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9 Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners (Any Niche)

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9 Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners (Any Niche)

There are thousands of affiliate marketing programs out there. However, not all of them are beginner-friendly. Some are more complex than others.

That’s why we created this guide to the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners. Here, you’ll find all the information you need to get started in affiliate marketing.

The nine best beginner-friendly affiliate marketing programs

Throughout this article, you’ll see examples of many affiliate programs. But what’s most important here are actually affiliate networks. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but a network is a place where you go to find the individual programs.

The way I wrote this article is to share the best networks for beginners—then within each network, I share some programs (and their niches) that you can sign up for.

This is the best way of sharing affiliate programs—because regardless of your niche, these networks will be great for you.

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is the absolute best affiliate marketing program for beginners.

You can sign up for its affiliate account in just a few minutes, and it sells virtually everything. So you’ll be able to promote Amazon products, regardless of your niche.

That said, its commission rates are very low. You can see up-to-date rates on this page. But as of this writing, most of the rates range from just 1–3%.

Amazon Affiliate program rates chart

Still, it’s super easy to use. Check out our guide to creating an Amazon affiliate site to learn more.

2. All the big box stores

Like Amazon, all the big box stores have affiliate programs that are really easy to use.

These include:

Also like Amazon, their commission rates are pretty poor. But they are an easy way to get started while you grow to eventually move to better-paying partners.

3. AvantLink

AvantLink is the first affiliate network I ever signed up for. I’m not a huge fan of its reporting dashboard (it’s not the most intuitive), but it’s super easy to sign up and get started.

AvantLink affiliate dashboard

Some of the best and highest-paying affiliate programs available through AvantLink include:

  • FFL123.com | 50% commission | Firearms/Tactical
  • Super Speciosa | 40% commission | Health/Wellness
  • Reddiyo | 30% commission | Cycling
  • Wedding Hashers | 30% commission | Custom/Personalized Products
  • Sprinkle & Sweep | 25% commission | Pet Products

Of course, it has thousands of other programs, all categorized by niche. You can find the above programs and many more through AvantLink’s merchant list.

4. ShareASale

ShareASale is another popular network for affiliate partners. It also lacks in the reporting department but is good enough for beginners.

ShareASale affiliate activity feed

Some great affiliate options on ShareASale include:

  • Northwest Registered Agent LLC | $100 commission | Business Registrant
  • Promaster | 15% commission | Photography
  • Print Games Now | 35–45% commission | Printing/Games
  • FreshBooks | $55 commission | Small Business/Finance
  • Aviron Interactive | $110 commission | Fitness

You can find these merchants and many more on ShareASale’s merchant page.

5. Commission Junction

Commission Junction (CJ) is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there, founded all the way back in 1998. Because of that, it has one of the widest selections of affiliate programs.

Commission Junction dashboard

Some cool programs on CJ include:

  • Slova Cosmetics | 20% commission | Bath & Body
  • Separatec Underwear | 20% commission | Clothing
  • US Service Animals | 25% commission | Pets
  • Puraclenz | 25% commission | Equipment
  • eHarmony | 30% commission | Dating

The only downside to CJ is that its dashboard feels a little dated, and it is harder to sort through its affiliate merchants compared to the other platforms on this list.

6. TUNE

TUNE is my personal favorite affiliate software due to its excellent reporting dashboard and ease of use. However, it’s a bit different than the others on this list. Instead of being able to browse its affiliate partners, you have to find someone using its platform to use TUNE.

TUNE dashboard

Rather than recommending specific partners for this one, I’ll refer you to apply to become a TUNE media partner. Once you sign up, it will automatically connect you with the best affiliate partners for your specific niche.

Note that you do need to already have an affiliate business in place to apply.

7. Impact Radius

Impact Radius has been extremely successful in the affiliate space, with brand partners including Airbnb, Adidas, Lenovo, and more.

Impact Radius dashboard

One of the nice things about Impact is that it will continually recommend you brand partners based on your niche and current partners. This makes it easy to find new affiliate programs with minimal effort.

Some great affiliate options on Impact include:

  • Canva | 16–80% commission | Graphic Design
  • Pure Hemp Botanicals | 50% commission | CBD
  • Thumbtack | 30% commission | Services
  • Hyphen Sleep | 18% commission | Mattresses
  • Skillshare | 40% commission | Education

8. Refersion Marketplace

Refersion is one of the most successful affiliate software out there, with big brand name partners including Amazon, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Its dashboard is super simplistic and easy to use, which is great for beginners.

Refersion dashboard

To find affiliates to partner with, you can sign up on the Refersion Marketplace. It has a great user interface to filter and find brands to partner with.

List of affiliate partners on Refersion Marketplace

Some excellent brand partner options on Refersion include:

  • ZUGU iPad Cases | 15% commission | Phones
  • Peejamas | 10–20% commission | Kid’s Clothing
  • Bodhi Dog | 20% commission | Pet Care
  • LUNA Sandals | 10–30% commission | Footwear
  • Bare & Bones | 20% commission | Food

9. Rakuten

Last but not least, Rakuten Advertising is another of the oldest affiliate networks out there that started in 1997. Like CJ, it suffers from dated-feeling interfaces but has a wide selection of brands. 

Rakuten dashboard

Some options for beginners include:

  • Valise Homewares | 14% commission | House Goods
  • Ryderwear | 4–10% commission | Athletic Clothing
  • Trafalgar | 10% commission | Leather Goods
  • Big Little Feelings | 10% commission | Parenting
  • La Mariposa | 15% commission | Luxury Women’s Clothing

Overall, Rakuten is my least favorite network because its interface is so poor, but it does have some interesting affiliate programs.

How to get started in affiliate marketing

Found an affiliate program that works for you? Awesome—this section will give you an overview of how to get started earning your first affiliate dollars.

Getting started with affiliate marketing can be done in three steps:

  1. Choosing an affiliate niche
  2. Creating your website and content
  3. Getting traffic to your content

1. Making sure you choose the right niche

Your niche is the thing you talk about on your blog or in your videos. It can be anything from a hobby, to a lifestyle, or to just about any other topic you can think of.

As long as there are people interested in the stuff you want to talk about, you can choose it as an affiliate niche.

Examples of niches include things like:

  • Gaming
  • Travel
  • Knitting
  • Woodworking
  • Etc

If you’re not sure what to talk about, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I good at?
  • What am I curious about?
  • What do I know a lot about?
  • What do other people tell me I’m good at or compliment me on?

The overlap in your answers is often a good starting point. For example, I’m good at and curious about entrepreneurship, and people often compliment me on how creative I am at finding ways to make money. So on my own website, I blog about finance and entrepreneurship.

You can also use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar to find an affiliate niche while doing your everyday Google searches. 

As you’re searching whatever questions you have, the toolbar will give you keyword data like how many people search that keyword per month and how difficult it may be to rank for:

Viewing Google SERP using Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

If you find a keyword that gets a lot of monthly searches and seems easy to rank for, it may indicate a potentially good niche.

Got some niche ideas that you’re excited and know a lot about? The last main thing to check is their competitiveness.

You can check competitiveness easily using Ahrefs’ free keyword difficulty checker. Just enter your keyword idea in the tool, and it will give you a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score on a scale of 0–100.

Ahrefs' free keyword difficulty checker

As you can see, the keyword “tennis shoes” has a KD of 45, which may be hard for a newer website to rank for.

In general, as a new site, you want to look for KD scores under 30. Anything under 30 could be relatively easy to rank for.

2. Creating your website and content

Once you have an idea of a niche, it’s time to create a niche site. This can quickly be done by buying a domain name and website hosting, then linking your website to WordPress to edit the backend.

It may sound a bit complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. Here’s a comprehensive video on how to get started by WPBeginner:

Once your website is set up, you’ll need to do some basic affiliate keyword research to map out the content you want to create.

When you’re ready to begin writing, I recommend checking out our guide to content creation to learn how to make content that people will want to consume.

3. Promoting your content

Finally, once your content is created, it’s time to promote that content to start driving traffic (and sales) to your new affiliate site.

There are lots of ways to promote your content—like sharing it on social media, doing email outreach to other bloggers who may find it interesting, or even paid advertising.

However, the best return on your investment (in my opinion) is going to be search engine optimization (SEO).

Ranking on the first page of search engines like Google will ensure you get recurring traffic without constantly reaching out to promote your content or spending money on advertising

Better yet, SEO pairs perfectly with affiliate marketing because people who are searching for an answer are closer to being ready to buy than people mindlessly browsing social media. The former is actively looking for a solution to a problem.

SEO does take time and effort to learn, but it’s a skill you won’t regret investing in.

Final thoughts

With so many affiliate marketing programs out there, it can be overwhelming to get started.

However, there are plenty of super simple and easy-to-use affiliate programs and networks that you can get up and running in just minutes.

I hope this guide helps you to start your affiliate marketing journey. If you’re ready to learn more, check out some of these other helpful guides:

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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

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How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher

How To Measure The Largest Contentful Paint Of Your Website

Run a free website speed test to find out. Your LCP speed will be displayed immediately.

The results of your speed test will tell you if:

  • The LCP threshold is met.
  • You need to optimize any other Core Web Vital.

How Is The Largest Contentful Paint Calculated?

Google looks at the 75th percentile of experiences – that means 25% of real website visitors experience LCP load times of 3.09 seconds or higher, while for 75% of users the LCP is below 3.09 seconds.

In this example, the real-user LCP is shown as 3.09 seconds.

Screenshot of a Core Web Vitals data of DebugBear.com, November 2022

What Are The Lab Test Results On My Core Web Vitals Data?

With this specific web speed test, you’ll also see lab metrics that were collected in a controlled test environment. While these metrics don’t directly impact Google rankings, there are two advantages of this data:

  1. The metrics update as soon as you improve your website, while Google’s real-time data will take 28 days to fully update.
  2. You get detailed reports in addition to the metrics, which can help you optimize your website.

Additionally, PageSpeed Insights also provides lab data, but keep in mind that the data it reports can sometimes be misleading due to the simulated throttling it uses to emulate a slower network connection.

How Do You Find Your Largest Contentful Paint Element?

When you run a page speed test with DebugBear, the LCP element is highlighted in the test result.

Sometimes, the LCP element may be a large image, and other times, it could be a large portion of text.

Regardless of whether your LCP element is an image or a piece of text, the LCP content won’t appear until your page starts rendering.

For example, on the page below, a background image is responsible for the largest paint.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

In contrast, this page’s LCP is a paragraph of text.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

To improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) of your website you need to ensure that the HTML element responsible for the LCP appears quickly.

How To Improve The Largest Contentful Paint

To improve the LCP you need to:

  1. Find out what resources are necessary to make the LCP element appear.
  2. See how you can load those resources faster (or not at all).

For example, if the LCP element is a photo, you could reduce the file size of the image.

After running a DebugBear speed test, you can click on each performance metric to view more information on how it could be optimized.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a detailed Largest Contentful Paint analysis in DebugBear.com, November 2022

Common resources that affect the LCP are:

  • Render-blocking resources.
  • Images that are not optimized.
  • Outdated image formats.
  • Fonts that are not optimized.

How To Reduce Render-Blocking Resources

Render-blocking resources are files that need to be downloaded before the browser can start drawing page content on the screen. CSS stylesheets are typically render-blocking, as are many script tags.

To reduce the performance impact of render-blocking resources you can:

  1. Identify what resources are render-blocking.
  2. Review if the resource is necessary.
  3. Review if the resource needs to block rendering.
  4. See if the resource can be loaded more quickly up, for example using compression.

The Easy Way: In the DebugBear request waterfall, requests for render-blocking resources are marked with a “Blocking” tag.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of DebugBear.com, November 2022

How To Prioritize & Speed Up LCP Image Requests

For this section, we’re going to leverage the new “fetchpriority” attribute on images to help your visitor’s browsers quickly identify what image should load first.

Use this attribute on your LCP element.

Why?

When just looking at the HTML, browsers often can’t immediately tell what images are important. One image might end up being a large background image, while another one might be a small part of the website footer.

Accordingly, all images are initially considered low priority, until the page has been rendered and the browser knows where the image appears.

However, that can mean that the browser only starts downloading the LCP image fairly late.

The new Priority Hints web standard allows website owners to provide more information to help browsers prioritize images and other resources.

In the example below, we can see that the browser spends a lot of time waiting, as indicated by the gray bar.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a low-priority LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

We would choose this LCP image to add the “fetchpriority” attribute to.

How To Add The “FetchPriority” Attribute To Images

Simply adding the fetchpriority=”high” attribute to an HTML img tag will the browser will prioritize downloading that image as quickly as possible.

<img src="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/optimize-largest-contentful-paint-debugbear-spcs/471883/photo.jpg" fetchpriority="high" />

How To Use Modern Image Formats & Size Images Appropriately

High-resolution images can often have a large file size, which means they take a long time to download.

In the speed test result below you can see that by looking at the dark blue shaded areas. Each line indicates a chunk of the image arriving in the browser.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of a large LCP image on DebugBear.com, November 2022

There are two approaches to reducing image sizes:

  1. Ensure the image resolution is as low as possible. Consider serving images at different resolutions depending on the size of the user’s device.
  2. Use a modern image format like WebP, which can store images of the same quality at a lower file size.

How To Optimize Font Loading Times

If the LCP element is an HTML heading or paragraph, then it’s important to load the font for this chunk of text quickly.

One way to achieve this would be to use preload tags that can tell the browser to load the fonts early.

The font-display: swap CSS rule can also ensure sped-up rendering, as the browser will immediately render the text with a default font before switching to the web font later on.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of web fonts delaying the LCP on DebugBear.com, November 2022

Monitor Your Website To Keep The LCP Fast

Continuously monitoring your website not only lets you verify that your LCP optimizations are working, but also makes sure you get alerted if your LCP gets worse.

DebugBear can monitor the Core Web Vitals and other site speed metrics over time. In addition to running in-depth lab-based tests, the product also keeps track of the real-user metrics from Google.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint &#038; Rank Higher In GoogleScreenshot of site speed monitoring data on DebugBear.com, November 2022



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