So you’ve been doing some research and you’ve been hearing all about these affiliate programs but you have no idea what they are, how they work, or how to join them.

Let’s see if I can help explain it in a way that you can understand…

What exactly are Affiliate Programs?

Think of Affiliate Programs as making money through “word of mouth” advertising. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses that have products and/or services that they want to get in front of as many people as they can. The fastest and most cost effective way to do this is offer affiliates, people like us, the opportunity to market for them. We do this through our websites, emails, social media networks and videos.

Depending on the type of affiliate program is how you get paid.

3 Ways Affiliate Programs work and pay out

  1. Clicks (Pay Per Click): When someone comes to your website and proceeds to click on a link you get paid per every click. (Most popular program for this sort of payout is Google Adsense
  2. Leads (Pay Per Lead): This is where you get paid for each lead you send the company. These are usually offered by insurance companies, mortgage brokers and such with the intent to sell their services. (Most popular program for this sort of payout is Commission Junction)
  3. Sales: When a visitor on your site sees a product or service you are promoting and clicks through to the advertisers site and purchases something you receive a percentage of that sale. (Most popular programs for this sort of payout is Amazon, Commission Junction, Clickbank and LinkShare)

Does it cost to become an Affiliate?

NO! The most popular Affiliate Programs do not charge a thing for you to become an affiliate. All you will need to do is sign up then start promoting the products or services that are relevant with your website.

How to sign-up for Affiliate Programs

For you to start promoting products or services you’ll have to sign up with and Affiliate Program. Below I have listed the TOP Affiliate Marketing Programs and if you follow the link it will take you directly to their sign up page.

How to tell if a website offers an Affiliate Program

Many times you will come upon a site that you fall in love with their products and you want to promote them on your website. To find out if they have a program you can join, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for words like Affiliate Program…Become an Affiliate, Join as an Affiliate.

If you do not see anything at the bottom of the page do a Google search on the name of the website and put Affiliate program after the name. For example, I wanted to become an affiliate of so in Google I typed in Overstock Affiliate Program.

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 5.23.09 PM Come to find out they are a part of Commission Junction which manages a plethora of Retailers affiliate programs. Sooooo, if I have already signed up for Commission Junction then all I need to do is apply to Overstock’s program.

One other really COOL thing

They give you ALL the collateral you’ll need in order to promote the products. That’s right, images, product info, links with your affiliate id already in it and so much more. I was so excited to learn that I didn’t have to design any banners or ads because this chick right here…can’t design to save her life. Lol 🙂 Hopefully after reading this you have a better understanding of what Affiliate Programs are and how they work.

If you still have questions let me know in the comments below. I’d be more than happy to answer them and help get you started with these amazing programs.


  1. Alexia February 19, 2013

    Sometimes it can be difficult to choose between from all the affiliate programs that are out there and this is something that I initially had some issues with when it came to my shoe website.

    What I found that lead to the most success was not trapping yourself within a particular network or a particular product, offer your visitors and your people what they are looking for, what they want, and what will benefit them.

    My conversions have benefited from this approach!

    • Audrey Ostoyic February 19, 2013

      This is great advice Alexia! I found myself doing the same thing at first. I was part of Commission Junction but some of the products I was finding that was relevant to my niche was not within network. Once I figured out that Commission Junction was not the only Affiliate network, I felt like it was Christmas time. lol
      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding such great advice. ~ Audrey

      • Alexia February 19, 2013

        Yeah, I think that is the problem lots of people have. They get too focused on using a particular “network” or affiliate program and they never earn money as a result of this close-mindedness.

        I personally have escaped this idea and will search for affiliate programs that my visitors want and that is of the highest relevance to the content on my websites particular pages.

  2. Rick Jantz February 20, 2013

    Hi. Great job on your site. I liked how you linked the Affiliate sites and folks could go straight there and you told them where to look when they got there. Great professional look to the site. Easy to read and follow what you’re saying.

    • Audrey Ostoyic February 20, 2013

      Thank you so much Rick, for your wonderful words. One of the classes I enjoyed the most while in college was usability and the one thing that I always remembered is to keep it super simple. Also, if you want them to take any action on your site give them the means to do so. Don’t make them have to work for it. Thanks for stopping by and let me know if there is anything I can help you with. ~ Audrey

  3. Scott Newkirk February 20, 2013

    I have heard great things about CJ (Commission Junction) But I haven’t joined them.When you are promoting a product or service, where commission junction is the affiliate do you have to apply to both of them them? There are lots of products I would like to promote through CJ but wasn’t sure how the whole process worked. I really did enjoy this article, it was very informative.

    • Audrey Ostoyic February 20, 2013

      What a great question Scott. Actually Commission Junction is an Affiliate Marketing Network, basically they are like a management company for businesses that want to offer affiliates the opportunity to sell their products/services. So, once you join Commission Junction you have access to thousands of businesses and their products. Depending on your “niche” will determine which businesses you want to request to be an affiliate of. Some businesses will automatically allow to become an affiliate while others will view your site to ensure their products or services will work well on your site.
      Keep in mind they want you to sell their products as much as you do. So, if your site is all about automotive industry and you are trying to become an affiliate of Zales Jewelry they might not allow you to be come an affiliate.
      Hope that all makes sense. If you have any other questions Scott just shoot them over. I’ll be more than happy to help in any way I can.
      ~ Audrey

  4. Neil February 21, 2013

    Great article, very informative and just love the coloue scheme.

    • Audrey Ostoyic February 21, 2013

      Thank you so much Neil. My favorite color is purple but you’d never know it because I always buy pink. lol
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      ~ Audrey

  5. Greg Robson March 3, 2013

    Hey Audrey, I love the conversational way you have of explaining things. Excellent site, I’m going to be nicking some ideas! lol


    • Audrey March 3, 2013

      Hey Greg, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I’m so glad my site could give you some ideas and you’ll be able to use them on your site. That’s what it’s all about, helping one another and gaining insight from each other.
      ~ Audrey