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How to Find Good Affiliate Programs to Join (in 7 Easy Steps!)

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If you’re here, it’s likely you’re interested in affiliate marketing, but you want to know how to find good affiliate programs to join.

You may be starting an affiliate marketing business or you might be looking to add additional revenue to an existing business. Affiliate marketing is a great revenue stream to have.

You can earn comparably with having your own product or service, and you don’t usually have to participate in the customer support, shipment, inventory management, or other backend functions. There are great passive components once you have some momentum going. Your content can make money for you while you’re sleep!

Good Affiliate Programs vs. Bad Affiliate Programs

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for the last two years and I’ve been able to get my affiliate earnings up to $2500/mo, and it continues to climb. It’s been great. You can see my March 2020 income report here if you’re interested.

Over my time in affiliate marketing I’ve learned it’s very important to choose affiliate partners carefully. I’ve found some who look out for their affiliates and appreciate what they do, and others who slide the rug right from under them for no fault of their own, and even without warning.

Merchants Don’t Always Understand the Effort Required for Getting Their Sales Online

Some merchants don’t understand the effort affiliates put in to help them get sales. We have to create content: articles, social media posts, videos, audio, and sometimes even run ads. We have to watch our content and make sure it converts well. There’s lots of effort invested to get sales for our affiliate partners.

In my opinion, affiliate marketers should be treated with the same (or greater) respect as traditional offline salespeople, but many merchants don’t treat us that way. In traditional sales, there were lots of great perks to making sales for the company you worked for.

As an affiliate, you’re an independent salesperson that performs the sales work 100% online. The merchant doesn’t have to provide office space, benefits, or management like what they’d have to do for a sales team. When an affiliate takes their time and effort to build up a stream of steady sales, it should be appreciated.

My Experience with Bad Affiliate Programs

I’ve been in affiliate programs where the merchants don’t pay on time. I’ve been in affiliate programs where the merchant keeps changing affiliate management platforms, so the links go dead over and over without notice. I’ve also been in affiliate programs where I get great sales for an affiliate, and they decide to kick me out anyway because they want me to buy their products.

Amazon Slashed Commissions Causing Affiliates 50% or more in Pay Cuts (at no Fault of Theirs)

Amazon is a great company for many reasons, but recently, they fit the example as a bad affiliate program.

One recent ethical disaster in affiliate marketing happened with Amazon. They decided to slash their affiliates’ commissions with no explanation or warning. Even worse, they announced the cut in commissions during the COVID-19 lockdown when many people were feeling lots of uncertainty. Affiliates who were earning 10% per sale for an item may now earn between 1%-3% per sale.

Amazon had alot of avid affiliate supporters, and people who built their entire websites to direct customers to Amazon, and their incomes have dropped by more than 50% for no fault of their own. They still have a:

  • Large reputation
  • High conversion rates
  • and Notoriety

…so, it’s still possible to get good sales on Amazon, but the commissions that once were an opportunity are no longer possible, and considering how many times they’ve slighted their affiliates, it’s probably not a good idea to focus your promotion efforts on Amazon.

Recommended Reading:

Picking Good Affiliate Programs is Important

It’s crucial to choose affiliate partners who will look out for you and be considerate. If you’re putting in the effort to send customers to a merchant, they should treat you fairly by compensating you for your work.

It’s just as easy to support a considerate merchant as it is to send customers to one who doesn’t care about you, so why not take your time, and choose partners who are considerate of their affiliates?

How to Find Good Affiliate Programs to Join (in 7 Easy Steps!)

To avoid spending lots of time and getting a little in return, it’s important to follow these 7 steps for finding good affiliate programs…

1. Identify your Niche

First, you want to decide who your website is intended to serve. Companies who sell well tend to focus on helping an easily identified group of people. Here are over 100 niches you can choose from.

2. Identify your Target Audience

Once you’ve chosen a niche, it’s important to understand things about the people who are in the niche. You want to know:

  • Beliefs
  • Problems
  • Needs
  • Obstacles
  • and other things that would help you to find and recommend relevant solutions for them

Recommended Resources:

3. List Products that are Solving Problems for the Target Audience

It’s important to do market research and see how people are solving the problems that your ideal customer is having. You can read other blogs in your niche, watch Youtube videos, scroll on Pinterest, do Google searches, read books, and network with people in your niche. Ask questions about how people are solving the problems that you audience is having, and write a list of potential solutions.

4. Validate the Demand for the Products

Using Google Trends, you can see which brands are most popular, which products are most searched for, and validate the demand for the solutions you’ve listed.

5. See if Leading Products Have an Affiliate Program

Once you\’ve narrowed things down a bit, you can start to search for affiliate programs for the solutions you\’ve listed. You can check in affiliate networks, reverse engineer blogs in your niche, visit vendors, and see if they have an affiliate signup on their websites, and you can Google search using keywords like:

  • “Affiliate programs for…”
  • “[niche] affiliate programs”

6. Look at the Terms of the Program

You want to avoid affiliate partners who:

  • Don’t pay on time
  • Don’t have clear payment terms
  • Have a history of making changes with payment terms selfishly
  • or who are not good a communicating changes, updates, promotions

Sometimes, you can deal with a “red flag”, but it’s much easier to be a long-term affiliate partner with a company that pays on time, is clear with payment terms, has ideal commission percentages, has good sales incentives, and a good history of communicating and keeping stable commission rates.

7. Join the Affiliate Program

Once you’ve validated that an affiliate program is a good fit for your audience and a good fit for you, then you should apply to the affiliate program and wait to get accepted. If you’re denied, you can send an email to the manager of the program, and see if it’s something you can change, then try re-applying.


When you join an affiliate program, it’s a business partnership. You’re invested in creating results for another company, and you should be compensated accordingly for doing your part. 

Make sure you take your time to choose affiliate partners who are going to treat you as partners and respect your effort, otherwise, you can spend a lot of time for a small return. When you find a good affiliate partner who looks out for you and provides you favorable terms, double down, be loyal, and get the most results you can for them.

Learn More About Choosing Good Affiliate Partners

Get Started with the Online Entrepreneur Certification

If you're looking to learn how to build a website, get traffic to it, and monetize it, the Online Entrepreneur Certification at Wealthy Affiliate will help you out. Learn everything you need to know to choose great affiliate partners, and even read reviews from other affiliates to see which are recommended.

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