Affiliate marketing, as you might probably know already, is a multi-billion dollar industry and it’s by far the best way to monetize your website or blog — unless you have your own products and services to sell.
The reason is pretty simple… if you are monetizing your website with the right affiliate program then it can make a lot of money with little effort (of course you need a content rich website with a handsome amount of targeted traffic).
It’s just that it takes some time to figure out what’s converting and what’s not.
Affiliate Programs & Affiliate Networks: What’s What, And What’s Not ?
Affiliate programs are also called associate programs and it’s a deal between an advertiser and a publisher. For instance, if I’ve a created a software and is promoting and selling it via my blog then I can also generate additional income by inviting my blog readers to promote it in exchange for a commission.
So let’s say, if you referred a buyer for my newly created software product then I offer you a 50% commission (or 50% of the additional income that I have generated because of you). So if you refer more people to me then you make more income.
Now if I have the resources then I can run an affiliate program by myself — within my own blog or website — and then it called an in-house affiliate program. But if I don’t have the resources or don’t want to manage it myself then I can sign up as an advertiser on an affiliate network.
Affiliate Programs: What You Need To Know ?
Different affiliate programs (in-house and the ones on various affiliate networks) follows different models. An affiliate program model can be: Cost Per Action (CPA), Cost Per Lead (CPL), Cost Per Sale (CPS), or even Cost Per Click (CPC).
Cost Per Action (CPA) model pays you for specific actions and it can be simple form submissions, downloads, surveys, etc.
Cost Per Lead (CPL) model pays for leads and it’s usually a “signup” that involves email or credit card verification (because it makes the lead more valuable).
Cost Per Sale (CPS) model pays for actual sales and it means they share a percentage of sale value with you.
Cost Per Click (CPC) model as you probably know pays for “clicks” — no matter whether your referral traffic helped them generate a lead/sale or not.
The Best Affiliate Networks
Here’s a hand-picked list of some of the best affiliate networks on the web. So you don’t have to! 🙂
I have considered brand equity, Alexa traffic rank, user experience, and my own personal experience to shortlist them. And I have highlighted the Alexa rank, payout details, and the types of affiliate offers supported by each network for your quick reference.
1. CJ Affiliate
CJ Affiliate was formerly known as Commission Junction (or simply CJ) and it’s the most popular affiliate network (and also my personal favorite).
Commission Junction is my personal favorite as they have an unmatched pool of advertisers that we can’t find elsewhere. Also, I’m very much happy with their user interface, payment system and the customer support.
ShareASale is perhaps the most admired affiliate network with over 4,000 affiliate programs. There are so many affiliate programs on the web that are exclusive to ShareASale. So if you are unable to find an advertiser in CJ then most probably it’s there at ShareASale.
3. Rakuten Affiliate Network
Rakuten Affiliate Network was formerly known as LinkShare and is dubbed as the number one affiliate network — for several years now — in affiliate surveys.
However, there are few hundred brands who prefer LinkShare and they do not have an affiliate program elsewhere.