Searching for the best affiliate programs for beginners in 2021? We’ve got you covered.
Whether you are an absolute beginner in the world of affiliate marketing who’s just built a blog…
Or someone who already has a leg up and looking for more ways to monetize a website…
We handcrafted this guide specifically with YOU in mind.
If you are completely new to affiliate marketing I suggest you read our article on how to create an affiliate marketing website before going any further.
Before we unveil our list of the best affiliate programs to make money…
We want you to wrap your head around some criteria for why we arrived with this list.
Table of Contents
Choosing the Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners
There are literally thousands of affiliate marketing programs for beginners.
Choosing which ones fit the bill can be overwhelming.
Look at these main criteria (and free yourself some mental baggage):
- Ease of use
- Affiliate support (very important!)
Understand that affiliate programs are offered either through:
- Affiliate networks where third-party affiliate platforms hosting a bunch of affiliate programs of advertisers or brands.
- In-house affiliate marketing programs where the advertiser or the brand itself directly hosts the affiliate program.
Why does it matter?
Hosting your own affiliate program means you need not pay an affiliate network to handle it for you.
Often this means in-house affiliate programs pay bigger commission.
Also, some affiliate networks have registration fees.
Let’s dive into the criteria.
Your criteria shouldn’t just start and end with how much you’ll be taking home per referral.
Look beyond that.
A one-time commission is common among high-ticket affiliate products.
You only get a commission once. But, it’s usually a cash lump sum — from $200 to $8,000 per sale.
A recurring commission isn’t necessarily big but relatively stable.
As long as your referral stays a customer, you shall receive a steady, usually monthly paycheck.
A multi-tier commission system is what you’ll desire as you’ll be able to earn commissions from your referrals’ referrals.
Some of the best affiliate programs for beginners — such as ClickFunnels — use a second-tier commission system.
- Payment Terms
For new affiliates, know that most affiliate marketing programs for beginners and experts alike offer net 30, net 60, or even net 90 days for payouts.
Some of the best affiliate programs for beginners pay weekly or bi-weekly.
How long does the cookie last? 365 days? 160 days? 30 days? 24 hours?
Some big-ticket affiliate products have shorter cookie lifespan. If they last at least 30 days, you’re in good hands.
3. Affiliate Support
It shouldn’t be much of a concern with affiliate networks and long-established affiliate marketing programs. They (usually) have support staff and affiliate managers taking care of their affiliates.
But if you are dealing with new or fledgling programs, you gotta make sure you have a point of contact in case things go south.
4. Ease of Use
It’s probably the least important factor here. Still, we’re including it because a lot of affiliate marketing programs for beginners are so complicated usability-wise.
It doesn’t have to be, really.
10 Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners 2021
Now we’re finally diving into the best affiliate programs for beginners.
All the programs we have here are free to join, except for ClickFunnels, ActiveCampaign, and Shopify.
Their affiliate programs require affiliates to use the product before they can promote them.
And just a heads up — I’m gonna make it easier for you to scan key details so I will list down a summary of every affiliate program.
1. Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
- Commission: 1-10%
- Cookie duration: 24 hours
- Payment term: Net 60
The Amazon Associates affiliate network is one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs for beginners. It’s perfect for first-time bloggers and publishers in almost any niche.
Amazon Associates has got some pushback among online gurus who are trying to sell people on big-ticket affiliate products.
Despite that, Amazon Associates is hands down one of the most profitable springboards to the affiliate marketing world.
Amazon Associates is so easy to join in with no minimum traffic required.
Note that you need to make at least 3 sales within 180 days of signing up to keep your membership.
It doesn’t pay gold, but the commission is on a per-sale basis.
- Commission: Up to 75%
- Cookie duration: 60 days
- Payment term: Varies (Net 30-60)
ClickBank is one of the pioneering affiliate networks. It’s been in the business for over 17 years.
ClickBank is perfect for marketers who want to sell digital products.
While other affiliate networks bank on products of popular brands, ClickBank is different. It focuses on up-and-coming products from small businesses and independent entrepreneurs from all over the world.
ClickBank has a ton of free affiliate marketing resources that you can study. It also has some practical guides on how to find the right products to promote. They have this so-called gravity score that determines how well the product sells.
The higher gravity score usually means more competition. Hence, I suggest choosing products with a gravity score between 30 and 100.
As for the commission rate and structure, it varies from product to product. Some products offer recurring commissions and upsells to increase your earnings.
3. CJ Affiliate
- Commission: Up to 30%
- Cookie duration: Varies (1-120 days)
- Payment term: Net 60
CJ Affiliate is a rebrand of Commission Junction. It’s one of the first few affiliate networks playing the field for over 20 years. CJ Affiliate boasts an average of $1.8 billion in total affiliate commissions.
Unlike ClickBank, CJ Affiliate has a treasure trove of products from nearly 3,000 recognizable brands, both big and small. They include Lowe’s, Samsung, J. Crew, Office Depot, GoPro, and Underarmour.
Some of these advertisers are paying higher commission fees via CJ Affiliate than their in-house affiliate marketing programs. Not to mention the affiliate tools and support staff of CJ Affiliate are best in class.
As an affiliate marketplace, however, CJ Affiliate doesn’t have a standard commission rate. Merchants set their own commission rates with $.30 per transaction minimum.
4. eBay Partner Network
- Commission: 1-5%
- Cookie duration: 24 hours
- Payment term: Net 30
eBay has over a billion product listings available for you to promote and over 175 million buyers annually. The eBay Partner Network works pretty much like Amazon Associates. eBay, however, offers up to 5% commission only.
The 24-hour cookie lifespan may not be so attractive for auction listings. But you’ve got nothing to worry about cos 80% of eBay’s 1.4 billion product listings are new items with fixed pricing.
The best thing about eBay’s commission structure? Your commission gets doubled if your referral is a new user or someone who has bought nothing via eBay in the last 12 months at least.
You can check out eBay’s commission rates schedule here.
5. Rakuten Marketing
- Commission: Varies (Up to $50 per sale)
- Cookie duration: Varies
- Payment term: Varies (Net 30 to Net 60)
In case you didn’t know, Rakuten is a Japanese ecommerce company. They ventured into affiliate marketing in 2005 when they acquired LinkShare, an affiliate network.
Rakuten’s affiliate network is award-winning, thanks to investments in technology.
What’s amazing about Rakuten Marketing is that it has an automatic ad rotation feature. And the ability to link to a particular page on the advertiser’s site makes it so much easier for your targeting.
Rakuten isn’t entirely friendly for absolute beginners. The application process is relatively stricter than most affiliate networks, especially for websites with less traffic.
But if you want to diversify your income streams, Rakuten Marketing is one of the best affiliate programs for beginners so worth considering.
Rakuten has worked with over 1,000 advertisers, including Virgin, New Balance, Amex, PacSun, JanSport, and Ray-Ban. But they do have partners in almost any niche.
- Commission: 40% recurring + 5% on other products + bonuses
- Cookie duration: 30 days
- Payment term: Net 15
The ClickFunnels Affiliate Program is one of the most generous affiliate marketing programs for beginners that even seasoned affiliates can’t downplay or say no to.
Its affiliate program is popular among well-established online entrepreneurs for its out of the ordinary offer — a lease coverage of the luxury car of your dreams.
Invite 100 active members every month, you get up to $500 per month lease coverage. Invite 200 active members every month to double your lease coverage to $1,000 per month.
If that’s not your definition of beginner-friendly, the ClickFunnels Affiliate Program offers LOTS of money-making opportunities.
ClickFunnels’ basic plan costs $97. The more expensive plan costs $297. An enterprise plan (most expensive!) is also available.
If you refer at least one customer on the starter plan, you already have an MRR of $38.80. Imagine inviting 20 new customers per month.
And they have a second-tier commission system, too. That makes for a solid income stream.
On top of that, ClickFunnels has a lot of other products and programs that can earn you commissions as well.
ClickFunnels also has FREE offers that can make you a lot of bounties:
- DotCom Secrets Book ($967 potential commission)
- Expert Secrets Book ($927 potential commission)
- FunnelHacker Cookbook ($933 potential commission)
- 108 Proven Split Test Winners Book ($197 potential commission)
- Funnel Graffiti Training ($144 potential commission)
- Commission: 20% – 30% recurring
- Cookie duration: 90 days
- Payment term: Net 60
ActiveCampaign is one of the leading email marketing software programs, so it’s easy to market.
While the ActiveCampaign Affiliate Program is free to join, you need to be an ActiveCampaign user yourself first before you can start promoting the product.
It has a tier system that determines how much percentage an affiliate will get from a referral.
Silver Tier affiliates get a 20% recurring commission per sale. In contrast,
Gold Tier affiliates get a 25% recurring commission for driving $100 in the past 3 months or for having $500 worth of active monthly accounts.
Platinum tier affiliates get a 30% recurring commission for driving $500 in the past 3 months or for having $2,000 worth of active monthly accounts.
Here’s ActiveCampaign’s pricing:
- Commission: Varies (2-8%)
- Cookie duration: Varies (30-160 days)
- Payment term: Varies (Net 30 to Net 90)
If there’s one affiliate network that’s as straightforward and beginner-friendly as Amazon Associates, it’s ShareASale.
ShareASale is perfect for new affiliate marketers who are looking to promote products of budding brands. However, there are some well-established names as well.
ShareASale has a network of over 5,000 merchants — over 1,00 of which are exclusive. This means you can become affiliates of their products through ShareASale only, like WP Engine.
It doesn’t have the most gorgeous-looking and intuitive interface design. But if you look past that, there’s a lot of moolah to be made from here.
9. Fiverr Affiliates
- Commission: Up to $150
- Cookie duration: 365 days
- Payment term: Net 30
Promoting physical or digital products too overrated? Promote services instead.
Fiverr Affiliates allows you to promote freelance services from their online marketplace. You can earn as much as $150 per new referral for Fiverr Pro and up to $50 for Fiverr services.
Different Fiverr services have different commission rates.
For instance, some services under video and animation, programming and tech, and game development can earn your $50 per referral.
You can also earn a 30% commission on Fiverr courses and a 30% commission on And Co accounting software.
Fiverr Affiliates is on CJ Affiliate as well, and they offer the same commission rates. If you want to deal with Fiverr directly, however, it’s better to just sign up through their in-house affiliate marketing program.
Not to mention, it’s SO EASY to sign up for Fiverr Affiliates.
10. Shopify Affiliate Program
- Commission: 200% per sale + 20% recurring
- Cookie duration: 30 days
- Payment term: Net 5
Shopify is the leading ecommerce web hosting service provider. It’s hosting some of the biggest ecommerce stores worldwide, including Kylie Cosmetics, Tesla Motors, Budweiser, and Nestlé.
With the growing popularity of the dropshipping business model and making passive income online, promoting Shopify shouldn’t be a problem for beginners at all.
The average sale for each user is $58. You can earn as much as $2,400 per sale with the standard plan alone and $2,000 per sale with Shopify Plus.
That’s it for our list of the best affiliate programs for beginners in 2021. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are tons of affiliate programs for beginners out there. What we have here are the ones that will help you get your foot in the affiliate marketing door easily.
Please remember — this list can only get you so far.
The success of your affiliate marketing business depends in large part on two things. First, the quality of the products you are promoting. And second, the quality of your traffic or leads.
Add to that your grit to withstand this volatile industry, then you’re good to go.
Questions? We’d love to hear them in the comments section!