Hey there fellow sea changers and welcome back to my latest How To guide into the world of Affiliate Marketing. Today we are going to focus on one of the key points of affiliate marketing and that is how to find affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are an essential part of how we make our money as affiliate marketers. In short, the process is as follows:

How to Find Affiliate Programs - header
  1. You find an affiliate marketing program
  2. You apply to become an affiliate member
  3. You copy their affiliate links into your website/advertising or posts
  4. You promote their products
  5. You get a commission for each sale that you refer back to the owning company

Today we will investigate the first two steps in this process and investigate three major types of affiliate programs”

  • Marketplace Affiliates
  • Affiliate Networks
  • Private Affiliate programs

So, grab yourself a drink, a notebook and let's dive in:

Why do companies have affiliate programs?

Essentially for them it is free advertising. I mean, you do all of the promotional work via your websites, How to Find Affiliate Programs - purchasesocial media, YouTube and the like and they get to sit back and watch the sales come in. That is a very simplistic explanation but it does mean that if they have affiliates doing their marketing then they are not paying so much in advertising/marketing costs or sales staff. And they are also getting exposure in areas that they may not have got to otherwise. The trick for them is to ensure that their commissions are high enough to attract good affiliate marketers but low enough so that they do not outweigh the costs of marketing their products themselves.

There are however some areas that affiliate marketing companies need to consider including:

  • The inability to control where their links are placed.
  • They cannot fully determine how and where their brand is displayed.
  • The cannot control how the affiliate marketer promotes or reviews their brand or even if they are going to write about it favourably.

Sure, many of them can (and do) revoke affiliate privileged if they are unhappy with any of the above but that is always after the fact and the damage can sometimes already be done.

What do I need to look for?

There are literally thousands of affiliate marketing programs available in just about any niche that you can imagine. And just as you can potentially do harm to the brand of a company that you are reviewing, a poorly chosen product can do just as much damage to yours. When considering an affiliate marketing program, you should take the time to check the following:

Does it fit your brand?

How to Find Affiliate Programs - brand

This is critical – your business is your brand! Many affiliate programs will check your website prior to accepting your application to ensure that you meet their brand – and to reduce the chances of some of the negative aspects we discussed in the previous section. This however goes both ways. You need to make sure that the company fits in with your brand. This can include their social standards, ethics, employment conditions and other products that they sell.

The second important aspect here is quality. Regardless of the payment conditions (we will discuss this in a second but bigger commissions do not necessarily mean better quality), you need to be comfortable that you are not making referrals to poor quality merchandise, software or services. Even though you are not the manufacturer, I can guarantee you that if you are the one who made the recommendation, then you will also wear part of the blame and lose return customers.

Does it fit your niche?

This probably seems obvious however it is an all too common mistake that new affiliate marketers make. In the rush to get as many products as possible to sell, we tend to try and promote the products of any program that accepts us (or everything within an affiliate network) whether it fits out niche or not. For example, just because the affiliate program also sells dog beds, it doesn't mean we should be trying to sell them on our horse related niche site.

That said, why not use these programs to think outside the box a little. Again, if your site in about horses, why not look into programs that promote veterinary products or services for horses as well. Horse insurance?

What are the payment conditions?

All affiliate programs maintain different payment conditions – some even differ dependent upon the productHow to Find Affiliate Programs - payment that you are selling. When looking at an affiliate program, consider the following:

  • Commission paid – This is obviously a critical one – Have a look at how much commission they pay and compare to others. For example, product A may be paying 5% commission and product B 7%. Consider which is easier to sell and the quality and niche related considerations above. For example, if you feel that you can sell 20 units of Product A per month but only 5 of Product B, then Product A is more profitable even as a lower commission rate – assuming you can't put both on your site that is.
  • Payment time frames – How long does it take the company to pay out? Most allow you to set thresholds by either a time frame or amount – for example you may want your commissions paid monthly or when you earn over $100. You will also need to check cooling-off periods etc. Some programs will hold commissions for a month or two in case the customer changes their mind. Other considerations to consider are tiered commissions based on number of sales, minimum sales requirements (no commission if under x amount of sales are referred) and the number of days that the reader's ‘cookies' stay active before your referral is no longer valid.

Cross and Upsell opportunities

How to Find Affiliate Programs cross sell

Upselling is a great much higher to make extra money out of a single purchase while you have the attention of the reader with wallet in hand. Affiliate programs with a wider array of products can allow you to make suggestions based on your first sale for others. For example, if you are writing reviews for fishing rods, you might want to try and up sell them to a more expensive option by outlining the clear advantages they would get for that purchase instead of their original one.

Cross selling is where you offer a range of other complimentary products to their purchase. In this example you may want to offer fishing lines, tackle or even a carry case for their new rod at the time of purchase.

Affiliate marketing programs that offer enough products for these purposes allow you to offer more range and benefit to your readers at time of purchase. Not to mention more content ideas for your posts.

Access to high ticket items

In terms of up selling, you can also look for affiliate programs that provide the opportunity to make sales referrals to high ticket items. These are items that sell less often but offer much higher commissions, mainly due to the fact that higher prices means higher percentage totals but also because many programs offer higher commissions on these in order to promote more sales.

High ticket items are often considered bonus sales as they are usually promoted on every page or website sidebar as an opportunity sale. If we revisit our fishing rod example, a high ticket item here might be the offer of a 5-day fishing charter or even a fishing boat. You just never know!

Customer support

This is another crucial check that is often overlooked by affiliate marketers but one that can severely damage your brand. We discussed above the importance of ensuring that your brand is not damaged by poor quality products or outward facing customer service to your referrals, but you also need to ensure that customer support is available to you as well.

If you are ever required to chase up a vendor on behalf of your reader (it happens) then you need to ensure that there is adequate support for you as the affiliate marketer within their program. This also includes the ability to ask questions and get help with commission payments, link issues and access to advertising materials.

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How do I find Affiliate Programs

Ok, so now that we have an idea as to what it is that we are looking for, we can now start to investigate where to actually find our affiliate programs. As discussed earlier, I have broken this down into three main areas.

Marketplace Affiliate Programs

How to Find Affiliate Programs - amazon

An online marketplace is a single site that provides access to products from many sources or manufacturers. These include:

Marketplace affiliate programs are those that are linked to these sites and usually allow you to make referrals to any products within their range whether they are specific to your niche or not. They are simple to use and often a very good starting point for your referrals as you start to gain a better understanding of what other programs have to offer.

There are 100's of marketplaces available to choose from as an affiliate marketer, many of which focus on individual groups or niches. If you are working in a specialised niche and know of their marketplace, do a search on affiliate programs for them and check them out as per the above guidelines.

Note: Many of these searches will return Affiliate Networks rather than a marketplace. We will discuss these next.


Advantages of joining marketplace affiliate programs include:

  • A wide range of products available in one place.
  • The sites are well know therefor trusted.
  • Commission payment processes are well-established and trustworthy.
  • Generally good customer support processes for your readers.
  • Many implement sticky cookies meaning that you get commissions on everything your referral buys whilst on the site – even if it is not the product you referred them to.


Disadvantages include:

  • Commission rates tend to be a lot lower due to high competition and sales volume.
  • The larger the site, generally the more competition there is amongst affiliate marketers.
  • Product quality can range dramatically.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks are another good option to locate and utilise affiliate programs for your website. Affiliate networks are slightly different to marketplace networks in that they do not list products to sell as such. Rather, they act as an intermediary between the merchants/vendors that offer affiliate programs and affiliate marketers. They link you to all of their listed programs and handle the commissions, payment details and taxes etc. as a single process.

As you join an affiliate network you can then undertake a search based upon your niche which will then give you access to all member vendors that offer those types of products. Popular affiliate networks include:

Where affiliate networks differ from marketplaces, apart from centralized payment etc., is in the much higher that they can offer commissions. Many will offer the chance to produce income in two ways:

Cost per sale – The traditional commission process where you earn income based on each item that is purchased.

Cost per action – Some offer commissions based on the behaviour of the reader once they access the vendor site. This might be a payment if they access more that one screen, watch a video or register for their newsletter. The merchants use this as a means of brand awareness so will be happy to pay you to bring people onto their site as a long term returning prospect.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that just because you are accepted as a member of an affiliate program, that does not necessarily mean you can promote all of the products within the network. Each vendor will enforce their own qualification processes. Some will accept you automatically, other will accept or reject you based on other influences such as the type of website you have (i.e. whether it matches their brand or offering) and/or how much traffic it receives.


Advantages of joining affiliate networks include:

  • Access to multiple vendors.
  • Two income opportunities – Cost per sale and cost per action.
  • Centralised payment management.
  • Access to many well-known and high profile companies and products.


Disadvantages include:

  • Not all vendors will accept you regardless of your membership status in main site
  • Customer service channels can be confusing as they are not always centralised

Private Affiliate Programs

Private programs are those that are managed by the merchant company themselves. These can be very good, or very poor depending on the company and some careful screening is usually required here. To find these programs, just undertake the following search in your search engine:

Affiliate programs [niche]

For example, you could enter “affiliate programs fishing” and get the following:

How to Find Affiliate Programs - fishing programs

All I need to do then is select the program that looks ok and check out their conditions:

How to Find Affiliate Programs - affiliate outline

Let's have a look what I like about this program:

  • The company is a well-known and established online brand (I have blurred it out in this instance so that my comments here are unbiased)
  • It stocks a number of well-known, high quality brands – which is very good for review and comparison posts
  • It has a good range of accessories – good for cross selling and ad on promotions

What I don't like:

  • 6% commission is small compared to many others – so I would be looking at how many products I can promote to make it worthwhile. That said 6% on a $300 reel is $18 so I guess it would depend on how many you can sell in a month.

My verdict:

I would probably access this one if I had a fishing niche as it is a good site for posts where I am referring to more than one vendor. I.e. post a review and give the reader a couple of purchase options for your recommendation. I would however be looking for sites with higher commission rates.


Advantages of joining private affiliate programs include:

  • Some give you the chance to build a good relationship with them for greater access to products and discounts.
  • Single point of contact for customer service and payment inquiries.


Disadvantages include:

  • Some programs are very poorly run – always monitor first payments when due.
  • You will need to join more than one program to access different products.
  • Some have very rigid regulations that almost make it impossible to sell on an affiliate site – such as banning comparisons to other products.
  • Greater care is required before you join the programs and they have not been vetted within an affiliate network.

Note: Often when you undertake an “:Affiliate programs [niche]” search you will find that the merchant refers you back to an affiliate network site which is ok. Just be sure to still do your diligence checks before you apply to that particular vendor via the network pages.

How do I apply?

How to Find Affiliate Programs - readers onlineApplication processes are different for each merchant/vendor and you usually need to just complete their online forms and wait for them to approve or decline your application. Some vendors will accept basically anybody who completes the from (which can be a warning sign) whereas others are much more stringent with who they allow to promote their products. Regardless of their level of scrutiny, program applications will normally ask for the following:

  • Your website details – Name, URL etc.
  • Outline of what you website does – What your niche is, how you sell/promote products and even an outline of why you want to join that program.
  • Website statistics – Traffic, Length of time of site, number of pages accessed per visit etc. – Many programs use this as their main trigger for acceptance – if you have under a certain number of visitors to your site per month, they will reject you.
  • Disclaimers – that you do not have offensive materials such as pornography, cruelty or bullying etc. on your site

My advice here… do NOT take the application process lightly or you will get rejected. When I started my first site, I sat down one day and applied for my first 5 affiliate programs. I did all my research as above but just didn't give the application the attention it deserved. REJECTED x 5! I went back in and did the applications properly and with some respect and passion and was accepted to four of them immediately. The fifth one still rejected me based on traffic numbers but that is ok.

If you are rejected the first time and it is a program you really want to join, tweak your answers and try again. If you are still rejected based on traffic then you can reapply once your site grows. Some programs will reject you if they feel your niche is really not close enough to their product or own website brand. For example, if you are an affiliate for cleaning materials (which is a surprisingly big market) and you want to branch out into chemical free or natural products, you may still be rejected by those programs if you also sell chemical cleaning products on your site.


So there you have it, my take on affiliate programs and how to join them. Have you had any experiences, good or bad when applying to affiliate sites? Are you a member of any really good ones? What makes them so good?

Please comment below and we can check them out.

Do you need help to build your website?

If you are looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step tuition with the tools to develop and host your very own website, help to identify a good niche, content or keywords, assistance with managing affiliate programs, 24/7 support and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the graphic below to access your free starter membership – no credit card required. Want to know more first? Then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Until next time

Have fun


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 or Share-A-Sale.

Introducing Wealthy Affiliate, My #1 Recommendation for Setting Up Your Own Online Business

wealthy affiliate new home page

When I started, I knew I wanted to work online, but had absolutely no idea where to begin! You see I had watched friends of mine run a sales party to sell essential oils and someone asked if they could just sell them online?

Then, as I sat on the bus heading into my office job, I started to wonder if I could do just that, sell essential oils online.

Anything to stop having to catch this bus to and from work every day right!

The trouble was, as I mentioned above, I had no idea how to even start.

So of course I started to look around online and found all these courses! They all promised me riches then took my money but left me with no riches!

Then I stumbled across the program that didn’t promise me riches, but told me it could help me get started even with no experience!

So I did that, joined Wealthy Affiliate that was it, and the rest as they say, is history!

But it doesn’t come without work!

That is the key here! I began on their starter membership and did the training! I then joined as a member and did some more training!

Each night after work, I would do a little more, then a little more.

And to cut a long story short, after 10 months I realized I didn’t really like writing about essential oils, so I sold the site for about $2000. But I had learned so much that I started another – about fishing and camping!

Then, after 18 months (by which time it had earned me close to $10k), I was offered $17k for the site, so I sold it too.

Now, through my travel blog, I’ve been able to fund my passion for travel and explore different places around the world.

In the past few months, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing destinations, including Bali, Los Angeles, Dallas, Vancouver and Las Vegas.

The success of my travel blog has allowed me to fully fund my travels and explore new destinations with my family.

Steps to Creating a Successful Travel Blog - Me at Whistler

Try the Wealthy Affiliate as a Starter Member and Build your First Hub!

As you start your journey, Wealthy Affiliate is there for you with the most comprehensive training package I have ever seen – And as I have mentioned, I have used a few in my professional career trust me.

To get you started, Wealthy Affiliate has recently introduced the Hub.

The Hub

The hub is an AI based niche and website creation tool that will get you up and running with the foundation of your OWN business in just a few minutes. This includes:

  • Your website – hosted and inclusive of a WordPress editor
  • Your brand
  • Your ‘done-for-you’ research
  • Your blueprint
  • A task list that is going to help you drive the creation and growth of your business moving forward.
Wealthy Affiliate Review 24 - Hub screen

The hub makes the website creation process simple which allows you to get started on the training with a solid base and understanding of the processes.

All you need to do is choose your subject – which is known as your ‘niche’ – and follow the steps on the screen.

Oh, and as you run through the training below you may realize that what you created above is not exactly what you want. That’s ok, you can just create a new hub!

Wealthy Affiliate Training

Then as you continue your journey, the Wealthy Affiliate Hub is there for you with the most comprehensive training package I have ever seen – And I have used a few in my professional career trust me.

Above we discussed the use of the Hub to set up a website. Once you have done this, you will be able to access the “Step-by-Step Core Training”.

This is available to all members including starter members and will give you everything you need to know to continue to create your online business.

Wealthy Affiliate Review 24 - step by step core training

Member Training

There are also Live weekly classes taught by REAL industry experts on a range of topics like artificial intelligence (AI), SEO, YouTube, WordPress, PPC marketing and more.

wealthy affiliate master training

Great, What Else Does Wealthy Affiliate Have To Help You?

So, let’s keep this short, Wealthy Affiliate is a one-stop-shop platform that provides:

  • The Hub – this is the starting point and uses AI processes to assist you in determining your niche and creating your brand.
  • Complete training programs to assist with the development of your own affiliate marketing website in your own niche.
  • Website creation and publishing tools including access to WordPress editors and themes.
  • AI Content article design and content creation
  • Domain name purchasing (you get a free domain when you upgrade to the Premium membership).
  • Website hosting, security and backup.
  • Online help and chat forums.
  • Weekly live training events.
  • 24/7 support.
  • Keyword access tools.
  • SEO assistance.

The platform has been active for over 15 years with the original developers and owners, Kyle and Carson, still extremely active in its day to day operations – especially as they rollout their AI capabilities.

wa first two steps

You Can Try it Yourself For Free

Now of course I can tell you all about how Wealthy Affiliate works (because it does) until I am blue in the face. But every other program out there – including the shams and scams – will tell you the same thing!

So how about you just try it for free yourself. The Wealthy Affiliate Starter membership is free to join and gives you access to everything you need to get started – all without the need to spend a cent!

With the starter membership, you get:

  • 1 Limited Business Hub
  • 1,500 AI Word Credits
  • Try the AI Author Platform (BETA)
  • 1 Practice Website
  • Jaaxy Starter
  • Limited Help & Support
  • Core Niche Training (8 Classes)

And of course I will be there to help you every step of the way as well!

Look, in the interest of transparency, whilst Wealthy Affiliate does offer a free starter membership, this is designed to give you a look around, have a practice and see if it is worthwhile for you – which is a really great option.

However, as with all new businesses, you will need to make some investment so if you are serious about making money online , you will need to upgrade to a premium membership as this will give you access to all the tools you need in the one spot to succeed!

Afterall, every business needs tools to grow!

So How Much Does This Really Cost?

Wealthy Affiliate does not use upsells once you join – but as I mentioned in the video, to succeed here you will need to invest in a membership. There are a couple of options that provide access to all the tools, training and assistance that you could need – and a free domain as well.

Wealthy Affiliate offers a trio of membership tiers, as detailed on their pricing page.

You can opt for the Starter membership at no cost, the Premium membership for $49 per month or the Premium Plus+ membership for $99 per month. That’s the full extent of it – and you can absolutely build your website without having to spend another cent.

You won’t encounter any unexpected additional charges or covert fees and as a Premium member, you’re equipped with all the essentials to initiate, develop and expand a thriving online enterprise.

Those who opt for the Premium membership are provided with

  • Hosting for their websites
  • A complimentary domain name
  • Access to hundreds of hours of current expert tutorials
  • Various marketing and research tools
  • Personal guidance from seasoned professionals in the field
  • And much much more

And for those of you who want to make a serious investment into your future, there are some yearly options as well below to give you peace of mind that you have a whole year ahead of you to get stuff done!

And Don’t Forget the Personal Coaching

Once you join, not only do you get plenty of assistance from me, but you also have access to expert coaching, support and mentorship from real industry experts.

I mean, you can have access to all of the top-tier affiliate marketing training in the world, but inevitably, questions arise, particularly during the initial stages.

With an exceptionally dynamic and engaged community that boasts over 2.7 million members, Wealthy Affiliate offers an environment where you, as a member, can fully immerse and leverage this network.

You’re never alone; you have the collective wisdom of an entire community at your fingertips, ready to assist at any moment.

Plus, there’s always-on, rapid-response website support to handle any technical queries you may encounter.

WA graphic

Wealthy Affiliate Works: Real Results From Real People

As I have mentioned a number of times, Wealthy Affiliate has helped me make real money online though its training and tools.

I have made money each month as well as a sale for $17,000.

But again, those promoting other programs will tell you the same thing!

So let’s get away from me and see what others are saying:

To start with, Wealthy Affiliate has a 4.9 out of 5 Star TrustPilot rating, which is a remarkable accomplishment in any industry, let alone the online business industry.

WA trust pilot image

And here are some of those reviews:

wealthy affiliate trust pilot

And this is what people are saying within Wealthy Affiliate as well:

home page - success at WA

So, Let’s Make a Decision!

Let’s be frank, you have read this far so why not go all in, click on the button below to get started on the way to your very online business.

And once you are in and have had a play around with the hub, look for the little envelope on the top right and there will be a message from me. It is of course automated so respond to let me know you are there and we can start this journey together.

(oh, and the profile is mine so you can find me that way as well)

wealthy affiliate envelope

See you there


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  1. It’s truly amazing the number of opportunities to make money with affiliate marketing and the only thing really hard about it is retraining our brains because society has been teaching us the 40-40-40 plan all our lives. Schools don’t teach you to be an Entrepreneur they teach you how to be a valuable commodity to Entrepreneurs and get a JOB or Just Over Broke. The forty, forty and forty plan is work 40 hours a week for 40 years to retire on 40% of your wages. Entrepreneurs need to be boundless and fearless. You need to know that for a while when you start you will invest money with little to nothing to show for it but after a few months you will start seeing light at the end of the tunnel and by the end of year 2 you may even be firing the BOSS, and putting the cap of Super Affiliate on.

    1. Hi Andy, I agree and it is something that my wife and I discuss all the time.  We are making sure that our son is aware of all of the options he has in front of him and not just the 40-40-40 options as you have highlghted.  

      I guess we do need to keep in mind however that not everyone is keen to ‘get on the bus’ so to speak  – I know of a friend of mine who works in the Government and will never go down this path as he likes the stability that the 40-40-40 give him…  so it is horses for courses I guess.  

      Onwards and upwards and thanks for stopping by.


  2. Found this in a moment I really been stuck between which affiliates I should use. I have a new website I launched and It is based on selling Nike shoes. So which would you suggest I take since Amazon pays me for any product that the buyer buys when they used my link or Nike which has trusted legit shoes which are also relatively cheap compared to Amazon. Thank you for this really helpful article.

    1. Hey Donny

      To be honest you could probably use both..  Nike will however give you some good cross selling opportunities as well – such as socks, matching clothing etc.  Do a search for shoe affiliates online also.  You might find some other sites that sell Nikes as well – if they have others you can then review and compare them within your site.

      Hope this helps


  3. Hi Paul

    Thank you for this detailed explanation of how to successfully apply and find affiliate programs. It is good to see the difference between the various types of affiliate programs, some paying well, others not much so. As you say you need time and effort to be accepted, including building your website. An undeveloped website will result in your application being unsuccessful,so it pays to  pay attention to the terms and conditions.

    How do you avoid potential problems with rogue affiliate programs?



    1. Hey Antonio,

      I always look for reviews – you will see failry quickly if the program is as you say rogue – ignore reviews that say they take too long to make money rather ones that say there were not paid or the products never arrived etc.  If you find 4 or 5 of them independently of each other, I would be looking elsewhere.

      hope this helps


  4. What an amazing article. I was going to ask you about Clickbank but then I said that you mentioned it. I think affiliate networks are great since you don’t have to worry about keeping track of all your payments throughout other companies. What I don’t like is that there are some targeted niches that don’t have a lot of marketing affiliates. Hopefully that will change.

    1. hey Stephanie, 

      Yep, sadly that is one issue faced by those in specific or micro niches.  There is plenty of write about and a market there but unfortunately a lack of affiliate programs.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box a little for programs that are similar that might stock products close to what you need.

      Thanks for reading 


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