FREE Affiliate Programs

Affiliate Programs: The Fastest Growing Way To Make Money Online

I am sure you have heard that affiliate programs are the fastest way to make money online. Here we will look at some of my favorite free affiliate programs.

Why do I want to focus on the FREE ones I hear you ask?

Well that’s easy.

Affiliate marketing is where you market (promote) other people’s goods and services and you receive a commission for each sale.

I honestly believe that YOU should NOT have to pay to join an affiliate program.

I have three main problems with companies that make you (the marketer) pay to join their affiliate programs:

1) You are volunteering your time in the beginning.

Remember you only get paid a commission on every successful sale. So if there are zero sales…. then alas there is no money for you. I honestly don’t believe that you should waste both your time AND your money.

For this reason, I refuse to pay to join any affiliate marketing program.

2) Compulsory minimum monthly sales are a clear warning sign for most pyramid sales and scams. Almost every country in the world has these sorts of warnings for a reason. Listen to them. It’s really good advice.

“You need to avoid any opportunity or scheme that involves offering goods or services of little or doubtful value that serve only to promote the scheme” Source: Scamwatch

3) By joining only FREE Affiliate Programs you get to remain independent and offer your readers (website visitors) 100% independent quality advice.


Why is this important?

Remember the last time you walked into a store to buy something. The only items on the shelves are things that the retailer has either already purchased (as inventory) or promised to purchase later (via consignment).

How do you know if this is the #1 best product for you and your needs? You don’t. You are simply choosing from the best items that the store owner has pre-purchased.

As you build out your website and gain more and more authority in your niche you will want to “cheery pick” the products that offer the most value to your audience and that’s why it’s important to keep your independence.

Hot Tip #1

In short… keep your money in your pocket. You are contributing your marketing skills. That’s enough. Don’t give them your money as well.

Any affiliate marketing program that you makes you pay monthly fees to be a member is scam – walk away…. or better yet, run away.

OK So How Do I Pick FREE Affiliate Programs For My Website (Niche)?

First things first, you will need to pick your niche. If you need help to pick your niche, please click here.

In this example I will use the word “coffee” as my topic niche.

So to find affiliate programs that specialize in the coffee niche, I will simply open up one of the major search engines and then type in “Niche + Affiliate program”.

So this example would be “coffee + affiliate program”.

As you can see in the results. There are over  5 million affiliate programs in the coffee niche to choose from.

Now I would open up a spreadsheet and then type in the following headings:

  • Name
  • Free to join?:
  • % Commission:
  • Qualifying criteria for a sale:
  • Length of cookie:
  • Minimum payout rate:
  • Country for the cookie:
  • Currency:
  • Payout terms:

Then I would go through every link that I like and try to answer those questions listed above.

The main questions I would focus on are WHAT do you have to do to get paid AND method of payment.

The top ways to earn a commission are:

1) Pay Per Click (also called “PPC” & Cost Per Click)

Where you get paid a fixed price for everyone who clicks on a particular link and goes to the merchants’ website. The terms and conditions page will say how long the visitor has to remain on the page for before they will pay you. The standard time is usually 30 seconds, but it does vary. Google & Bing Ad’s PPC fees are usually payable the moment a website visitor clicks on the link, regardless of how long they spend on your website. So T&C’s do vary from program to program.

2) Pay Per Sale (also called “PPS” & Cost Per Sale)

Where you only get paid on an actual successful transaction. In the terms and conditions page of the program the merchant will point out if they pay on a percentage per sale or a fixed dollar amount per sale. Amazon Affiliate Program is the most well-known program worldwide and they use a percentage of sale as one as their key methods of activating a commission.

3) Pay Per Lead (also called “PPL”, Cost Per Lead & Cost Per Action)

Here a website visitor clicks on a particular link that you have and then goes to the merchant’s website. From there they must fill in a form and give permission for the second website owner to contact them. You only get paid when a form is filled out.

An example would be a local accountant / lawyer paying a commission for any lead that you refer to them.

After reviewing the Terms & Conditions from all your merchants’, you will end up with a list of anything between 3 – 10 that you actually like.

When you have identified them, you need to approach them and apply to join their affiliate program.

Different companies have different criteria. The larger (more well-known company) who outsources the running of this program could have different criteria to a small business who runs the program internally.

For my top tips on how to get a YES from every affiliate program that you want to join, please click here.


An affiliate program that I recommend is Wealthy Affiliate.

They allow you to recommend their products and payout a commission, even if you are not a member with them.

The payout rates are also very reasonable.  Click here if you would like more information.

Rakuten Linkshare

Rakuten is one of the largest and most well-known affiliate marketing companies out there. They are definitely well worth taking a look at.

Main Advantages

Free to join the affiliate program.

Well known.


Can let you rotate the ad’s that you are displaying.

Will give you the option of sending traffic to specific pages (deep linking options).

Main Disadvantage

The interface is tired and needs to be updated.

May not have merchants’ that are a perfect match for your niche.


One of the largest worldwide – especially for digital products including ebooks etc.

Main Advantages

Free to join the affiliate program.

Well known industry player.

Market leader in digital products.

HEAPS of merchants’ to choose from.

Commissions paid for successful sales are quite high by industry standards. They pay anything from 10-75% commission.

Main Disadvantages

The quality of the merchants’ / products can be really hit / miss.

Must meet customer minimum payout commission rate before you can get paid.

CJ Affiliate

Is the largest player in this affiliate marketing space.

Main Advantages

They are HUGE and with over 3,000 merchants’ and millions of products, they have a very large selection of products to choose from.

Very user-friendly.

Great feedback data is available to help you make extra sales.

Main Disadvantages

CJ only pay you once the merchant has paid them. This can lead to long delays before you get paid out.

Amazon Associates

Major industry player in the physical goods market. Also, sell ebooks etc.

Main Advantages

Clean dashboards.

Easy to used to find new products to promote.

Payout regularly.

Main disadvantages

Low commission payout percentage (as low as 4%). This means you need lots of sales to make your business earn a full time income.

There are literally thousands of merchants’ out there prepared to offer an affiliate program in any niche. Why don’t you do a search and see which ones are a better match for your niche?

Just type in “Niche name + Affiliate program”

My #1 Top Tip To Finding the Perfect Affiliate Program For You

My #1 top tip to finding the perfect affiliate marketing program for you is just to APPLY TO ALL THE ONES YOU LIKE.

Yes that’s right folks. Different programs have different qualifying criteria and just because you would like to join a program, there is no guarantee that the program will accept you. Yikes! No one likes being rejected.

So the best thing to do is simply to apply to multiple program and see which ones accept you and which ones have the best product matches for your audience.

Success leaves clues and by doing this then you will learn which products suit your clients best and which ones don’t. You will also learn which payout commissions are too low to justify your time and which payout criteria takes to long to receive any money from so they don’t meet your business needs (we all have to eat right?)

If you would like to join my #1 recommendation for how to learn to build a successful affiliate marketing business online, please click here.

I really enjoy talking about all things to do with affiliate marketing and I was wondering, was this article on free affiliate programs helpful to you? What parts were helpful? What parts should I improve on?

Together we all learn and grow faster. Please feel free to leave any comments, hints and suggestions in the comments field below and I would be happy to get back to you.

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12 thoughts on “FREE Affiliate Programs”

  1. Affiliate marketing is so popular that so many people are now getting into it because of the many benefits that these programs have to offer. It is so good to know that you can start a home-based business with this type of work and make a good living not to say becoming your own boss. I would encourage anyone to become a part of this type of business.

    1. Hi Norman, thank you for stopping by today. I really appreciate that.

      Thank you also for sharing your experience with us. Together we all learn and grow faster. I agree with you that affiliate marketing is very popular. Everyone wants to be their own boss and work from home…. and affiliate marketing can be started with little or no money.

      It’s easy to see why so many people like it.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us today.  I really appreciate that.

      Thank you again.

       If you are looking for ways to help improve your website rankings, please click here Top #3 Ideas of How To Improve Your Website Ranking

  2. Hey
    Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to earn money online, but it also the most difficult if you are new to affiliate marketing. Your article really explains everything about affiliate marketing. I was glad you have mention Wealthy affiliate as begin one of the best training for beginners. Overall, love the layout and how you made it so simple to understand and now I’m ready to move forward in my journey.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for stopping by today and for sharing some of your knowledge and experience with us, I really appreciate that.

      Thank you for saying that affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to earn money online, but also one of the most difficult if you are new to affiliate marketing. I really agree with this statement.  

      Thank you for saying that training is really important for beginners. I honestly believe that through training we can all achieve our goals and dreams faster.

      Good luck moving forward on your journey.

      If you are looking for ways to help improve your website rankings, please click here Top #3 Ideas of How To Improve Your Website Ranking

  3. Hey, just read your post. You pretty much covered it all when it comes to affiliate marketing. There are some good tips and advice here as well. I also like how you left a link to help others choose a niche. I ended up regretting my first niche and found it difficult to write about it and I ended up changing the niche after the website was created. Now I have a website whose name doesn’t exactly match what I am writing about.

    1. Hi Esteban thank you for stopping by and for sharing your knowledge and experience with us today. 

      Yes, I was in a similar position to where you once were. I had my first website and after a while I didn’t like it any more. I had to start again. You are right that it is possible to change direction in the middle of your website creating days and you will still be ok. The internet is constantly changing and it allows for new directions to take shape all the time.

      Thanks again if you are looking for ways to help your website rankings please click hereTop #3 Ideas of How To Improve Your Website Ranking

  4. This is a wonderful article on affiliate marketing and so glad you brought up the way some companies are multi-level marketing and you should not have to pay to get into an affiliate program. I have tried the route of the pyramid scam before, and found I was paying out more than I was making only the top of the pyramid are the ones that make money. Wealthy Affiliates education and training has really helped me take my business to the next level. I do prefer to be independent and when you find that perfect fit in an affiliate program it can really make a difference.

    1. HI Dena,

      I hope you are well and that things are going nicely for you. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing some of your knowledge and experience with us I really appreciate that.
      I am sorry to hear that you joined a MLM / Pyramid scheme that made you pay $$ just so you could sell their products – I don’t agree with that and I am glad you got out when you did. Only the top of the pyramid make any money, that’s for sure.
      I am happy that you have found success with affiliate marketing. I hope you continue to go from strength to strength.
      If you are looking for ways to help improve your website rankings, please click here

  5. I like the title of making money after 50 because as years progress it doesn’t get easier making income. Actually, it becomes harder especially as technology grows. Do you think technology plays a role in it? But with some elbow grease and patience I believe the sky could be the limit. I also believe free is better starting a new business, building it from the ground up. Does anyone list some “free” start-ups?

    1. Hello and thank you for dropping by today, I really appreciate that.

      Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge and experience with us. Together we all grow and lean faster.

      I agree with you that as we get older we get more and more responsibilities placed upon us – things like kids and large mortgage for instance. At the same time technology gets faster and faster and we just have to stop, spend time and learn the parts of the technology that we need to make our lives easier.

      I also agree with you that starting a business from scratch or for “free” is the best way to go. Why? Because if you as the business owner discover that you don’t like the industry or you don’t know how to attract customers – or any other major business issue, then you can walk away knowing that you haven’t mortgaged your house and then went on to lose $200 K, $300 K or $400K or even more.

      This way  you can live to fight another day as the popular saying goes.

      If you are looking for ways to help improve your website rankings, please click here Top #3 Ideas of How To Improve Your Website Ranking

  6. Excellent post A quick and good comparison of different and recognized affiliate programs. I have tried several, I have seen literally dozens of videos about it, but none like Wealthy Affiliate, is a training program where you learn to do as you go. And compared to other systems it is not expensive, it can cost less than one coffee per day. With nothing to lose with your free membership. I recommend it!

    1. Hi Jesus,

      Thank you for stopping by today and for sharing some of your knowledge and experience with us, I really appreciate that.

      Thank you also for sharing about how you have used multiple affiliate programs. I agree that all affiliate marketers should try out lots of different ones until they find the one that is right for them and their audience.

      You are right of course, Wealthy Affiliate does offer a training program as well and it is very cheap at the cost of only around a coffee a day.  It’s great if everyone can earn their membership quickly so that it is free, free, free.

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your experience with us today.  I really appreciate that.

      If you are looking for ways to help improve your website rankings, please click here Top #3 Ideas of How To Improve Your Website Ranking

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