10 Best Affiliate Programs in 2021

Hello there Sea Changers. Welcome back to my series of program lists to assist those of you looking to fund your sea change with affiliate marketing. Today we are going to take a different look than my usual niche specific lists with my 10 best affiliate programs in 2021. Granted, many of those listed below allow marketers to choose a number of different programs from other niches but in general here, we are looking at options that are either affiliate networks in general, or others that could be utilised across a number of areas as well.

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So with that in mind, the ones that have made this list are great for both beginners and experienced marketers with good commission rates and options as well as percentages of product sales. Before we begin though, I just wanted to be clear that for each option I have listed, there are other similar programs out there… hence I really just wanted to give you a good cross section of what is available within the criteria I was searching on and chose them by looking at:

  • What they do
  • Who they would suit
  • Commission rates
  • Payment terms
  • Cookie duration
  • Application processes
  • Affiliate/Marketing materials provided

Before we start however, let's have a look at what we should be thinking about when we start to promote any product as an affiliate marketer.

 

What can affiliate marketers promote?

There are essentially no real barriers to what can be promoted when it comes to affiliate marketers. There are however some things to be aware of as you run your eye over potential affiliate program possibilities that may suit your site. These are:

  1. Know your audience, some are looking for specifics and want the best whilst others are hoping to just get whatever it is that you are promoting on a budget. Choose your affiliate sites accordingly.
  2. Hard core hobbyists and/or professionals will not take risks if they don't trust you or your affiliate site. Make sure the programs you choose are reputable and have good recourse options if the purchaser is not happy.
  3. Those purchasing as a new hobby, or for family members etc. will need to know exactly what they need and that the products you are promoting will fit in with their requirements. Make sure your programs can provide the products to back up the information that you are covering.
  4. Hobby type niches can be extremely lucrative as this is where people WILL spend money. Just make sure you are able to outline how you can enhance the interests and/or passion of your readers.

That said, stats show that people will spend money online if it can make their lives easier so as long as you are meeting their needs and solving problems, then you are on the right track. And to give you a boost, let's have a look at my 10 best programs for 2021 that I have found below:

1. Amazon Associates

10 best affiliate programs - Amazon associates

Amazon Associates is the affiliate marketing program for Amazon.com, the largest internet company by revenue in the world. The program provides you with the opportunity to make affiliate commissions on over 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide where over 2 billion orders are placed daily.

Once you have joined the associates program, you are then able to post affiliate links onto your site that earn you commission on any purchase made within 24 hours of selection (or 90 days if the item is added to a shopping cart) including any products that are purchased indirectly from your links.

This means that if you place a link on your site for dog grooming clippers and someone clicks on it but then purchases a fishing rod instead, then you still get the commission on the fishing rod – as long as the purchase is made with that 24 hour window.

10 best affiliate programs - Amazon Stripe

Who is it for?

Amazon Associates is very popular with those new to the affiliate marketing world as it allows for new sites to provide a broader array of products as they mature. Many other affiliate programs also place traffic flow as a prerequisite for acceptance meaning that for many, Amazon is one of the few programs that will allow access as such as early stage.

The only thing you will need is to have a published, valid, non-offensive website on which you can post your links. There are some other details you will need to provide once you have signed up such as tax and payment information as well. There is a catch however, should you join the program and not manage to generate three commissionable sales in the first 180 days (3 months), your account is canceled.

This is only a minor setback however as you can reapply immediately although sadly, you will need to update all of your links.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: variable as per below

10 best affiliate programs - Amazon commissions

There are no commissions for referring others to the Amazon Associates program.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: 24 hours (90 days if placed in shopping cart)

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and website information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links, custom banners and WordPress plugin ad creator

Join the Amazon Associates program here

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2. ShareASale

8 Affiliate Program Management Service - Shareasale

ShareASale is a large affiliate network that connects “online retailers to over 211,000+ affiliate partners around the world” with offers access a multitude of companies large and small. In short, once you have joined the platform, you can search for any number of targeted affiliate programs that apply to your niche.

The only issue with this program (and most other affiliate networks) is that once you have applied for and been accepted into the platform, you will still need to apply to become an affiliate of each advertising merchant individually. In my experience this process can be tricky as every merchant has their own (sometimes intangible) criteria for acceptance.

8 Affiliate Program Management Service - Shareasale stripe

Who is it for?

ShareASale is a great platform (application issues aside) for both beginner and experienced affiliate marketers alike due to the ability to work with all levels of vendor including high ticket opportunities of up to $350 per sale. The platform is a little clunky but for affiliates, it contains full reporting as well as the ability to create promotional materials such as:

  • Links and banners
  • Datafeeds
  • Coupons/deals
  • Video creation
  • Landing pages
  • Product showcases
  • RSS feeds/notifications
  • And much more

And if your site is aimed at assisting others to become affiliate marketers – like this one – then ShareASale also pays fantastic commissions of up to $150 for every affiliate marketer that you refer to the platform.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: As per individual merchant arrangements

Commissions for referring others to the ShareASale program – $150 for any referral who joins and generates a sale.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration:

ShareASale – Not stated

Other programs – As per individual merchant arrangements

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and website information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links, custom banners, product feeds and more

Join the ShareASale program here


3. CJ Affiliate

8 Affiliate Program Management Service - CJ Affiliate

As with the previous option, CJ Affiliate (formerly known as Commission Junction) is another large and well-known affiliate network. They promote themselves as using “our innovative technology to cultivate partnerships between Advertisers and Publishers within our thriving network”. For affiliates, this includes the opportunity to become part of yearly publisher commissions totaling $USD 1.8B.

Applicants to this program are scrutinised a little harder than some others in this area however once approved, there is access to many popular and high earning niches as well as known advertisers such as Walgreens, Verizon, UnderArmor and Samsung to name a few. There is also the advantage of being able to search for products via name or niche with real time advice on approval processes and likelihood of approval etc.

8 Affiliate Program Management Service - CJ Affiliate Stripe

Who is it for?

CJ Affiliate is another great platform for both beginner and experienced affiliate marketers with a modern platform and a number of affiliate tools such as links, banners, widgets, email swipes and analysis on each vendor in regards to conversion percentages and average sale etc.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: As per individual merchant arrangements

CJ Affiliate does not pay commissions for referring affiliate marketers to their platform.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: As per individual merchant arrangements

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and website information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, Text Links, custom banners, widgets and more

Join the CJ Affiliate program here


4. Wealthy Affiliate

Top Website Hosting Services - Wealthy Affiliate

Wealthy Affiliate is an all encompassing affiliate marketing site aimed at assisting people in building their own online business. Their product is very popular (over 2 million members) and includes:

  • Training
  • Web hosting
  • Keyword search tool
  • Domain purchase and registration
  • Affiliate program search tool
10 best affiliate programs - WA affiliate page

As part of the training, affiliate marketers are taught to build a website (using the inbuilt WordPress editor) based on any niche they choose with the ability to find affiliate programs from platforms such as ShareASale and CJ Affiliate. There is even training within the platform about how to become an affiliate marketer for Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate is free to join on a starter membership with access to affiliate links with premium memberships available starting from $49 per month. For affiliates promoting the program, recurring commissions are paid once a referral joins as a premium member and continue for the entire time that their membership remains active. There are also recurring commissions available should that member also upgrade their version of Jaaxy – Wealthy Affiliate's keyword search tool – and for domain purchases within the platform.

Who is it for?

Wealthy affiliate is initially aimed at new affiliate marketers who, as mentioned above, complete training to build and host a website as well as adding affiliate links, SEO and more. However experienced affiliate marketers can also join the platform for extra training, WordPress editor access including website hosting and the ability to earn extra money via the creation of personal training packages as well.

Application is via a simple registration with name and email and whilst there are obviously paid memberships (which increase access to training, domain purchase and specialised live services) the first rounds of training are free.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: $23.50 per premium member and $43.50 per premium plus member for each month that they are active (Those on free memberships earn $14)

Refer 300 sales in a calendar year and you will also qualify for an all expenses paid conference in Las Vegas including return flights from anywhere in the world.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: Lifetime – as long as your affiliate link is used.

Application required?: Yes – You will need to join the platform as a member to access your affiliate links. Email address only required.

Marketing material provided: Ad banners, text links, internal blogging activities

Join the Wealthy Affiliate affiliate program here


5. ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels Affiliate Program Review - home

ClickFunnels is am extremely well-known digital product for those looking to implement sales funnels. They have built their popularity on the back of Russel Brunson's books and some solid funnel building software. For affiliates, their sales funnels have been built around making access almost secondary to the free offerings and upsells on offer including:

As a recurring program, commissions are paid on a monthly basis for as long as one of your referrals remains a member. Membership options are priced at $97 per month for basic and $297 for Platinum. There are also once off commissions available for the mountain of other products that ClickFunnels offers as either percentages or set payments (which can rise into the 1000's). As an added advantage, ClickFunnels utilises ‘sticky' cookies meaning that your affiliate link is added to the site cookies of your member resulting in commissions being earned on all future purchases or upgrades that they make.

ClickFunnels Affiliate Program Review - traffic secrets

Who is it for?

This is the first site in this list where affiliate marketers are restricted to promoting just the one program and whilst they will promote it as available to all levels, this is one where – I feel at least – some experience is probably required. The program is effective and the affiliate commissions are extremely lucrative (which is why I have it in this list) however the platform is expensive and does take some work to achieve success.

Application is via a simple registration with name and email. The affiliate program is free to join with enough to promote their preset options however to access the full range of customisable links, funnels and management options, a platinum membership ($297 per month) is required at a minimum.

That said, there are many who do make some good commissions with this platform and, as with the site above, there is a great bootcamp that guides affiliates through every step in getting their marketing campaigns up and running.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: Around 40%

Reach 200 sales and qualify for car lease payments as well.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: Lifetime ‘Sticky' cookies

Application required?: Yes, You will need to enter personal information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Text links, banners, videos, email swipes

Join the Click funnels affiliate program here

Do You Need Assistance Turning These Affiliate Programs Into $$Let Me Show You How to Earn a Passive Income with Zero Inventory Using My 4 Step Formula

Are you looking to get your own online business setup but not sure where to start? 

It can all be a bit overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. 

See how I learned how to set my online business up from scratch - A business which now attracts organic traffic and makes real money...

6. Bluehost

web hosting affiliate programs - Bluehost

Bluehost is a ”leading web hosting solutions company” with a large range of web solutions including:

  • Hosting – for all levels of use
  • WordPress hosting and editing
  • Domain access
  • Professional services
  • Domain email services

With a mission to “empower people to fully harness the web”, Bluehost provides web services to over 2 million clients worldwide.

Commissions start at $65 per sale (you can negotiate up to $80 if you work with their affiliate managers to increase exposure to the platform on your site. They also offer a great range of information, guides, tutorials and a troubleshooting knowledge base as well.

Top Website Hosting Services - Bluehost stripe

Who is it for?

I have added this one to the list as it is a great site for affiliate marketers of all experience levels, pays nice commissions and, for those working in any of the online business niches, is a cost effective option for those looking to set up a website. For those in other niches, it can also be added as a side hustle to highlight how your website is hosted – even a “This website is hosted by bluehost” line at the bottom of each page of your site will work well trust me.

Application processes are straight forward with high approval rates (from memory approval may even be automatic but don't quote me on that). The affiliate management team for this site is very active and offer personal assistance if need be as well as some decent tutorial assistance via email as well.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: $65 per sign up (can work with affiliate managers to increase to $80)

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: Not stated

Application required?: Yes, You will need to enter personal and website information to join their program.

Marketing material provided: Text links, banners

Join the Bluehost affiliate program here


7. Accuweb

Top Website Hosting Services - accuweb

As with the site above, Accuweb is a web hosting site that offers more that 17 years of experience as a “one stop shop for all your hosting requirements” including the following:

  • Web hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Application hosting
  • WordPress hosting
  • VPS hosting
  • Windows VPS
  • Dedicated servers
  • Web services
  • Network tools and resources

For affiliates dealing with websites and hosting as their niche, there is definitely enough to base a business around as well as a great addition to any website building or online business type niche as well. There are hosting options for both the individual on a budget up to corporate level with affiliate commissions rising accordingly. And as an extra bonus, this program offers pay per click commissions as well-meaning affiliates can earn just by directing traffic to the site regardless of whether they sign up or not.

Top Website Hosting Services - accuweb stripe

Who is it for?

Again, this is a great one for affiliate marketers of all experience levels with good commissions paid on sales. The reason I have added it to this list however is the fact that as mentioned above, it also offers pay per click commissions which means that even if someone clicks on your link without purchasing, you still earn some $$. This makes it ideal for more mature sites or sites in other niches where there is some reward for building good traffic levels.

Application processes are a little more stringent that some others in this niche however acceptance rates are still high as long as you can outline your promotional strategies. And as with most others, there is an offer of personal assistance as well as some decent tutorial assistance too.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: $25 up to $200 per sign up plus pay per click

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: 90 Days

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and website information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links

Join the AccuWebHosting affiliate program here


8. ClickBank

10 best affiliate programs - ClickBank

ClickBank is an affiliate network platform that works more as a marketplace for mainly digital products. They work directly with the creators to sell products that are instantly available with little overhead cost meaning commissions are usually a little higher than traditional physical products based programs.

There is plenty here to choose from and this platform is especially popular with affiliate marketers who like to jump from product to product with promotion via Social Media and Email lists rather than a single niche website as such. As I have stated, commissions here can be quite high and there are some good products to choose from however there are also a number of ‘junk' programs as well-meaning that if you promote these, your commissions can be affected by high refund rates.

10 best affiliate programs - ClickBank stripe10 best affiliate programs - ClickBank stripe

Who is it for?

As above, this is a great site for those who wish to undertake an affiliate marketing business based on single products rather than building a niche or want to work without a website. It is suitable for all levels however I have found that some of the software developers listed will not accept you into their programs until you have a track record of sales in this area – which you can't get if you are not allowed to promote them… Chicken meet egg (this is not as prevalent here as it is with platforms such as JVZoo and Warrior+ however)

So if you are starting out, I would be looking for programs that don't require approval to join to start with which fortunately for you, are plentiful.

The platform looks dated and could certainly do with an upgrade however application processes are fairly straight forward. They do manage affiliates quite tightly so keep in mind you can be suspended quite easily if any sign of unscrupulous behaviour is identified or you do not complete your account setup checks etc. That said, there is a large array of training modules available as well as the ClickBank university for those looking to build a good income in this area.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: As per individual merchant arrangements

Commissions for referring others to the ClickBank program as follows:

  • $10 of their $49.95 activation fee
  • 10% of ClickBank’s fee – you earn 10% of what ClickBank earns from the new vendor.
  • $1,000 bonus if the vendor earns over $100,000 – when a vendor generates $100,000, you will earn $1,000.

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration:

ClickBank – Not stated

Other programs – As per individual merchant arrangements

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and payment information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links, custom banners, product feeds and more

Join the ClickBank affiliate program here


9. MaxBounty

10 best affiliate programs - Maxbounty

MaxBounty is yet another affiliate network platform specializing in connecting advertisers to affiliate marketing. The difference with this one however is that payments are predominately earned via cost-per-action (CPA) outcomes rather than just sales. This means that if affiliate links on your site are followed, then you are paid on the outcome of reader behaviours from that point on. This can include such activities as:

  • Accessing or staying on certain pages for a given length of time
  • Completing a survey or inquiry form
  • Booking a webinar or sales call
  • Clicking on a number of CTAs
  • and so on.

There are commissions for sales as well with the ability to choose programs to promote that either match your niche or on a program by program basis.

10 best affiliate programs - Maxbounty affiliate

Who is it for?

CPA marketing is a different beast than general affiliate marketing as your posts and promotional platforms need to not only highlight the problem solving advantages of the product, but almost guide the reader as to what ‘actions' they need to perform once they have clicked on your links. To that end, I would probably avoid this one unless you have some decent affiliate marketing experience/success.

In addition, the application process is quite stringent requiring you to complete the following in three stages:

  • Pre-Application Stage: Filling out an application.
  • Applying to MaxBounty: Complete the application accurately and answer each question.
  • Post-Application Stage: Receive a post-application phone call.

The site actually provides a dedicated training page outlining the application process and what is expected of you. This can be a deterrent for many but also has the advantage of meaning that once you are accepted, you know that you will be dealing with reputable companies and there is not as much competition for programs leading to potential higher commissions.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: As per individual merchant arrangements

Commissions for referring others to the MaxBounty program as follows:

  • Refer other publishers and receive a 5% bounty on their earnings for the first 12 months

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration:

MaxBounty – Not stated

Other programs – As per individual merchant arrangements

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal and payment information to apply.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links, custom banners, dedicated affiliate managers, high level reporting and analytics

Join the MaxBounty affiliate program here


10. Shopify

10 best affiliate programs - shopify

Shopify is an online business building platform that allows users to “create an ecommerce website backed by powerful tools that help you find customers, drive sales, and manage your day-to-day”. This is a great one for affiliates as it can be adapted to any niche where your readers are looking to sell their own products as well as general e-commerce and business building sites as well.

Users who join the platform are taught about sales, branding, shop setup, online presence, marketing and anything else to do with an online sales business. All of this giving you the ability to discuss all of these areas in your posts with referral links to Shopify to assist them in getting started.

There are a number of subscription options as well giving you options for all levels of business that you are discussing with your readers.

10 best affiliate programs - shopify list

Who is it for?

There is no reason that this site couldn't be utilised by affiliate marketers of all levels and I have chosen it as it is a good one for anybody looking to assist their readers in selling goods in any niche. Commissions are very good however application processes are quite extensive with comprehensive information in regards to experience and promotional strategies required. Their website states that you must meet these requirements to apply:

  • You create original content such as online courses, seminars, blog posts and videos
  • You have an established audience
  • You have experience with Shopify or other ecommerce platforms

This does not necessarily mean you cannot apply as a newbie, however you will need to be very clear on what it is you plan to promote and how you intend to do it.

What are the terms?

Commission Rate: $58 for each merchant who signs up for a paid Shopify plan

Payment Terms: Monthly

Cookie Duration: Not Stated

Application required?: Yes, you will need to enter personal, website and promotional plans and part of the application.

Marketing material provided: Banners, text links, custom banners, personalised affiliate management

Join the Shopify affiliate program here

How to find your own affiliate programs

By outlining the sites above I have really just tried to give you a good cross section of the types of programs that are out there that are good for affiliate marketers of all levels. That does not mean that you cannot find affiliate programs that better suit what it is that you are trying to do within this space especially as I could never even begin to cover every requirement or niche in the one post. Luckily for us, there is a simple way to find these programs online.

All you need to do is enter “affiliate: niche type” into your search engine (substituting ‘niche type‘ for whatever product it is that you are choosing to sell). Below is an example of website hosting affiliate programs:

web hosting affiliate programs - Affiliate

There are affiliate programs similar to what we have listed at the top of this page as well – you will just need to have a look around until you find one or two that suit your site. Once you have completed your searches, you can look through and find programs that:

  • Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
  • Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality products.
  • Have solid payment and customer service arrangement.
  • Pay decent commissions.
  • Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.

In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:

  • Your website name.
  • Traffic levels.
  • Why you want to join – (so I can make money by selling your stuff is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
  • How you plan to promote their products.

Conclusion

So… There are my 10 Best Affiliate Programs in 2021. I hope it has been helpful for you as you commence your own affiliate marketing business and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share. Oh, and especially comment if you have any experience with these, or any other programs as well.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price. This may include sales made via Wealthy Affiliate, ClickFunnels, ShareASale, Bluehost and Accuweb.

Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own affiliate marketing website?

Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO and social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Hey there, my name is Paul and I am the owner and founder of Make That Sea Change.  I spent 30 years in a cubicle working the 9 to 5 grind and just wanted to live at the beach.  I was lucky enough to achieve that with the help of my wife and our new Pilates studio.

Then I decided to help fund my new sea change with some affiliate marketing.  I joined Wealthy Affiliate, and as they say, the rest is history.

Let me know how I can help you fund your sea change today!

Paul and Nic Logo - Make that Sea Change

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