When it comes to legit ways to make money online, affiliate marketing is (and has been for a long time) one of the best ways.
It works for beginners, seasoned internet marketers, bloggers, Youtube creators, social media influencers, mommy bloggers and anyone else trying to earn money on the internet.
Basically, an affiliate program is like a team-up between a small creator (the affiliate) and a bigger company. The smaller creator acts as an advertiser for the bigger company, sending business their way in exchange for a cut of the profits.
How to Make Money with Affiliate Commission
As an affiliate marketer, you can make money in two primary ways:
1. Work with an Affiliate Network
Affiliate networks act as the middle man between affiliates (bloggers, publishers, YouTubers, etc) and brands.
By joining an affiliate network, you’ll have access to hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs from companies in many different sectors, all in one platform. You’ll be given your own unique affiliate link. Whenever someone clicks on that link and buys/signs up for the products or services offered by that company, you get a commission.
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Obviously, the affiliate network gets a cut of that as well. So you may get paid a little less than if you work directly with a company, but the convenience of not having to sign up for hundreds of individual affiliate programs, I think is worth getting paid a few cents less.
Most affiliate networks pay via PayPal, Direct Deposit and Check. Some, like MaxBounty, pay weekly, others pay every 30 or 60 days.
2. Work directly with the company
These days, most companies have an affiliate program. All you have to do is search for the company name followed by the term “affiliate program” to find it. Like, “Walmart affiliate program”.
After you sign up and are approved for the program, you’ll be given a unique link that you can place on your site, blog, social media pages, etc. Whenever someone buys/signs up for the product or service that the company offers, through your link, you get a commission.
The downside of working directly is that if you want to join more than a few programs, it’ll be a little time consuming to fill out tons of applications and keep track of each individual program’s account, earning, links, etc. But the upside is that you usually earn more commission since there is no middle man between you and the company.
Most affiliate programs pay via PayPal, Direct Deposit and Check.
It’s worth noting that a lot of sites have a “cookie period,” which means even if your reader clicks on the website and closes it, if they visit the site again (when their previous visit from your link is still in their cookies) and make a purchase, you still get a commission from them!
Usually, the companies that pay best are the ones that offer subscription-based services. Most subscribers will stay on for more than one month (and keep paying the company you’re partnered with), so you’ll get a big bonus just for getting them through the door.
How Much Money Can I Make with Affiliate Marketing?
The amount of money you can make depends on many different factors. Obviously the more customers you send to companies, the more commission you earn.
But that’s not the only factor that affects your overall earnings.
Commissions vary based on the product or service you’re selling. Some offers, like signing up for rewards sites, pay only a few dollars for new sign up. Understandably, since all the user has to do is sign up for a site for free, the commission isn’t that high. Other offers, like signup up for a hosting account with say, BlueHost, pays $60 or more per sign up. The reason the commission fee is higher is that the customer actually has to spend money upfront, plus hosting fees are reoccurring. So the company may pay you $60 for a new sign up, but they keep making money from that one customer you send them.
Obviously, higher-paying offers are more competitive and it is much harder to get people to pay for stuff than sign up for something for free. So you have to strike a balance if you want to be successful.
Obviously, the kind of products/serveries you’d want to sell as an affiliate depends on your niche. If your blog is about gardening, becoming an affiliate for a car company won’t do you any good. Your readers are interested in gardening related tools, material, flowers, etc.
Also, the size of your audience/site traffic plays a huge role in how much money you can make. The more traffic your site gets, the more people are exposed to your affiliate links, increasing your chances of earning more money. There are people who only make a few hundred or thousand dollars a month, and then there are bloggers who make tens of thousands of dollars. And then there are the top earners, like these YouTube earners who make millions of dollars with affiliate marketing.
Top Legit Affiliate Programs to Get Paid in 2020
Here’s a list of a whopping 150+ of the best affiliate programs to make money this year:
The Best Affiliate Marketing Networks
If you’d rather work with affiliate networks, the following are some of the best (and my own favorites).
Here are some of the highest paying affiliate marketing networks:
- Impact Radius
- ClickBank (How to make money with ClickBank without a website!)
- CJ Affiliate (former Commission Junction)
Keep in mind that affiliate networks don’t all work with the same companies. So if a network doesn’t carry offer for a company you like to become an affiliate for, sign up for another network. It’s always good to join a few different network so you can have access to a wide variety of companies.
Also, it’s worth noting that sometimes, the same offer has different payouts on different networks. For example, network A may pay you $50 commission every time you send a new customer to a hosting company. But network B may pay $60 for the exact same offer. So that’s another reason to join a few different networks.
The Best E-commerce Affiliate Marketing Programs
Online shopping is the most obvious means of making money through the web, and if companies want their merch to be more visible, they’ll set up an affiliate program. Usually, you’ll have an affiliate link to a specific sales item, and if your readers click through to it and snap it up you’ll get a cut.
Some programs also offer a smaller percentage if the reader clicks the link and buys something else from the site.
- Amazon – Rate depends on the item but can run up to 10%.
- ebay – Rates range from 1-5%, with a cap of $550 per transaction.
- Etsy – Between 4 and 8 percent, depending on the item.
- Overstock – Up to 6% commission on all purchases.
- Target – Up to 8% commission.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Finance Management
People, paradoxically, will pay to be able to handle their money better. Whether that’s with apps or credit card offers, companies want to bring people in and will pay you to do it.
- Bankaffiliates.com – Varies between 2% and 20% depending on the company.
- Bankrate Credit Cards – Variable commission rate.
- CIT Bank – $100 flat rate per lead.
- Commission Soup – Variable commission rate.
- Discover – Up to $40 per new cardholder.
- Experian – Commission rate withheld until signup.
- Freshbooks – $5 per free trial signup plus $55 per paid subscription.
- LendingTree – Leads can earn up to $70 apiece.
- Liberty Mutual – Payout of $3 to $17 per lead.
- NetQuote – Payout of $2.50 to $20, depending on what’s purchased.
- QuickBooks – Up to 10% commission on any sale.
- TransUnion – Commission rate withheld until signup.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Sports and Fitness
If you love sports or have a knack for inspiring people to get out and get fit, consider these partnerships!
- Ace Fitness – 8% commission rate.
- Al’s Sporting Goods – 7.2% commission rate.
- Bodybuilding.com – 8% commission for new customers and 3% for returning customers.
- Body Spartan – 10% commission per sale.
- Bowflex – Starting commission rate of 3%
- Dick’s Sporting Goods – Commission rate of up to 5%.
- Enigma Fishing – 20% commission rate on affiliate sales.
- FitBit – Commission rate starts at 3%.
- Gene Food – Commission rate of $20 per purchase.
- GoPro – 5% commission rate.
- Horizon Fitness – 8% commission rate per sale.
- Jillian Michaels – 20% commission rate on new subscriptions.
- Leather Head Sports – Commission rate of 10% per sale.
- LeftLane Sports – 10% commission on every sale.
- Life Fitness – Starting commission rate of 8%.
- Monki Fitness – 8% commission rate on net sales.
- Mountain Hardwear – Up to 10% commission rate per sale.
- Reebok – 7% commission rate per sale.
- Titan Fitness – 4-5% commission per sale.
- TRX Training – 10% commission rate.
- UnderArmour – Variable commission rate.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Fashion/Makeup
Everyone wants to look good. If you’re the type to show off your clothes or cosmetics, consider shopping with these brands and throwing some business their way. Use their affiliate links and you can earn a decent commission.
- Avon – Up to 10% commission rate.
- BH Cosmetics – 8% commission on purchases within 60 days.
- Eddie Bauer – 5% commission on all sales.
- H&M – 5.94% commission rate.
- JNCO Jeans – 20% commission rate.
- L’Occitane en Provence – 2.5% commission on all sales.
- Lane Bryant – 5% commission payout.
- Madison Reed – 20% commission plus $10 referral bonus for new affiliates.
- ModCloth – Starting commission of 5%.
- MVMT Watches – 10% commission rate.
- Newchic – Average commission rate of 2.5%.
- Nordstrom – 2-20% commission rate.
- Sephora – 5-10% commission rate.
- True Religion – 3% commission for coupon sales and 8% for loyalty partners.
- Ulta Beauty – 2-5% commission rate.
- Warby Parker – Up to 20% commission.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Music
Music supplies are expensive, so even small commission percentages can mean big money for even a few sales. Here are some of the best ones out there:
- Fiddlershop – Starting commission of 7%.
- Guitar Center – 6% commission rate.
- MasterClass – 25% commission plus bonuses of up to $400 depending on monthly sales.
- Musician’s Friend – 4% commission rate.
- Pianoforall – 60% commission on all sales.
- Sam Ash – Up to 10% commission rate.
- Singorama – 40% commission on shipped media, 70% on instant downloads.
- Thalia Capos – 15% commission starting rate.
- zZounds – 6% commission rate.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Web Development
In order to have a web presence outside of social media, you need a website. It’s the face of your business, blog, or what-have-you. These services are made to help people build their websites, and directing people to them will usually earn you a commission rate.
- 3dCart – 300% (not a typo- 300%) commission for every new customer.
- BigCommerce – 200% of the customer’s first monthly payment or $1,500 per enterprise customer.
- Leadpages – Up to 50% recurring commissions for the length of your referral’s subscription.
- Pabbly – 30% recurring commission on every sale.
- Sellfy – 25% of the cost of the first 12 months of service.
- Shopify – $58 flat rate for each paid plan, $200 for each Plus referral.
- Site123 – Up to $182 for each sale.
- Weebly – $25 per new customer, limited to $100 per month.
- Wix – Get $100 per sale, with no limit on referrals.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Web Hosting
If a person or company wants to start a website they need a host in the same way a business owner needs a landlord to provide the space for their storefront. Get people to use one of these services to host their website, and you can earn a commission!
- Bluehost – Each qualified sign-up earns $65.
- Cloudways – Option of a flat $125 per sale or $30 per sale plus 7% lifetime commission
- GreenGeeks – Tiered earnings program, $50-100 per sale for 1-6 sales per month.
- HostGator – Ranges from $65 per signup for 1-5 sales to $125 per signup for more than 21 signups per month.
- Hostinger – Whopping commission rate of 60% for every sale.
- Liquid Web – Starting rate of $150 per sale.
- WP Engine – Minimum of $200 for WP Engine sales and 35% for StudioPress theme sales
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Cryptocurrency
With almost no real-world advertising for this new mode of currency, you stand to be the one who introduces these cryptocurrencies to the world, for substantial commission percentages.
- Binance – Up to 40% recurring commission for every referred user’s transactions.
- Changelly – 50% revenue share.
- Coinbase – 50% commission on trading fees for the first 3 months.
- Coinmama – 15% commission on all purchases.
- KuCoin – 20% referral bonus on each order.
- Ledger Wallet – 10% commission on each sale.
- Localbitcoins – 20% commission on trading fees.
- Paxful – 50% commission on fees.
- Trezor – 12-15% commission rate.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for VPN
People like their privacy, but they don’t always know how to get it, especially online. These services let people practice information privacy for a fee, and will pay you to get people to sign up for them!
- CyberGhost – Up to 100% commission rate.
- ExpressVPN – $13 for one month, $22 for 6 months, $36 for 12 months.
- HMA VPN – 100% commission rate, non-recurring.
- IPVanish – Up to 100% of all new sales, 35% of all subscription renewals.
- Ivacy VPN – 100% commission plus 35% recurring commission.
- NordVPN – 40% for a new sign-up, 30% for a renewed subscription.
- Private Internet Access – 33% commission on new and recurring subscriptions.
- PureVPN – Up to 100% commission and 35% lifetime recurring.
- StrongVPN – Up to 200% commission for every sale.
- Surfshark – 40% commission per sale.
- TunnelBear – 100% commission for every new subscriber.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Video Games
According to the Entertainment Software Association, video games accounted for over $43.4 billion.
In addition to that are sales of consoles, peripherals, and other gaming supplies, which all come at a high-dollar value. Companies selling these, aware of the popularity of gaming on the internet, often partner with Twitch streamers or other gaming media producers to promote their products.
- Alienware – 0.99% commission rate.
- Astro Gaming – 5% commission rate.
- Fanatical – 5% commission per sale.
- Gamefly – $15-20 per new subscription.
- Gamestop – 5% commission rate.
- Kinguin – 5% starting commission.
- Leprestore – 15% commission per sale.
- Logitech – 4-10% commission, depending on the purchase.
- ModdedZone – 10% commission on all sales.
- Nvidia – 2% commission on all sales.
- Origin PC – Commission determined by the seller.
- Razer – Up to 10% commission on Razer products.
- Twitch – Revenue from Bits, Subscriptions, and Ads.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Travel
If you use your platform to show off your travels, you can partner with these agencies to promote their business and get people to set off on adventures on their own!
The usual setup is that you get a one-time commission every time a customer uses your link and then books a trip through the affiliated company.
- Booking.com – Starting commission rate of 25%.
- Expedia – Up to 50% commission on each booking.
- Hilton – 4% commission on every completed stay.
- Hotels.com – 5.5% commission rate.
- Hotwire – 2% commission rate for most purchases, $15 for multi-product packages.
- Marriott – 3-7% commission rate for hotel stays or packages, respectively.
- Priceline – 3-6% commission rate.
- Travelocity – 3-8% commission on hotel stays, 2% on car rentals, $30 for cruise ship stays.
- TripAdvisor – Minimum commission of 50% for hotel bookings.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for CBD
A growing new market, no pun intended, CBD companies are looking for ways to get their name out there and move their product. That’s where you come in.
- CBD Medic – Up to 40%% commission.
- CBD Pure – Starting commission rate of 40%.
- Charlotte’s Web CBD – Up to 15% commission.
- Grasscity – Minimum 8% commission.
- GreenCultured – 40% commission for all referrals.
- Green Roads CBD – 10% commission rate.
- Green Wellness Life – 10% commission.
- Hemp Bombs – 10% starting commission rate.
- Joy Organics – 25% commission rate.
- Just CBD – Up to 25% commission.
- King Kanine – 15% commission rate.
- Lifted CBD – Starting commission rate of 10%.
- Seedsman – Up to 20% commission.
- THC University – $25 per student transfer.
Miscellaneous Affiliate Programs
These are a few companies that don’t fit into any one box. If you recognize a brand in here as one you trust, think about promoting for them! A lot of them offer decent commission rates.
- Adobe – 85% commission on monthly plans.
- amoCRM – 35% commission rate.
- Aweber – 30% recurring commission rate.
- Buzzsprout – $25 for every paid referral or 20% recurring commission.
- Canon – Starting commission rate of 2.5%.
- ConvertKit – 30% commission rate.
- Elegant Themes – 50% commission rate.
- Fiverr – $15-50 per transaction on normal Fiverr services, $150 for Fiverr Pro.
- GetResponse – $100 per sale or 33% recurring commission.
- NinjaOutreach – 50% recurring commission.
- PromoRepublic – Starting commission rate of 20%.
- SEMRush – 40% recurring commission.
- SpyFu – 40% recurring commission rate.
- Teachable – 30% commission payout.
- Thinkific – 20% recurring commission rate.
- Whistle – 10% commission rate.
While affiliate programs can be a great way to earn money while supporting businesses that you like to use, it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to pay a fee to “buy-in” to affiliate programs. Companies that do this are most likely out to get your money, not to give you a share of theirs. The companies mentioned above are legit, free to join and the best affiliate programs to make money with.
That said, if you limit your partnerships to businesses you know and already patronize, then it just makes sense to earn a little money from any business you might send their way!