Your choice of affiliate program can mean the difference between retiring to the Bahamas or remaining stuck in a dead-end job, working on your blog until midnight, and worrying if you can ever make it happen!
Fear not – I have done enough research for all of us while creating my own blogs. In How To Find The Best Affiliate Programs In 2021, I will help you navigate the maze of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I will introduce you to some of THE best tips, but first, one of the most important things to understand is:
What makes a great affiliate program?
- A quality product or service that delivers on its promise – Your reputation for being trustworthy is crucial, so don’t be tempted by high-paying but low-quality offers. You are building a following and can’t afford to get this wrong.
- A good purchase price and/or percentage commission – If the purchase price is high, a low commission may work out. However, if the purchase price AND percentage commission are low, forget it. (Unless you know you can sell shed-loads.)
- Evergreen products – Fad products can produce big sales – if you are a whizz at driving traffic via social media you could still make it worthwhile. However, if you are driving organic traffic to your blog, your time would be better spent on creating evergreen content that will convert in the years to come.
- Recurring commissions – these are great because you only have to make the sale once, then get paid monthly! When you make more sales, the commissions add up and you are no longer starting from zero every month.
- Good-looking sales pages – Unfortunately, there are some products that might be good but are completely ruined by spammy-looking sales pages. These are likely to convert at a very low rate (if at all) and make you look dodgy.
- A long cookie duration – The length of cookie determines whether you will still get the commission if your prospect visits the offer at a later date. You want a long cookie duration for expensive products where people are likely to revisit the offer several times before making a decision. Some only have a 24-hour duration so you could miss out if a purchase isn’t made pronto.
Where do you find the best affiliate programs?
Stalking successful affiliate marketers in your niche! (the good)
Researching Google (also the good!)
Clickbank (the bad)
Amazon Associates (the ugly – sorry!)
Stalking successful affiliate marketers in your niche!
Normally stalking is a terrible idea, but this is a legitimate and reliable way to find some top affiliate programs!
First, Google some keywords that are popular in your niche and see which blogs have the first few positions in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
Here is an example I found in the golf niche from the popular blog, BreakingEighty.com that has a review for this golf swing monitor.
You will see in the image below, by hovering over the text link, that this is an affiliate link (at the bottom of the page). It retails at £349 so could be a nice earner.
It makes no difference what your niche is – this process works for any niche.
You will find that some affiliates use link cloaking software. If you suspect this, click on the link and the actual affiliate link will appear in the URL of the landing page.
You can take it a step further and find out how many clicks they get to their link (and what pages drive traffic) by entering it into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs. (Sneaky, but genius!)
Check out exactly what to do in the video below.
Sneaky but genius! Check out this video from the Authority Hacker guys.
I have found lots of interesting programs for affiliate round-up posts by using this exact process.
You just have to enter your niche + affiliate programs as I did below for my Best Eco-friendly Clothing Affiliate Program post.
I got loads from this search. It works for any niche.
While I am not a fan of Clickbank, an aspect I do like is that you can see how many people are selling a particular product.
If you look at the image below you will see that you earn over 50% on the sale of this Custom Keto Diet product. The ‘Gravity’ score indicates how many affiliates are currently selling the product.
Unfortunately, the video and sales page that accompany this product are truly awful.
However, affiliate networks can be great for research as you can see a collection of programs all in one place and get paid from one source.
Some of the more credible Affiliate Networks include Awin, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate and Rakuten Marketing.
But why limit yourself when there are so many great programs out there?
Is Amazon Associates a good affiliate program?
Following the debacle of April of 2020 when Amazon cut their commissions causing some affiliates to lose up to two-thirds of their income, I would absolutely not recommend it.
(You are not in control of any affiliate program which is a really good reason for making sure not to put all your affiliate eggs in one basket.)
With commissions from 1% to 3%, it’s not worth your time. (You would earn $3 for selling a $100 set of headphones, for example.) That’s not good!
The key benefit of being an Amazon Associate is that when people go on to Amazon via your link, all of their purchases on the site within 24 hours will earn you a commission.
But there is nothing to prevent Amazon from stopping paying commission on products you haven’t actively promoted. You have been warned.
Most of the products that are sold on Amazon are available through other outlets or directly from the manufacturer. I can guarantee that the commission will be higher than on Amazon – you just have to do a bit of research to find them.
Affiliates don’t deserve the shabby treatment they have had at the hands of Amazon. You deserve better!
If I haven’t put you off and you still want to sign up with Amazon, just be sure to wait until your site has some traffic first. You are only allowed 180 days to get your first sale.
Your time is too precious to be spent on low-value affiliate offers.
There are some great affiliate programs out there, it just takes a bit of time and effort to find them!
Do you have a different way of finding the best affiliate programs? If so, I would love to hear about them in the comments.