In last week’s blog post, I talked about ways in which you can monetize your blog, one of the most profitable ways being through affiliate programs. Several of my subscribers asked me specifically which affiliate programs were most profitable. In the post, I had mentioned both ClickBank, and Amazon, but it is important to break down the pros and cons of some of the top affiliate programs, because not all of them are universally effective, and some are niche specific. Though I highly recommend both Google Adsense and Bing Ads, and though they are both more profitable than most of the options on this list, I have not included them as they pay you based on sales commissions as most other affiliate programs do. That said, be sure to check both of them out and include them in your platform.
When I am helping clients set up syndicated blogs through my Affiliate Maverick Program, ClickBank is the first affiliate program I install on a site for several reasons. Firstly, it is easy to set up. Their plugin and widget make it easy to post and promote the programs and products they are offering through their service. More importantly, it is not niche specific. ClickBank offers a number of different categories for nearly every niche imaginable, and you can select the niches whose programs and products you want to stream on your blog of online magazine. Because it is so popular, it also has perhaps the largest variety of products and programs. This means that your viewers will constantly exposed to a new array of products, increasing the number of potential commissions. They also happen to have some of the highest commission rates in the market!
The number one retail store in North America doesn’t even have a store! This means that people are buying online more than ever, and most of them are buying something from Amazon. Like ClickBank, Amazon is free to sign up with, and it is easy to install on your blog or web magazine. It also has the added benefit of its name recognition, and like ClickBanks has products that fit any number of niches. So why is it not number one? Though being an Amazon affiliate can be profitable, the market is also saturated. A lot of people are already familiar with Amazon, and so visit the site on a regular basis. Therefore, it is difficult to get a commission from Amazon’s regular buyers. That said, these same buyers are still targets for potential commissions as they already buy from Amazon. Another issue is that they have one of the largest affiliate programs in the world, which means that you are competing with more people for commissions. In addition, it sometimes takes two months to get a payment on a sale, which can obviously be frustrating. Still, given the name recognition and limited effort it takes to include Amazon on your blog, it is a viable and profitable option.
For a few years, it seemed like Ebay had a distinct advantage over Amazon, but though Amazon has leapfrogged Ebay is the past couple years, Ebay still has a huge market. They also have a lot of different categories, so they are niche friendly as well, and unlike Amazon, you get your payments fast, because they use PayPal. Ebay is also known for their seasonal discount, which can be beneficial if you are looking for a little extra cash around the holidays. The same could be said about Amazon, but given how negative the response to Amazon’s Prime Day sale was, I wouldn’t expect their discounts to lead to direct sales, even if they did see a 93% increase in sales that day. Ebay, like Amazon, also has the name recognition, which is always helpful for affiliate programs. However, if you don’t have significant traffic, you may be turned away for a partnerships as Ebay is more selective about who they let into the program. This means that folks who are just starting out likely won’t be eligible for the programs.
4: Commission Junction
Commissions Junction (CJ) is another of the most popular affiliate programs, and though it functions more like a pay-per-click program, akin to Google Adsense and Bing Ads, I’ve included here because it uses a more complex Cost Per Action/Acquisition (CPA) program and still essentially functions as a commission of sorts. While you do get paid per click, with this program you will also get paid when visitors you’ve generated subscribe or opt in to an option. This means that you get paid even if they haven’t sold something. With a sizable network, coupled with reliable monthly payments, CJ is one of the best affiliate programs out there, and its detailed reporting makes it easy for more nuanced affiliates to improve conversion rates. However, this is a double-edge sword as it is considered too complicated by a lot of newbie marketers, and many have complained about a lack of customer support. Still, it is worth learning as the skill set required to succeed can help you with other programs, and the profits can be worthwhile.
5: WOW Trk
Like CJ, WOW Trk is a CPA program and has been in operation since 2007. Though its network is not as extensive as CJ, they do boast over 500 offers, and they have exclusive deals that can only be secured through their network. They are also a global network, and so have a wide variety of offers, making it niche friendly. However, their payments are exclusively in British Pounds (GBP), and so must be converted.
Just as Ebay was leapfrogged by Amazon, so too was LinkShare passed by CJ; however, LinkShare is not without its merits. It offers an automated rotation of banners, so you don’t have to personally select them as you would with CJ, making it much easier to manage your site. It also allows ‘deep linking’, which lets you customize campaigns. That said, the size of the network is considerably smaller than CJ, and as Blog Entrepreneur observes, you payment is only made after the merchant gets their cut, which leads to delays in payment.
These, of course, are not the only affiliate programs out there, but they are some of the most profitable, and easiest to work with. You want to have Google Adsense and/or Bing Ads on your site first and foremost, but each of these affiliate programs can serve to enhance the revenue generated from your website. Other viable programs include Share-A-Sale, Neverblue, and PeerFly, and with the market always changing, it is important to keep an eye out for new programs. Having two or three of these programs working in conjunction with Google Adsense or Bings Ads is a sure way to maximize and diversify your revenue. If you don’t have your own blog or web magazine, check out my Affiliate Maverick Program, which can help to get you started.
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