This post contains affiliate links. Because this is an affiliate marketing blog, so, #duh. This means I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post.
We've covered a lot here on Bourbon & Sparkle, but one thing we haven't touched on is:
How the hell do you even get started in affiliate marketing?
Let's get back to the basics, kids, and start from there.
First thing's first: You'll need to join some networks. These are the ones I recommend to at least get your toes wet.
ShareASale: This is my personal favorite network, for a number of reasons. Mainly, ShareASale (SAS) is super blogger-friendly. They have tools in place to help protect our commissions from other affiliates like coupon and loyalty sites, and they are very proactive in educating new affiliates on strategies, tools and more.
Commission Junction: Commission Junction (CJ or CJ Affiliate by Conversant) is one of the larger networks out there. It has nearly 3,000 merchants in its database and many of them are big-name retailers (think Gap brands, Ann Taylor, American Eagle, etc.) CJ has also taken strides in recent years to become more content affiliate friendly, which is of course a boon to us bloggers.
Affiliate Window: Affiliate Window (AW) is another super blogger-friendly network that's really easy to navigate. It also has some of the best reporting tools (like being able to see which links are resulting in transactions, which products are being purchased, etc.) and is home to the Etsy affiliate program.
Once you're in the networks, get all of your financial and account information set up. You'll likely have to upload a W9 and provide either your EIN or SSN.
Ensure that your profile is concise and enticing, because merchants will look at this information when pitching you on their programs.
Now start browsing through the interface! Before you even start joining merchants (we'll go over that soon), it's a good idea to get a feel of how the network operates. Check out the tools, reports and other areas so you can better familiarize yourself.