11 Of The Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners To Start Earning Money Online

Affiliate marketing still ranks relatively high among options for making money passively, so it’s a great time to research and join affiliate programs for beginners. No matter what type of product you want to sell or what service you want to offer, there’s an affiliate program out there for you.

But getting started can be a little overwhelming. In this post, we’ll show you how to get started with affiliate marketing and make money from it by partnering with the best affiliate programs.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about affiliate programs for beginners, including what it is, how it works, and how to get started.

And if you’d like to jump right into one of the biggest and most popular affiliate networks in the world then you’ll want to check out FlexOffers.


What Are Affiliate Programs?

Affiliate programs are marketing arrangements in which an online merchant pays a commission to website owners who direct traffic to their site. The owner of the referring website receives a commission for every customer that the merchant acquires through their affiliate link. This is one way that companies generate leads and sales online.

In order to participate in affiliate programs for beginners, you must first have a platform to promote products or services on, such as a website or social media.

This gives you a space to attract customers to as well as host the affiliate links. Once you have a platform, you can sign up for an affiliate program and start promoting products. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission.

Affiliate programs are available for just about any type of product or service online. So no matter what your niche or interests are, you can find an affiliate program to match.

Plus, there are affiliate programs available for just about every type of marketing channel, including email marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.


How Do I Choose the Best Affiliate Marketing Program?

With so many options claiming to be the best affiliate programs for beginners, it can become quite an ordeal to choose one. So, as a beginner, there are a few parameters to judge if an affiliate program is right for you.

Before choosing an affiliate program, key questions you must ask are:

  • Is the program right for my niche?
  • Is the program’s platform easy to navigate?
  • What is the payout structure?
  • What is the program’s size?

These questions will help you pick the best affiliate program based on your needs. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these questions:

1. Is the Program Right for My Niche?

When choosing an affiliate program, the first thing is to make sure they have listings of products or services related to the niche you cover in your blog, on your Youtube channel, or as a social media influencer. 

For example, if you have a blog about health and fitness, an affiliate program for workout gear would naturally make more sense than an affiliate program for car parts. 

You’ll also want to consider demographic information about the people who are customers within your niche. For example, do they purchase budget or luxury products? Where are they located?

These questions can help you to choose the best affiliate program for them, and make sure that the program offers actual products or services that your audience is interested in.

2. Is the Program Easy to Navigate?

The best affiliate programs for beginners should also have a platform that is easy to navigate. This will make it easier for you to find the products or services you want to promote and help you keep track of your sales and earnings. 

Some signs of a great affiliate program include a clear, easy-to-navigate design. You should be easily able to see all metrics, such as your sales, earned commissions, and conversion rates.

Access to good customer service is another important aspect of quality affiliate marketing programs. You may be assigned a dedicated affiliate manager or have the ability to contact the general affiliate manager through a chat or email platform.

This helps to ensure that if you have any questions, or encounter any problems, someone will be there to help you.

3. What’s the Payout Structure Like?

When it comes to affiliate marketing programs, there are a few different types of payout structures. The most common are:

  • Pay-per-sale (PPS): In this type of program, the affiliate only gets paid when they generate a sale for the merchant. The commission is a percentage of the sale price and can vary greatly.
  • Pay-per-lead (PPL): In a pay-per-lead program, the affiliate gets paid when they refer a lead, or potential customer, to the merchant. This can be done through a form on the merchant’s website or by providing the merchant with contact information. The commission is usually a flat rate.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC): In a pay-per-click program, the affiliate gets paid every time someone clicks on a link to the merchant’s site. The amount of the commission is generally very small, and it is based on the amount that the merchant pays for each click.

Most commonly, affiliate programs for beginners operate on a pay-per-sale basis. Each item you sell will yield a small percentage of earnings. Affiliate marketers need to generate a good volume of sales to make any significant income.

Recurring Earnings

For certain affiliate networks and programs, you may be able to participate in what’s called a recurring earnings program. This is where you continue to earn commissions on sales that customers make, even after their initial purchase.

This type of program can be great for building up long-term income, but it’s important to make sure that the affiliate program offers products or services that your audience will actually want.

These types of offerings are usually subscriptions or services where your audience pays a monthly, weekly, or annual fee.

Payment Method Options

You’ll want to join an affiliate marketing program that has a quick payout method with low or no fees. Most affiliate networks pay through direct deposit, checks, wire transfers, or Paypal. The frequency of the payout method is also important. You may receive payouts that are same-day or monthly payouts, depending on the company.

It’s also important to note that some affiliate marketing programs will wait a few months to make sure purchases cleared without returns before releasing earnings to affiliate marketers.

4. What Is the Size of the Affiliate Program?

The size of the affiliate marketing program can also make a difference. Larger companies tend to offer more products and services as well as higher commissions. But they may also have more stringent rules and guidelines that you need to follow.

Smaller affiliate programs may not have as many product offerings, but they can be easier to get started with. They may also be more flexible with their rules and guidelines.

In the long run, successful affiliate marketers will have a mix of both large and small affiliate programs to maximize their earnings. To start, you may want to join a larger affiliate marketing program, such as the CJ Affiliate network or the Amazon Associates affiliate program.

While these aren’t the highest-paying affiliate programs, you’ll be able to make affiliate sales with a wide variety of items and sellers on these platforms.


So, you are about to take the bull by the horns by becoming an affiliate marketer, however, you are unsure about which products your audience will love. There are lots of options out there, including both digital and physical products. Here are some factors that can help you decide on the right product to promote as an affiliate marketer:

Visit as many retail sites as possible and search for their best sellers in a particular niche. The Amazon best-sellers section is an excellent place to start. This will give you some insight into what products are in demand. It will also help you to prepare seasonally and identify larger buying patterns.

2. Use SEO to See What Your Audience is Searching For

SEO is crucial for leveraging affiliate marketing and earning affiliate income. It can help you to see what your audience is searching for and identify potential products to promote.

Utilize keyword research tools like Google AdWords, Keyword Planner, and Moz Keyword Explorer to see what keywords are being used in searches related to your niche.

You can also use these tools to estimate the amount of traffic that particular keywords are getting. This will give you some insight into which keywords are worth targeting in your affiliate marketing campaigns.

3. See What Products Your Competitors Are Promoting

Competitor research is an essential part of any marketing strategy, including affiliate marketing. Take a look at what products your competitors are promoting on their sites and social media channels. This can give you some ideas of what products to promote in your affiliate marketing campaigns.

4. Test Consumer Preferences

One of the best ways to make sure that your audience will love the products you promote is to ask them!

You can use surveys, polls, and quizzes to get feedback from your audience about their preferences.

This can help you to narrow down your product options and choose products that your audience is interested in.

5. Promote Products That You Love

It can be helpful to promote products that you love and use yourself. When you’re passionate about a product, it shows in your marketing. This can make it more likely that your audience will be interested in the product as well. Additionally, it can be helpful to have firsthand knowledge of the product when you’re promoting it to your audience.

6. Check for Sales and High Conversion Rates

It’s important that both your affiliate program or network, as well as the individual items you select, have a high conversion rate. A high conversion rate means that people who click on your affiliate link are more likely to make a purchase. This makes it easier to sell the product because you know it’s already in demand.

Anything above a 2% conversion rate is generally considered to be good.


11 Best Affiliate Programs for New Affiliate Marketers

Now that you know how to decide which affiliate program is best for your specific brand and niche, let’s take a look at the most profitable and easy to use affiliate programs for beginners:

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is considered one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the world. The program is owned and operated by Amazon, an American multinational e-commerce company. The company first launched its associate program in 1996.

Amazon has affiliate offers for millions of products and programs affiliate marketers can sell. Their product categories include:

  • Luxury and beauty products
  • Digital products
  • Physical books
  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Furniture
  • Beverages
  • Games

You can also earn commissions on Amazon subscriptions such as Amazon Prime and Audible memberships (learn how to make money on Audible here).

Amazon works with 300,000 merchants worldwide including several top brands across product categories including, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and others. Regardless of your niche, you can products to sell as an affiliate on Amazon, making it one of the best affiliate programs for beginners (check out our article on how to become an Amazon affiliate).

The average commission earned per product from the Amazon Associates program is between 1% and 6% on each item, depending on which category your items are in.

The Amazon Associates program has a fairly simple structure. You can sign up for free as an affiliate and start promoting products right away. The only requirement is that you must make at least one sale within your first 90 days of opening an account.

Pros


  • Because it is one of the largest and oldest companies in its field, people trust it.
  • You can sell all sorts of items, so there’s good diversity within the program.
  • Amazon Associates consistently pays on time, once a month.

Cons


  • The Amazon Associate Program is not open to all regions of the world.
  • Their payment method option does not include Paypal.
  • Cookies last for just 24 hours. This means if a client doesn’t buy using your link in 24 hours, you lose the chance to earn from that lead.

FlexOffers

FlexOffers was founded in 2008 and was originally known as CardOffers. It’s a reputable network and one of the top 10 affiliate networks in the world, making it a trusted platform for beginners.

They have over 12,000 active merchants on this platform with prominent partnerships with big brands like Microsoft, Nordstorm, Samsung, Hulu, Wayfair, HP, and other top brands.

Your affiliate marketing business will have access to over 650 million products in 25 different categories on FlexOffers. Its affiliate program categories range from:

  • Automotive
  • Business
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Legal services
  • Sports
  • Travel
  • And more

FlexOffers pays affiliates monthly on net 60 terms, a fancy term for every three months. You’ll need a minimum of $25 of earnings to receive payment by direct deposit, check, wire transfer, or PayPal.

Pros


  • The site isn’t overly technical and uses a clean and user-friendly interface.
  • It’s easy to get accepted for the network, making it one of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.
  • It has a great search engine with useful filters to find ideal programs for your niche.
  • FlexOffers boasts a high number of merchants.

Cons


  • Every payout method comes with a transaction fee, reducing your overall earnings.
  • Payment is slower than some of the other best affiliate programs.

ClickBank

ClickBank is a global e-commerce platform that was established in 1998 and is one of the most intuitive affiliate programs for beginners. The company began its affiliate program 25 years ago and it has grown to become a major global partner to both merchants and affiliates around the world.

ClickBank offers over 4,000 physical and digital products. The physical products offered on ClickBank fall within health products, supplements, books, CDs, DVDs, food products, cosmetics, OTC drugs, medical equipment, and pet supplements. 

ClickBank provides affiliates with many payment method options which include check, direct deposit, wire transfer, and Payoneer. 

Earning on ClickBank is on a commission basis. Affiliates are paid either weekly or bi-weekly on ClickBank, depending on what they opt for. 

ClickBank is open to bloggers, social media influencers, and practically anyone who has figured out a system through which they can generate traffic to their links. It’s one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs and is a great choice for beginners.

Pros


  • They pay on time.
  • ClickBank offers a high commission on certain items, as much as 50% to 100%.
  • They provide you with marketing materials so you can make the most of their affiliate program.
  • Joining ClickBank is easy and fast.
  • There are multiple payment options.
  • You do not need a website to promote affiliate link offers.

Cons


  • If you don’t make sales within 90 days, ClickBank will mark your account as dormant and charge you $1 every day.
  • All items on ClickBank have a money-back guarantee, so you may lose sales to returns.

Commission Junction

Commission Junction, now known as the CJ Affiliate Network, is a global affiliate program owned by Publicis Group, a French multinational advertising company. Founded 20 years ago as Commission Junction, CJ affiliate is a product of several company buyouts and consolidations. 

Some of the most prominent advertising and publishing firms work with CJ Affiliates, including CNN and Buzzfeed.

CJ Affiliate has a rich list of the big brands in the service and product industry. Brands like Barnes and Noble, Blue Apron, Overstock, and J.Crew are among the various businesses that offer their services and products to affiliates through CJ Affiliates.

They boast a wide range of products, including automotive, electronics, gardening, and health products.

Affiliates earn on this platform through either pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, or pay-per-call, depending on the product or service type.

CJ Affiliate pays out within 20 days after the end of the month, as long as you have a minimum payment threshold of $50 (Direct Deposit) or $100 (Check).

The payment method options available on CJ Affiliate are direct transfer, wire transfer, and Payoneer. This is one of the best affiliate programs for beginners who need flexible payment options.

Pros


  • Varied products offered for a wide variety of niches.
  • Anyone can sign up for the program.
  • There are many payout options.
  • Prompt and regular payments are guaranteed.
  • There’s real-time reporting through the affiliate’s dashboard.
  • Some categories are open to social media influencers.
  • They have a comprehensive local and international support center with helpful affiliate managers.

Cons


  • Some affiliate programs in the network are hard for beginners to be accepted into.

Awin

Awin is a 21-year-old global affiliate network. The company is a part of the Axel Springer and United Internet Groups and is one of the best affiliate programs for beginners.

They offer products and services that span across fashion, telecommunication, travel, retail, energy, automobile, health, and electronics, among others.  

They host over 21,200 advertisers, which include some big brands, including Boden, British Gas, Vodafone, and Reiss, among others.

Their platform is open to all affiliate marketers, including traditional publishers, media partners, bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers.

Affiliates earn on Awin through pay-per-click and pay-per-lead depending on the merchant (advertiser). The payment process in Awin is transparent and can be monitored via an interface accessible by all affiliates.

Your Awin commissions are paid directly into your account using ACH. Affiliate payday is usually the 1st or 15th of every month, and the minimum payout threshold is $20.

Pros


  • Numerous offers for you to choose from as a beginner.
  • They offer a higher commission rate for businesses out of the US, the UK, and Canada.
  • They offer payment through Payoneer.

Cons


  • Some customers feel that the user interface is complicated.

Impact Radius

Impact Radius is an affiliate marketing program for beginners that includes a comprehensive cloud solutions suite designed to help you scale your business. They have a wide range of products, services, and software that can help with everything from influencer marketing to email automation.

Some top brands associated with Impact include Canva, Tailwind, Hubspot, Envato, and Constant Contact. They also work with popular product producers such as Adidas, Old Navy, Burt’s Bees, and Banana Republic.

The commission you earn depends on what type of affiliate program you participate in. The application process is relatively simple. If you have any issues with joining or receive a rejection, Impact Radius will help you get in contact with one of their affiliate managers. They’ll help you to improve your application for better odds next time.

Commissions range from 3% all the way up to 80%, but the average range is between 3% to 20%.

You’ll be paid out when your account accumulates a minimum of $50, which is a pretty low threshold compared to other affiliate programs.

Pros


  • Impact offers all the tools you’ll need in their affiliate marketing software cloud to track and monitor your earnings and conversion rates.
  • They offer a very wide range of products for many different niches.
  • Multiple payment options are available.

Cons


  • Every brand has its own affiliate program in this network, so there will be many different requirements.

Etsy

Etsy is an American e-commerce company. It’s a marketplace designed for handmade and vintage items, as well as art, craft supplies, and unique factory-manufactured items.

The site has been in operation since 2005 and boasts 1.7 million active sellers. These entrepreneurs come from all over the world and sell everything from fine art to handcrafted jewelry to vintage clothing

Awin manages Etsy’s affiliate program in North America, Europe, and other countries around the world. If you get declined, US publishers can always apply through the FlexOffers affiliate marketing network.

Etsy has a fantastic cookie period of 30 days which is better than Amazon with its 24-hour cookie expiration. This is one of the best affiliate programs for beginners who want a wide window for catching sales.

Etsy affiliate marketing members are paid twice a week and can expect consistent affiliate income payouts which give affiliate marketers peace of mind.

You’ll earn a 4% commission from direct affiliate sale links and a 2% commission from sales generated from social media images and videos. All purchases need to be made by a credit card to count towards a commission payout.

Pros


  • It’s a great platform for one-of-a-kind items that can make your blog stand out from the rest.
  • The 30-day cookie is much longer than many other affiliate programs.
  • In addition to support from an affiliate manager, you’ll get access to training videos and a live chat function.

Cons


  • The products are limited-run and in smaller quantities due to being handmade.
  • The competition is pretty high.
  • The commission rate is relatively low.

Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the world’s largest freelancing platforms, established in 2010 in Aviv-Yafo, Israel. It is a dominant marketplace where people outsource tasks across several categories starting at only $5. Over $20,000 dollars in transactions happen on Fiverr daily. 

Some niches that would do well with the Fiverr affiliate program include small business, freelancing, marketing, personal finance, and professional development blogs. If you have a blog in this niche, you can promote graphic design services, content writing services, or even bookkeeping services.

In addition to promoting freelancing services and gigs, you can also promote some lesser-known services that this popular platform offers.

Fiverr Business is a project management system and workspace that you can promote. Fiverr Learn is a program that provides courses for professional development. You can earn commissions from both of these programs, and with less competition than trying to promote gigs.

You can also earn recurring commissions for recruiting other affiliate marketers, which is a great way to make long-term passive income.

The signup process for Fiverr affiliates is quick and simple, and you can choose between two types of affiliate plans. Fiver CPA gives you between $15 and $150 for each first-time Fiverr customer that is onboarded. The Fiverr Hybrid provides you will $10 on all sales as well as a 10% share of the revenue for one year after the new customer has signed up.

Pros


  • It’s super simple and quick to join Fiverr.
  • The company provides you with plenty of helpful marketing materials such as ebooks and images to help you to sell their services.
  • There’s a generous 30-day cookie window.

Cons


  • You can only get an affiliate commission the first time someone uses the platform.
  • It’s better for B2B affiliate marketers, but not as valuable for B2C marketers.
  • Commissions are occasionally capped on some higher-ticket services.

ShareASale

ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network founded in 2000 by Brian Littleton. Like most modern affiliate networks, ShareASale offers a modern and clean user interface through which affiliates can track their activities.

The ShareASale affiliate platform has over 20,000 merchant programs hosted on its network platform, offering different services and products across multiple markets. This is great for both beginners and established affiliate marketers alike. There’s an expansive selection of companies and products to offer all sorts of customers you may serve.

Some of the biggest brands affiliated with ShareASale include Apogee, NBC Universal, AIM, Buzzfeed, Deluxe, and Nectar.

You need a website to join ShareASale and promote their affiliate links. Affiliates can choose between three major payment options, which include checks, direct deposits, and ACH.

Pros


  • They offer products from thousands of brands and are always adding new companies to this list.
  • They have an impressive and easy-to-use user interface.
  • The acceptance rate for specific affiliate programs is very high.

Cons


  • Some users state that the affiliate links aren’t as WordPress-compatible as other programs.
  • The platform’s design is a bit older-looking than other affiliate networks.
  • It’s hard to find broken links through Shareasale’s analytics portal.

Rakuten

Formerly known as Rakuten Marketing, Rakuten Advertising is an affiliate marketing service provider, a program of Ratuken, a Japanese e-commerce store that Hiroshi Mikitani founded in 1996. 

They offer affiliates an easy-to-use dashboard that provides impressive performance metrics and reports alongside the opportunity to make commissions on major brands.

The signup process is fairly simple. But you need to have an active affiliate marketing website in order to apply and get approved.

The signup form will ask about the number of monthly visitors and page views you have to get an idea if you have enough traffic to bring in earnings. You’ll get a response from Rakuten in about 5 business days after submitting your application.

Some major brands that this affiliate marketing program offers include Lyft, Microsoft, Lego, Macy’s, and NordVPN.

In addition to earning affiliate sales from Rakuten Advertising, you can also place banners on your website and get paid for advertising space. This is a great way to diversify your income and to get paid per click in addition to per sale.

Need help starting with affiliate links or have any questions? This is one of the best affiliate marketing programs for customer service. You can connect with the program through chat, email, or a toll-free support line that services the United States, the U.K, and Canada.

Pros


  • It offers awesome customer support.
  • You’ll find diverse products and services.
  • Tracking is available through their dashboard.
  • You have varied payment method options.

Cons


  • 3 months is a long time to wait before getting paid.
  • Commission rates aren’t always transparent.
  • Some users report late payments.

PepperJam

Pepperjam is a privately-owned performance marketing company that has been in business for 20 years. It was originally founded by college students and is now a major network that was acquired by eBay.

If you’re an agency, blog publisher, or influencer, you’re able to sign up for Pepperjam’s affiliate program. You’ll need a website, and it’s worth it to give Pepperjam a detailed and honest description of your website in the application to increase your approval odds.

In a few business days, you’ll get a response from Pepperja, giving you access to work with brands such as Bonobos, Shutterfly, Nordstrom, and Puma. There are also many small businesses available through this platform which helps affiliate marketers to be more competitive with unique and lesser-known products.

The affiliate dashboard is modern, clean, and simple to use. It will be easy to navigate through your earnings, metrics, and customer support as well as to connect with the advertisers you want to work with.

You’ll be paid on both the 1st and 15th of every month, so you don’t have to wait for your earnings as long as some of the other best affiliate programs. You’ll receive your payments through the PayPal platform by default, and can email the company to manually set up payment through direct deposit or by receiving a check.

Pros


  • They are easy to join.
  • The user interface is easy to use.
  • Support is provided with dedicated account managers.
  • It’s easy to add affiliate links to your platform.

Cons


  • They offer limited payment options such as PayPay unless you make a personal request.
  • There are fewer participating merchants than found in other programs for beginners.

Affiliate Program Vs. Affiliate Network: What’s the Difference?

The terms “affiliate program” and “affiliate network” are often used interchangeably, but it can be helpful to understand the difference between these two structures.

What Is An Affiliate Network?

To understand what an affiliate network is, we must first establish the difference between an advertiser and a publisher.

An advertiser is a company or organization with products or services they want to promote through affiliate marketing.  

A publisher is an agency or an individual who owns the advertising spaces through which advertisers run their affiliate programs.

An affiliate network is, therefore, a system or a middle ground that brings advertisers and publishers together. These networks can have anywhere from dozens to thousands of different merchants together in a network.

Benefits of Affiliate Networks

Benefits of working with an affiliate network include:

  • Better regulation when it comes to affiliate marketing rules and practices across multiple companies
  • Easier platforms for keeping track of and measuring the success of multiple different programs
  • Consistent payout methods and timeframes
  • A potential dedicated affiliate manager to help organize the various programs
  • The opportunity to test a variety of different programs under one network

What Is An Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is a single merchant that has created its own affiliate program. There isn’t a middleman who is taking a cut of the sale, so as an affiliate, you get to keep more of the commission.

You will usually reach out directly to the company owner to apply to their affiliate program. These programs can have high commission rates, making them worth your time. You can also negotiate higher rates if you have a larger audience.

However, there are a few drawbacks to working with affiliate programs.

First, it can be more difficult to find a program that is a good fit for your niche since there aren’t as many products or services to choose from. The rules between one program and the next can also vary greatly, so it’s important to read over the terms and conditions before beginning to promote anything.

Benefits of Affiliate Programs

  • It can be more profitable than affiliate networks.
  • It allows you to build a relationship with the company.
  • You can negotiate higher commission rates.
  • You can represent smaller unique brands and have an edge in your market.

The Bottom Line: Finding the Best Affiliate Marketing Program for Beginners

The best affiliate marketing program for beginners is one that fits your niche and offers products or services that you are passionate about promoting. Consider the commission rate, the ease of use, and the support offered by the company before making your final decision.

Remember, there is no perfect affiliate marketing program out there, but there is one that is perfect for you. So test many options, keep an open mind, and be patient. With time, the right affiliate network or programs will come your way.

Jos Tran

Jos Tran

I'm Jos Tran, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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