How to Create an Affiliate Program

How to Create an Affiliate Program for your WordPress Website

There are dozens of ways to go around growing your business and increasing your profits using WordPress. One of the most effective happens to be affiliate marketing, which – despite requiring some work to set up –  enables you to leverage your users, and get them to help you expand your business.

If executed properly, an affiliate program can bring in a lot of revenue and turn your business into a success story. All you need is a product to market, to pick the right tool for the job, and provide enough incentive for your affiliates to get the word out. It may sound like a lot of work, but the benefits can be significant.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why you’d want to create an affiliate program, we’ll take a look at some of the best WordPress plugins to help you do it, and then wrap things up with a few tips to make sure you’re on the right track. Let’s jump right in!

Why Should I Create an Affiliate Program for My Website?

Figuring out how to monetize your WordPress website is a big step, and there are many ways to go about it. Affiliate marketing is one of them.

To put it simply, this is how an affiliate marketing program usually works, starting with its players: you have the product creator and the affiliate (or associate). The affiliates promote your product on their own websites or through other methods. In return, for every sale they make, they receive a small cut of the proceeds (or a fixed fee, in some cases). An affiliate program, then, is just an easy way to facilitate the relationship between creator and affiliate. Here are the benefits that implementing such a program can bring you:

    1. Increased revenue. The more affiliates you have promoting your product or service, the more attention it’ll get. More eyes on your product usually translates to more money in your pocket.
    2. Bolstered traffic. Speaking of more eyes, your website will likely see an increase in traffic once your program kicks off, as your affiliates will be sending more and more potential buyers your way.
    3. Improved authority. When you have other business owners promoting your product, it can lend you a certain level of credibility. This can be beneficial in your interactions with consumers and members of your industry and it will set you apart from other content creators.

To start enjoying these benefits, you’ll need to find the right tools to set up your own program, and WordPress doesn’t disappoint in this respect. The Content Management System (CMS) enables you to create effective affiliate programs with the help of its many features. Using WordPress, you’ll have access to a wide array of suitable themes and full-featured affiliate management plugins, among other useful functionality.

Which Affiliate Plugin Should I Use?

There’s no one plugin that is perfect for all users, so we’ve lined up three of the top affiliate options for your benefit. All of them offer the features you need to start a successful affiliate program, so picking the right one is mostly a matter of personal taste (and your budget!).


AffiliateWP Plugin Homepage

AffiliateWP is a full-featured plugin equipped with all the bells and whistles necessary for running a successful affiliate program. With 15 free add-ons along with an assortment of premium extensions and third-party integrations, AffiliateWP packs some serious punch for its price. Furthermore, the plugin caters to both the technically-inclined, with its depth of features, as well as to beginners, who will benefit from its easy setup and user-friendly interface.

Key Features:

  • Real-time reports of referrals, earnings, and registrations
  • Works with as many affiliates as you want
  • Referral link generators
  • Uses a simple shortcode system
  • Logs all your payments
  • Full integrations with WooCommerce and a variety of other platforms

Price: AffiliateWP starts at $49 per year.

Affiliates Manager

Affiliates Manager WordPress Plugin

Affiliates Manager offers you all the tools you need to set up a successful affiliate program, and it offers a focus on associate recruitment, registration, and management. This plugin seamlessly integrates with WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, and Paid Membership Pro, just to name a few plugins. Additionally, it provides you with a variety of options to create unique banners for your programs, which makes it a great choice for the more visually inclined among you.

Key Features:

  • Real-time reports for your programs
  • Supports an unlimited number of affiliates
  • Integrates with several e-mail campaign platforms, such as MailChimpMailPoet, and other WordPress plugins
  • Supports a multitude of payment options
  • Tracks the number of impressions on your ads

Price: The free version of this plugin is available in the WordPress plugins directory, and there is a premium alternative starting at $39 for a single-site license.


Affiliates WordPress Plugin

If you’re venturing into the world of affiliate marketing for the first time, the Affiliates plugin may be a great option for you due to its no-nonsense approach. In addition to being packed with useful features, such as in-depth reports, the plugin offers a clean and easy-to-use interface. Furthermore, there’s a premium version available, which offers even more advanced features, including the option to set up pay-per-click programs and create discount codes.

Key Features:

  • Free integrations with WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce, and eShop
  • Front end statistics for associates
  • Analytics tracking for referrals, links, and sales
  • Automatic and manual affiliate sign up
  • Create coupons and discount codes

Price: The Affiliates plugin is free, but there’s also a premium version available starting at $59 for a single-site license.

How Can I Create a Successful Affiliate Marketing Campaign?

It would take a book to cover all the elements to launching a successful affiliate marketing campaign, but there are a few simple tips you should keep in mind to maximize your changes if you’re just starting out:

  • Target partners in your niche. Other website owners in your field will have more incentive to join your program since your products or services might be relevant to their audience. That way, everyone benefits.
  • Pay your affiliates on a regular schedule. Associates may be hesitant to sign up for an affiliate program if its payment terms aren’t spelled out clearly. Make sure this information is laid out in its entirety on your website, and that affiliates understand how your program works before signing up.
  • Provide incentives. A lot of affiliate marketers promote several products at once, which means you need to find a way to stand out. Offering incentives (such as more lucrative commissions) for your top affiliates is a great way to ensure they feel motivated to promote your products.
  • Consider your customers. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when setting up an affiliate program is to focus all your efforts on recruiting more associates and finding more sales. While expanding your reach is important, it’s also crucial that you spend time making sure your products and services offer enough value to your clients.

If you still have any questions or doubts about the process of setting up an affiliate marketing program, you should check out Neil Patel’s comprehensive guide on how to get started and doing things the right way.


If you’re looking to grow your business, affiliate marketing is one of the most reliable ways to get the word out about your products and services. As long as you have a good product on your hands and you treat your affiliates well, your program should be a slam dunk.

Furthermore, WordPress makes the process of creating an affiliate program easy, thanks to its wide variety of related plugins, including:

  1. AffiliateWP: A premium option with a staggering variety of features.
  2. Affiliates Manager: This plugin offers a wide number of integrations with third-party platforms and services.
  3. Affiliates:  Ideal for marketers that value a clean and practical interface.

What do you think makes for a successful affiliate marketing program? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means Nimbus Themes may receive compensation if you make a purchase using these links.

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