How to Choose a Good Affiliate Program
There are thousands of affiliate programs to join, but only a select few that are worth your time. I tend to receive a lot of e-mails asking my opinion on affiliate programs x, y and z. Most of them I've never heard of, so I can't lend my support to these readers. Chances are they aren't one of the big networks.
When choosing an affiliate program, try to keep these points in mind.
- What merchants do they work with? Are they reputable?
I've seen some affiliate programs that advertise companies I've never heard of, or ones that aren't even located in North America. One program I joined turned out to only feature adult merchants, but you'd never know it by the publisher sign up page.
- When do you get paid? And how?
I only join programs that pay by check or PayPal. I don't like wire transfer payments for many reasons. The first one being I don't want to give away my bank account information. Secondly, there are usually fees associated with accepting wire transfers. Sometimes the fees outweigh your actual profit. If a program says you'll get paid every 2-3 months, pass on it. Usually you'll get paid once a month, or sometimes every two weeks (which I recommend). I don't like waiting to get paid and neither should you.
- Does the affiliate program have an affiliate program?
This isn't absolutely necessary, but if the program you belong to has its own affiliate program where you can earn extra commission for signing someone else up, it's an added bonus. Most of the time you'll get paid a certain percentage for tier 1 sign ups and a lower percentage for tier 2 sign ups. Some programs offer lifetime payment from your referrals, but some will only pay you for one year from your referrals. Either way, it's extra money in your pocket.
- Do your research. What's everyone else using?
When I chose to sign up with NeverblueAds, I already knew quite a bit about the program, because I had seen other bloggers using them. I contacted a few of the publishers with the ads on their site and asked their opinion on the program. I only heard positive feedback, so I decided to give them a try. Take notice and pay attention to what kind of ads other sites are serving. Most of the time the ads are high yielding and perform well, especially if you have a great amount of incoming traffic.
- Are there incentives?
Some affiliate networks offer a sign up bonus, which basically puts free money in your account as soon as you open it. AuctionAds offered $25 immediately after you got approved during the month of September. Other programs will give you similar incentives, but you shouldn't make it a requirement when considering to join or not. Incentives are nice, but it shouldn't be your deciding factor.