As a blogger, one of the main ways we generate income is through utilizing affiliate platforms. This means that we sign up with an affiliate platform that helps to connect us to merchants where we can link to their product. By linking to products, and providing that to our readers, we can generate affiliate commission when sales are made. Choosing the right affiliate platform for your business is key.
When I first started blogging back in 2011, affiliate platforms really didn’t exist. Some companies would maybe have their own program where they track sales. But there wasn’t an all-encompassing company that handled links to many, hundreds, even thousands of merchants to access links to. But quickly, thanks to Amber Venz, rewardStyle was launched allowing bloggers to pull affiliate links from multiple retailers. And also allowing us to cash out our affiliate commission from one spot, instead of various merchants requiring varying payout thresholds. She helped to streamline the process which changed the game for bloggers.
With several other affiliate platforms to choose from nowadays, I want to talk about a few different ones you can join. The benefits of each of them, and some of my complaints as well, so you can make the best decision for your blogging business.
Best Blogging Affiliate Platforms
When you become a blogger or influencer, you’ll want to utilize affiliate platforms to grow your revenue. This is great passive income as once the link is on your blog, it’s there forever! And it can very easily be clicked months or even years down the road. This is especially true of blog posts that have strong SEO and generate daily traffic to your blog. Maximizing your blog posts with affiliate links, widgets, and so on is an important part of being a blogger.
Each of these popular affiliate programs I’ll go through have their own rules, minimum payouts, commission rates and days to close the sales. They also may vary depending on the retailer within the affiliate network. But here is a general overview of the most popular affiliate programs for bloggers and influencers.
rewardStyle was the first affiliate platform that I joined back in 2011 or maybe even 2012. It was right when it launched and things were so new in the blogging world, but it was so exciting to be able to create widgets (below is a widget) and grow your commission over time allowing for quicker and easier payouts.
Some of the products that rewardStyle offers its users is the ability to create the above product widgets by saving items from websites, or searching their database. Their search function is NOT great at all, and anytime I make widgets, I rely on using the Link Ninja Tool (a simple bookmarklet you install) to favorite the pieces I want to include in a widget directly from the retailer’s website. This is more cumbersome than their competitor, ShopStyle. You are also not able to edit widgets once they’ve been made. This becomes a real pain if items are sold out and you need to update widgets. ShopStyle does offer this as a tool, however.
This affiliate platform has a few other features like creating lookbooks, or boutiques and even Money Spot which turns a collage into a shoppable image with various product. These are different ways to display links to products for your readers to shop. All of this is done on the rewardStyle.com website when you’re a part of the network.
Shoppable Images And Video With LikeToKnow.it
rewardStyle also allows you to utilize LiketoKnow.it. This is an app that allows you to shop shoppable images from your favorite influencers. The ability to make an image shoppable is great for when you want to turn an Instagram post into a shoppable one, or even an Instagram story. You can browse these either in the LikeToKnow.it app or embedded on websites. You can see mine in action at the top of my shop page here.
Payouts, Rates And More
The minimum payout when you’re on rewardStyle is $100. Payment is made every two weeks on Fridays. And payment is made via PayPal. Generating commission ranges by not only the retailer, but also what is sold to the consumer. It doesn’t matter what got the shopper to the retailer, so long as your link got them there, you’ll then be rewarded the commission from that sale. When you become an rS user, you can easily browse commission rates on their site. They range from 5% to 50% it just depends! And some categories on a site may be off-limits too. There’s a lot of caveats, and unfortunately, ti isn’t always entirely clear. Your rS rep can help guide you with any questions you may have though.
ShopStyle Collective is my preferred affiliate platform to utilize for my blog business. I highly recommend utilizing this one over rewardStyle especially when it comes to creating widgets. It’s simply the most user-friendly, has fantastic search capability and you can EDIT YOUR PUBLISHED WIDGETS! It’s really the superior affiliate platform for any blogger or influencer.
Below is an example of a ShopStyle Collective widget. I love that you have lots of control over what people see or don’t. Plus, the sale alert feature (which can be turned on or off) is fantastic! If you sign up to be alerted when it goes on sale, ShopStyle will email that person with YOUR affiliate link to shop.
Their widgets can also be adjusted by the number of rows allowing you to create a “boutique” of product. You can see this in action in my IG shop here. Which is again, super easy to add product to a published widget as I feature things on my Instagram Stories and link for people to easily shop.
Shoppable Images And Video
If you’re looking to turn your images into shoppable images as well, ShopStyle Collective offers this through their tool, Looks. Which is similar to LikeToKnow.it. I’ll be honest in that LTK definitely has a larger following and probably converts more than ShopStyle’s Looks feature since they do have their own app.
ShopStyle still allows you to include your shoppable images or video in a page so your readers can easily shop. My one complaint from ShopStyle Collective on this feature is that you can not control the size of the grid. For my website, I need various grid dimensions to fit my website (2×2 on my shop page and 2×3 on my explore page). You can see the Looks feature in action over on Poor Little It Girl’s shop page here. What’s great is you can even assign them different categories like “home” or “style” and then pull a Collection of Looks for a specific page. Depending on your website needs, you may prefer this over rewardStyle.
Payouts, Rates And More
Similar to rewardStyle and really any other affiliate marketing program, there are payment thresholds, commission rates that vary and so on. Each program and retailer within each network will vary. Along with the closing date period for retailers. Meaning, retailers typically will wait 90 days to 180 days to close out commissions as they wait for any returns to come in. This is standard practice for any affiliate platforms.
There are a few other affiliate networks out there like Commission Junction, CJ Affiliate, Share A Sale and Amazon Affiliates. Finding one that suits your online business is best. And sometimes you may need to join more than just one. I utilize tools from rewardStyle (specifically just LikeToKnow.it), ShopStyle (for basically everything) and then ShareASale for a few retailers that host their affiliate programs on that platform and nowhere else. It’s totally normal to use multiple networks to support your business’ affiliate commission strategy.