The best affiliate programs. The truth is, no one affiliate program is the so called “BEST” out there. The reason being is that the best affiliate program really depends on this question, “Is it the best for you?” There may be one that is “best” for one person that is not necessarily the “best” for another.
What is an Affiliate Program?
First let’s quickly define what an affiliate program is. An affiliate program is an agreement between two entities; 1) the company who actually provides a product or service and 2) the affiliate marketer who promotes the companies product or service, usually through some type of blog or website.
When the affiliate marketer has a consumer who purchases the companies product or service through it’s website, the company will pay the affiliate marketer a percentage of the sale price as a commission or finder’s fee.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to finding “your” best affiliate program:
- The type of program you want to be a part of
- What kind of support does the affiliate program provide for it’s affiliate partners
- How long does your affiliate tracking link or cookies stay active with each visitor
- Most importantly, is the program in a niche that you enjoy being a part of
Let’s take a look at each of those factors one by one.
There are several different types of affiliate programs to choose from.
1) Pay Per Sale – This is the most common type of program out there. When a visitor makes a purchase through the affiliate marketer’s blog or website, then the company that provides that product or service pays the affiliate marketer a certain pre-determined percentage of the sales price.
Here the visitor will read the blog/website content of the product they are searching for. After reading the content, if the visitor is motivated to buy the product/service, they will then click on a link within the affiliate marketer’s website/blog that will take them to the companies website who provides the product/service. At this point in the process, no sale has been made yet, therefore no commissions paid out yet to the marketer.
Only when the visitor makes a purchase and buys the product or service will a sale be made and commissions paid out to the marketer. If no purchase is made at that exact time, then the tracking of your affiliate link and cookies really comes in to play. This will be discussed more in detail further down.
2) Pay Per Click – This type of program is very similar to the above, but with one big exception….NO SALE actually has to be made to make money. All the visitor has to do is just click on an advertisement such as a banner or a link that takes them to the company’s website.
Now the commissions here are drastically smaller, averaging $0.05-$0.10 per click. And right fully so I might add, because the company is paying you whether the visitor makes a sale or not. All they have to do is “click” on something for the marketer to get paid.
The downside of course is that if you are really good at PPS but you are in a PPC type program, you will be missing out on lots of money when there is a sale.
3) Pay Per Lead – This program is between PPS and PPC types of programs. Although, here in this type, your visitor still doesn’t have to buy anything, but they do usually have to fill out some type of form or surgery that takes at least 5 minutes. The advantage is that the pay is a lot better than PPC, averaging around $10-$15 per lead.
4) Recurring Commission – Unlike the above 3 programs, this type of affiliate program not only pays you once for the first sale, but continues to pay you month after month as long as the customer continues to pay monthly and remains active in the product/service they are getting.
5) Two-Tier & Multi-Tier Programs – Unlike the above 4 types of programs, these programs allow you to not only make commissions on what you personally sale, but also recruit a team of other affiliate marketers and make a percentage of their sales as well.
These type of programs are sometimes referred to as MLMs, but this is a mistake. In an MLM you have the ability to make money on an infinite amount of levels below you, where as the two-tier system, only one level below and a multi-tier program, the most I have seen is 5 levels below you.
What Kind of Support Does the Affiliate Program Offer?
If you are just starting out on this journey of internet marketing, then I suggest you find affiliate programs that are well known, large, and have a customer service support team ready to assist in technical and marketing challenges.
Besides support, you should also look for affiliate programs that have a very robust marketing and training program. Many programs have:
- Getting Started Guide
- PDFs on how to
- Video training
- Already made banners
- Already made sign up forms
- A customer service online chat
- A customer service phone line
The less experience you have in internet and affiliate marketing, the more I recommend you look for affiliate programs with the most robust support and training.
How do they Track my Visitors?
I already mentioned this briefly above, that this is very crucial to know and here is why. Any time you get a visitor to click on your affiliate link it leaves these things called “cookies” in their computer so that if they make a purchase, the company knows who to track the purchase to and who to pay.
Getting traffic to your website is hard enough, but getting your visitor to click on the link that directs them to what you want them to buy, well that’s even harder.
There are affiliate programs that only have their tracking cookies last 24 hours….24 hours. Unless you have tons of traffic, this really isn’t the best program for beginners. Then there are some programs that the cookies last 30 days and up to one year. My favorite are lifetime cookies. As long as the visitor doesn’t clear their cookie history, the tracking stays on their computer forever, making sure that if and when the visitor does buy, the credit goes to you.
Last but not Least, Is it Something you like?
Probably the most important factor of all, do you like what it is that the affiliate program offers to it’s customers? Do you like the industry, the subject, the product or service being sold? This the most crucial factor, especially for newbies.
It can take a new blogger anywhere between 3-6 months, and maybe longer, depending on how often they blog, to start getting consistent traffic. If the product or service isn’t something you enjoy researching or writing about, then all the above don’t matter anyway. You will quit before you see success.
It doesn’t mean that down the road, once you gain experience, understand SEO and keywords, that you can’t venture to other subjects, but your first one as a newbie needs to be one that you love or at least really enjoy.
So what are “The Best Affiliate Programs?” It all depends on the above 4 factors and your preferences for each of them. If you are reading this and just getting started or even if you have been doing internet marketing for awhile, with little to no consistent success, then I suggest you check out my #1 recommendation, Wealthy Affiliate, which is my “Best Affiliate Program.”
If you have any experience with Wealthy Affiliate yourself or you have a recommendation for “your” best affiliate program, please comment below. It is greatly appreciated.