Blogging

The Blogger’s Guide To Affiliate Links: rStyle, ShopStyle, Amazon, And More

Using affiliate links on your blog is one of the best ways to monetize it.

I earn a good chunk of my blogging revenue (over $5,000 every month) in affiliate income, so if you’re not using affiliate links on your blog, I recommend you do this ASAP!

The good thing about affiliate links is that even absolute beginners can use them. Even if you’re not getting much traffic yet, I recommend you start using affiliate links. You have nothing to lose, and you’ll start monetizing as soon as your traffic increases.

In This Post

I’ll be going over all of the best of ways of earning affiliate income for bloggers. This includes Amazon, Affiliate Networks (LinkShare and ShareASale in particular), RewardStyle, and ShopStyle. I’m currently using ALL of these, so I’ll be telling you all the details: what they are, my experience, as well as the pros and cons for each revenue stream.

cat

How Affiliate Links Work

In a nutshell, affiliate links contain a tracking code in the URL. If someone buys through your affiliate link, you’ll make a commission. This commission varies but it’s generally between 5% to 15% depending on the merchant.

In order to have affiliate links on your site, you have to partner with companies that offer an affiliate program. Many retailers do, and they’re either a part of a bigger Affiliate Network (like Linkshare, ShareASale or rStyle) or manage their own programs (like Amazon).

Most Affiliate Networks and Programs are relatively easy to join. The biggest exception is rStyle.

The Lingo

Affiliate Network: The big network that manages a multitude of Affiliate Programs for brands. For example, Linkshare and ShareASale are Affiliate Networks. They host Affiliate Programs for Sephora, Nordstrom, Forever 21, and so on.

Merchant/Advertiser: The retailers and companies that are on the Affiliate Network (such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Forever 21).

Publisher: You, the blogger or website owner.

Commission: The percentage of the total sale that goes to the publisher. You get a commission based on everything that was purchased through your affiliate link, whether or not the specific product you link to was purchased.

Cookie Duration: When someone clicks your affiliate link, they get a cookie. The cookie will expire after a specific length of time, which means your affiliate link will become invalid. So if the Cookie Duration is 24 hours, you get a commission as long as a purchase is made within 24 hours, after which the cookie expires.

Let’s start with something that ANY blogger can use and start earning from relatively quickly: Amazon.

1. Amazon

amazon-associates

Amazon, the biggest online retailer, has its own affiliate program. And it’s great for multiple reasons, especially for beginner bloggers.

The Good

  • You can easily get accepted (as long as your blog isn’t violating any rules). You don’t need any traffic.
  • People actually buy from Amazon all the time! This means that you’re more likely to get a commission.
  • Creating links is simple, and their whole platform is user-friendly. You can see all your stats and track your progress.
  • They have a huge product selection, so the odds are you’ll find relevant products to link to.
amazon

The Not-So-Good

  • The cookie window is only 24 hours. Which isn’t super uncommon in affiliate programs, but you’re not getting paid unless the purchase is made within those 24 hours.
  • Low commissions. Amazon used to have okay-ish commissions, but they’ve cut them quite dramatically in recent years.
  • Also keep in mind that you’re not getting paid until your balance reaches $100. If you’re just starting out, it might take a few months to receive a payment.

What’s The Commission?

The commission starts at 1% for categories such as Health & Personal Care or Grocery. It averages at about 4% for most items. At the top, we have Luxury Beauty with 10% commission.

Here are the rates:

Amazon also offers bounties depending on what the shopper signs up for. For example, if a shopper signs up for Amazon’s baby Registry through your affiliate link, you’ll earn $3.00. You can click here for a full list of the bounties as well as the commission structure.

Note that you don’t need to link directly to Amazon’s Baby Registry (or any other service) to earn the bounty. The reader simply needs to click any of your affilaite links and sign up.

How to Become an Amazon Affiliate

Click here to sign up for Amazon’s Affiliate Program. You’ll need your Amazon account information, or you can create a new account.


2. Affiliate Networks

If you’re just starting out as a blogger, I also recommend you join an affiliate network (particularly the ones I mention below). This is the best way of earning affiliate income when your traffic isn’t big enough for rStyle (I’ll go through this later).

Affiliate Networks are good because:

  • They’re huge, meaning you can join a ton of Affiliate Programs from top brands and retailers. This also includes the fashion and beauty industry.
  • Anyone can join them, and they typically don’t require a big audience.

A few popular Affiliate Networks are:

  • LinkShare (Rakuten)
  • ShareASale
  • Pepperjam Network
  • Impact Radius
  • CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)

I’m only going to talk about LinkShare and ShareASale, which are also my favorite. I think most bloggers will mainly benefit from those two.

LinkShare (Rakuten)

linkshare-revenue

What’s LinkShare?

If there’s one Affiliate Network you should join, this is it. LinkShare is the most popular network in the fashion and beauty niche right now, hosting retailers like Nordstrom, ASOS, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Forever 21, Birchbox, and Net-A-Porter.

Who’s On LinkShare?

Here are some of the Affiliate Programs you can join on LinkShare:

What Are The Requirements To Join?

No requirements, and it’s free for publishers. Once you’re on the network, you’ll apply to all the Affiliate Programs you want. A few programs will have traffic or country restrictions, but most will accept you as long as you have a legitimate website.

How Do You Join LinkShare?

Click here and fill out the form. You’ll need to enter your contact info and website data.

ShareASale

shareasale

What’s ShareASale?

I’d say that ShareASale is the second most important Affiliate Network for bloggers in general. If you’re in a healthy or green niche especially, this would be a great network to join. Anyone who’s a lifestyle, beauty, or fashion blogger will also find great opportunities.

Who’s On ShareASale?

  • Shopbop (1%)
  • Ulta (5%)
  • QVC (1%)
  • American Apparel (3%)
  • American Eagle Outfitters (2%)
  • Banana Republic (1%)
  • Forever 21 (4%)
  • Free People (4%)
  • Gap (1%)
  • Gilt (3%)
  • LOFT (5%)
  • Lululemon (2.5%)
  • Mango (2%)
  • Old Navy (1%)
  • Philosophy (5%)
  • Revolve Clothing (5%)
  • ROMWE (10%)
  • Urban Outfitters (5%)
  • Zappos (8%)

What Are The Requirements To Join?

No requirements, and it’s also free for publishers. Once you’re on the network, you can apply to all the different Affiliate Programs, and in my experience most of them will accept you. The main requirement is having a legitimate website.

How Do You Join LinkShare?

Click here to create your account.


3. rStyle

rstyle2

I’ve been on rStyle for only a few months now, but I’ve been seeing great results. So much that I’m in the process of changing most of my links to rStyle! I’ll tell you why it’s my favorite network in a little bit.

What’s rStyle

rStyle of RewardStyle is essentially an Affiliate Network like the ones mentioned above, but it’s very different. First of all, it’s blogger-focused, especially for the fashion blogging niche. It’s also more exclusive, meaning they don’t accept everyone who applies (true story, I got denied twice).

Because it’s especially tailored for bloggers, rStyle is sleek, easy to use, and most importantly, it combines ALL the major brands and retailers.

I mentioned that rStyle is different from the other Affiliate Networks mentioned. This is because they don’t have their own affiliate platform, and they use Affiliate Networks that are already in place. So rStyle comes between you (the blogger) and the Affiliate Network (like LinkShare or ShareASale).

This is actually a good thing, and I’ll tell you why below.

rstyle-login

The Good

RewardStyle has a lot of advantages over the other Affiliate Networks.

First of all, rStyle is much bigger. If you’re a fashion or beauty blogger, it combines all the brands and retailers you’re talking about on your blog (basically, it combines all the Affiliate Networks in 1 place, so that you don’t have to join them all).

rStyle offers higher commissions. Because RewardStyle generates so many sales (through ALL their bloggers combined, which is huge!) they’re able to negotiate better commissions. I don’t think I can share exact numbers, but they offer higher commissions than you get through LinkShare and all the others. I was also told that their average cookie duration is 30 days, which is excellent.

Another huge bonus to rStyle is how easy it is to create links! If you’re not familiar with Affiliate Networks, you don’t know how time-consuming it is to create custom affiliate links. The struggle is real! It’s a time-suck, and rStyle makes it quick and painless thanks to their browser widget. 2 clicks. Done.

Another advantage of joining rStyle (and the reason why I joined them) is that they’re able to get any brand or retailer they want, whereas you as an individual blogger aren’t always able to do that. I’ve had trouble getting into some programs before, which is super frustrating.

rStyle is also more sleek and modern in design, and it’s much more user-friendly than other networks (which can be intimidating and hard to figure out).

Also, rStyle manages all the individual programs for you. Sometimes retailers decide to switch networks, and this is a bummer for bloggers. It means all our old links suddenly don’t work, and we have to go through the struggle of changing them. rStyle makes this easy for bloggers.

Their “customer service” is also top notch. Every blogger is assigned a manager to guide them and help them along the way.

rstyle-report

The Not-So-Good

It’s not as easy to get in, which is unfortunate for new bloggers. You need to have a social media presence and good engagement among other things.

One quirk I’ve had with rStyle is their limited reporting system. There’s no way of telling which products you’ve sold, and the exact commission for every order. You only see the commission you received (as pictured above) but you don’t have access to the total sale, individual items sold, or even the commission in percentages. LinkShare for example gives you all this information.

Another thing to consider is that rStyle has all the control on your links if you use them. They can drop commissions at any time, or do whatever they please. And if something happens to rStyle and they go down, your affiliate revenue will go to 0 overnight. You should always have a back-up plan, and never put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to affiliate earnings.

wallet

What’s The Commission?

The commission varies based on the advertiser. The minimum commission is 4.9% and the maximum commission is 30% (if we exclude some exceptions that offer even more). The average commission is a bit over 10%.

How To Get Into RewardStyle

rStyle claims that the following are determining factors:

  • Large and growing audiences. many of our daily sales are coming through social networking sites like Pose, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and we also look for comments on your blog.
  • Consistent posting (at least 3x a week) about monetizeable products.
  • Quality imagery and original content that is both creative and aesthetically pleasing to your readers.
  • Linking all linkable content, so that your readers will be directed to retailers’ sites.
  • Consistent, clean and editorial design that pervades the whole blog, (like Luella & June, for example).

Note: From what I’ve seen, I believe that the first factor is by far the most important one. If you have a large audience, especially on social media, you’ll get accepted.

My Experience With RewardStyle

rStyle definitely only wants bloggers with established sites. I applied twice before getting accepted. Third time’s the charm! But that’s also when they changed their application form to include your website traffic and blog income, which I believe helped in my case (since my social media numbers didn’t reflect my traffic).

After getting in, I was immediately greeted by my manager who was helpful and friendly. She’s still always there to answer my questions, and I also get useful updates. It’s a well-oiled machine and one of the best networks in terms of efficiency. If you’re a newbie to affiliate links, they’re willing to work with bloggers to increase their revenue.

The biggest surprise when joining rStyle was their commission rates, which are higher than I expected. Their whole platform is easy to navigate, well-designed, and they have different widgets to make your life easier. One of them is their linking widget, which makes creating links super easy.

How To Sign Up

Click here to create an account and apply to rStyle.


4. ShopStyle

shopstyle

Last but not least for beginner bloggers is ShopStyle. This one’s similar to rStyle but one major difference: they pay per click rather than sales/commission. This means that every click is monetized, and you get a few cents per click.

What’s ShopStyle?

ShopStyle functions in the same way rStyle does, in the sense that they come between the blogger and the Affiliate Network. When someone clicks your ShopStyle affiliate link, you’ll automatically get about 5 cents per click. The cookie then goes to ShopStyle, and if the user makes a purchase through your link, it’s ShopStyle that gets the commission.

It’s a gamble, but it makes sense. Only a small percentage of users who click an affiliate link end up buying something.

So if you’re using commission-based affiliate links on your site, most clicks earn you $0. And every now and then, you get lucky and someone makes a purchase, which typically generates at least a few dollars in commission for you.

The Good

If you don’t have a big audience, ShopStyle might be a good option for you. Especially if you know your audience, and you know that they’re not big spenders (i.e. if you have a high click-through rate but low commission).

  • Every single click is guaranteed to be monetized.
  • They accept all bloggers and you can start earning immediately.
  • Good for bloggers with little traffic.
  • Good for bloggers who get many clicks with very few sales.
  • User-friendly platform and modern design.

The Not-So-Good

You might earn more with purchase-based commission. Like I said, it’s a gamble, but I believe that most bloggers typically earn more from purchase-based commission than paid clicks.

shopstyle-analytics

What’s The Commission?

For me, it’s roughly 5 cents per click.

My Experience With ShopStyle

ShopStyle was easy to join and quick to get the hang of. I use purchase-based commission links on my site, so I only wanted to test out ShopStyle.

A while ago I placed 2 ShopStyle links throughout my site as an experiment. In the last 6 months, those links received 1,700 clicks and my earnings were $85. This means that I’ve received exactly 5 cents per click.

How To Join ShopStyle

Just click here to create a new account. It’s easy to join.


To Sum It Up

Above are all my recommendations for bloggers who want to use affiliate links on their sites. Amazon is a must and will always come in handy. If you’re an established blogger, I recommend you join rStyle. I also suggest LinkShare and ShareASale to everyone, so you can familiarize yourself. Lastly, if you’re not getting a ton of traffic yet, ShopStyle might be a good option for you!

Personally I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket in terms of affiliate links. Right now, I mainly use Amazon, LinkShare, and ShareASale, and I’m also switching over to rStyle. If you’re using rStyle, I believe it’s good to have a backup.

Hope this was helpful!

Do you use affiliate links on your blog? If so, what do you use? Tell me below!

how-i-make-money-with-affiliate-links3

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

160 Comments

    1. Thanks Kate, glad this was helpful!! Don’t give up with rstyle and re-apply when you think you’re ready!

      1. Hi there, That was really helpful. I have a blog that is not fashion based. It it more green shopping, home goods, healthy lifestyle — is there an affiliate program that is not as fashion based? I don’t think any of my products would be at Net-a-porter ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks

  1. rStyle isn’t actually that hard to join… Or I was once in, and my blog was even smaller than it is now now. But then my blog went unactive for a while, so they kicked me out without notice. I’ve since then tried and tried to get invited back in LOL But gave up two years ago. After finding your blog, I decided to give it another shot as my blog has been more established by now, and I got invited like the same day! So I don’t know, doesn’t seem that hard… ^^

    As of now I’m using Amazon, rStyle, and iHerb (as well as some google ads and Youtube). iHerb brings me the most money, but the problem is that you need to get to $300 within 180 days to be able to “take it out” so to speak. Or I’m there, but I want to be able to get to $300+ a month for it to pay off you know… As I feel you also need to shop in order to attract buyers.
    Otherwise I highly recommend iHerb as it is relatively easy to get rewards, as you offer your audience something in return, like 10% for new customers, as well as you make about 10% off of product referrals.

    Amazon sales are really slow… but at least some people are actually buying… In contrast to rStyle, that I get lots of clicks on, but yet no sales! -.-

    I’ve been and am with linkshare and all the other affiliate programs, but I’ve never generated any money off of them :/ I’m probably going to check out shopstyle, as for me it seems like clicks are the way to go… Right now my goal is to cover my Hosting-costs so I can keep on running the blog, and hopefully after that it may generate some more, but I’m starting to doubt that.

    Great guide btw! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Isabel! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think you’re a unicorn for being accepted into rStyle so easily! I assume they’re mainly looking for engagement and social media activity, but I’ve heard multiple girls claim that they can’t get in. For me, it took 3 tries.

      I love iHerb too, they overall have a great program for bloggers and I genuinely love the store so it’s a win-win. For health or green bloggers, it’s probably THE affiliate program to join.

      I’m genuinely surprised that you’re not generating more income with your blog. It’s fantastic and gives such a good impression. I hope you keep it up and I wish you the best of luck!

  2. Hi!

    This was a great post and super helpful! Thank you so much for all of the information. I’m just starting out my YouTube Channel and I’ve been looking for a way to link everything I purchase. I would love to be accepted into rStyle but I don’t think I would be accepted right now. Do you know how many followers they like you to have to be accepted into rStyle? How big was your blog before you were accepted? Thanks again!

    xx

    1. Hi Mila, thank you for your kind words! I’m glad it helped. I think I got into rStyle when my social channels reached over 2-3k followers each (approximately). Good luck, and make sure you have an engaged audience (likes, comments).

  3. Hi. Thank you for this info. Super helpful to me. I was wondering also, with an affiliate link program, if I sign up for programs after my blog is created (a few weeks/month), can I revise existing (past) blog posts with links?

  4. Thanks so much. This was a really helpful article. We just launched our digital magazine, one month ago, and affiliate marketing is a whole new world to me but this information is great. Thank you for taking the time to detail all the pros and cons. It still looks a little intimidating but I am sure I will get the hang of it. Of course I want to join RewardStyle but I realize that won’t happen for some time even though I have signed up. Not holding my breath ๐Ÿ˜‰ Would love for you to take a look at my site and give your opinion on the best program for us?

    1. Wow Sue, great site and great niche! Your website looks very polished, so I went ahead and filled out an rStyle referral for you. I think the form should be in your e-mail. Hopefully you can get in! If not, give LinkShare a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information! I’m in the process of setting up my website and this is super helpful. One question: What do you think about the Collective on PopSugar? Have you had any experience with joining that group? Thanks for any info you can give me!

    1. Hi Ana! Thank you for stopping by! I don’t have any experience with PopSugar unfortunately but I’ll be sure to look into it.

      1. Hey – great guide Suzi! As a home decor blogger, it takes many many many clicks to get a sale through (people don’t go around buying furniture super often, haha), so I’ve been testing and comparing rStyle and Shopstyle. Just to clear up the confusion though, Popsugar owns Shopstyle Collective! They renamed it from Shopsense to Collective last year I believe.

        1. Is there any way to reach you Kevin, I tried to email you via email provided on your site and got a bounce back. I am an advertiser who would like to collaborate on a few concepts for Q2 ’18.

  6. I’ve been using SkimLinks, Impact Radius, Linkshare, and CJ. My blog is still pretty small so I haven’t made anything on Linkshare and I haven’t made enough on CJ or Impact Radius to be able to cash it out. I like Skimlinks b/c I don’t have to create any custom links. I tried to get into Rewards Style 2 yrs ago and got denied so I just tried again tonight after reading your article but my views haven’t gone up much in 2 yrs so I doubt I’ll get in. Can anyone recommend another affiliate network that works well with Sephora? A lot of my most popular posts feature Sephora products and even though SkimLinks does comission through them, I’m finding it hard to believe I haven’t had 1 sale in 3 yrs.

    1. Hi El! Sephora is my most linked-to retailer as well. They’re on Linkshare but their program is private, so it takes a bit of work to get into. I would also recommend linking to Sephora through Shopstyle so you get paid per click. It’s worth experimenting with!

  7. This was a super helpful article. I hope you keep up with this blog. There is SO much information to cover and it is constantly changing. I experienced that with Adsense. I tried to sign up before we had content up thinking I could have the blog all set to go and got denied. Not even two weeks later when I had finished editing and setting up things on the blog that I didn’t even know I had to, the application system had changed. There are zero tutorials for it and I am crossing my fingers that I did it right. They now require that you put some of their script in a specific place in your HTML so that they can review your site. Fingers crossed that I found the right spot.
    Anyway, our blog (my sister and I work together. I do 90% of the behind the scenes, which is fine because she’s got the look for IG especially) as I was saying our blog has been up and running for 1 week now. Yay! I’m still waiting on Adsense. Been accepted into Linkshare (still sorting through places to apply to, been approved by 2 so far), Shareasale (though I haven’t found anything on there applicable to us yet, maybe I’m looking in the wrong place?), and Target (which actually got us a referral to one of the affiliates on Linkshare that wouldn’t even consider us, now they have accepted our application). Also, applied to Ulta and waiting to here back. They have their own separate program now, I guess. I’m curious about Sephora, cannot seem to find Sephora US anywhere, though on site it says it’s on Rakuten (Linkshare). We additionally were just accepted by Devinah Cosmetics as affiliates/ambassadors whatever it is because of our IG and our recent expansion. I read something about custom links in the article?? I do not know what that is. Could you explain and maybe give a clue as to how I would do it. Also, where should I put the info about being involved with affiliate programs, etc? The only links we know how to do is to turn the product name into a link. Is it better to have one of those bit links next to the product? I don’t know how to make those either. Anyway, if you get a chance, take a look at our blog and I would love ANY and ALL suggestions that you have. I know that there are a few quirks here and there. It’s going to be a work in progress as I learn. So pleases excuse anything weird, but please mention it in case it is something I have not noticed. Thanks for all of the info.

    1. Hey Lorelei! Glad to hear you’re moving on up with the blog! Okay, so let’s see.

      Sephora’s affiliate program is on Linkshare, but it’s private. This means it’s not listed, and what I did to get in is contact Linkshare.

      Your disclaimer (the information about some links being affiliate links) should go in a separate page called “Disclaimer”. You can link to that page in the footer for example. You should also aim to make it clear if you’re using affiliate links. The official rule is that affiliate links must be disclosed, and the disclosure has to be “in proximity to the affiliate links”. This is open to interpretation.

      I don’t mention “custom links” in this article, but maybe you mean deep linking? Meaning that you can link to any URL on the store’s site. Some programs only let you link to specific pages.

      Let me know if you have more questions.

  8. I’m not sure RewardStyle gives more weight to the traffic/number of followers/interaction (#1 on your list at all). I tried to join and was denied, and I have around 100,000 pv/month + 15,000 fb followers. My conversion rate is pretty high, also enough comments, and I make around 3,000 per month!

    I might not publish enough often for them, or is not the niche they want… Who knows! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Xo

    1. Thanks for letting me know! Weird you didn’t get in. I don’t know what their criteria is and they don’t seem to want to elaborate.

  9. Hi Suzi!

    This was EXTREMELY helpful! Thank you for providing so much insight and detail about each of the different affiliates. We are a few months into our blogging journey and found this information very useful. Happy New Year!

  10. Hi Suzi,

    Thanks for a really informative article! I’ve just launched my blog and don’t have any stats yet, but I have a social media presence of over 30k with great engagement (average is 1.2 k per post). I was wondering if you have any idea how much page traffic rStyle is looking and considers “large”? I applied once before, but that time I only had 19k followers and no website. Thanks in advance xx

    1. I honestly couldn’t say what they’re looking for exactly! My guess is that their criteria is loose, so it might depend on the individual who judges your site. Don’t sweat it and reapply if it’s been long enough!

  11. Thanks so much Suzi, all the information provided are so helpful to understand how all the system works…
    I am studying a the case of lunching my own website and I was wondering if you could help me find any info concerning fashion & beauty & lifestyle marketing agencies that can provide me with latest news or data that i could publish or post on my website (meaning latest trends or latest news, fashion shows, interviews……) like fashionmag or fashiondaily …Since I’m a beginner i’d rather take all the news from a safe source so i can build trust with my followers….It would be great if it is for free !!! but if not then i’will deal with it !!! I need to make my contents consistent and also frequent this is why i have to rely on professional resources (agencies) and i believe you must have an idea about it since you’re a pro now !!! it’s better to have all ready and planned rather than grabbing info from different places especially that i need to be innovative in submitting some news before others if possible !!! so i hope you could help me in that !!! I thank you in advance my dear …Take Care
    Corine

    1. Thanks Corine! Unfortunately since I’m not a big fashion industry follower I can’t help with this, but maybe someone else will have suggestions for you!

  12. This post is so helpful! I really like how you broke down each site. I’m a little confused though about how you’re able to use multiple affiliate programs at once. Do they not have exclusivity clauses? I’ve been doing Amazon only because my blog is pretty small and I’d been rejected from Rewardstyle before, but I reapplied a few months ago and just found out I got in! Now I’m wondering whether to keep my links with Amazon or switch to rstyle. I blog DIY and home decor, so I think there just aren’t as many options as for fashion.

    1. Hi Marlene! Fortunately these programs have no exclusivity clauses, so you’re free to join them all. Congrats on getting into rStyle! For me, it really depends on the product. If it’s available on Amazon, I would stick to that.

  13. I’m so glad that I came across this post today. I’ve been considering whether or not to start up a blog (with affiliate marketing). This has some wonderful info and will help me tremendously! Thank you so much! Do you mind me asking what program you use for your blog (most people have recommended WordPress for beginners) and what did you use to sign up your domain?

    1. Thank you Kelly! I really hope it helps. I use WordPress.org and that’s what I would recommend if you want to blog for profit (and even just as a hobby, really). For hosting, I recommend going with Bluehost, and they offer a free domain.

      1. Do you have the prime package? probably lol, sorry I just started my blog 2 weeks ago and have lots of questions ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Thanks much for posting this! I am just getting started with my fashion + food + lifestyle blog and I was curious about how all of these affiliate programs worked… It is all a bit confusing for beginners so your breakdown of everything really helped! I will definitely check a few of these and see which one is best for me! My site is http://www.sweetlifeoflaurengrace.com if you want to check it out ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this info! Question: I don’t have my website yet but as I understand it’s a MUST? I just start my fashion blog but it’s growing and I really get motivated. Can you look at my account yuliyamir1 just really need your opinion. Thank you so much!

  16. Thanks for all of this super helpful information. Have just started using affiliate links on my blog and social media and trying to learn all about it.
    I’m signed up to multiple progs (amazon, linkshare, shopstyle & rewardstyle) – I was wondering if you had any advice for deciding which link prog to use when. Is it platform dependant or content dependant? (Hope that makes sense)

    Keep up the awesome work and thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Jess! If I understand correctly, you’re asking how I decide which affiliate links to use for a given product? I generally try to either go with the highest commission, or with the network I’m earning the highest with. You generally need to earn $100 before you can cash out. I hope I got this right!

  17. Thanks for the informative post. I went into a ShareASales and LinkShare there seems to be a clause, where when you account is earning less than minimum amount for XX months, it will be deactivated. How about the others?

    1. RewardStyle is the same and I’ve heard about bloggers getting their account deactivated for inactivity. However I’ve personally never had a problem with Linkshare, ShareASale, and Pepperjam (even back when I started and I was barely earning).

  18. Thank you for this post! Super helpful information! I’m a new beauty blogger, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to monetize my blog. I’m using Amazon’s affiliate program right now, but that is it. I’d love to get in with rStyle, but I don’t think my traffic is high enough right now. Here is my blog: http://www.kittenbeautyblog.com
    I welcome any feedback!

  19. I’m an RSTYLE reject as well, hahaha! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This was super helpful, thank you so much for putting this together. It’s so true that you can’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I have been using Amazon and ShopStyle, but I’m going to explore the other options you’ve shared. Thanks a bunch!

  20. This was super helpful! Do you have any experience with VigLink? I’ve been using them but I’m not sure it’s working out the best.

    1. Hi Diana! I’ve never personally used VigLink or anything similar as it’s just not my favorite way to monetize. You can always explore other options if it’s not working out. Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hi!
    Quick question: How do you decide when to use Amazon vs. just using RS to link to your Amazon products? I mainly use RS for all my links but have been trying to find any research as to whether or not it’s better to use Amazon for the Amazon links instead of RS. I haven’t been able find anything online and RS is pretty vague about commission rates and cookie length. My main reason for using RS for everything is it’s just easy….but I want to increase my commissions if I can.

    1. Hi Marlene! I always use Amazon direct over rStyle, but what you should do is look at the commission. When you’re logged into your rStyle account, go to “advertisers” and click “advertiser rates”. If the commission is better on rStyle, I would go through rStyle.

  22. Wow, this information was extremely helpful for me! I have my blog up and want to start posting at least five days a week. Right now I have very few posts but ultimately I want to monetize my blog. I currently use WordPress.com with bluehost. Do I need to switch to WordPress.org to monetize?
    Thanks!!
    Xo

    1. Thanks Megan! You should definitely switch over to WordPress.org if you want to monetize. I believe WordPress.com lets you partially monetize right now, but they would be owning your site.

  23. This was really helpful .thinking of starting out with shopstyle first since Im just starting my blog. Fingers crossed i don’t get rejected

  24. Thank you so much for this thorough and informative post. So much information out there to navigate through, and we so appreciate your steering us in the right direction. Best of luck to you and we hope to use your many tips and lessons learned on our journey.

  25. Avoid Shopstyle, My account hit $100 and i got no cash, i waited a few months and then contacted them, (my pins/links were still live during this time) so I asked them how to get paid, they CLOSED my account. When i asked for the cash they kept directing me to their terms page.

    I have PROVEN sales not just clicks, I have now been forced to contact Target,HM,Nordstrom,Macy’s etc with details of the fraud.

    When i asked Shopstyle for the SALE’s Data they simply said this “we have the right to close account for any reason blah blah…….. even if it results in the forfeiture and (destruction) of all information associated with your use of the foregoing”

    Meaning they are going to destroy the sales data in an effort to hide them when we all go to court. ๐Ÿ™

    There is hope as on my mac i have a the magic F3 key which takes “STUNNING” screenshots of sales data. ๐Ÿ™‚

    AVOID POPSUGAR/SHOPSTYLE AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

    1. Same thing happened to me with Shopstyle!! I use Amazon, Brandcycle, ShareAsale, and Viglink (all through FB page/groups) and I have steady (and sizable) returns. I monetized around 5-6 links through shopstyle, made about 300$ in a few days, and then log in one day to find my account is deactivated, and the money is a no- show. Let me know if you are pursuing legal action. I have one screenshot of my earnings plus emails

      1. Hi Scott. Where get you get with this. My shopstyle was flying and most importantly making good conversions. When I reach near the 100 they cut me to half commisson, inspite of increasing hits and conversions for them. Then another 5 dollars earnings later, then cut my commisson again. Basically avoiding letting me reach the pay out, by decreasing my commission to minute ppc so it will take me zillions click to reach payout. All this while my clicks are converting at circ 4%!!!
        So they are earning the commisson but making it that they won’t ever have to pay me.

  26. Hi! Thanks for the informative post. I was wondering, do you know when Nordstrom commissions are considered “closed” since the company has no set return policy timeline? I have made a lot of sales through rStyle but none have closed yet. I emailed support but they were very vague! Thanks!

    1. I barely link out to Nordstrom (if at all) so I don’t have any experience with them, sorry! What I can tell you is that some brands take much longer than others to close sales and pay out commissions, so it doesn’t mean that you won’t receive your earnings.

  27. Hey Suzi,
    Great article!
    I want to launch a blog for small jewelry designers, so very niche market. Do I get commission with RStyle and ShopStyle on any kind of wedsite? Or is this only with their partners?

    Thank you!!

    1. They’re only affiliated with a certain number of retailers, and although that number is pretty huge, there aren’t many small or indie stores in the mix unfortunately. Once you join though, you’re able to see a list and search for products.

  28. Hi Suzi,
    This was an extremely informative article for publishers looking to get an overview of the affiliate marketing space. I am on the other side of the business and run the affiliate programs for retailers. So, my tip to you all: If you can’t get in RS and really want to work with a brand, try to apply yourself directly to the affiliate program in the network that they are in. This can usually be found on every retailers web site in the footer under “Affiliates” or “Affiliate Program”. If that does not work. Go to LinkedIin, type in the company name and then “affiliate marketing” or “marketing” as a keyword and that should direct you to the person at the company that oversees the affiliate program. They may have overlooked your application, we get hundreds a month and so it is easy to pass up a good publisher. Just plead your case and present why they should have you as an affiliate, ie: I have xxx vis a month, reach your target demographic, social media followers, etc.
    Also, if you have a direct relationship, many retailers will do custom promotions for you and may even pay you a higher private commission, especially if you have what they want.

    https://howtoaffiliateprogram.wordpress.com/

  29. This blog was very helpfull so thanks for that, you say people usaually don’t quickly buy when they open such a link, but do you still make some money then under these other networks then r-style since they only allow the link for 24 houres? cause most of the times when I see a product online, I’m indeed mostely like, Oh I saw this product a few days ago, i’m going back and i am gonna buy it. but then you don’t get the commision anymore?

    1. Exactly. If someone purchases after the cookie expires, then you won’t be making any commission. The “cookie duration” varies depending on the program/retailer and some do have longer cookies (15-30 days).

  30. Hello! Your post is so helpful and I really appreciate all of the information you provided! How long did you wait to re-apply to RS? I’ve heard people say wait 6 months or try again in a month! What do you think? Thank you so much!!
    My IG is melissmab if you would take a look and let me know what you think! : ) Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Melissa! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s more about your blog statistics and less about the time to wait before reapplying. I waited between 4-6 months before reapplying, and generally that should be enough for your stats/traffic/revenue to change and have a bigger impact. However if your social media followers or traffic explode, you don’t have to wait as long.

  31. Hey !

    Great article !! Little question though, do you know if it is possible/worth it to apply for affiliate marketing program when having the free wordpress package ?

    thx a lot !

    1. You might be able to join some of them, but it’s best to have your own domain & hosting when monetizing a blog!

  32. Such a helpful post! Question for you: how do you do disclosures with these affiliate links? I have been putting a disclaimer in every post that this post MAY contain affiliate links but I was perusing some of my favorite blogs that are pretty popular and some of them I don’t even see a disclosure in the post at all…and the links are clearly Rstyle and shopstyle! Am I just not understanding the disclosure “rules”?

    1. Thanks Jamie! The rule is that it’s mandatory to disclose affiliate links close enough to the affiliate links (at the beginning of a post, for instance) and in a clear manner (the font must not be faded or smaller). The rules aren’t 100% clear and are up for interpretation, but that’s the main idea. Not disclosing is in violation of the FTC rules.

  33. Hi there! I loved your post! I actually appied to LinkShare and ShareASale because of it! I do have a question though, for ShareASale, I can’t find Ulta, are they still affiliated?
    Thanks!
    Taylor Hayes
    The Wifey Diaries

    1. I believe Ulta moved to a different network, but to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend working directly with their affiliate program. The commission is really low and they’re a pain to deal with. They’re on rStyle though (with a higher commission) so I recommend trying that instead. Best of luck!

  34. I Suzi, this post was so informative and well put together. I have had my blog for about 3 years and just NOW am looking into affiliate links (late bloomer) I signed up for Rakuten and message them, to ask about Sephora affiliate program like you suggested. I googled and saw Sephora partnered with VigLink. If you or any one can provide information about their experience with Sephora affiliate program it would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Shey! I wouldn’t recommend VigLink since as far as I’m aware, they’re not an affiliate network. If you monetize with them, you’ll get random links automatically inserted within your content, so you can’t choose where you’re inserting links and to what you’re linking. Sephora’s affiliate program is still on Rakuten/Linkshare, but I recommend being an affiliate for them through rStyle.

  35. This was SO helpful. I have been thinking about starting a blog and wasn’t familiar with ShopStyle. I’m not looking at blogging to be my income but it’s nice to know ShopStyle is an option for smaller blogs until one day it hopefully grows large enough to be apart of RewardStyle.

    One question about RewardStyle, do the brands that they work with send out samples/clothing to bloggers so they can feature those items?

    1. RewardStyle is independent from the actual retailers on the platform, so you’ll have to build relationships with the specific retailers or brands for press samples.

  36. Thanks for sharing this article was very helpful. I recently started a blog (content mostly interior decorating, home staging, and event styling) and I am trying to get up to speed on how it all works. Appreciate your great advice.

  37. Super helpful thank you! I’ve been debating whether or not to use affiliate links since my blog promotes my own products. I don’t really want people to click away from my website. Still thinking that I might use it on my YouTube channel though.

  38. Such a helpful post! Just curious if I donโ€™t have an actual โ€œblogโ€ at this time, but a heavy traffic Facebook Group, can I sign up for these affiliate links? I am a Senior Stylist with Stella & Dot and with that jewelry I pair and link clothing 24-7 that I know my customers buy. I would love to be able to earn a small portion for sharing these sales & looks with them, but didnโ€™t know if it was an option without a โ€œblog.โ€ Right now I have 333 members, do weekly giveaways, live events, and again mention Jane.com, Abercrombie, Amazon, local boutiques and random clothing stores I find online that my customers love!!

    Thanks!!

    1. Most affiliate programs allow you to post links on Facebook. For Amazon though, you might want to look up their rules first to make sure but they tend to be more strict. BUT also, I 100% recommend having a blog or website as a “hub” outside of social media so you don’t lose your audience! Facebook just announced that they’re going to favor friends and family over pages in our feeds, though I’m not sure how this will affect groups. Good luck though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. VERY helpful article, thank you for sharing. I am an affiliate of ShareaSale and CJ but not ShopStyle – will definitely check them out. Waiting to hear back fro Rstyle – thanks again!

  40. Wow! I canโ€™t tell you how helpful this is to me! I am in the process of starting a life and style blog and itโ€™s a little intimidating but this makes it seem so doable. Thank you! Iโ€™m pining this to return the favor!

  41. I’ve searched for a guide to affiliates for a few weeks now, and yours is the first one I’ve found to be thorough yet easy-to-understand. Thanks for sharing!

  42. This is such a great idea for sellers to gain even more exposure for their shops! How do you think sellers should reach out to bloggers about featuring their items?

    1. Research the blogs first, then offer a win-win collaboration. I ignore 90% of pitches because there isn’t anything in it for me. If the blog in question is well known enough, you’ll have to offer more than free product.

  43. Hi, Suzi. Thanks for all the great information. I recently started my blog (which is an overwhelming task on its own) and I just signed up with Shopstyle today. I will look at the other affiliates you mentioned.

  44. This is an extremely helpful post! Thank you! I just started a fashion and travel blog and don’t have enough visitors and engagement to apply to Rstyle. Given the negative experiences some people had with ShopStyle and the little traffic I’m getting at this point, what program would you recommend brand new bloggers like me to start out with?

  45. Hi Suzi! Great breakdown on everything! I just joined ShareASale but I am a little confused. When I type in the companies you listed nothing comes up in the merchant search. What am I doing wrong. Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.

  46. Ok total newbie here…..I don’t have a blog but have 26k on instagram. My followers are DMing me a lot about where I purchase items and what I recommend. I am wanting to look into affiliate links, so that way I can monetize my information. Can I join these programs without having a blog/website?

  47. Hi Suzi! I was just wondering if you can use all of these methods of earning money with these websites that you suggested with instagram? Or do you need your own website?

  48. Love this! Do you have any recommendations on where to start with affiliate links for an interior design blog (preferably commission, not PPC)? Do RStyle and some of these other platforms support home decor items? Would love to find one that lets me link furniture, rugs, and accessories. I know Amazon would be great for some of the accessories, but wanted to see if you had anything else in mind.

  49. I really enjoyed the post! I am a new fashion and beauty blogger. Still a lot to learn but you helped me discover ShopStyle I will be using a lot of your tips for sure!

  50. This was definitely the most helpful! I was accepted to RS yesterday and my friend immediately bought items off my links and it shows she clicked on them, but isn’t saying she ordered them on the RS analytics. Do you know how long those usually take to appear or am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks for all your advice!

  51. This was super helpful! I just started getting serious about my blog this year and I am trying to incorporate more fashion because there seem to be so many affiliate options. Thank you for rounding up all the links.

  52. Hi Suzana, I’m the director of product over at VigLink. Just wanted to jump in and see if I can help provide some information about our product and what it does. While we do offer a product called Insert that is able to scan your content and link phrases to retail destinations, this feature is completely optional and can be turned on or off in our interface depending on your goals (most publishers see a significant increase in revenue by turning it on, but you know your audience best, so use your judgement).

    As far as our company is concerned, we work with over 2 million web sites and partner with over 70,000 retailers. Our convert product allows you install a single script on your blog and from there on out any link to any of the 70,000 retailers we work with that appears in your content will automatically get converted into an affiliate link. You simply create content and link to the products you love and we do all of the work.

    Keep up the great work on the blog, this post was really well done, and a great resource for anyone interested in affiliate marketing. Definitely reach out if I can help answer any questions from you or any on your readers.

  53. Hi Suzana, I’m the director of product over at VigLink. Just wanted to jump in and see if I can help provide some information about our product and what it does. While we do offer a product called Insert that is able to scan your content and link phrases to retail destinations, this feature is completely optional and can be turned on or off in our interface depending on your goals (most publishers see a significant increase in revenue by turning it on, but you know your audience best, so use your judgement).

  54. Hi Suzi.. Thanks for the great post. I have bookmarked this page as a reference for later, hope to post about my progress further on! Have also signed up on your mailing list! Cheers

  55. I am a very, very new blogger……. I signed up for ShopStyle this morning, and it said I already had an account? So, I reset the password, then got in but it looks like just an info page, nothing is live at the top, it is actually ShopStyleCollective, is this right? I can’t find where there is a dashboard or anything for links…. please help, thanks.

  56. Hi Suzi! Your article is so helpful!!! Thanks a lot!
    I have a question for you. Recently I have known about affiliate program Sarafan (https://sarafan.tech/), they sent me e-mail with invitation. Have you ever heard about this program? Does it worth to join it?

  57. Thank you for this article. I’ve always wondered how bloggers make money apart from endorsement deals. This has been a great eye opener.

  58. This was SO helpful- Iโ€™m so glad I found it! The best breakdown of the different options that Iโ€™ve seen! I have a Q. about ShopStyle. Is there an application route now (similar to RS) in addition to the pay per click option? If so, how hard is it to get accepted to the new program and how do the commissions compare to RS? Thank you!!

  59. Thank you for taking the time to put together this super informative post. I am looking into adding affiliate links to my site and all of this info is great! I applied to Rstyle awhile back and was declined, but was recently referred so perhaps I will re-apply. That said, I think I will try out ShopStyle to experiment with links and Amazon. I like back a TON to Nordstrom, would you recommend LinkShare? Again, thank you so much. This is the best article I found out there and I also didn’t know I could join multiple affiliates!
    xx
    Suzanne
    http://www.AskSuzanneBell.com

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks so much for your lovely comment! It would definitely be ideal to get into rStyle for Nordstrom, since they’re kind of a pain to deal with on Liinkshare/Rakuten plus the commission is ridiculously low (2% last I saw).

  60. This is a great article! I am a full-time teacher and part-time blogger of three years. I use Amazon Affiliate links and I’m ready to add others. I don’t have large numbers, but they are consistent. I blog about a little of everything: decorating, home, recipes, and clothing from time to time. From reading most of your comments, I’m thinking I should try Shareasale first and maybe sign up directly with Target. Would you agree? And, will these other companies work like Amazon? You search the product you want to promote and they give you a direct link to insert? (Yes, I’m older and not as computer savy; the Internet still scares me a little. ha.) For example, if I want to talk about the shirt I bought from Old Navy, do I find the style name on the ON web site, then search by the style name on Shareasale to get the link? Thank you for your time! This was so informative.

    1. You can try to contact Sephora’s marketing department, or I also suggest joining rStyle since it makes it so much easier.

  61. Do you have to have a blog to do affiliate marketing? I think some girls I follow on IG do not have a blog…

    1. You don’t need a blog, but it’s better to have a main hub of your own! You can post your links on social media too though.

  62. Hi Suzi

    Thank you for this helpful guide on affiliate marketing. I am using affiliate marketing as a monetisation technique for my blog and I have a goal to make thousands per month by the end of next year. It works quite well as a passive income stream.

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Chichi
    http://thecosmeticnotebook.com

    1. Hi Chichi, hope all is going well! I tried to check out your site but it’s offline right now, so I hope you’ll be back soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. Iโ€™m using all of these and honestly all of these work great for me but amazon. Maybe Iโ€™m doing something wrong but the complexity of the links kill me. I donโ€™t like having to update links on all my sites. Swipe up links in story highlights, etc. any suggestions with amazon would be great. I have over 24k followers on social media and most of that is Instagram.

  64. Hi Suzi,
    Iโ€™m not sure if you can help, but I feel like Iโ€™m in a totally unique position with my site. I write about and showcase engagement and wedding rings from independent designers, so obviously they arenโ€™t joined up to any affiliate service. I get commission for sales by people emailing me through my website, then I put them in touch with the individual designer, and if I sale is made I get a percentage of that sale. Do you think thereโ€™s another way to earn money through my site as I have quite high numbers and unique content? Iโ€™m really stuck with it and feel like people use it as research then go ahead and contact the companies direct and I receive nothing. Any advice would be amazing, thanks so much!

  65. Hi, can you tell me about a Rakuten, is it all there is a cost for sale or there is an option for lead, zip … since I can not see it at anywhere

  66. Great overview. I have actually applied to the ShopStyle – or the pay per click one – and my application has been “under review” for probably 2 months now. I think they must be getting inundated with tons of requests! But, definitely, long term goal is RewardStyle. Just gotta get the traffic! Thanks for the great overview ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Hi there,
    Great article. I am starting to affiliate links (through Rakuten) and macy’s and bloomingdales and amazon work. However, Nordstrom keeps giving me an error message saying: access denied on this server when I click a link to a product. I can’t seem to fix this. Any advice?

  68. Kohl’s doesn’t show up anymore. Is there a site we can use to partner with Kohl’s if we are just starting out?

  69. Hi Suzana! Thanks for this post! I also applied to Rstyle and got rejected, but Iโ€™m just starting out with my blog and social media platforms. Iโ€™ve also heard many people say they were rejected many times before they were accepted. Just need to keep working at it!

  70. Such a great article. Just getting started on a Lifestyle blog while I am home with our daughter. Already signed up for Amazon and Rakuten. I noticed that this article is dated a couple years, any new advice or good affiliates to check out? Awesome blog by the way, love it!

  71. I came across your post when searching for affiliate information and I want to tell you that it has helped me so much!! I have been learning as I go and there is just so much to learn (and then it seems just as I get it down it all changes) so I really appreciate your information. It’s exactly what I was looking for and more! Thank you!

  72. Thanks so much for this post. ShopStyle now has the demo center where I can test out the widgets. I am starting my blog from scratch, but to see how it looks now will make me be more successful than just putting in links and hoping someone clicks on it. People can now see the physical product. I am doing both, but I am ready to generate revenue.

  73. Hi Suzi, thank you so much for this post. I’m in the early stages of creating a blog and I was wondering if I use ShopStyle for my “Shop my Instagram”

  74. You just sum it up all the stuff I’ve been looking for. I’m a new blogger, just started with a Facebook group, Twitter and a blog. It’s so overwhelming to start sharing affiliate links when I barely know the meaning of affiliate. Thanks for all the info.

  75. Suzan,
    I have a fairly new blog and tried Shopstyle but they rejected me right away. I thought they were the easier ones to get into, lol! Any Advise?

    1. Hi Tammy! Looking at your blog, I see that it might come across as new or “unfinished”. For instance, your contact form in the sidebar isn’t working (I can see the code displayed). Also, adding images to every post might help make the blog look more complete. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll get in once your blog looks more “established”.

  76. Gosh, I am so glad I found this info! I launched my food blog January 1st 2021, so definitely a newbie here. Within the first month I became an affiliate with Amazon. Obviously I don’t have a large audience just yet but I’m working my toosh off to build my brand, name, whatever you want to call it. The Amazon program has been very easy to navigate but since my audience isn’t that big, I’m really only seeing a few dollars here and there, After reading this post, I’m thinking maybe shopstyle might be a good second move? Do you have any advice for food blog affiliate programs? Thanks again for sharing your experience! So helpful:)