Affiliate marketing has taken quite a beating in recent years with a stream of Google algorithm updates significantly decreasing the rank of thin affiliate websites with too much advertising and not enough quality content. However, conducted with the right approach and an emphasis on content and user experience, affiliate marketing can still be a relatively hassle-free way for website and blog owners to make a bit of money, especially with the proper resources for affiliate marketers at your side. Affiliate marketing is basically the process of selling a related product on your own website and taking a commission from any sale you make. To make things easier, there are also many affiliate networks and services that you can sign up with.
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1 – LinkShare
LinkShare connects publishers and vendors together from all over the world, and like most affiliate networks, they provide their own payment and tracking system. LinkShare is one if the easier affiliate networks to join, making it suitable for beginners and experienced marketers alike. Publishers will be able to access the LinkShare dashboard in order to track commissions and payment history from a centralized location. Additionally, the dashboard provides plenty of useful statistical information to help you track the performance of your affiliate advertising campaign. LinkShare pays out only once your balance is $50 or higher.
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2 – Commission Junction
Recently rebranded to CJ Affiliate by Conversant, this is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world. In recent years, the company has reimagined itself, helping both publishers and vendors alike to succeed with affiliate marketing. By signing up to their publisher’s service, you’ll be able to access thousands of digital products to advertise on your website, and commissions are typically quite high. However, there are still a lot of poor-quality digital products in the selection, so you’ll need to choose carefully to find something suitable. CJ provides a range of useful publisher’s tools including affiliate links search, reporting, product widgets and payment services.
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3 – ClickBank
Another major online marketplace connecting publishers with vendors of digital content such as e-books and software products, ClickBank is suitable for both social media marketers as well as those who have their own websites. It also provides some generous commissions on many of its products, although again, it can take some searching to find the relevant, quality products that you need in order to make enough sales. Commissions are sometimes as high as 75%, and they also have a reliable payment system that allows you to earn commissions on products purchased by buyers who clicked on your referral link as long as 60 days before actually making the purchase.
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4 – Amazon Associates
From one of the world’s largest and most respected online stores, Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing platform. Unlike many of the major affiliate networks, Amazon Associates allows publishers to choose from a vast selection of both physical and digital products, and they pay fixed commission rates for products of different types. The marketing platform provides a wide range of useful tools, including social media tools, advanced product linking and a range of widgets and banners to place on your website. Commissions are far lower than the networks that deal solely with digital products, but the quality of the products is much higher.
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5 – Share a Sale
Share a Sale is another high-end affiliate marketing network that operates a strict no-software policy, instead focussing on physical products ranging from jewellery to clothing to books and media and more. The network hosts almost 4,000 affiliate programs over a total of forty categories, and you can take a look at some of their top merchant programs without having to sign up. Publishers can earn commissions of up to ten percent depending on the type of goods sold. Share a Sale will pay affiliates whenever their account balance reaches $50 or more, and they operate by a strict set of terms and conditions to ensure a quality service.
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6 – Digital River
Dealing with software products and other digital goods, Digital River claims to offer high conversion rates and high consumer demands. Its affiliate marketing component is the One Network Direct platform, designed for publishers to advertise leading digital products from around the world. Among the better known software vendors to use Digital River are Kaspersky Labs, Webroot and PC Tools among others. They also provide affiliates with a range of useful tools including the trialTracker conversion monitoring software and API tracking to help ensure that publishers get paid for the clicks on their ads when someone purchases a full version of a trial program.
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7 – Google AdSense
Although not an affiliate platform in the same sense as the aforementioned ones, since publishers don’t have much control over which ads are actually displayed on their website, Google AdSense warrants a mention thanks to its immense popularity and the fact that many affiliate marketers also use it. Installing the Google AdSense code is often the first thing that people do to monetize their websites, and hundreds of thousands of websites all over the world use it. Google AdSense displays context-relevant ads based on the content of the page that they’re displayed on, and you get paid every time a visitor clicks on one of your ads.