Let’s chat affiliate marketing. As a blogger, are you optimizing the potential of affiliate marketing?
It can be a hugely successful strategy to monetize your blog in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy, so long as you are honest and straight-forward about it.
But do you know where to go to get affiliate links?
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure, because I have rounded up the best affiliate networks for you to join.
How Affiliate Networks Work:
To get affiliate links for products, you need to be signed up for the brand’s affiliate marketing program. Some brands may manage their affiliate program themselves, but most work through affiliate networks.
Basically you sign up for the network, then request join the brand’s individual program, and then once accepted, you can go in and grab links for that brand’s products that will be embedded with your unique referral link. It means that every time a reader clicks on that link from your blog to go to the product, there is tracking and if a purchase is made, you get a commission.
The affiliate networks listed below are the ones that will get you access to a huge range of great brands – from Etsy, Target, Anthropologie, Lowe’s, Wayfair, and so many more. I’m personally a member of 8 out of 11 of them!
**IMPORTANT** You don’t need to be a part of every single network.
Choose the ones that have the brands that best suit your blog and style. The biggest thing here is NOT to link to a brand from two networks (for example, you can get Etsy affiliate links through both Affiliate Window and through RewardStyle). The reason you don’t want to do this is because you run the risk of them cancelling each other out. If there is a brand that is a part of two networks, always stick to using the affiliate links for it through ONE network (you can make a note of this on your tracking sheet!).
1 / Amazon Affiliates
This is such a great affiliate program, especially as your first one. Amazon offers a huge variety of products so you can usually find a few things to link to within each blog post.
The other great benefit?
After a reader clicks your amazon link, anything they add to their cart for the next 24 hours and purchase, you get a commission on. Even if it wasn’t the thing you linked to originally. How sweet is that?
2 / Share-a-Sale (part of Awin)
Another really popular affiliate network! Share-a-sale is geared to predominantly online-only merchants. Think Shutterfly, Wayfair, Craftsy, One King’s Lane, Land of Nod, and Joss & Main.
There are no requirements to join.
3 / Affiliate Window (now called ‘Awin’)
This one is more popular in the UK, and although there aren’t strict requirements for joining, there can sometimes be a $5 joining fee.
What do I use this network for? ETSY! If you love Etsy products and want to link to them on your blog, sign up for this network.
Anyone who is sweet enough to want to link or promote my own Etsy shop products, I always tell them about this so that they can earn commission on any sales made.
4 / CJ Affiliate
Even though CJ Affiliate is one of the largest affiliate companies, it is not hard to gain access to. Their brands include Lowe’s, Domino, Indigo, Pier 1, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Fabric.com.
Once into the CJ Affiliate network, then you need to apply to the brands directly to get into their individual programs. Note that sometimes getting into the individual brand’s affiliate programs can be more strict.
5 / Impact Radius
Can you say Target? Yes, this is the network that has the Target affiliate program. Halle-lu-jah! They also have Pottery Barn, World Market, and other goodies.
No requirements to join.
6 / PepperJam Network
PepperJam seems to have a lot of smaller, online retailers. In the home/DIY niche, they have Ace Hardware, Lulu & Georgia, and Kelly Wearstler.
7 / Rakuten Linkshare (formerly ‘LinkShare’)
This one is a large worldwide affiliate program and works with companies like Anthropologie, Nordstrom’s, and Macy’s. No requirements for joining.
Sub-affiliate networks are a little bit different. Instead of applying to individual brands within the affiliate network, once you get into the sub-affiliate network, you have access to all of their brands.
These are the more popular sub-affiliate networks out there:
8 / RewardStyle
RewardStyle is a popular sub-affiliate network, especially with fashion bloggers. They have some great home décor brands too, like Target, Anthropolgie, Wayfair, and more.
They are the creators of the “Like to Know It” app which helps influencers monetize their instagram with affiliate marketing. When a reader “likes” an Instagram image, RewardStyle sends them an email with the shopping list of the products shown in the Instagram pic.
RewardStyle is notoriously hard to get into and usually only accept bloggers with an established following and like a clean, bright aesthetic.
9 / ShopStyle Collective
With ShopStyle Collective, you earn money per click instead of per sale. They keep track of the clicks that go to retailers and calculate a revenue share based on the volume and quality of the traffic. The more your shopper buys, the higher your per-click rate will be.
They work mainly with lifestyle and fashion bloggers, and include brands like Nordstrom and J Crew. You can check out the whole list of brands here.
ShopStyle has a tool for monetizing Instagram. It’s similar to RewardStyle, and more accessible since it’s easier to get into the ShopStyle program. FYI – if you get into RewardStyle, you don’t need to ALSO be in ShopStyle Collective. It’s an either/or sort of thing.
10 / SkimLinks
SkimLinks comes with a technology that bloggers might find helpful, particularly if the tech stuff is challenging. The way it works is that it turns all of the links on your blog into affiliate links automatically using an internally-generated HTML or java script code to monetize different brand keywords. There aren’t any requirements to join.
Some publishers who have used them include Apartment Therapy and Huffington Post (street cred!).
11 / Viglink
Like Skimlinks, Viglink creates a code on your page that turns regular links into affiliate links. No requirements to join but some retailers have limitations, so you may need to directly apply to some brands to be a part of their programs.
I know there are a lot, but I don’t want you to leave cash on the table by not optimizing your posts with affiliate links.
I am NOT suggesting that you start writing posts with the sole purpose of dropping affiliate links left right and center (comes off sleazy for your readers), but if you were going to link to a product anyway, have a DIY supplies list, doing a “shop our house”, or wanted to do a round-up, then those links should definitely be affiliates. If they aren’t, it’s totally a missed opportunity.
Do you want to launch your own online shop?
I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.
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–5 tips for increasing your affiliate marketing earnings. This one is a must-read!