When you’re beginning your affiliate journey, you might wonder: “How many affiliate programs should I join?”
The short answer is at most three. There are a lot of variables and requirements for you to comply with and it can come to a detriment for you if you join more.
In this article, we break down why you should focus on fewer affiliate programs from the start, and what you should look out for before joining.
How many affiliate programs should I join?
There is no legal limitation to how many affiliate programs you can join, but if you’re starting with affiliate, we’d recommend up to three.
Take it as a rule of thumb when you’re creating a new website.
Too many affiliate programs can make it hard for you to find out what works and what doesn’t. You’ll have to research your audiences, promote your affiliate links and keep track of your performance. All the while creating an effective promotion for your affiliate links. And you’ll have to do that for each of your programs.
This can be challenging even for senior affiliates, let alone beginners. And we haven’t even touched upon the fact that each affiliate program has its own rules and minimum payout earnings. (keep reading to find more 😉)
Without a clear direction, you won’t know how to provide value to your audience. If your audience won’t find your content valuable then you’ll be missing out on revenue.
Creating value for your audience should be your top priority, but let’s be real: affiliate marketing is 100% performance-based, with revenue being the top metric. So your guiding star will be the revenue you get from your website. That’s how you know your website is working. When it’s earning money. But that goes hand in hand with your audience finding your content valuable.
Should You Have Multiple Affiliate Programs on One Site?
Short answer: Yes. Having multiple affiliate programs on a single site is alright and it can be beneficial. But for your audience to convert your messaging needs to be valuable and clear. Always consider your niche and the audience that is most likely to convert on your website.
Imagine you’re an affiliate for website products like hosting, website builders, and web design tools. Focus your affiliate website only on this niche. Don’t add programs and offers for products that are completely outside of your website topics (weight loss, travelling,…)
Too many unrelated offers on one website will confuse your visitors. Plus, if you slap a bunch of affiliate links without any context hoping for clicks and sales you’re risking a Google search penalty for link spamming.
Answer these questions before you decide to join more affiliate programs:
Can you find relevant programs for your niche?
Finding affiliate programs for your niche is a straightforward process. Write into Google “[your niche] affiliate programs.” Repeat this search a few times altering the keyword phrase. That’s because sometimes advertisers use different phrases to promote their affiliate programs.
Can you keep up quality content?
Every new type of product you decide to promote requires time and effort in crafting content around it. Not only does your content need to generate traffic (organic or paid), it needs to convert that traffic.
You don’t want to overspend your efforts and money on something that doesn’t work. And the more programs you join the less time you’ll have to thoroughly evaluate what works the best.
Beginner affiliates – join up to three affiliate programs and figure out what works best. The type of messaging, content type, promotion, etc.
Can you keep up with Google updates for all your affiliate programs?
One of the biggest nightmares for affiliate publishers is to keep up with the latest SEO updates.
A recent update directly affects affiliates who rely on Product Reviews. To get rewarded for your product reviews by the all mighty Google algorithm, you need to craft more in-depth reviews. It’s no longer enough to summarise a bunch of features and call it a day. In Google’s eyes, a bunch of affiliate links without additional value is a thin affiliate page.
Can you keep up with tracking your results for each affiliate program?
The best sign you’re ready to expand to another affiliate program is your ROI. You want to earn more than what you spend but tracking your performance can be a lot of work.
If you don’t have a tracking solution, you have to manually log in to every account you have for each affiliate network, set up tracking on your website, and have a spreadsheet where you keep it together. If you have direct partnerships outside of affiliate networks it gets even more complicated.
So yes. The more programs you join the more money you can earn. But it comes with obligations to achieve success and maintain it with each program.
Are you still with us? Good!
Because there are a few more things for you to look at.
What should you check before joining an affiliate program?
You need to understand the type of affiliate partnership you’re getting into and your legal requirements. There can be some exceptions based on your affiliate website, business strategies, and location.
Legal requirements I should know before starting with affiliate programs
Make your site GDPR compliant
Your website needs to be GDPR compliant if to any extent you collect personal data. If you have a Subscribe button or Contact form, your website needs to describe how you’re tracking the visitor’s data and how you’re using it.
Include Affiliate Disclaimer
Some countries are stricter than others so check out the rules you need to comply with. Most countries have similar rules to the US standard described in FTC. Their rule about affiliate disclaimer is that it needs to be clear, and as close to your recommendation as possible.
For inspiration, you can have this text on the top of your product review page:
This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission in case you decide to purchase through my links at no cost to you.
Find out what taxes apply to affiliates in your country
Just like any other profitable business, you need to comply with tax regulations. The amount and process vary based on your local tax authority requirements. For example, in Denmark, you’ll need to fill out the tax forms in SKAT yourself. It’s a good idea to check with SKAT to make sure how much you need to pay. To play it way over on the safe side, you should set aside 50% of your affiliate income every month.
Checklist before joining specific affiliate programs
For an in-depth and practical breakdown, we’ll use the HubSpot affiliate program as an example. But these items should be on your checklist no matter what niche you’re in.
Payout methods and minimum earnings
Super important for publishers joining affiliate programs outside of their residence country. Make sure the affiliate program supports the payout method of the country where your bank is located. In most cases, direct bank deposits should be available but it’s better to know this beforehand.
If you have the option to choose between different payout methods then choose the one with the lowest transaction fees. Most affiliate programs will put the liability of paying transaction fees on you. In our example, HubSpot puts the fee responsibility on its affiliate publishers.
Getting paid from your affiliate program goes hand in hand with knowing what minimum earnings (minimum payout threshold) you need to achieve to get paid. Look into this before joining because no matter how hard you work for affiliate programs, if you don’t reach the minimum earnings you won’t get paid.
In HubSpot’s case, you can choose between a flat rate payout program or a recurring rate program.
The same goes if you join an Affiliate Network.
It’s up to you to find out whether an affiliate program or network is legit. Some affiliates can earn thousands while others can feel cheated. It’s a good idea to check the reputation of every affiliate program or network before joining.
In our example, HubSpot is a company with a big reputation and a solid structure for affiliates. Another sign HubSpot’s affiliate program is legit is that its application goes through Impact’s affiliate network which has a good reputation itself.
Each affiliate program has its application process with requirements you must pass to join them. HubSpot’s main requirement is that you have a relevant website where it’s clear to them how you’ll promote their affiliate links.
If you’re starting with affiliate marketing, join up to three affiliate programs. Then take the time to craft your messaging and promotions to get the earnings coming. Once your earnings are according to your goals and you’re consistent, you can expand to other relevant programs.
Before joining any affiliate programs or networks there’s a list of things for you to check. From a legal perspective make sure your website is up to code and you’re aware of your tax responsibilities. Then find out how a specific affiliate program will pay you and what are their requirements for you to fulfil.