To say that 2020 has been a crazy year for everyone would be an understatement. Few of us were prepared for Covid or a world where no one knew how to deal with it.
Like everyone else, I've had many few ups and downs myself this year. I've sadly lost a family member, caught covid and spent months being lethargic from it, got married and then moved up to Edinburgh with my beautiful new wife.
From a work point of view, the last two months have been unproductive as I've had little time to create blog posts or YouTube videos. Moving house and putting your home up for sale is incredibly time-consuming, so I don't recommend throwing a covid-wedding in the middle of it!
As I began to settle into my new home, I have more time to write articles, produce videos and think about what I work on over the next few months. I have many good articles planned for this blog and my hope is that these articles will not only attract new readers, but increase the affiliate income I generate.
In this article, I would like to share the affiliate programs that are generating income for me at the moment.
How I Make Money Online
Whilst I do still make a little money from the books I have published and have dabbled in eCommerce in the past, most of my online income is generated from affiliate marketing. This income is topped up by the occasional writing gigs, product reviews and other advertising options on this blog and other websites I own.
I see many people online calling themselves self-indulgent names like CEOs, experts and entrepreneurs, but I like to think of myself as a content creator.
Everything I do online is built upon me producing good content. Through this blog and my YouTube channels, I publish detailed reviews, tutorials, recommendations and other guides. Affiliate income is built upon this foundation of good content.
The Affiliate Programs That Make Me Money
In this section, I have listed five affiliate programs that have generated the most income for me in 2020.
Please be aware that this list is by no means complete.
The most obvious exclusion from the list is my YouTube revenue earnings from banner ads. Google used to display this revenue through Google AdSense, however they now display YouTube earnings within YouTube itself. My technology YouTube channel generates around $650 per month, though as the YouTube partner program is not an affiliate program, I have not included it in the list.
I have also ommitted dozens of other affiliate programs. Individually, they do not make me a lot of money, but collectively they earn me over a thousand dollars every year.
I have known many marketers to disregard the Amazon Associate Program because
- Commission rates are between 1% and 10%.
- There are many affiliates fighting for the same piece of the pie
- Amazon is so established now that most customers will go directly to the website
All of this is, of course, true. Amazon's commission rates are low when compared to other affiliate programs and there are thousands of website owners trying to send people to a website that we are all familiar with. Despite this, I have found Amazon to be one of my most profitable affiliate programs online, in part because of Amazon's brand loyalty.
99% of my affiliate income from Amazon is generated from my YouTube channels, not this blog. Publishing product reviews on YouTube and displaying Amazon affiliate links underneath can be extremely profitable if the video ranks well as most viewers are already interested in the product.
The good thing about Amazon's affiliate program is that if a customer visits Amazon through your link, you can generate commissions from the customer buying other items too.
The Fiverr freelancing marketplace exploded onto the scene in February 2010. Freelancing marketplaces had been around for over a decade at this point, but Fiverr did things differently by solely listing small jobs and contracts. It spawned a bizarre community of workers who would do anything for $5 and, no surprise, many competing gig websites sprung up over time.
Despite being known as a place to hire people cheaply, the official Fiverr affiliate program pays well. You can choose to make $10 per lead and a 10% revenue share or a dymanic CPA option that pays up to $150 per customer.
How much you actually earn depends on the category that the customer purchases a service. For example, you will make $30 if they purchase a creative writing gig and $60 if they buy a whiteboard explainer video. Their $150 payment is reserved for when customers purchase Fiverr PRO Services.
I have made a lot of money by promoting Fiverr, but as an affiliate, the company has always been terrible to deal with. As noted in my article “Why I’m Getting a Payment of Over $8,000 By Promoting Fiverr“, their stats were completely unreliable* and their support team was unresponsive (* To clarify, when I say unreliable, I mean their stats showed considerably less traffic than what I was sending them).
Thankfully, Fiverr also host an affiliate program with Awin.
Awin are a reliable affiliate network and you can trust that your clicks and leads will be tracked effectively. Therefore, if you want to make money promoting Fiverr, I recommend doing so through Awin instead.
3. WP Engine
WP Engine are one of the leading managed WordPress hosting services on the market. It's an easy recommendation for WordPress users as they are an established brand with a good reputation. They also sweeten the deal by offering hosting customers the full range of Genesis-powered WordPress themes from StudioPress.
The WP Engine affiliate program is hosted by ShareASale.
ShareASale are my favourite affiliate network at the moment as they always pay on time and have thousands of great companies to choose from. The network was acquired by Awin in 2017, but it continues to be run as a separate brand.
The WP Engine affiliate program is impressive. They pay $200 or 100% of a customer's first month's payment, whatever is greater. Healthy bonuses are paid when your referrals increase too.
They also give you 35% of any StudioPress theme purchases. So if you refer someone to WP Engine and they buy a StudioPress WordPress theme instead of a hosting plan, you will get a commission.
Thrive Themes are a popular WordPress company that are behind many great WordPress products. This includes the page builder Thrive Architect, the landing page plugin Thrive Leads, the quiz builder Thrive Quiz Builder and the discussion plugin Thrive Comments.
I have tested most of their plugins whilst writing articles for other WordPress websites. All of their plugins are high quality and easy to recommend so I would like to do more reviews to increase my commissions from them. At the moment, I make less than $500 from them every year, but I know I can earn more.
The company pays 35% of all referred purchases and 25% of any recurring revenue you generate. Their minimum payout is only $20 too so you can expect regular commissions from them.
I consistently made several hundred dollars a month recommending Envato products for many years. For the traffic I sent them, I should have been making tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite not actively promoting them, I still make a few hundreds bucks with them every year due to existing links on my blog.
Sadly, Envato have always had one of the least generous affiliate programs online, only offering a 30% commission on a customer's first purchase, with no commission if your referral is already a member and no recurring revenue on future purchases either. This is poor, particularly when you consider that low rate affiliate programs such as Amazon will at least pay you a commission for directing existing customers back to their website.
Envato is an established marketplace too, which means that if you send them 100 people, perhaps only four or five will be new members. If one of those members buys something for $5, you will only receive $1.50 in commissions, even if that member goes on to spend thousands of dollars over Envato over the following years.
In other words, you need to send a ton of traffic to Envato in order to make money and even if you do that, you are unlikely to make great money.
Envato also has a digital membership website called Envato Elements that gives members unlimited access to a catalogue of digital products. Their Envato Elements affiliate program pays $60 over three months for monthly customers or $120 if they pay a year in advance, but since it is a membership website, it will be difficult to make great money from the service long-term.
From an affiliate management point of view, Envato have always been terrible too. Their in-house affiliate program had terrible support and they actively allowed others to redirect users and steal commissions.
They now host everything through the Impact Radius affiliate network. It should be no surprise that the transition to Impact Radius was a shambles!
Whilst I do still make a little money with Envato, it's difficult to recommend them to affiliate marketers.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the five affiliate programs that are currently generating income for me.
Moving forward, my hope is that I greatly increase affiliate income and diversify where affiliate income is being generated. Amazon is a company I will continue to promote as I use them so much and their associates program converts well, but I will not be actively promoting services such as Envato anymore.
Making money from affiliation through content marketing can be hit or miss, particularly as the ranking of blog posts and pages are liable to change, however by publishing more high-quality articles and testing new affiliate programs, I should be able to generate income from different products and services in the future.
Thanks for reading.