When you’re hoping to become a full-time blogger, monetization is key to reaching your goals. As a food blogger, finding ways to monetize can sometimes be difficult, because you can’t sell and deliver your delicious food to every hungry reader exploring your food blog. (Though we all wish we could get a taste!!!)
However, you CAN make a passive income by promoting products or services on your blog posts and earning commission on every sale. This is called affiliate marketing, and it’s one of the absolute BEST ways to monetize your delicious content.
To get started with affiliate marketing, you need to join an affiliate program. But, we know how hard it is to know which one is best for you! That’s why in today’s post we’re listing the best 9 affiliate programs for food bloggers!
Before we jump into those lucrative affiliate programs, let’s discuss how affiliate marketing works and how to choose the best network. Here’s the scoop:
Affiliate Marketing For Food Bloggers
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a business’s product or service on your blog using trackable links called affiliate links. When a reader clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. This type of marketing can be a great way to earn passive income while creating valuable content for your audience.
To start affiliate marketing, bloggers need to find and join affiliate programs. There are a ton of programs available, so choose one that aligns with your blog’s niche and audience best. When choosing a program, consider things like commission rates, payment methods, and product relevance. That last one is super important since not every company is going to have products and services that jive with the type of content you post.
When you find the right program and start affiliate marketing, make sure you disclose to your audience that your post is sponsored. This ensures you maintain trust with your loyal followers and you’re in compliance with FTC guidelines. You can simply include a statement somewhere in the post explaining you’re using affiliate links. Most readers won’t care at all, since it’s pretty much standard practice for influencers and bloggers at this point, but do always include it!
How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs For Your Food Blog:
Consider your audience.
First up, think about your followers. What products would be useful for them? For example, if you have a vegan blog that shares trendy vegan recipes, joining a direct-to-consumer steak delivery service as your brand partner is probably a no-go. But, a plant-based snack subscription box would be perfect – it would seem natural to advertise and review on your blog!
Also, ask yourself, what would add value to your blog rather than cheapening it? Ever seen a celebrity randomly start promoting some weight loss pill or, uh, indoor grill? (We’ll mention no names here.) Usually, unrelated products cheapen your brand rather than elevate it. But, don’t worry, there are plenty of affiliate programs out there with top-quality, relevant products for your food blog.
Look at the company’s rates and reputation.
Joining and getting accepted for an affiliate program is like starting a new job. You want the company and pay to be just right! Though you may be enchanted by high commission rates, also consider the overall quality and reputation of the program and the products it promotes.
Gauge the user-friendliness of the program.
Another factor to consider is the ease of use and accessibility of the program’s affiliate platform. A program with well-designed and user-friendly software can make the process of promoting products and tracking commissions much smoother and more efficient. Plus, these advanced programs may offer more features to help you increase your conversion rate. Usually, the program will outline its features and program on its website, so be sure to check before committing.
Read the terms and conditions.
We know… who reads the terms and conditions? Remember, this is like accepting a job—you’d read all the details of your offer, right? You should do that here too! There may be specific guidelines when it comes to your affiliate linking and your promotion methods. If you read these, you can minimize your chances of getting a penalty or restriction for being outside of the program’s guidelines.
9 Affiliate Programs for Food Bloggers
We don’t need to tell you what Amazon is, but you may not have known Amazon has its own affiliate program called Amazon Associates. It’s the ultimate affiliate program for any niche because Amazon is very widely used and has products in every category under the sun—including food- and cooking-related products. Since all your readers will probably already have an Amazon account, making sales on affiliate links is MUCH EASIER than other programs.
The ability to host your own storefront on Amazon is another benefit of Amazon’s affiliate program. On your personal Amazon storefront page, you can showcase and organize your favorite products and even host live streams to promote them. Your readers can wait for your affiliate product recommendations on your blog, or they can directly follow your storefront, making the probability of sales from Amazon Associates even higher.
And, for every sale, you earn between 4%-10% commission, which is a good rate when compared to other programs that don’t offer the same features as Amazon Associates. To join the program, you just need around 500 social media followers and a quality website.
Often brands don’t host their own affiliate program as Amazon does. Instead, they use an affiliate network, which hosts thousands of merchants on one intuitive platform. This is good news for you, because acceptance onto ShareASale gives you immediate access to SO MANY great brands, all through a secure and user-friendly platform.
Affiliate networks like ShareASale host brands in every niche. Food bloggers will love companies like Thrive Market, Sunbasket, Perdue Farms, Burlap & Barrel, ButcherBox, and more that find their homes on ShareASale’s platform.
ShareASale offers two payment options. You can get paid per lead or sale. Per sale means you get paid every time someone uses your link to purchase a product. Per lead means you get paid for every click on the affiliate link, regardless of the sale. The commissions on leads are smaller, of course, but they’re often easier to get!
ShareASale doesn’t note the number of followers you need to get approved, but we recommend shooting for around 500-1000 followers. As long as you have a content-rich website and dedicated readers, you’ll likely make the cut.
CJ Affiliate was formerly known as Commission Junction, and it’s another reputable affiliate network. They have brands great for food bloggers like Thrive Market, BistroMD, and Vitamix. Each company within the network has a slightly different commission structure, but most are around 4% on sales, though you will find pay-per-call options out there too.
A huge plus when joining CJ Affiliate is that they have NO starting requirements. You just need to be over 18 years old. That’s right, that means you can start earning passive income right now. So, if you’re a newer food blogger or don’t have a blog yet, this network might be your best choice!
Rakuten is an affiliate network with brands like Purple Carrot, Veestro, Blue Apron, Fresh Direct, and Omaha Steaks for food bloggers to market. The commission is around 5% for most brands, and their platform makes it easy to start linking and earning right away.
To get started with Rakuten, your brand needs to be well-established. The website needs to be active, and, as they put it, “full of unique and exciting content.” So, make sure your blog is rich with engaging posts for readers and buyers!
Awin is a trusted affiliate program with a focus on performance-based marketing for bloggers and brands alike. As a food blogger, you can benefit from their extensive network of over 29,000 merchants, including iGourmet, Fortnum & Mason, Muscle Food, and Ninja Kitchen.
They have two joining options based on how established your blog and following are. If you’re just starting, you can join their unique entry-level program, which charges a monthly access fee and network fee to use affiliate links from their brands. A program like this can get your blog monetized right away! However, if you don’t have enough readers, making your money back after fees may be tough.
Of course, their standard joining option doesn’t include these fees. Instead, they’ll just evaluate your follower number, engagement rate, and overall brand quality before they accept you. We recommend building your following and then signing up for the standard Awin membership when the time is right to avoid all those fees and increase your chance of making a profit!
The impact is an affiliate network with a lot of versatility. You can get paid by leads, clicks, calls, and sales. Your contracts will be negotiated with each brand separately, so your experience can be totally customized for your brand goals! Some brands you could work with include Blackstone, Artisan Cutlery, and EveryPlate.
Like most networks, Impact requires you to have a small, but dedicated following of between 500-1000 people. If you’re not there yet, focus on getting more followers and diversifying your traffic sources to get into your ideal affiliate network and make sales!
FlexOffers is similar to the other networks we’ve listed so far, but it has a unique “flex links” system where it automatically finds products in your blog posts to link to. It takes some of the hassles out of affiliate linking and maximizes your earning potential! You can also choose brands with various pay structures depending on your preference, whether you like pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, or pay-per-click.
You can start linking to brands after FlexOffers evaluates your blog’s readership, traffic, and high-quality content. Some of the great food brands you’ll find on FlexOffers are Chef’s Plate, Revolution Cooking, Fresh Direct, and Every Plate.
Like FlexOffers, Skimlinks reads your content and links the products for you! (Hence the name.) What’s also unique about Skimlinks is that you don’t have to apply for each brand you want to work with individually. You automatically get advertising rights to ALL the brands in their network. This automated system makes marketing and earning easy as pie!
Because Skimlinks does so much of the work, it takes a good chunk of the profits. They’ll take 25% of your commission. So, if a brand usually gives affiliate marketers 10% on a sale, you’ll only get about 6% of that. However, if you have limited time to work on your affiliate marketing business, this might be a good way to quickly and painlessly monetize your content.
Some food brands you may see Skimlinks network links to include Home Chef, Little Spoon, The Fruit Company, True Leaf Market, Porter Road, and Mistfits Market. All of these will enhance your content and provide additional value to your hungry readers. (No pun intended.)
Food52 is a company that sells everything you can imagine for cooking and eating! They’ve got high-quality appliances, table settings, pantry essentials, cookware, and more. To help sell their products, they have their own affiliate program that gives advertisers like you a 9% commission on every sale.
This is a great commission rate, the program is easy to use, and there isn’t a cooking product under the sun that’s not available on Food52’s website! However, Food52 does publish its own blog and recipes. Directly linking to a competitor like this may not be the best choice for every up-and-coming food blog.
You CAN monetize your food blog with these great affiliate programs!
Influencer marketing has never been bigger. Every year more companies are realizing the power of a blogger’s influence on their followers, so it’s a great time to start affiliate marketing. Just take some time to consider your values and the type of content you would naturally recommend to your audience. Then, find the affiliate program that fits you best. Now, all you have to do is start linking and bringing home the bacon!!!
For more ways to monetize your content and grow your brand, check out the InfluencerSEO blog. We’re experts in the influencer industry and can help your food blog become the NEXT BIG THING. With our advice, growing your food blog will be a piece of cake!