Not sure how many affiliate programs you should join?
I know how you feel.
You’re confused between joining only one or two programs and missing out on tons of commissions…
…and joining a whole bunch of them and being unable to prioritize the ones that are most important to you.
So, is there a golden rule for how many affiliate programs you should join?
Or is it just hit and miss?
Let’s find out.
How Many Affiliate Programs Should You Run on a Single Site?
Is there a magic number for how many affiliate programs you can run on your site?
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), no.
I’m not going to tell you “three,” or “five,” or any such number.
What I’ll tell you instead: it depends on you.
Honestly, you can promote as many affiliate programs as you like on a single site.
But hold on.
This doesn’t mean you should randomly join a ton of programs and stuff them into your website.
Before spamming hundreds of affiliate partners with requests, keep in mind these two golden rules.
1. Avoid Being Too Random
So, your blog is about pet goldfish.
But you also promote toothpaste, a keyword research tool, and Gothic fashion.
That’s what your audience will think as they browse through your blog.
Which pet goldfish owner goes to your site to buy toothpaste?
Ok, the toothpaste example seems simplistic.
But when dealing with products that are similar, it can actually get confusing.
So before you promote any affiliate program on your site, ask yourself this one essential question:
“Does my audience need this?’’
If the answer is yes, go ahead and promote it.
If the answer is no, don’t.
It’s that easy.
Now, let’s look at an example of a blog that promotes affiliate programs that seem dissimilar, but which are actually all useful to the reader.
They promote web hosting…
…email marketing software…
…and writing aids.
Are all these programs exactly the same?
Do they all help the reader, a blogger trying to make it in the online world?
It’s that simple.
2. Skip the Shady, Low-Quality Programs
In other words, only promote quality affiliate programs.
But what are quality programs?
Keep in mind these three things when choosing:
I. Scheduled Payouts
Sure, affiliate marketing is only a side business to you (for now, at least).
But that doesn’t mean you want to wait months to get your first payout.
So before you join any affiliate marketing program, first check how often they pay their partners.
For example, here’s how often Amazon Affiliates pays their partners:
And here’s how often CJ Affiliate pays their partners:
But not all affiliate partners pay that often.
So before you join on, make sure to read the terms and conditions and make sure you’re happy with their payment schedule.
II. Products and Services You Love and Trust
The whole point of affiliate marketing is to tell friends and readers about stuff you personally use and love.
I mean, that’s the point in a perfect world.
But we all know tons of people promote products and services they have never tested.
And that’s OK.
You can do it too.
However, first make sure the stuff you promote is worthy of your audience.
A simple way to know this is to read multiple reviews.
If most people love the product or service you’re thinking of promoting…
…your audience will no doubt love it too.
III. Good Commission Rate
“I’ll join tons of affiliate programs and stuff them all into my blog. Anyway, who cares if some pay super low if the others pay well?”
Because the truth is, promoting a product or service takes time.
The more time you spend on low-quality promotions, the less you’ll have for the better ones.
You need to prioritize.
So sure, you can apply for a ton of affiliate programs.
But make sure these pay you a decent rate.
By decent, I mean more than 10% in commissions. (You can find commission rates that go all the way up to 65%, but these are rare.)
Note: Amazon Affiliates is known for paying their partners small commissions. (Think 2-5%.) However, since Amazon is a trusted platform and people on it tend to make big purchases of random items, you can still succeed by joining their program.
How Many Affiliate Programs Should You Join? (Why You Shouldn’t Join Hundreds of High-Quality Programs)
So the only rule about joining affiliate programs is that they should be high quality.
Yes, but also no.
Because the truth is, there are cons to joining too many affiliate programs.
Here are two of them.
1. You Don’t Have Unlimited Time
Chances are, you aren’t a superhero.
You’re a normal human being with limited time and energy.
Which means, the more affiliate programs you join, the higher chances you’ll have of burning out.
Having multiple sites with multiple affiliate programs entails a job fit for a workhorse.
So be smart.
Pick the affiliate programs that matter, and work hard to promote them well.
2. Some Companies Might Not Like What You’re Doing
So, you’re promoting Coca Cola.
And you’re also promoting Pepsi.
Maybe for you.
But the truth is, not all businesses will like what you’re doing.
Some even ban affiliate partners from promoting their competitors’ goods.
In short: sticking to a few awesome products is a great idea.
How Many Affiliate Programs Should You Join? (The Truth They Don’t Tell You)
Go online, and you’ll find a ton of advice on how many affiliate programs you should join.
Some say join as many as you can.
Some give a weird, unproven number like “3.”
But is there really a limit to how many affiliate programs you can join?
Honestly, it’s up to you.
It’s up to how many quality programs you can find in your niche.
It’s up to how much time and energy you have to promote each one.
It’s up to YOU, the blog owner, to decide what fits most with you and your site.
Nothing else matters but that.
Image credits: all screenshots taken by the author, September 2022.