Affiliate marketing is one way for online marketers and webmasters to make money by connecting their site visitors with products or services from affiliate partners.
Brands enter agreements with one another and ads are strategically placed on partner sites to increase a marketing campaign’s reach and user engagement.
In this post, we’ve collected some of the best WordPress plugins for affiliate marketing to help streamline this passive revenue process. But first, let’s review what affiliate marketing is and the types of affiliate marketing tools that are available on WordPress.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an advertising model where companies pay partner businesses to publish content that generates traffic or leads for their own business. These third-party partners are called “affiliates” and they are compensated based on how much traffic or leads they can drum up for the businesses they’re partnered with.
In practice, this typically takes the form of advertisements and product placements on your website. You enter into an affiliate marketing agreement with a well-known brand or company, place their ads on your site, and every time a visitor completes a specific action — such as clicking through on a link or making a purchase — you earn a small amount of money.
Over time, these small amounts can add up to big earnings: Recent data suggests that affiliate marketing spending will top $2.8 billion by 2022.
But how do you make affiliate marketing work for you? The right WordPress plugins can help.
What are affiliate marketing WordPress plugins?
The most powerful tool in any affiliate marketing arsenal is consumer connections. If you can collect and create reliable lists of customer emails and encourage them via targeted marketing efforts or regular newsletters to visit your site or purchase an affiliate product, you’re well on your way to creating a passive revenue stream to help sustain site operations while you work on more mission-critical projects.
The challenge? Collecting visitor information and managing email lists at scale is a daunting task, as is leveraging collected data to understand where your site is performing well in the affiliate marketing space and where it needs improvement.
The right WordPress plugins can help streamline these efforts by providing key content, connection, and competition monitoring features to increase your affiliate marketing impact.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best affiliate marketing WordPress plugins — and how they can help drive reliable revenue generation. Using any of the plugins below in conjunction with an affiliate marketing WordPress theme can help boost revenue on your site.
Affiliate Marketing Plugins for WordPress
- Bloom Email Opt-In Plugin
- Thrive Leads
- WP Notification Bar
- Monarch Social Sharing Plugin
- Adning Advertising
- Pretty Links
- WP Rich Snippets
Price: $89/year or $249 for lifetime access
Building an email list is an important first step for any online marketer. Put simply, if you have a large email list, you’re more likely to make money from your affiliate products.
To create an email list, you need a top-quality tool that makes it easy for users to subscribe to your site and receive regular email updates about the products and services you promote.
Bloom is one of the best email opt-in plugins created by popular ElegantThemes. Check out our detailed review of Bloom plugin for more details about the product and how it works.
Bloom offers a number of options in terms of placement of subscription forms along with attractive pop-up ads to get the user's attention. It comes with a host of template designs and integrates seamlessly with leading email marketing services.
Price: $120/month for Pro Plan; $230/month for Guru Plan; $450/month for Business Plan
SEMRush will keep you updated about your competitors and help you earn more money by choosing the right keywords for your promotions.
SEMRush tracks keywords being used by your competitors and how well those keywords are performing for them, giving you a better idea of how your site is performing in comparison, what keywords you should consider to boost SEO, and how your content needs to change to return better search engine results.
3. Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is one of the best mailing list building plugins as it can help increase affiliate earnings by creating an email list for your business.
We’ve written a detailed review of Thrive Leads where you can find more information about the product and how it works, but suffice to say that it’s one of the most widely-used email opt-in plugins.
Using in-depth data analysis, this plugin helps you select the ideal opt-in types and affiliate marketing placements for your site to maximize visitor interest and uptake.
WordPress notification bars are popular among affiliate marketers because they offer an easy way to attract visitors' attention and drive more traffic to increase conversion.
Notification bars are especially effective in promoting special offers. For example, if your site includes a discount offer for visitors, notification bars can help immediately draw user attention.
The WP Notification Bar plugin from MyThemeShop is one of the most comprehensive and feature-rich notification bar plugins for WordPress. It comes with a host of options for bar placements and types, and you can even create unlimited notification bars with multiple notification types.
Adding bar styling is also possible — the plugin offers simple customization options and unlimited color choices to help your notifications stand out.
Price: $89/year or $249 for lifetime access
Social sharing is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of your online business. Targeted social shares not only bring traffic to your site, but can help you rank higher in search results.
One of the primary search engine algorithm factors is the “social signal,” which takes into account the reach and impact of your posts. In practice this means that if your blog post gets a lot of social shares, the probability of ranking on the first page of Google increases.
Monarch takes no time to install and is easy to use, giving you a variety of options to help boost your social signal and increase the reach of your marketing efforts.
Check out our comprehensive review of the Monarch plugin.
A comprehensive ad management plugin for WordPress, Adning Advertising offers features that can help create a successful affiliate site and increase revenue.
One option is the ability to show category-based ads. For example, if you have a category for WordPress themes, you can show ads related to WordPress themes to increase the probability of conversion. You can also schedule your ads so that the advertisement shows for a particular period, meaning you don't have to manually remove the ad later.
This plugin comes with more than 18 different display options, and since it's a premium plugin you’ll get regular updates and premium support.
7. Pretty Links
Price: $79/year for Beginner Plan; $99/year for Marketer Plan; $149/year for Super Affiliate Plan
Cloaking your affiliate link is extremely important to maintain a high-quality appearance for your site. Cloaking an affiliate link means making a link look neat and beautiful; it's all about making it complement your domain name, so search engine bots don't identify these links as affiliate links.
This Pretty Links plugin is one of the best premium options to make your affiliate links look great while maintaining top-notch SEO for your site, offering responsive design for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
Looking for other options? Check out our list of the best affiliate link cloaking plugins for WordPress.
WP Rich Snippets is one of the most popular and widely used WordPress plugins for adding rich snippets.
With a growing number of marketers who promote the same affiliate products, you need to stand out in search results, and this means using a high-quality rich snippets plugin. The WP Rich Snippets plugin will show more details about the post in search results, such as star rating, which can dramatically increase the click-through rates for your content.
This plugin offers a detailed, yet simple user interface, making it easy to customize settings to meet your needs.
Price: $49/year for Just the Basics plan; $149/year for All-in-One plan; $489 for lifetime access
Adsanity is an ad management plugin for WordPress; this plugin makes it easy to insert ads of any type into your site and helps you earn more revenue.
With this plugin, you can create and manage ads as well as get detailed statistics about their performance, helping you better target ads to the right visitors and boost your affiliate marketing rates.
The plugin comes with two widgets: one widget for single ads and the other for ad groups, making it easy to create quick affiliate campaigns or larger-scale marketing efforts.
Capturing the Affiliate Advantage
Any of the plugins above can help your site generate higher revenues from affiliate products, while simultaneously streamlining the monitoring and management of these marketing efforts.
Ready to capture the affiliate advantage? Find your best-fit affiliate marketing WordPress plugin and get started today.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jul 15, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated July 15 2021