiliate manager. However, it’s important to remember that not all affiliate managers are created equal. Some are great, while others leave a lot to be desired. Before signing up for an affiliate program, know what kind of support you’ll get. You want a dedicated affiliate manager to help with any questions or issues.

c) Commission & Payments

Of course, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an affiliate program is how much you’ll get paid and when you’ll get paid. Most affiliate programs operate on a Net 30 basis, meaning you’ll get paid 30 days after making a sale. However, some programs operate on a Net 60 or Net 90 basis, which means you might have to wait up to 90 days to receive your payment.

It’s essential to find out how much you’ll be paid and when you’ll be paid. Waiting 90 days for a payment can be long, especially if you have bills to pay. Make sure you choose an affiliate program that offers a fair commission rate and pays out promptly.

When looking for a good affiliate marketing program, assessing factors such as ease of use, point of contact, and commission and payments is essential. By researching and choosing a program that meets your needs, you’ll be well on your way to success in the affiliate marketing world.

4 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Beginners

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates Program is one of the oldest (arguably the best, most consistent) affiliate programs. It’s also the most popular, with 58.5% of affiliate marketers using it. Amazon’s affiliate marketing program is the first place brand-new affiliates prefer simply because it’s so easy to use. It encompasses all the Amazon products available on their website. You’ll probably find something on Amazon to promote, no matter your niche, and get a tiny commission. It’s fair to say that they have some of the best conversion rates.

  • URL: Amazon Associates Program
  • Cost: Free
  • Type: Affiliate network
  • You get paid: Net of 60
  • Payment threshold: $10
  • Best suited to: Affiliate marketing newbies building their first affiliate site.


  • International brand credit – everyone knows what Amazon is, which explains why their products sell easily
  • 200 million+ products for Amazon Associates to promote – that’s probably the most significant number on any program
  • They provide excellent customer service, and you can benefit from that
  • Create affiliate links and monitor them super quickly and easily
  • Their affiliate dashboard is the best and easiest to use


  • Amazon’s commission rates are constantly changing and have been trending downward in the last few years.
  • The 24-hour cookie is too short.

2. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate is one of the oldest affiliate networks. It specializes in big brand names and smaller product and service suppliers and represents around 2,500+ other affiliate marketing programs. In addition to the diverse range of brands and products, it has great tools that successful affiliate marketers need—from excellent support to simple affiliate link creation.

  • URL: Commission Junction
  • Cost: Free
  • Type: Affiliate network
  • Payment threshold: $50
  • You get paid: Net 30
  • Best suited to: Affiliate marketers with more than 3 – 6 months of experience


  • Easy-to-use interface and affiliate dashboard – affiliate marketing beginners with some experience would be acquainted fast.
  • They house several huge brands wanting this program to run their affiliate marketing.
  • Has some direct display advertising (flat fee and commission) deals
  • It is easy to find profitable affiliate programs
  • Their customer support team and tutorials make it easy to get on your way


  • Big brands remove their affiliate programs from this network at times – so it can be unreliable
  • Compared to Amazon, this network is more difficult for very early beginners

3. ShareASale

ShareASale is a popular affiliate network that many brands use. It represents around 5,000 different affiliate programs, some of the best affiliate programs out there. Some pay $300 – $350 per sale. ShareASale focuses more on smaller, profitable companies than substantial brand names.

  • URL: ShareASale
  • Cost: Complimentary
  • Type: Affiliate network
  • Payment threshold: $50
  • You get paid: Net of 30
  • Best suited to: An affiliate marketer seeking emerging brands in any niche


  • 1500+ products and services to promote on your affiliate website
  • It has a considerable number of smaller brands with high commission rates
  • The “Search for Merchants” function works better as compared to networks like Commission Junction, for example
  • They have a ‘PowerRank’ metric which shows you the ranking of an affiliate program in the top 1000
  • Payments are more frequent, and you don’t have to wait for weeks on end for your payments


  • They have refused to update their old 2000-looking interface – it just feels very dated
  • Since the smaller brands probably have fewer human resources, the approval process for various programs is unpredictable

4. ClickBank

ClickBank is an affiliate network that’s been online since 1998. If anyone out there is as old in the online industry, then they have heard of it. ClickBank focuses on selling digital products mostly but has started adding some physical products lately. All the products are available in the ClickBank Marketplace. Unlike Amazon or ShareASale, which works with small to big brands, their products are mostly owned by individual or company creators.

  • URL: ClickBank
  • Cost: Free
  • Type: Affiliate network
  • Best suited to: Marketers who are promoting digital products
  • Payment threshold: $50
  • You get paid Net 60: You must wait two months to receive the commissions you earned this month.


  • Fewer approvals are required to promote any program – you need approvals to encourage 90% of the programs on ShareASale, for example.
  • Great for creators doing affiliate marketing without a website – for instance, on Instagram, TikTok, etc 
  • Their top programs pay about $50 per sale – which can be very lucrative if you have an established pipeline.
  • They have a lot of programs with recurring commissions.
  • The merchants do a lot of great marketing on their landing page, and you don’t have to do much work other than land more people on the page.
  • It is easy to create and monitor affiliate links.


  • They have a very dated marketplace, too; it has been the same for 19 years – it works, but it’s old.
  • Refund rates for some affiliate programs on this network can be pretty high.

Wrapping Things Up

In conclusion, this is a detailed list of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners. With the potential to start earning passive income from your website visitors in as little as 30 days, affiliate marketing is an excellent option for those looking to monetize their website.

Our list has given you enough choices to work with and earn commissions. Additionally, we encourage you to take advantage of our valuable affiliate marketing tricks and tips to boost your earnings.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn passive income while promoting services and products that align with your brand and values.

Frequently Asked Questions

a) What are some high-ticket affiliate programs for beginners?

For beginners, choosing high-ticket affiliate programs that offer higher commissions is essential. Some of the best high-ticket affiliate programs for beginners include ClickFunnels, Bluehost, and SEMrush. These programs offer generous commissions and are relatively easy to promote.

b) What are the best affiliate programs for beginners without a website?

If you’re starting and don’t have a website, there are still plenty of affiliate programs you can promote. Some of the best affiliate programs for beginners without a website include Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network, and Rakuten Marketing. These programs allow you to promote products through social media, email marketing, and other channels.

c) Which stores offer affiliate programs for beginners?

Many popular stores offer affiliate programs that are perfect for beginners. Some of the best stores with affiliate programs include Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. These programs offer generous commissions and are relatively easy to promote.

d) How does the Target affiliate program work for beginners?

The Target affiliate program is an excellent option for beginners. You must sign up for the program and promote Target products through your website, social media, or other channels to get started. You’ll earn a commission on sales through your unique affiliate link.

e) What are the benefits of joining the Ulta affiliate program as a beginner?

The Ulta affiliate program is an excellent option for beginners interested in promoting beauty products. As an affiliate, you’ll earn a commission on any sales made through your unique affiliate link. You’ll also have access to exclusive promotions and discounts that can help you increase your earnings.

f) What are some free affiliate programs for beginners?

If you’re starting and don’t have any money to invest in affiliate marketing, there are still plenty of accessible affiliate programs you can promote. Some of the best free affiliate programs for beginners include Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network, and Rakuten Marketing. These programs allow you to promote products without paying any upfront costs.


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