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As you start to grow your blog or affiliate marketing website, you will likely want to invest in affiliate marketing tools that will help you to
- Save you time
- Make more money
- Reach a wider audience
- Help you create a more professional looking website
- Improve your website user experience
Now I want to stress that if you are brand new to affiliate marketing and have only just launched your blog, you DO NOT NEED all of these tools. It’s actually very affordable to start a blog and for complete beginners, I recommend saving your pennies for good hosting, a keyword research tool and a Pinterest scheduler.
But when you do start to go beyond the basics and want to monetise your blog effectively, you may find these tools can help save you time and help you earn more money as you start to scale your blog and business.
You will find that some of these tools have a little crossover so it is unlikely that you will need all of them. I recommend having tools which help you to
- Find lucrative keywords to target
- Help you to organise affiliate links
- Help you to display affiliate links
- Help you to track and tweak your affiliate links and strategy
If you can comfortably tick all of these boxes then you have everything that you need to be a successful affiliate marketer and if you are not seeing results then you probably need to address your strategy or grow your blog traffic rather than spend more money on tools!
If you think your affiliate marketing strategy needs tweaking, here are some of my resources you can access
- Affiliate marketing for beginners blog post
- SEO for beginners blog post
- Free beginner-intermediate level 5 day affiliate marketing course
- Intermediate-advanced level affiliate marketing course- Affiliate Marketing Superstars
- SEO for Affiliate Success ebook
- Or if you prefer an SEO course, I recommend SEO Jumpstart by Eb Gargano of Productive Blogging.
Affiliate Marketing Ebook yours free as a bonus!
If you use my affiliate link on this page to purchase any of the paid products listed in this article, just email me your invoice or receipt and I will send you a bonus prize as a thank you: Click and Convert. Worth $27!
Okay, let’s get started with the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for bloggers..!
The Best Affiliate Marketing Tools for Bloggers
There are so many affiliate marketing tools out there that we will break them up into affiliate plugins, other affiliate tools and associated tools. The associated tools are not directly for affiliate marketing but will help you with your overall monetisation strategy!
The Best Affiliate Marketing Plugins for WordPress
WordPress plugins can come in very handy for affiliate marketing and you can even get some basic plugins for free. There are plugins that will help you to cloak your affiliate links, display offers and even add an element of urgency to drive higher conversions. Let’s go through them one by one…
Thirsty Affiliates is the affiliate link cloaking plugin that I personally use. It has both a free and pro version. The free version will help you to cloak affiliate links and automatically make those links no-follow. You can add affiliate links quickly and easily and if you ever need to change them, one click and they change across your entire site!
The pro version (which I have) offers this and a lot more. For example, I can add auto keywords so that every time I use a keyword, it becomes an affiliate link without me lifting a finger.
They also allow you to geo-tag your links so that you earn money from your audiences in more than one country (game changer,) schedule link directs (such as when offers and promotions end,) get detailed reports and add an automatic affiliate disclosure to every post and/or link to keep you in the FTC’s good books and avoid any nasty fines!
Thirsty affiliates is my go-to affiliate marketing plugin for helping me to create easy to remember branded affiliate links that I can edit across my site in a flash or recall on the go when someone asks me about a product on social media. This tool helps to save me both time AND money!
Pretty Links has been in the game even longer than Thirsty Affiliates and offers a very similar tool with the same ability to cloak and organise affiliate links as well as auto-add keywords and geo-target links.
Where Pretty Links stands out is that it also allows you to split-test your affiliate links and see what is working and what isn’t and make tweaks accordingly.
However, Pretty Links falls down in several places when compared with Thirsty Affiliates. For example, it’s not as easy, quick or convenient to add affiliate links from within the editor, you can’t add affiliate links to images, there’s no Amazon API importing facility and you have to set the no-follow option for every single link. Thirsty Affiliates offers global link setting options which is a massive time saver.
Pretty Links also doesn’t allow you to uncloak certain links or groups of links which means you cannot use it for Amazon links which do not allow cloaking. Therefore, if you use Amazon a lot, this probably isn’t the affiliate marketing plugin for you!
Tasty Links is the new kid on the block. Created by the bloggers behind a successful food blog, they started with creating plugins for food bloggers and then expanded their reach to all niches. I personally use their Pinterest plugin Tasty pins which allows me to gain full control of the images and descriptions that readers pin from my blog.
They have introduced their affiliate plugin Tasty Links which offers a lot of similar features to Thirsty Affiliates and Pretty Links but I think there are still a lot of things they need to iron out before it becomes a true competitor for Thirsty Affiliates.
For example, yes it offers auto keyword linking but it doesn’t offer as much control over this tool. Thirsty Affiliates allows you to set limits (such as 2 or 3 auto links per post) so that it doesn’t end up looking spammy. I’m not sure I’d be happy to turn this feature on with Tasty Links without being able to set limitations.
The affiliate link disclosures are more obtrusive than with Thirsty Affiliates and no-follow tags need to be added manually again.
For food bloggers using Tasty recipes, you may still want to consider this plugin as it will integrate your affiliate links into your recipes.
Lasso is a new tool I am currently trying out whilst writing this article. I think it has great potential but at $29/month it doesn’t come with the cheapest of price tags so I’d only recommend investing if you are really serious about making affiliate marketing a significant income stream. If you’re making >$300/month it’s probably worth considering purchasing to increase click-throughs and conversions.
Where Lasso really stands out is its ability to display your affiliate links in really pretty feature boxes which helps the link pop out from your page which should help you to drive more link clicks. As well as feature boxes you can also create grids with smaller boxes side by side – useful for comparisons.
It also offers the option to cloak links like the above plugins do as well as auto-add affiliate link keywords. It integrates fully with Amazon (unlike Pretty Links) and it can also help you find missed opportunities to add affiliate links that you might have missed.
Lasso can actually be used for any links – not just affiliate links. So I see the potential for using this tool to create related post grids or to showcase your own digital products if you sell any!
I often get asked if Lasso replaces the need for Thirsty Affiliates and the answer is, not completely. Yes it’ll cloak and organise your links and even add keywords to your links. But you can’t geotag links, schedule link changes (for promotional sales) and the auto-disclosure is not quite as robust. There’s definitely some crossover but when deciding if you need one or both, consider which of Thirsty Affiliates pro features you actually need.
Lasso suggests you may get plugin conflicts if both are installed but I currently have both with no problem at all. Also if you switch from Thirsty Affiliates to Lasso, you can bring over all of your existing links.
I do think Lasso is definitely worth considering if you are generating a significant income from affiliate marketing but at $29/month it isn’t really priced for brand new bloggers.
Amalinks Pro is the Amazon Associates plugin that I use on my other travel site. It allows me to quickly create test links, image links, call to action buttons, highlight boxes and comparison tables within my blog posts without leaving WordPress. The display boxes and tables are also customisable and beautiful to look at.
There are other Amazon plugins but Amalinks Pro definitely offers the most customisation options. For example, you can change your table colour schemes or add or remove text from highlight boxes to showcase the information that your specific readers actually need to know.
Amalinks Pro also allows you to add a product directly to someones shopping cart which extends your referral window and gives you a 90 day cookie period and therefore longer to earn commissions.
Here is an example of an Amalinks Pro table…
Easyazon allows you to display Amazon links as links, images, call to actions or product boxes but doesn’t offer a comparison table option.
What I do like is that it does offer little pop up info boxes when someone hovers on your Amazon affiliate links.
That said, the links and info boxes created with Easyazon are not very visually appealing and I think your money is probably better spent on Amalinks Pro.
Probably Amalinks Pro’s strongest competitor, AAWP is a very good Amazon plugin worth considering. It’s less easily customisable but it’s a good option for anyone who uses infinite scroll on their websites as this does get glitchy with Amalinks Pro.
One difference to be aware of is that AAWP tables display the products horizontally compared to vertically on Amalinks Pro. This means you can fit more features but less products on the screen. So you may want to consider which is more important to you when choosing between these two Amazon affiliate marketing plugins.
Thrive Leads is traditionally a tool to help you to grow your email list by displaying lead magnets and gathering email addresses. However, Thrive Leads can also be used for affiliate marketing. You can create a variety of types of pop-ups which can link out to your affiliate products via a button. Pop-ups can be really eye catching as long as you use them sensibly and don’t set them to pop up the minute someone lands on your page – that’s really annoying!
Thrive Leads is really useful for displaying time limited offers across your whole site. So if there’s an amazing sale on that would be relevant to many of your readers, you can set a banner to show at the top or bottom of every page for a set time period during that promotion.
There used to be an option to buy the Thrive Leads plugin upfront but now it’s only available with a Thrive subscription. This does work out more pricey long term but you do also get access to the full library of Thrive products making it decent value for money, especially if you sell your own products.
- Thrive Leads - lead generation tool
- Thrive Architect - a page builder similar to Elementor Pro
- Thrive Themes builder - helps to design your website the way you want it
- Thrive Quiz Builder - for increasing engagement and email lead generation
- Thrive Apprentice - enabling you to host online courses from your own platform
- Thrive Comments - helps to increase engagement by gamifying the comments section
- Thrive Ovation - Collects and displays testimonials on autopilot
- Thrive Optimize - AB test landing pages against each other
- Thrive Ultimatum - add urgency to evergreen sales funnels
Another of the tools from the Thrive Themes Suite, Thrive Ultimatum is great for adding some urgency or scarcity to an evergreen funnel.
Most people put off making purchases to allow themselves more thinking time. The may not come back to your site to use your affiliate link within your cookie window or they may click someone elses affiliate link in the meantime.
By adding an incentive to take action in a more timely manner, you will increase conversions.
Thrive Ultimatum allows you to set up offers on your site which time out after a set time period and revert to another offer. You can even personalise these offers based on a trigger even such as when someone visits a page on your site or signs up to your email list.
Traditionally, tools like Thrive Ultimatum are used to generate sales funnels for your own digital products wbut there is no reason why it can’t be used for affiliate offers either.
There are two ways to do this.
1 – Agree a special offer for your audience directly with the brand. Your offer link will direct them to the sales page with your discount code attached.
2 – If you can’t get the brand to agree to this then offer your own bonus as an incentive. For example, it might be an ebook, planner or a tutorial for how to use the product you are promoting. Some affiliate programs will help you to deliver these bonuses automatically but most (like Awin, CJ, Shareasale etc) will not. Therefore you can send them to a form from your offer page where they can attach their invoice to prove their purchase and you can email them the bonus. More work but effective.
This is a very advanced affiliate marketing strategy. Don’t worry if you are not ready for this yet – there are plenty of ways to make money with simpler affiliate strategies. But if you do want more advanced strategies, we delve in deep with ideas like this inside Affiliate Marketing Superstars.
Affiliate Marketing Tools and Software
Affilimate is a super useful tool for tracking your affiliate results. Instead of having to log in to a number of affiliate programs to see how you are doing, just log in to one central dashboard and get all the stats you need.
You’ll be able to see which products, links and articles are performing well and which aren’t. You can even see heat maps to see what type of links are getting the most attention.
This will help you to make tiny tweaks that could have a big impact on your overall affiliate earnings and help you to improve your strategy over time. What works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else with a different niche and audience. Affilimate helps you to learn what works best for your own blog.
Get a 14 day trial and 30% off when you use my affiliate link.
Convertbox is my new favourite affiliate marketing tool – in fact my new favourite blogging tool in general!
I got the tool initially to help me gain more email subscribers but realised it had many other benefits and I have been using it to promote affiliate links effectively, quickly earning back my investment.
Convertbox helps you to create pop up boxes or inline forms on your site but rather than annoying pop-ups, these actually look super slick and you have full control to make sure they are used in an effective way rather than a spammy annoying way!
It also communicates with your email marketing platform so if you apply tags to your email list, you can use them to deliver specific offers to subsections of your audience. For example, I might display lead magnets to brand new readers and to existing subscribers, I’ll display a special offer on one of my courses. For those who already have the product, I might promote an affiliate product instead.
You can A/B test boxes and so I like experimenting with different affiliate links to see what converts best. For example, on my travel site, I am promoting some tour companies so I’m experimenting with pop-ups that display COVID policies or link to their special offer pages.
On this site, I often offer bonuses when people use my affiliate link and so I will use the Convertboxes to draw attention to these special offers.
I’ve even used Convertbox to create a quiz that helps my readers make a purchase decision and recommends an email platform tailored to their own blogs and needs. Check out my email marketing platform quiz here.
Read more | 3 ways to use quizzes to monetise your blog
This is something slightly different that I wanted to draw your attention to. It’s something so new that it hasn’t even launched yet!
Imagine if an affiliate network (like Awin) were to use AI technology to scan your site and make recommendations and put you in touch with brands to obtain samples, free trials etc. You could probably make a lot more affiliate income right?! Well, that’s what Blog Alchemy aims to do. And the best bit? It will be free for bloggers.
I’ve actually just come on board the team as an affiliate advisor so am helping them to create a product that will genuinely help bloggers.
It’s not available yet but if you want to get a heads up when we’re ready to get bloggers onboarded, just fill this form out and I’ll be in touch!
If you happen to be in the health, wellness and beauty niches then drop me a message as our pilot test will centre around these niches so I may be in touch really soon! The beta launch will follow once we get some initial feedback and make sure the product is reaching it’s potential!
Associated Affiliate marketing tools
To be successful with affiliate marketing, you also need to master SEO (search engine optimisation.) You need to get eyes on your affiliate links but not only that, but you also need the RIGHT eyes on your links. You need to reach people for whom your affiliate product solves a problem or helps them to achieve a goal.
Therefore you need to find lucrative keywords which people search for when they are showing purchase intent. You also need to make sure that enough people are searching for these terms to make them worthwhile targeting. Finally, you need to make sure that you can outrank your competitors.
Keysearch is the keyword research tool that I use to help me find these lucrative keywords with good search volumes and low difficulty scores.
So you’ve found a good keyword but because it is such a lucrative keyword, there’s some competition. How can you ensure that your article gets ranked number one by Google and therefore gets read most often?
Well you need to write the BEST possible article. And you need to send lots of signals to Google to show them that your article is better than your competitors.
Doing your research by examining competitors content to find their gaps and weaknesses and searching Q+A sites liken Quora to see what people need to know will help but the process can be pretty time consuming.
As well as creating incredible content that answers your ideal readers every possible question, you also need to show Google that you are an authority on the topic. One way you can achieve this is by creating lots of related content or supporting articles and linking between them. The more related content you have, the more that Google will see you as a trustworthy resource and will prioritise your articles.
Now you can link between your articles manually but if you’ve neglected your internal links then it may be worth getting a tool like Link Whisper which will make the process much less painful by making link suggestions and allowing you to add them at a touch of a button!
It also allows you to set keywords so that every time you write new related content, it will automatically be linked to from your older content. I can’t stress how much time this will save you and let’s face it, time is money in our industry! You can spend that time creating more lucrative content!
Resource pages can be really lucrative, especially if you are known as an authority in your niche. Your readers will often navigate to your resource page to see what you use and recommend.
Whilst I do not recommend using page builders for blog posts (they can slow your site) I DO recommend using Elementor for building very specific pages on your site like a resource page.
You can display your recommended products, tools, courses etc in a visually appealing way.
You may also want to use Elementor for displaying offers for Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day. If you ever offer bonuses (like free ebooks) when your readers use your affiliate links then Elementor is a useful tool for creating your promotional pages also sometimes known as bridge pages.
Elementor is a drag and drop design tool so you can create beautiful webpages without any need for a degree in graphic design! There is both a free and pro version depending on which features you feel you need. I personally use the pro version.
Email affiliate marketing is one of the most neglected forms of marketing by bloggers and yet it is also one of the most effective.
When someone opts in to be on your email list, they are showing that they trust and value your advice. Therefore it makes sense to occasionally recommend products and services.
Over time, your relationship with your subscribers will build and they will trust you more and more. Therefore I cannot stress how important it is to start building an email list and using it to make more money via affiliate marketing.
You can use affiliate links in your weekly newsletters for example when a brand has a great special offer or sale. You can also create email funnels designed to promote affiliate products on an automated basis. Perfect for bloggers who wish to prioritise passive income methods.
If you are new to email marketing, I have a couple of useful ebooks about growing and monetising email lists which you can find here.
Okay so hopefully I have convinced you that email affiliate marketing is lucrative? So which email marketing platform should you choose?
I personally use Convertkit. It is by far the most powerful email marketing tool that I have used and it has loads of features that help to save me time and help me monetise my funnels more easily.
For example, it lets me reuse my affiliate sequences in multiple email funnels. If someone has already received the emails in a different funnel, they just bypass them.
So for example, someone may join my list by signing up for my affiliate program recommendation list or by joining my 5-day beginner’s affiliate course. Both subscribers are interested in affiliate marketing and therefore my Thirsty Affiliates promo sequence will be relevant to both readers. Convertkit allows me to use the sequence for both saving me time and helping me to reach more people with relevant offers.
I have used many email marketing platforms over the years including Mailchimp (which I do NOT recommend,) Mailerlite, Flodesk. Convertkit is hands down the best and always my top recommendation.
That said, Mailerlite is a little cheaper and Flodesk offers very visually appealing emails. Therefore I have compared them side-by-side in the following articles so that you can choose the right platform for you and your budget.
Affiliate Networks for Bloggers
Here are some of the affiliate networks I recommend using…
Best Affiliate Marketing Tool FAQs and Quickfire Recommendations
Which is the best affiliate marketing plugin for organising and cloaking affiliate links?
Thirsty Affiliates is the best cloaking tool in terms of features and value for money. Lasso is also a great option and offers additional abilities to display beautiful promo boxes in your content.
If you need the geo-target function and will be planning affiliate promotions where you need to schedule link changes, Thirsty Affiliates will be best.
If you want a beautiful way to display affiliate links then check out Lasso!
Which is the best affiliate marketing tool for displaying affiliate links?
If you want a tool that will help you to display beautiful in-content promotional boxes then Lasso is best.
If you want to display pop-ups promotions and tailor the content to your subscribers then you will need Convertbox.
Thrive leads is another option but I’d only choose that if you need the other tools inside the Thrive Suite.
Which is the best tool for affiliate marketing tracking?
Affilimate will help you to stay organised and to track what is working and what isn’t. The heat maps are particularly cool! You can get a free trial + discount here.
Which is the best affiliate marketing software to help me find lucrative keywords?
You need a keyword research tool and the one I recommend is Keysearch. It’s both affordable and powerful. Get 20% off using this link and the discount code KSDISC20
Which are the best affiliate marketing tools for free?
Which is the best affiliate tool to help me optimise my affiliate articles for SEO?
Frase is my go-to research and content assist tool which helps me to create better content than my competitors – more likely to rank well on Google and therefore earn more money!
Which is the best Amazon affiliate marketing plugin?
Amalinks Pro stands out from the other options because it offers more opportunities to brand and customise your tables and highlight boxes and therefore tailor them to your specific audiences needs!
Which is the best email marketing platform for promoting affiliate links?
Hands down Convertkit – I’m a huge fan! It’s a powerful tool with lots of time-saving features and gets amazing deliverability scores meaning better open rates, more email engagement and more eyes on your affiliate campaigns. If you really can’t stretch to Convertkit then Mailerlite or Flodesk may be worth considering.
Which is the best affiliate marketing tool for creating landing pages?
Elementor is a great landing page builder and the great news is that there is a free and pro version so it is also one of the few free affiliate marketing tools available.
Create lead magnets to get your reader on your list, resource pages to display your affiliate links as a collection or create bridge pages or bonus offer pages to increase the conversion rates on your affiliate marketing campaigns.
Which of these affiliate marketing tools do you think will be most helpful for you? Did you discover any new affiliate plugins or tools? Or are there any I have missed?! Do let me know in the comments!
Don’t forget that if you purchase any of the products on this page via my affiliate link, you are eligible for my free bonus prize – my affiliate marketing ebook Click and Convert worth $27. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your invoice or receipt.