The 21 Best Affiliate Marketing Tools & How to Use Them: Our Bulletproof Approach

November 20, 2023
The 21 Best Affiliate Marketing Tools & How to Use Them: Our Bulletproof Approach

Affiliate marketing is a highly competitive industry that is constantly on the rise. In fact, just looking at the last 7 years, we can see a $4 billion increase in affiliate marketing worth.

And the predictions are that affiliate marketing will continue to grow to $40 billion by 2031.

Affiliate marketing market size

Source: Astute Analytica

Getting started with affiliate marketing can help you massively drive revenue, while also giving you an opportunity to see long-term growth in your profits.

However, to generate as much revenue as possible, you need to find ways to stand out. 

The competition is HUGE and there are many established brands that have been doing affiliate marketing for ages.

The only way to win customers is to create the best possible content, which entails:

  • Listing the right products – the ones that have the right balance of quality and price, and that customers actually want to buy.
  • Presenting your content in an easy way – making sure to provide your information to customers in a way that everyone understands, even those without any experience.
  • Organizing your posts and affiliate links – having the right internal linking structure and avoiding duplicate content.
  • Tracking and improving existing content – improving constantly and tweaking your content according to your customers’ buying behaviors.

We’ve been working closely with countless affiliate marketers for 20+ years, and we’ve learned everything about how to be successful in this game. In this post, we’ll share some of the best affiliate marketing tools we recommend ourselves.

These will let you produce the highest quality affiliate content that really drives revenue.

Keyword Research

The first step of any effective affiliate marketing plan is figuring out the demand – what your readers are looking to buy, and what’s trending. There are countless tools that can help you with that. 

We’ve tried most of them, and here are some of our favorite solutions we always use.

#1: Ubersuggest – A Free Keyword Research Tool

Ubersuggest homepage

Ubersuggest is the most affordable keyword research tool since it’s FREE (unlike every other keyword research tool on our list).

It provides you with basic functionality for researching what readers want.

  • Keyword Suggestions. It offers keyword ideas, search volume, and keyword difficulty scores for content optimization.
  • Content Ideas. It generates content ideas based on keywords, questions, and popular topics in your niche.

If you’ve never used a keyword research tool before, this is a great place to start.

There aren’t any advanced features such as domain authority scoring, a content marketing toolkit, or competitor analysis – features you can often find in paid tools.

#2: Semrush – Best for Finding High-Potential Keywords for Rankings

SEMRush homepage

SEMRush offers everything you find in Ubersuggest. 

However, on top of that, it also provides you with more advanced features, such as:

  • Competitive Analysis. SEMrush excels in providing insights into competitors’ online strategies, including organic and paid search.
  • Advertising Research. It offers data on competitors’ paid advertising campaigns, including ad copies and keywords, helping you refine your advertising strategy.
  • Content Marketing Toolkit. This feature helps in content planning and optimization, identifying trending topics and backlink opportunities.

What we especially love about SEMRush is its domain overview feature.

SEMRush domain overview

This helps you see keywords you might be ranking for, but for which you haven’t created any content yet.

For instance, you might have created content about ‘The Best Automation Software Solutions’. Although your target keyword is ‘best automation solutions’, your site is also ranking for:

  • ‘Automation solutions for e-commerce’
  • ‘Workflow automation software’
  • ‘Enterprise automation tools’

This is great, since you can see the traffic volume for these keywords – and if they align with your content strategy, you might start creating content for them. And if you do, there’s an extremely high chance that your content will rank for these keywords, since you’re already ranking for them without creating content specifically for them.

The pricing for SEMRush starts at $129.95 a month. They also offer a 7-day FREE trial.

SEMRush pricing

#3: Ahrefs – Best For Improving Link Profile and Search Visibility

Ahrefs homepage

Ahrefs is the best tool for improving your domain authority score. It helps you achieve this with these features:

  • Domain authority score. The perceived authority of your domain – the higher this number, the more likely you are to rank high.
  • Link-building potential. The opportunities for building new, high-quality backlinks.
  • Backlink analysis. An in-depth analysis of your backlinks and linking domains.

You can also track your rankings for specific keywords and manage multiple domains. 

Plus, there are many other features for analyzing your website’s SEO health, such as finding technical or on-page SEO errors.

Ahrefs dashboard

We’ve found Ahrefs to strike the right balance between price and quantity of features. Their pricing starts at $89 a month, with no FREE trial, unfortunately.

Ahrefs pricing

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks are the places where you find the products you will promote. The most important things to look for in an affiliate network are:

  • The product type. A good range of categories of products, such as electronics, shoes, and jewelry. 
  • The commissions. The commission rate you receive from each sale.
  • The cookie duration. The cookie duration is the period of time during which you, the affiliate, will be able to earn a commission for any sale generated after a visitor clicks one of your links.

We highly recommend using only the most popular and established networks. That way, your website isn’t associated with any shady affiliate network – which could potentially lead to poor rankings and decrease your trustworthiness or reputation (if they fail to deliver products of the right quality, deliver very slowly, or even fail to deliver at all).

#4: Amazon Associates – The Largest Affiliate Program

Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is the world’s biggest online affiliate program in the market by far. It’s also extremely easy to set up and use, making it a great choice for beginners.

Amazon Associates packs a huge arsenal of useful features, such as:

  • Easy linking. You’ll get access to the SiteStrip tool, which is a banner at the top of every product page that will give you linking options for that product, including text and image links.
  • Resource center. Amazon offers a large resource center with tutorials and tips to help you succeed as an Amazon Associate, and which is very easy to follow.
  • Banners. Create banners to advertise product categories or promote a special event or sale, such as Mother’s Day.

It’s worth mentioning that the Amazon Affiliate cookie only lasts for 24 hours after a website visitor clicks on the affiliate link (lower than many other schemes). However, the real power comes from the fact that this cookie is not specific to any one product.

This means that if a visitor clicks on your affiliate link and then goes on to buy 10 other products at some point in the next 24 hours, you’ll get a commission on every one of those 10 products – even if they didn’t buy the one you were promoting!

The commission rates vary from 1% – 10%, with Amazon Bounty rates taking this to 20%.

Because Amazon is such a well-known and trusted brand, click-through rates for affiliates tend to be higher than elsewhere, especially as customers know they won’t have to register, or enter any card details, if they already have an Amazon account. 

#5: CJ Affiliate – Best for Data-Oriented Individuals

CJ Affiliate homepage

CJ Affiliate is a well-established, reputable affiliate network with 3,000 merchants. 

It’s connected with big brands, offers a variety of link-creation tools, and is very easy to use (so a great choice for beginners).

We particularly love these features of CJ Affiliate:

  • Real-time reporting. CJ can provide in-time analysis, showing you exactly how your affiliate listings are performing.
  • User-friendly platform. You’ll get an extremely intuitive interface with detailed documentation to help you should any problems arise.
  • Royal treatment for star publishers. As a Content Certified publisher, you can enjoy pre-approved access to advertisers for premium rates – while still maintaining editorial control over your blog’s content.

The real-time reporting and royal treatment are unique features exclusive to CJ Affiliate – you won’t find them on any other platform.

It offers commission rates that start at around 5% – 10% for most products, but it may vary by both the company and the products you promote. Also, the standard cookie duration is 45 days, but you can stretch it out to 120 days.

#6: ShareASale – The Best for Timely Payments

ShareaSale homepage

ShareASale allows you to partner up with many reputable SMBs across nearly 40 different product categories. It’s beginner-friendly, has great commission rates, and includes everything you need in a great affiliate network. 

  • Robust payment processing. ShareASale is very transparent, always pays on time, and offers competitive commission rates.
  • Ease of use. Navigating through ShareASale feels like a breeze – you have everything in one place, and creating links takes just a few seconds.
  • Thousands of merchants. It offers a wide variety of advertisers and allows you to use filters such as 7-day EPC and lead commission to analyze brands’ earning potential.

It’s a great affiliate program for beginners because of its ease of use. If you’re a blogger, content creator, or social media marketer who wants to make some extra money recommending their favorite products, you’ll love this platform. 

Also, they offer great commission rates, paying you $30-$150 per commission – with the cookies lasting for 30 days.

#7: ClickBank – The Highest Commission Rates

ClickBank homepage

ClickBank is an affiliate program that mainly focuses on digital products (e-books or courses), though it does also offer a range of physical products.

Here are some of the things we found useful with ClickBank.

  • Low barriers to entry. No need for any tedious approval process or difficult setup. All you need to do is to create an account and start promoting.
  • Highly convenient. It tracks sales, monitors refunds and chargebacks, and sends you your commissions on auto-pilot – a complete hands-off.
  • High commissions. Vendors will pay you anywhere from 50% to even 75% a sale. They pay affiliates twice a month via direct deposit, check, or wire transfer.

It’s pretty easy for first-time affiliate marketers to get started. 

You don’t need to be approved for the vast majority of affiliate products on ClickBank – you can start selling straight away, unlike with most other affiliate networks. 

Also, the cookie window is longer than with most affiliate programs – 60 days.

Link Management

Link management will ensure your links look professional, and that potential customers aren’t afraid to click on them when you share them on social media.

These will also help you shorten links – which tend to be rather long for Amazon Associates!

long Amazon affiliate link

Plus, you will also be able to track the performance of each of your links and see their potential on your bottom line.

#8: AAWP – The Best Link Manager for Amazon Associates

AAWP homepage

The AAWP plugin allows for accurate tracking of link/ad performance, as well as complete control over your links and data directly inside WordPress – with a lot of trackable information on offer.

On top of the number of clicks metric you get with most tools, you’ll also gain insights about:

  • Where exactly the product box was clicked. Whether it was the product image, the title, or the ‘Buy’ button that was clicked.
  • Information about the user who clicked. The date of the click, the OS, the device, and the browser used.

Also, you’ll get a configurable chart for filtering and displaying the data over a certain period of time.

AAWP statistics

The AAWP plugin also allows you to use a range of unique ways of showcasing affiliate products in dynamic ways, such as Bestsellers, New Releases, and Comparison tables.

For instance, here’s how you can use the New Releases or Bestseller lists.

You choose the category of the products, select filters such as color, material, and price, and you’re all set. AAWP will automatically pull data from Amazon and populate your website with the right products.

AAWP product boxes

The best thing about it is that you can set it up in seconds – and forget about it. 

AAWP automatically updates these products inside the Bestseller, New Releases (and every other list), so your customers get the most up-to-date data. 

Paid plans start at $49 a month – with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

AAWP product boxes

#9: ClickWhale – The Most User-Friendly Link Management Tool

ClickWhale homepage

ClickWhale is, in our opinion, one of the best link management plugins for WordPress. 

It’s quick and easy to install on your existing personal or business websites. You can add links and tracking codes, and set up everything in just a few clicks. Plus, it provides you with accurate data, so you can track the effectiveness of your links directly within WordPress – no external tracking tools needed.

ClickWhale number of clicks

As a result, you won’t need to worry about discrepancies in data between those external services and your WordPress site, any of which may use different tracking methods. 

 It also lets you organize all your links into categories that you can filter. 

filtering products in AAWP

If you’re already using other link management, they’ve got you covered there.

ClickWhale allows you to import existing links from other link management tools such as PrettyLinks, ThirstyLinks, or BetterLinks. This might be useful for those who already use a link manager but are looking for additional functionality such as:

  • Detailed insights
  • Creating link pages
  • Adding tracking codes

They offer a forever-FREE membership. You can also opt-in for their premium version, starting at $49 a year, which offers more advanced features.

ClickWhale pricing

#10: ThirstyAffiliates – Link Cloaking & Tracking

ThirstyAffiliates homepage

ThirstyAffiliate is a robust WP plugin for tracking affiliate links as easily as possible.

They offer a user-friendly interface, automated link cloaking, and tracking clicks for your affiliate links. It also nicely integrates with Google Analytics, so you have everything in one place. 

Plus, it comes equipped with time-saving features such as automatic 404 checks, keyword linking, and link scheduling.

ThirstyAffiliates 404 Checker

The ThirstyAffiliates plugin offers a free version with basic features to get you started. For advanced features, you can opt for one of their premium plans starting at $79.50 a month.

ThirstyAffiliates pricing

#11: EasyAzon – The Fastest Affiliate Link Creation WordPress Plugin

EasyAzon homepage

EasyAzon offers one of the quickest ways to create Amazon affiliate links within your WordPress post editor. 

In fact, you can create text affiliate links without having to go through the tedious process of manually creating links from within the Amazon website – a huge time saver!

EasyAzon products

In addition to text affiliate links, you can also create:

  • Image affiliate links. Insert an image of a product from Amazon and turn that image into a clickable affiliate link.
  • Product information blocks. Display the product title, image thumbnail, price information, and a ‘Buy’ button – all in a styled block.
  • Call to action. Insert Amazon.com ‘Buy’ buttons.

You also get a few additional features that let you capture more conversions. For instance, you can create product pop ups, implement ‘Add to Cart’ functionality, and automatic link localization – which ensures visitors will be redirected to their local Amazon website (for example, UK visitors will be redirected to Amazon.co.uk).

interactive Amazon product box

Plus, when you install the EasyAzon plugin, you will also get access to their Amazon Affiliate Training, which includes:

  • What goes into a successful Amazon Affiliate site
  • Tips to maximize your Amazon commissions
  • Backlinking techniques that work
  • How to do keyword research

EasyAzon is a FREE WordPress plugin, however, it has a premium version which offers more features, such as automated bestseller lists and conversion optimized templates.

Content Creation

Content creation is all about being as efficient as possible with creating your affiliate content and collaborating with your team.

#12: Google Workspace – The Most Complete Content Creation Suite

Google Workspace homepage

Google Workspace is by far the best content creation tool for affiliate content.

This is because it’s simple, available both online and offline, and you can easily collaborate with your team of editors – leaving suggestions and comments.

Google Docs collaboration

Many affiliate marketers like to use different tools with additional SEO capabilities:

  • SEMRush content editor
  • SurferSEO
  • Frase

However, the problem is that not everyone is familiar with these tools. And even if they are, they’ll need to create a new account each time. But everyone can use Google Docs – and you can integrate the functionality of all these tools in there!

That’s right, all of the tools above (and almost every other tool) have GDoc plugins.

Google Workspace Marketplace

Google Workspace isn’t just about creating content – it’s also about organizing it.

You can create content plans inside Google Sheets, export keywords from SEMRush or Ahrefs into Sheets, or create presentations, not to mention being able to share any other resource or file type with Google Drive.

It’s truly one of the most complete workspaces for content creation.

You can use Google Workspace to the fullest for FREE. If you’re looking for additional cloud storage, you can opt-in for their paid plans, starting at $6 per user, per year.

Google Workspace pricing

#13: Grammarly – The Best Grammar Checker

Grammarly homepage

Grammarly is the best tool for checking the grammar, styling, and tone of your content, and is especially useful for non-native speakers.

It’s like having a second pair of eyes that will massively save your time and energy.

Grammarly in email communication

The best thing about it is that you can integrate Grammarly with Google Docs, Word, LinkedIn, and many other tools you regularly use.

This is extremely useful, and will make your workflow much more efficient.

Grammarly integrations

However, even though Grammarly can spot grammatical errors, sometimes you will get a ‘wrong’ suggestion simply because it misunderstood the context of your text. Therefore, it’s important to not just passively accept suggestions, but really pay attention and think about them.

There is a FREE Grammarly version you can use forever. 

If you’re looking for more advanced features such as tone and styling, you will have to opt in for their premium plans, which start at $12 a month.

Grammarly pricing

#14: Hemingway App – The Best Tool for Improving Readability

Hemingway App

The Hemingway App is a free tool for making your content as readable as possible. It will let you see all of the important metrics about your content, such as:

  • Word count
  • Readability
  • Sentence & word review

Sentence review is the most useful feature of the Hemingway App for us.

You can see which sentence is hard to read, or very-hard to read. Having a few hard-to-read sentences is okay – but you should keep the very hard ones at a minimum.

You will also get a green highlight for sentences that use the passive voice.

Again, the passive voice isn’t bad; however, to make your content more engaging and flow better, we suggest using the active voice instead. Take a look at these examples:

Passive voice: “An engaging article was written by the author.”

Active voice: “The author wrote an engaging article.”

There is also a word review – showing you phrases with simpler alternatives.

Sometimes, we tend to use complex words instead of simpler ones without fully realizing it. If high readability is your level, we suggest changing these into simpler alternatives.

It’s as easy as hovering over the complex word, and accepting a suggestion.

#15: Canva – The Best Solution for Creating Unique Designs

Canva dashboard

Canva empowers you to create beautiful designs for your content.

The best thing about using Canva is that you don’t have to be a veteran designer. Instead, you can easily learn to use it even if you’ve never dealt with such a tool before.

It provides you with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor…

Canva drag-and-drop editor

…and you also get tons of templates you can choose from, so you don’t start from scratch.

Canva designs

They make it easy to create high-quality images and designs in as little as a few minutes. 

You can use Canva’s FREE version or hop on on their paid membership, starting at $11.99 a month to get more advanced features.

Canva pricing

Content Optimization & Tracking

You’ve crafted great content; however, to make it really perform well, you’ll now need to put some time into perfecting it.

That’s what the whole content optimization process is all about – making it…

  • Rank higher
  • More enjoyable
  • Tailored to customers

Let’s now take a look at some of the best content optimization tools we regularly use to ensure the top quality of our content (and if you’re reading this, you know that our content ranks high and keeps customers reading).

#16: Pebblely – The Best Tool for Refining Images with AI

One of our favorite image enhancing AI tools is Pebblely. It’s easy to use, and you can make your images look professional in just a few clicks.

Here is an example of what Pebblely can do for your images.

Pebblely image ideas

You can also use it to remove the background, or resize and extend the image to any size.

Pebblely offers three paid memberships, starting at $19 / month (which will be sufficient for most small businesses).

Pebblely pricing

If you’re not sure whether it’s the right solution for you, they also offer a FREE version – allowing you to generate up to 40 images a month.

#17: Yoast SEO – The Most Popular WordPress SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that will ensure that your site meets the highest technical SEO standards. It also gives you the tools to optimize your content for SEO and overall readability. There are countless things you can do with Yoast SEO:

  • Create a solid internal linking structure
  • Get integrations with powerful platforms
  • Prevent your visitors from ending up on dead links
  • Automatically add structured data to help Google understand your site

We’ve seen a great increase in search rankings in Google with Yoast SEO compared to past posts where we didn’t use this plugin.

You can hop on their FREE version, or sign up for one of their paid plans starting at $99 a year.

Yoast SEO pricing

#18: Google Analytics – The Best Tool for Tracking Traffic to Your Website

Google Analytics homepag

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that will help you see detailed insights about your website and each of your affiliate posts (or any other articles).

For instance, you can see the average reading time of each of your posts…

Google Analytic time on page

…or the bounce rate.

Google Analytics Bounce rate

Both of these are useful, since they let you see which posts your readers liked and wanted to read, and which ones didn’t perform as well.

You can also monitor your traffic over time, identifying which posts get the most traffic (and then focus your efforts on creating similar content).

The best thing about Google Analytics is that it’s FREE, and you can easily integrate it with your WordPress website with just a few clicks.

#19: Google Search Console – The Most Reliable Solution for Tracking Rankings

Google Search console homepage

Google Search Console is a powerful tool for tracking rankings, impressions, and clicks of your content in the search results page (SERP).

Google Search Console

You can sort your posts by the highest rankings, see which ones perform the best, and try to replicate similar articles in the future.

You can also see the top-ranking keyword phrases for your website.

Google Search console impressions and clicks

The impressions indicate how many people have seen your post in the SERP.

This, combined with clicks, can give you valuable insights into how well you’ve optimized your title and meta description – and how irresistible your SERP result is.

The whole process and setup of Google Search Console for your site is similar to Google Analytics. It’s FREE, as well.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the most profitable channel for reaching your potential customers – having as much as a 4,000% return on investment.

email marketing ROI

Source: Maven Marketing

Plus, you’re selling directly to customers who:

  • Have high interest. They’ve already opted in to your email list.
  • Have already made a purchase. 

Both of which are high-converting types of customers.

#20: ConvertKit – The Best Email Marketing Tool for Beginners

email marketing ROI

ConvertKit is a fantastic tool for connecting with your audience via emails. It’s also easy to use, and especially useful for bloggers and creators.

This is because it offers automation and integrations with a number of popular platforms.

ConvertKit visual automations

Another thing we love about CovertKit is customer segmentation – empowering you to create advanced rules and segments based on user behavior – which can lead to as much as 760% higher revenue.

email marketing segmented campaigns

Source: Campaign Monitor

They offer a free plan of up to 1,000 subscribers, with limited features. As you start to scale, you will need to opt in for paid membership based on the number of your subscribers.

The paid plans start at $15 a month for up to 300 subscribers.

ConvertKit pricing

#21: Mailchimp – Marketing & Email Automation

MailChimp homepage

Mailchimp is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses and marketers who need a user-friendly platform.

It offers a robust set of features, including:

  • Split testing
  • Email list segmentation
  • In-depth analytics and reporting

What we found especially useful was the amount (and quality) of templates they offer. It can really help you speed up your work, and eliminate any creative or writing block. 

Mailchimp templates

Plus, they also offer robust A/B testing capabilities.

This is fantastic since it lets you test multiple email variations, and identify the best one. You can rely on data instead of your feelings or preferences, enabling you to achieve much more substantial results with your email affiliate marketing.

A/B testing campaign

They offer a FREE plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, with limited features. 

Their paid plans start at $12.06 a month – but you can hop on their 1-month free trial to test whether their paid plans are worth it for your business.

Mailchimp pricing

Ready to DOUBLE Your Affiliate Commissions?

Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to drive massive revenue from your blog’s traffic.

It’s constantly on the rise, which is great since you can experience even better results in the future. However, this also means it’s more and more competitive.

Fortunately, if you use the tools we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able to get ahead of your competitors, and win more customers.

If you’re looking to improve your affiliate commissions even further, check out these resources:

To win more customers, you have to find a way to stand out and create better content. 

And that’s precisely what we are here to help you with!

AAWP is our Amazon Affiliate WordPress plugin, which lets you create stunning affiliate content that will set you apart from competitors, and make it easier for your readers to choose the right product – and for you to increase your conversions.

You can choose various content types, including:

  • Comparison tables. Comparing two or more similar products
  • New Releases. Showcasing the top products from a product category you choose
  • Single (or multiple) product boxes. Providing detailed information about one or multiple products.

Just take a look and compare the wealth of information we help you to include with the products you promote…

turn small product box into larger one with AAWP

…as you can see, we’ve also solved the issues with Amazon’s small image sizes.

If you’re looking to stand out and become your reader’s go-to source of product reviews and recommendations, get started with AAWP today.

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