Last Updated on 27th February 2023
If you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing then, of course, your journey will come with specific challenges.
Knowing exactly which are the best affiliate programs for beginners is one of those challenges.
Signing up for the wrong programs could cause a significant setback in your affiliate career.
However, if you get this right from the beginning then, not only can you start to earn your first commissions a lot sooner, it can also lay a solid foundation for your entire career.
I have worked with some great affiliate networks during my 8+ years in this game so far. But I have also signed up with one or two terrible ones and wasted time too.
In this article I am going to tell you about the best affiliate programs that you can sign up for as a beginner.
8 Things That Make an Affiliate Program Good For Beginners
You might be wondering what exactly makes a network a good affiliate program for beginners to start with.
There are a few key things to look for. Here’s a breakdown for you:
- Minimal entry requirements
- Simple or no vetting process
- Easy to use
- Products with good commission %
- Easy to promote products
- Good product variety
- Low payout threshold
- Regular payouts
Choosing a network that fulfills all or most of the above will help you to get started and move in the right direction quickly.
Basically, what you want from a beginner-friendly network are things that will make your life easier. You want a good product range across multiple niches, and a simple to use platform.
Working with a network that also provides you with detailed and easy to use metrics is a huge plus.
If you can easily track which campaigns are working the best for you then you will not need to pay for a 3rd party tracking tool like ClickMagick, at least until later when you will want to access more advanced tracking features.
If you can clearly see which campaigns are working the best then you will be able to put more of your efforts into those areas and drop the ones that are not performing well.
Earning your first commissions is very exciting, but if you have to wait a long time to receive a payout, or if you need to reach a high minimum payment threshold then this can also become de-motivating for beginners.
So, because of this I would also recommend you to start working with a network that has a low payment threshold and pays out regularly.
It’s also important to know that some platforms prefer to work with, or only work with intermediate or advanced marketers. So don’t waste your time trying to sign up with those guys until you have some experience under your belt.
To help you get started quickly with the best chance of success, here are my top 6 affiliate programs for beginners.
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Affiliate Networks Vs Private Programs
When you start promoting affiliate offers you will soon realise that you can either sign up to affiliate networks or apply directly to private affiliate programs, or both.
A network (like ClickBank, ShareASale etc, see below) is a place where you can go to sign up, and then get access to promote all kinds of different products across a range of niches that they offer.
If you join a private affiliate program then you need to go directly to the product website and sign up with them.
One of the biggest advantages of joining a network is that you get access to a wider range or products without needing to sign up for multiple affiliate accounts.
In many cases, if the network has approved you to join their affiliate program then you will often be approved automatically to promote most, if not all of the products on the network.
But not always.
With some networks, you will also need to apply to individual vendors on the network, as you will soon discover later on in this article. (See my 7 tips to get approved for affiliate programs).
So overall, joining a network is usually the best way to go for beginner affiliate marketers.
A common advantage of signing up to a private affiliate program that is not an any network is that often those programs can pay really good commissions.
But again, not always.
Next, I am going to tell you about the best affiliate networks for beginners.
After that, keep reading if you also want to know about some of the best stand-alone affiliate programs where even newbies can make really decent money.
See also: 6 Evergreen Niches and 71 Sub-Niches
Consider Your Traffic Source
Something that is often overlooked when it comes to choosing an affiliate program is which traffic source you will be using to drive the majority of your traffic.
Why is this important?
While you can promote most affiliate products on most platforms, some traffic sources like Pinterest will be especially good for certain products, but not good for others.
Pinterest is a very visual platform, so niches and products that have a strong visual component do especially well on this platform.
If you are thinking to use Pinterest as your main source of traffic then here are some great affiliate programs for Pinterest.
Best Ways To Promote Affiliate Programs
Here are some of the best ways to promote affiliate programs.
Build an Affiliate Website
Tons of people turn to search engines like Google and Bing every day to search for help, and advice and even purchase products.
By building a niche affiliate site on a specific topic, then in time, you can rank on page 1 for your chosen keywords and scoop up all that free traffic.
Niche website pros
- Free traffic
- Passive income – you can make consistent sales through your website even while you’re away on vacation, or while you sleep
- Build long-term traffic source
- You build an asset that you own completely (your website)
- You can sell your website later for a large payout if you decide to exit the niche
Niche website cons
- Takes time
- Some keywords are very competitive, so you’ll need to do some deep-dive keyword research to find the low-hanging fruit
If you like the idea of building a niche website that makes passive income, with the option and flexibility to sell your business later for 6-figures, then this is the best course to show you how.
Promote on YouTube
YouTube is an excellent way to build credibility and a trusted brand online. More and more people are turning to YouTube every day for help and advice on almost any topic you can think of.
This is a great platform to build an audience and online business in almost any niche.
- Free traffic
- Passive income – you can make consistent sales through your website even while you’re away on vacation, or while you sleep
- Build long-term traffic source
- You have to be on camera if you want to build a brand (How to build a highly profitable YouTube channel without showing your face camera – more info here)
If you like the idea of building a profitable YouTube channel for affiliate marketing, then this is one of the best (very) low-cost courses to show you how to do it.
Promote on Social Media
Social media is another great place to build an audience. While there are tons of platforms out there, the best ones for affiliate marketing tend to be TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
While there are various strategies you can take here from paid advertising to starting a Facebook group, the most popular way affiliate leverage social platforms to make money is through regular social media posting and building relationships with their audience, and then networking with them over the platform’s private messenger app.
Social media pros
- Can make money quickly
Social media cons
- Is not passive
- You need to publish several social posts every day
- You need to actively network and connect with other users, build relationships, and then sell directly to them
If you like the idea of leveraging social media to sell affiliate products, then this free training is a great place for you to start.
6 Best Affiliate Networks For Beginners
Here are my top 6 affiliate networks for beginners.
With over 17 years in the business, ClickBank is a powerhouse for both novice and advanced affiliate marketers.
This network caters to smaller businesses and provides a wide range of products that are unique to the network.
Each product is listed with some performance metrics so you can get an idea of how well the products are selling. You can also take a look at the landing pages of the products and any promotional materials that they might have for you to use.
If you own a product and want to sell it on ClickBank then you’d sign up as a Vendor. However, by joining the network as an affiliate, you can then search the ClickBank marketplace and look through a huge range of products that have been added to the network by the vendors.
Another exciting aspect is that ClickBank specializes in digital products, such as eBooks, video courses, and some software. However, they now also have some physical products on their marketplace, including supplements.
Personally, I really like promoting digital products because the commission percentage is considerably higher than physical products, in most cases. This is because digital product owners do not have the margins to deal with that physical product owners have to allow for.
As an example, you will typically find the commission percentage that you will earn per sale for most digital products on ClickBank to be somewhere between 50-75%.
Having said this, I have personally earned as much as 90% per sale on some products. This is because the product owner then makes most of their money on the back-end sales.
That said, it can be quite a lucrative program.
There’s a minimum payment threshold of $10 on this network, and they pay out weekly, holding two weeks in arrears to allow for refunds.
ClickBank is an easy network to join with virtually no vetting process.
They basically accept everyone.
You don’t even need to show them you have a website to get started, unlike most affiliate programs you will come across. This is especially helpful for beginners who are looking to get started.
If there’s one downside to ClickBank, it’s the reputation of the products. Not all digital products are as well-known as some that you might find on other networks. Some are actually pretty terrible, however, I would say the majority of the products that I have seen on this network are good.
If you decide to use ClickBank, you will need to do a fair amount of research to find something easy for you to promote and sell.
However, with over six million products available on the platform, there certainly is plenty of opportunities here.
If you are new to affiliate marketing then I recommend you check out my comprehensive guide here on ClickBank for beginners. In this article, I give a step-by-step blueprint to start making money with ClickBank.
Sign-up URL: ClickBank
- Low payment threshold
- Good commission range
- Simple joining process
- No vetting process
- Easy user interface
- Weekly payouts
- Not all products are high-quality or popular
ShareASale is another great platform for both new and experienced affiliates and houses over 1,000 merchants that you can work with.
ShareASale provides a range of products that includes physical goods and digital products or services.
There is a simple vetting process when you join this network, and you will usually hear back within a few days if you’ve been accepted.
They are a little more strict than ClickBank, and they do want to see that you have at the very least some kind of website or landing page that looks good and is relevant to at least one of the niches that ShareASale trade-in.
That being said, you don’t need anything fancy, just something that doesn’t look shite.
It’s important to know that once you’re accepted onto the ShareASale network, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to promote any product you like.
Many product owners listed on ShareASale will pre-approve you to promote them if ShareASale’s has already accepted you. However, there are also many other products listed on this network that are not pre-approved.
In this case, you’ll need to reach out to those individual product owners through the ShareASale interface to request access to promote them. They will usually want to take a look at your website to make sure it’s a good fit, and then they will either accept or deny you.
If they deny you, don’t worry. Just search for other suitable products to promote on the ShareASale marketplace.
What I particularly like about ShareASale is that there are a number of very good, and even well-known brands on this network and quite a number of high-ticket affiliate offers too!
ShareASale also provides you with pretty good metrics so you can monitor how well your campaigns are going.
I also particularly like that, in most cases, ShareASale will show you which of your URLs have referred to each sale.
At the moment, ShareASale doesn’t support PayPal payments. This may inconvenience some users, however, there are a number of payment alternatives available, including direct bank transfer, so I really don’t think it’s a problem.
If you want to know more details about this program then you can see my review of ShareASale here.
Sign-up URL: Shareasale
- Low payment threshold
- Minimal joining requirements
- Some high-quality brands
- Some high-ticket products
- Detailed reports
- No PayPal support
- Commissions vary a lot
CommisionJunction, also known as CJ Affiliate, started back in 2002. It’s a platform dedicated to working with big brand names.
You may recognize some of the companies that work with the network: Verizon, UnderArmor, Samsung, Sonos, Namecheap, etc.
If you want to start your affiliate marketing venture by targeting popular niches, CJ Affiliate is one of the top choices. However, if you’re thinking of going down this route then know you’ll likely be up against some stiff competition. If you already have an audience for these types of products then great.
If not then I’d recommend you to start with something easier.
CJ is not a difficult platform to join, and they usually seem to accept most affiliates. Having said this, you will also then need to apply to specific product vendors on the network, similar to ShareASale.
CJ offers the widest and most detailed amount of metrics that I have so far seen on an affiliate network.
While this should be a benefit to you, it’s rather complex and does actually have a learning curve all of its own, which I don’t think is very helpful for beginners.
CJ also caters to both pros and novice affiliates, so advanced users will benefit more from the superior metrics that they offer.
With that in mind, this network suits a specific type of beginner; those that already have some experience in this field. At least three months.
Sign-up URL: CommissionJunction
- Direct display advertising
- Limits the guesswork in finding merchants
- Modern UI
- A great portfolio of big-name brands
- A number of low paying offers
- Higher learning curve and payment threshold
FlexOffers is also one of the largest networks out there, with over 12,000 product owners registered on their system.
Be aware that the signup process can be a bit lengthy. This is because they will essentially be allowing you to use their affiliate links, so they would be accountable for your actions. Because of this, they can be a bit picky when it comes to new affiliates.
It has a low payment threshold of $50 and pays out to affiliates on a monthly basis. It’s important to be aware though, that FlexOffers pays on a net 60 terms basis.
Basically, this means you’ll receive your commissions after a 60 day period. This is normal for most affiliate programs and is nothing to worry about. The network just needs to allow enough time to cover their back in case of refunds.
Granted, this payout process isn’t as sweet as some of the other networks, but still, it isn’t bad. If you want to know more about this network then check out my in-depth FlexOffers review here.
Sign-up URL: FlexOffers
- Provides a lot of assistance
- Beginner-specific program available
- Decent product range
- Easy-to-use platform
- Once signed up you’ll also need to apply to each merchant you want to promote on the network
Rakuten is not usually the first one most people think of when it comes to affiliate programs. However, it’s one of the biggest players in the industry and is actually an award-winning network.
It holds a technological edge over its competitors due to spending more on development. It even includes an automatic ad rotation perk that helps affiliates promote more products.
Because the platform offers a lot, it’s not exactly the easiest to use. However, it’s straightforward enough to learn and provides plenty of tools for targeted advertising.
Rakuten has some pretty big brands on their network, so they like to pay close attention to the affiliates joining their network. If your website only has a trickle of traffic then you may find it tough getting accepted.
They also have some strict rules and may shut you down quickly if you violate them, so be warned.
A big advantage of joining Rakuten is its advertisers and partners. The platform works with big names such as Ray-Ban, JanSport, Virgin – to name but a few.
A couple of things I do like about Rakuten is the wide variety of physical products that they have and their Net 30 terms payout structure.
The commission payout threshold is also pretty low, starting at $50.
Sign-up URL: Rakuten
- Innovative tools
- Popular brands and products
- Among the oldest and most reputable networks
- Offers many targeted advertising tools
- Strict vetting process
- Doesn’t provide as many metrics as other platforms
With over a decade’s worth of experience, Impact is still among the baby of affiliate networks.
However, the people that founded it had prior experience with CommissionJunction, LeadPoint, and Savings.com, so they definitely know what they’re doing.
This helped cement Impact as one of the most reputable affiliate marketing programs, despite not being among one of the oldest networks.
The platform has over 1,000 merchants who offer a superior range of products. It’s one of the best affiliate programs for beginners that haven’t found a preferred niche yet.
Their product range is extensive, covering food and drink, arts, tourism, clothing, and even technology.
Bear in mind, joining this platform may take a while. The verification process is lengthy and, in some cases, may even include a phone call, although that didn’t happen to me.
The good news is that these measures would put off the more nefarious affiliates from trying to join. This will leave you more room to promote without worrying too much about commission poaching and other underhanded tactics that do, unfortunately, happen in the industry.
So, it’s actually a good thing that not everyone makes it onto the platform. This helps to maintain the network’s reputable and trustworthy status.
If merchants see that the quality of affiliate marketers isn’t diluted, they’re less likely to leave.
By comparison, big brands can come and go, even on platforms like Rakuten. It doesn’t happen nearly as often with Impact, which achieved a higher status.
The minimum payment threshold of $25 offers some incentive too. It’s a midrange threshold and suitable enough for most beginners.
Some affiliate marketing networks had their fair share of ups and downs. Impact is among the few consistently keeping an ascending trend in popularity and reliability.
Sign-up URL: Impact
- High-quality products
- Experienced founders
- Very trustworthy platform with merchants
- Midrange payment threshold
- Can take longer to join
- Doesn’t cater to a wide range of niches
4 Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners
Update: We no longer recommend people to promote GrooveFunnels due to the non-payment of affiliates.
Systeme.io Affiliate Program
One of my favorite affiliate programs for people who are just starting out as an affiliate is Systeme.io.
Systeme.io is an all-in-one marketing and business tool suite that can help you to build, launch, and scale an online business.
Here are some of the main tools that you can promote to your audience if you sign up with Systeme.io:
- Funnel builder
- Landing page builder
- Website builder
- Email autoresponder
- Hosted webinars
- Hosted videos
- Online shopping cart
Here are the reasons why I link this program for beginners:
They Have a Free Plan
Systeme.io is easy to promote for 3 reasons – They offer a free-for-life plan with generous usage limits.
As you can imagine, it’s much easier to promote a free product than a monthly subscription service.
Secondly, Systeme.io’s paid plans are subscription-based, and their affiliate program is a recurring monthly commission.
This means that when you refer someone who upgrades to a paid plan, they will be billed every month, and you will earn 50% commission on their purchase each and every month they remain a user.
Not Saturated Yet
And the third reason why I really like this program for newbies is that it’s very new and, for the moment at least, there’s not a lot of competition when it comes to promoting it.
You can sign up to promote Systeme.io here.
ClickFunnels Affiliate Program
ClickFunnels have been around for a while so there’s a lot more competition when promoting this product. However, there’s still plenty of room for new affiliate marketers to promote this product, they just have to think outside the box a little more.
However, there are still several reasons why you can make some really good money promoting them.
ClickFunnels also offers recurring monthly commission payments to their affiliates when they promote their core software product, ClickFunnels.
Very High Converting Offers
ClickFunnels also has a number of other highly popular, and very high-converting products that you can promote and earn some great commissions.
Several Low Front-End Offers
They also have several low-cost front-end products that you can promote, such as the DotCom Secrets Book, Expert Secrets, and the Traffic Secrets Book.
When someone buys one of these books all they pay is for the shipping and handling, so it’s a pretty easy sell for you.
However, the ClickFunnels team will then continue to market more expensive products to these folks over time. When they buy something else further down the line, you get paid.
So they essentially do all the selling for you once you’ve signed them up for one of the book offers.
ClickFunnels is a great company, with decent products, and an attractive affiliate program. However, it’s also important to know that a number of CF affiliates have reported that affiliate tracking can be off at times.
You can join the ClickFunnels affiliate program here.
You can also learn the best ways to use ClickFunnels for affiliate marketing here.
ChemiCloud Affiliate Program
ChemiCloud is a very good web hosting platform with extremely reasonable rates.
I have been a customer of theirs for several years now for one of my small niche websites so I can certainly attest to how good their hosting service is.
And, of course, like pretty much every web hosting company out there, they have an affiliate program.
Here are the reasons why I like promoting ChemiCloud in particular:
- Commissions start at $50 per sale
- Very good service so you can feel good about promoting them
- Very reasonable prices to easier to promote
- After you’ve referred just 8 customers your commission gets bumped up to $75
You can find out more about the ChemiCloud affiliate program here.
ClickMagick Affiliate Program
ClickMagick is a tool that pretty much every marketer and business owner online can benefit from.
Using ClickMagick has also helped you to earn more money as it will help you to know exactly which campaigns are performing the best for you, and which ones you should drop.
The ClickMagick team has recently put a lot of attention into their affiliate program, and since they have started doing that, I have noticed an increase in sign-ups and a better customer retention rate.
Here are a few reasons why I think ClickMagick is a good affiliate program for beginners:
- Very useful product
- Recurring monthly commissions – 30%
- Good customer retention rate
You can find out about the ClickMagick affiliate program here.
Final Thoughts – Which Is The Best Affiliate Program For Beginners?
In my opinion, ClickBank is the best affiliate program for beginners, for several reasons.
However, picking just one program and calling it the overall ‘best for newbies’ is tough because there are actually several great programs you can work with.
Remember that the goal here is to offer you a recommendation on how to get started. Once your business grows, and you gain experience, you can experiment with other platforms.
That’s what I did, and ClickBank was also the first network that I made money with.
ClickBank is easy to join and there is no vetting process, so you can get started straight away looking for products to promote.
While there are some pretty bad products on ClickBank, I would say the majority of them are decent, at least in the niches that I’ve worked in. CB also covers a wide variety of niches and a huge range of products.
ClickBank has a very low payment threshold of just $10, so you can start to receive payouts fairly soon once you’ve made a few sales. They also have a simple user interface, great reporting features, and their hop link tracking is also very good.
Since most products on the ClickBank network are digital products, they tend to have a much higher commission % compared to networks that offer physical products.
If you’re not sold on ClickBank then no worries. All of the networks in this article are great for beginners to sign up with, especially Shareasale, as this would be my very close second choice for newbies.
Whichever affiliate program you choose to start with, make sure you choose good products to promote and stay consistent with your promotional activities.
Once you’ve got your teeth into some of these platforms and started making money, come back here and check out my article on the best high ticket affiliate programs.
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Want More Affiliate Tips?
If you are looking for more help, tips, and information to assist you in building a long-term and highly profitable affiliate business then I have lots more great articles that you can find on my homepage here https://entrepreneurnut.com/
Steve West is the founder of entrepreneurnut.com, and has been working online since 2013. He specializes in SEO, YouTube, and affiliate marketing. Besides running his online business, he likes hiking, keeping fit, and eating cookies (which is why he needs to keep fit!)
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