How To Sign Up To Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular and easiest ways to make money online with your website.
Becoming an affiliate marketer will allow you to create a passive income business that can turn your hobby into a successful online business.
In order to become an affiliate marketer, you need to become a registered affiliate with a merchant.
In other words, you (the affiliate/associate) need to promote products or services online to customers for companies (the merchants).
That is why you must sign-up to that company's affiliate program in order for you to become an affiliate marketer for them.
Now don't worry if all these terms about online affiliate, merchant, marketer are getting you mixed up, it can all sound overwhelming at first but it does get clearer as you read through this blog, in the meantime maybe a real-world analogy will help to explain.
It can be explained as being similar to when you go buy a house.
In this scenario you are the customer, the realtor is the affiliate marketer, and the homeowner selling the house is the merchant.
you=customer, realtor=affiliate marketer, seller=merchant
You want to buy a house, so you look at realtor books and websites for possible homes (merchant's product/service) you want to buy.
You contact a realtor(affiliate) to help guide you to a house that meets your needs.
The realtor suggests a home to buy and you decide to buy it.
You pay a set amount listed for the house, the seller(merchant) gets that amount but then pays the realtor (affiliate) a commission for referring the customer to buy their home.
When To Sign Up To An Affiliate Program
I wanted to touch on the subject of when to apply to an affiliate program before we go down to all the other details.
Although you can apply to an affiliate program at any time I would advise to wait until your site has a healthy amount of content and plenty of traffic.
There are a couple of reasons I suggest to wait.
- Affiliate programs may decline your request if your site does not have enough maturity, an abundance of traffic, or sufficient information to determine if your site fits in with their marketing strategy.
- Your writing may end up being written in a manner that is more conducive to making that affiliate sale rather than helping your readers.
Let's start with looking at the first reason: affiliate programs may decline your application.
Affiliate programs are offered by merchants or companies to help sell their product or service. These companies may have a very strict marketing and branding strategy that they want to maintain.
Their marketing strategy may not include every Tom, Dick, or Harry trying to explain and sell their product or service. They may want to ensure that you have the qualifications to explain and provide honest details about their product or service.
The companies offering these programs can only determine your eligibility if your request, your website meets the minimal acceptance criteria.
If your website and information provided on the application do not meet their criteria they may decline your application. Some programs have a default wait time before you can apply again or they just not accept any more applications related to your site altogether.
I suggest that you should wait to apply for an affiliate program until your site has at least 30 posts plus maybe around 10 pages. Those 30 posts should be substantial in size such of about 3000 to 5000+ words each.
Then your site will likely get 30,000 to 40,000 visitors within the first 6 months. That is the time you can look at applying for affiliate programs.
Now that said, there are some affiliate programs that really don't have any restrictions, so you could apply for those right away, but that is where reason #2 comes in.
Reason #2, your writing may be more focused on sales instead of helping your readers.
I put reason #2 especially if you are really new to blogging. I say the following because I was doing this myself when I started out.
If you are brand new to blogging and you already have affiliate programs you will tend to write your content highly geared to making that sale. You may end up having links, buttons, and banner links after each paragraph or so as you want to make sure that your readers will just click on it.
What will really happen is that the reader will lose trust just by looking at the blog, without reading and will hit the back button to choose another website result.
That is called a "bounce" and if you get too many it can affect your ranking.
So even if your site gets to the first position with a search query and someone clicks on your link but then hits the back button and clicks on the next one down.
If that happens often enough, Google will push your site down 1 spot and put the other above because to them the people are showing that your site is not answering their question but the other site was.
Before you know it, your site will continuously be pushed down the rankings.
If you are new to blogging and don't have nearly enough traffic or content then wait. Another thing that will happen is that your site will likely move up the ranks if there are no affiliate links on your site. Showing the search engines that your site is purely there to help people.
So when do you apply for affiliate programs?
Once your site does get the amount of traffic recommended then you can monetize your whole site at that point which really would only take about a day to add affiliate links and banners.
Until then continue to write content to help people and the monetization will follow.
Where Can You Find Affiliate Programs or Networks
It is essential that I begin by explaining what the difference is between an affiliate program and an affiliate network.
- An affiliate program is when an individual company allows you sign-up to their affiliate program directly with them. You being an affiliate would have to search each individual company to see if they offer an affiliate program. Sometimes these companies also work with affiliate networks as well to ensure they Example: Amazon
- An affiliate network is where individual companies don't want to deal with everything that is involved with affiliate programs so it depends on an affiliate network company to take care of all the applications, reports, rules, regulations, and commissions. These network companies will generally manage thousands of companies on one platform. So an affiliate network is an excellent resource for affiliates as you only need to complete one application then apply for as many affiliate programs you want. Example: ShareASale
Here is a short list of various Affiliate Programs that may interest you depending on your niche.
- Amazon (you can sign up for 13 countries)
- Wealthy Affiliate (My #1 Choice, over 47% commission/Premium Sale)
- Designer Living
...and the list can go on and on. The easiest way to find an affiliate program that would fit your niche is to do a quick search in Google or Bing.
You can search for affiliate programs that by searching the words "affiliate program" and then "+", then the type of product you're wanting to promote.
See the image below as an example
Searching for affiliate networks are a little easier as there are not as many but they are more available every day.
They all work in similar ways where you complete an application for the network platform with information about yourself, your business, type of website, and your marketing plan type of questions.
Once you've completed that application process you can then apply for any of the merchants listed within their platform.
You will still need to read the specific eligibility criteria, restrictions, and write a quick blurb about how you plan to incorporate their merchandise or service on your sites.
Then you need to wait for approval which tend to take between 24 to 48 hours.
Most networks have an excellent tracking of merchants pending approval, already approved, or those you marked as being of interest.
There are some networks like ClickBank where if you are approved for their network platform you are already approved for all the listed products and services.
All you need to do on the ClickBank network is choose which ones you want to promote and add the links or banners to your site.
Here is a short list of the more popular affiliate networks. I'll be explaining these networks in more detail further down in this blog.
How to Sign-up To an Affiliate Program
If you are looking at signing up to affiliate programs directly from the merchant the method of application can differ immensely from one program to the next.
All of the affiliate programs that I have encountered are free to apply. Obviously, there should not be any fee for you to help sell their product or service. (unlike these MLMs)
The application to Amazon can be extremely different from applying to BestBuy. The rules, regulations, and restrictions can be quite different and you will need to review the information for each merchant to which you apply.
That said I know that the process of applying to Amazon and eBay were quite easy and provided almost instant access.
The Amazon process is probably one of the easiest and likely why it is the most popular. Once you've completed the Amazon affiliate program application request you can start using their affiliate links right away.
Once you've reached a specified sales threshold (currently need at least 3 within the first 180 days) then your full approval to the program will be evaluated.
Once you go to the Amazon Associates (affiliate) page you can choose your country and then click on "Join now for FREE!" button.
There they will guide you through 4 steps of the application process where you will need to provide your address, mobile contact information, then your website or mobile app information, your profile information.
Once that information is completed it will send you a quick identity verification email so you can start using their associate's central page where you will have access to all of Amazon's affiliate tools and reports.
Amazon is the best way to get started with using affiliate programs as it is one of the easiest to sign up for and use.
Even if you don't make any sales according to the threshold criteria and your account becomes inactivated, there are no restrictions to apply again in the future.
I've heard that there are no issues to getting your associate/affiliate application re-approved.
Once you've grasped the application process at Amazon you will be able to figure out other affiliate program applications as they are quite similar.
Just remember to wait until you have enough content and traffic to your site before applying.
Wealthy Affiliate is another remarkable example of a rewarding and an easy to sign-up affiliate program that you can join too for free and earn commissions while you are a starter member.
All you need to do become an affiliate with Wealthy Affiliate is join as a FREE member and you are automatically enrolled in their affiliate program with access to earn commissions as described in the above image.
Wealthy Affiliate works much different than other affiliate programs as it is a service that every affiliate new or experienced can use for their online business.
That is exactly what I do. I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate where I buy my website domains, host my websites, use their keyword research tool, and rely on the ongoing affiliate marketing updates, training, support, chat, and a like-minded community.
One thing you may have started to notice is that there are many variations of how affiliate programs are set up as there are programs available.
In the end, affiliate programs all serve the same purpose, you want to promote them, and companies want to pay you for promoting them.
How to Sign-up To an Affiliate Network
As previously noted, applying to an affiliate network is similar to applying to an affiliate program. You will need to provide things like your address, mobile contact information, website or mobile app information, and create your profile.
The affiliate network will likely need to review your application before you can access any of their affiliate programs /merchants.
To be approved to most affiliate networks you will need to have minimum eligibility criteria.
That is why I still suggest waiting until you have at least, minimum of 10 blogs, favorable to have 30 rich blogs containing 3000+ words and have over 30,000-40,000 visitors/month.
That will show the affiliate networks that you are a serious blogger, there to help people, and are in it for the long haul.
And really, are you going to gain anything by having affiliate links on your website if hardly anybody is knowing your site exists?
It would be better not to have any until you have that content and visitors so you can start converting visits to sales.
Which brings me to my next point. Many affiliate programs will pay you higher commissions as you send more sales or threshold amount of sales to their company.
So please be patient and add those affiliate links once your site grows.
If your site is ready here's an example of how you can sign up to ShareASale where they have many top name brands to choose from thousands of merchants.
Similar to Amazon, ShareASale also has an easy application with step by step form pages to fill out to get to identity verification stage.
Most of these affiliate networks allow you to search for companies/merchants within your niche so finding a merchant that relates to your website, in general, is fairly easy.
What if you really want to find companies/merchants that really link specifically to your website's keywords.
Not only will you have products and services to offer that relates to your audience but may actually boost your keyword volume within your content.
Using Jaaxy to Find Affiliate Networks
I use a tool called Jaaxy.
Jaaxy is essentially a keyword research tool that has a number of added features that are normally not included with other similar tools that can cost hundreds of dollars/month.
Basically, the Jaaxy tool will show available affiliate programs for any keywords you are researching. You can view what type of commission you can expect from various companies and have access to the networks right from the tool to apply.
See the image below for a quick view of how it works.
How To Use Affiliate Links and Banners
Now that you have found, applied, and are accepted to an affiliate program you can start to add links, banners, and widgets to your website.
If your website is a WordPress site then the process of adding links, banners, and widgets are simple, relatively speaking.
As with everything if you are new to affiliate marketing and online business there will be a little learning curve to be comfortable adding affiliate links.
You may be wondering, what is a link, banner, or widget?
Here is a quick description for each:
- Link - also known as a hyperlink, usually seen as a highlighted blue, or any color text, normally underlined or becomes underlined when your mouse cursor hovers over the text and your mouse cursor changes from an arrow to a hand that points the index finger to the text. Once you left-click your mouse on that text there is an action. The action can be that the page will scroll to a place on that page, to another page or post on that website, or bring you to a completely new website. The new page/post/or website may replace the view on the current browser tab or open a new tab so you can view the new site and go back to the referring site's tab. In WordPress, you can also assign a link to an image or other elements such as button where readers may be directed to click in order to be brought to another area of the website or another website altogether. (see button example below)
Once you have pasted the above HTML code into your WordPress blog/page editor you will see the banner within your page with a link to that affiliate program as shown below.
Choose what type of product you want to promote and click 'Go". From the list on the left choose which products you want to be shown in the widget. You can adjust your search query to get a specific item.
In the next step, you can choose the widget's layout, orientation, size, speed, color theme. Then you can save that set up for future need and then click on the "Add to my Web page" to access the code for this widget.
Once you click on "Add to my Web Page" a popup window will display the code that you need to copy and then paste within your WordPress web page, post, or sidebar.
Then adding the widget is as easy as pasting the code within your website. Here is an example of adding it to a page with a WordPress website.
In Block mode, click on the circled "+" icon top left.
On the drop down, find the "Widgets" tab. Click on the Shortcode icon.
Paste your Amazon code that you copied from the Amazon widget builder then save and preview and your Amazon affiliate widget should be working. Ready for people to click on, buy a product and you get a commission.
Using Affiliate Links The Smart Way
When you have a number of affiliate programs to keep track it can really become an arduous task.
That is a convenient little wordpress plugin called PrettyLinks can be helpful. I use the free version but you can purchase a Pro version for additional features.
With PrettyLinks you can shorten the long and gibberish looking links into to short comprehensible links. So when your readers hover over them they will see the link preview that they can understand and most likely trust more that a link than looks something like this "campaign=etx&=sprd&click=".
You can also track the number of clicks received through each link, and have links sprinkle links all over your WordPress website.
How To Collect Affiliate Program Commissions
Now we talk about all the money you will be making, how the money earned gets collected and how you get paid!
The links, banners, or widgets you've added have unique "URL" information, with distinct affiliate details specific to your affiliate program account.
When someone one clicks through on your unique affiliate link, it normally creates a cookie on that person's computer.
The duration of that cookie placed on a person's computer can last hours to months. It all depends on the affiliate program.
Amazon's cookies only last 24 hrs whereas other programs can last for several months.
So if that person doesn't purchase a product immediately after clicking from your site but decides to return and purchase a product/service hours or months later, you can still earn a commission.
In recent years there have been increased pressure with "cookie" regulations related to privacy in the EU called GDPR.
To maintain GDPR compliance you can use a Free WordPress plugin such as that available from Digital Factory.
So cookies allow you to make that sale even if they didn't decide to buy from you right away after reading your blog. How cool is that!
Show Me The Money!
Once someone clicks on one of your affiliates links the affiliate program will track it within your account. You can review how many clicks from your site to the affiliate program were made.
You will also be able to see if they just reviewed the site's information and ultimately made a purchase.
The reports for each affiliate program will vary but they all provide similar information to help you improve your conversion rates.
Once a purchase has been made each affiliate program will pay out at various intervals.
Some will pay immediately once the payment to them has been confirmed, others pay the last day of the month, others will pay you at a set income threshold that is either set by the affiliate program or customized by you.
How they pay you is normally already determined when you completed the application to the affiliate program or network.
Some will send a cheque to your home address, others pay through PayPal or direct deposits to your bank account.
A number of affiliate programs may not actually pay you a commission fee in the form of money but instead, provide you with their service or product for free as compensation.
The best part of affiliate marketing is when you receive emails about commissions earned or a PayPal commission received.
The income examples shown above are only from two affiliate programs. You can literally receive income from hundreds of affiliate programs at the same time.
All you have to do is copy the process that works for one affiliate program and repeat!
Cheat Sheet To Get Going Fast!
- Get Affiliate Marketing Training and Create Your Website Here
- Create Awesome Content for Your Website (2000-5000+ words/post)
- Wait For Your Site To Have 30,000 visitors/ month
- Find Affiliate Programs and Networks Using Jaaxy
- Sign-up to Affiliate Programs or Networks That Work For Your Niche
- Find Links, Banners, or Create Widgets Within Affiliate Program Platforms
- Add Affiliate Links, Banners, or Widgets To Your Site (not more than 5/post)
- Start Cashing In Those Commissions!
If you have any questions or comments please place them below. I love to hear from you.
As a courtesy, I would love it if you click on the link below and try out Wealthy Affiliate for Free. I assure you you won't be disappointed.
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