How to Find Affiliate Programs for Your Website | The Wise Way
When a beginner marketer asks how to find affiliate programs for their sites I often hear the answer:
Just type in Google ‘[niche/product] + affiliate program’.
And that’s correct, it works. The result of this search will be a list of affiliate programs for that niche or product.
That doesn’t address all the important aspects we, as internet marketers, need to be aware of to start successful affiliate partnerships.
And that’s what I’m going to talk about today. The WISE way to find the best affiliate programs for your website.
These are the topics we’ll cover:
- Google Searching for Affiliate Programs
- Affiliate Programs on the Merchants Websites
- Amazon Associates Program
- Affiliate Networks and their Multiple Options
- Should you Apply for All Programs?
- Reviews on Affiliate Programs
- Ask Other People’s Opinions
- Experience the Merchant’s Website
- Applying and Getting Approved (or not)
Google Searching for Affiliate Programs
Let’s just back up a little here because I realize not everyone is familiarized with this process. So I want to make sure you do.
When I say to type ‘[niche/product] + affiliate program’ in Google what I mean is the following.
Let’s say my niche is ‘baby food’ so I’ll just type in:
baby food affiliate program
And here’s the result I get:
As you can see, a lot of affiliate programs.
When you do your search you should – of course – substitute ‘baby food’ by your own niche or product.
Affiliate Programs on the Merchants Websites
Sometimes you already have a product in mind. This could be because you already use it or maybe you know other people who do.
Anyway, the fact is that you already know what you’d like to promote. Or you know the merchant you’d like to work with.
In these cases, you can directly access their site and look for “Affiliate Program”.
It’s usually in the site footer, but it could also be on the top menu.
As an example, still on the baby niche, let’s say I knew I wanted to be an affiliate of The Green Nursery products.
I’d access their website (http://thegreennursery.com/) and find the affiliate program link in the footer:
Amazon Associates Program
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate program and – let me tell you – they are huge!
As they state, they have “Earth’s biggest selection online store”. They sell about anything, and you can be their affiliate.
Just to give you an idea, they even sell container houses!
Amazon is a great starting point. Not only the selection is amazing but also their program is very structured, and they’re experts on converting sales.
It’s basically like this… Your job is to lead your visitors to Amazon’s marketplace through your links. After that, he/she will be exposed to images, product details, testimonials, additional sales suggestions and a lot more sale resources.
Best of all, you’ll get a commission on basically anything he/she buys from Amazon in the next 24hr.
That’s right, not only the product you recommended. Pretty nice, don’t you think?
>> TIP: when selecting which items you’re going to promote, check out Amazon’s Best Sellers Lists. They’re updated hourly with what people are really buying.
Popular items are easier to promote because any new buyer – when in doubt – will tend to purchase whatever has already been tested and approved by others.
Affiliate Networks and their Multiple Options
Affiliate networks are intermediaries between you (so-called publisher) and product merchants.
A network holds several merchants affiliate programs thus it comes in handy for when you’re looking for new affiliate opportunities.
Some popular affiliate networks you can investigate are (in no particular order):
You just need to access directly each website, check what are the available merchants and see if any is a good fit for you.
If you already use Jaaxy (or are considering to start using it) here goes a reminder: besides being an outstanding keyword research tool, it also offers a feature called “Affiliate Programs”.
Easy to use and straight to the point, all you have to do is:
- Type in the product/keyword you’re searching forOn the example above, I was looking for “self-help” products.
- Choose an Affiliate Network
- Click the “Find Keywords” button
The results list shows the “Affiliate Program name”, a link to the “Product Website”, the “Commission” percentage, the “Alexa Rank” for each on the resulting websites, and the “Affiliate Network” button so that you can access it immediately should you want to do so.
I don’t know about you, but I think this is a huge time saver! The perfect way to have that first look at the available affiliate networks without having to dig in each program.
>> Related: If you’d like to know more details about this tool, I invite you to check out my Jaaxy review here.
After all this research through multiple sources, you possibly have more than one Affiliate Program alternatives in your hands.
This is where this process gets really interesting and you will want to fine-tune your strategy before making any new moves.
Should you Apply for All Programs?
I’ve seen lots of affiliate marketers adopting the traditional approach of analyzing their options through the lens of someone who will only partner with programs of products they intend to promote.
And that’s fair.
But thinking outside the box at this point may result in great benefit to your business.
Let me explain by giving you an example.
Consider I’m writing a review on a ‘competition road bike model Alchemy Eros’ which will be my recommendation. I then decide to also make use of a comparison chart including another popular road bike, let’s say, ‘Basso Astra Disc’.
>> Comparisons have proved to be conversion effective when presenting purchase arguments to readers.
The traditional approach would be to only include my affiliate link on my recommended bike. But what if my visitor – despite my arguments in one direction – decides to buy the other model?
Believe me, this happens more often than you’d think.
>> NOT inserting an affiliate link to the second bike would be missing a monetization opportunity.
So, my suggestion is that you consider applying to any affiliate program that you may link from your posts and reviews. Of course, as an ethical marketer, you should clearly state your opinion and recommendations toward your preferred product.
That doesn’t mean you can’t let your readers decide their purchases for themselves.
Besides, if they do choose differently than you recommended, they’re to be taken accountable, don’t you think?
If you decide to follow this suggestion, there will be 2 categories of affiliate products on your website:
- Your recommendations. The ones you’ll invest your time promoting.
- Products you don’t recommend but make their links available, in case someone decides to buy them, despite your advice.
Great! This means you can start applying to all of them, correct?
Not really. Before sending out any applications, you should check on them before and make sure they’re reliable.
Reviews on Affiliate Programs
When considering buying a product/service, most people check their reviews first. Do you do the same?
I know I do. This simple practice has, actually, helped me tons of times to make the right buying decision!
It works the same with Affiliate Programs. Learn with the ones who have already tried the same path you’re thinking about taking.
All you have to do is, again, go back to Google and type in the following:
[affiliate program name] + review
You can also search for the Affiliate Network review.
Let’s be honest here. Although as an affiliate marketer, writing reviews is common practice for me, I have to warn you to be careful when reading them.
Not all reviews are trustworthy.
Some of them are just dishonest affiliate marketers/merchants trying to sell and make easy money.
Look for signs such as:
- money making promises
- guarantees of overnight results
- massive use of superlative adjectives
In general, we can tell when a review is nothing but a sales pitch. So be wary and read more than one.
Ask Other People’s Opinions
Another way of checking a program reliability is by asking more experienced one.
You may be thinking that you don’t know any other affiliate marketer.
No worries, you can always go to Q/A sites, like Quora, and simply pop up the question.
This is an example:
Of course, it could happen that some “smart” guys try to turn your question into just an opportunity to drive people to their own programs. But you can always tell when it’s not a legitimate answer, like this one:
Another alternative is to simply ask at an affiliate marketing group or platform. You’re likely going to get tons of honest answers.
Well, at least that’s what happens at the platform I’m a member of.
For instance, when someone asked “How good is Shareasale affiliate program?”, the answers were all something like this:
>> Related: To learn more about this entire Internet Marketing platform I’m a member of, I suggest you read my Wealthy Affiliate Review here.
Experience the Merchant’s Website
Visit the site from the perspective of a potential buyer.
Simulate a purchase process and go all the way to the check-out. Although you don’t need to actually buy the product, you can pretty much make an assessment of the general user experience.
- Was it pleasant and easy?
- Did they deliver all the needed information a visitor would need to go through the process?
- Was it an HTTPS website?
I’m sure you get the picture and will think of other aspects to closely watch for.
The important thing here is:
- The more you feel good about this simulated visit the more chances your readers will like it as well. That’s better sales opportunities.
- When you become an affiliate and promote someone’s products/services, you should assume that people will start associating you/your business to the merchant. This could be incredibly beneficial or terribly disadvantageous. So choose wisely.
- If the user experience isn’t a fairly good one, you can count on bearing an even worse one as an affiliate.
Once you finish the selection process – cutting out of the list all programs that aren’t reliable – you’ll go to the next step: submit your application.
Applying and Getting Approved (or not)
The application process varies tremendously according to the program(s) you selected. But they’re usually straightforward and easy.
Just follow the instructions and wait for their answer.
I thought I’d give you an idea of how it’s done when you’re applying for Amazon’s affiliate program.
Before we finish this article, I just want to let you know a few important things:
- Some programs will require that you have at least 10 pages/posts on your website before approving you.
- Others require some traffic.
- The approval process can take from a few minutes to multiple days.
- They may even never answer (in my opinion that’s extremely unprofessional but it does happen)
- You will likely be refused at some point. If (when) this happens, please don’t take it personally.They have their own criteria (demographics, niche, size etc) and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is a bad one.If you wish to know the reasons (or would like to try to reverse their decision) you can always send them an email (a very polite one, please) and ask for some answers.
There are lots of great programs out there. Don’t waste your precious time regretting the fact that one of them didn’t want to partner with you.
Keep going, see if you can improve your website, correct it, and try another program.
You’ll be just fine.
As you can see, this is a simple process although you may need to invest some time. But hey, this is important stuff!
Do it right and you’ll potentially have a long win-win relationship.
Do it too fast and careless… you will probably regret it in the future when the problems with commissions (and other issues) start happening.
This is not meant to scare you, just open your eyes and give you enough info for you to succeed.
Like we say here, it’s Not About Luck, it’s about Knowledge and Strategies.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing and wish to learn proven winning methods to earn money online, I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate. Check it out!