As a self-employed blogger, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to earn income is by promoting various products and earning commission sales. It’s a simple process, and something that even beginners can do well (as long as they have a passion for the products they write about). I’ve already talked about the pros and cons of affiliate marketing in the past, but since this is a brutally honest ShareASale review, I am going to skip all that this time and jump right in to the good stuff.
What is ShareASale and why should you use it?
To break it down in the most simplest terms possible, ShareASale is a website which lists companies who are willing to pay a commission for referral sales. In other words, it’s an affiliate marketing portal. And broken down even further than that, it’s an excellent resource for journalists and bloggers due to the fact that it’s a “one stop shop” kind of deal. Instead of having to scour the entire Internet trying to find products to promote, ShareASale conveniently lists thousands of products all in one place.
The main reason for using ShareASale is convenience. It’s personally been a huge timesaver for me, because I have six different blogs at the moment. 99% of my time is spent writing and creating videos, and I simply don’t have time to searching around for affiliate programs for the products I am discussing in my articles.
Convenience alone could very well be the end of this ShareASale review. However, there is a lot more to it than that. I’ve been a ShareASale user for well over two years now, and I’ve actually got quite a bit to say about it. Most of it is good of course, but there are some things that really drive me bonkers about the service.
Let’s peel back all the layers to reveal what it’s really like to use this product on a daily basis:
Pros and cons of using shareasale (the meat of this ShareASale review)
Again, I’d just like to reiterate that I’ve been a ShareASale user for over two years now and I’m very confident that I’ve got a really good sense of what works well (and doesn’t work well) with the service. Of course everyone’s needs are different, so the following pros and cons are based on my own experience and how it relates to all the things that I personally need in an affiliate marketing portal.
- ShareASale is an extremely active affiliate marketing portal with thousands of companies and products in many categories. New products are being added every day, and I’ve always been able to find products to promote for any of my five blogs without any issue at all. It’s an extremely valuable resource! Far as I’m concerned, this is the most important point in this entire ShareASale review.
- Unlike many other websites of this kind, I find that the user interface is extremely simple and easy to navigate. I’ve never had any issues trying to find the information that I need, which is massively important to me due to the fact that I need to spend the majority of my time creating content. If I have to hunt and peck for things (or worse, having to contact the support team), I’m not going to be a very happy guy.
- My acceptance rate to the affiliate programs is much higher compared to other websites of this kind. One of reasons why I started using ShareASale was because I found that it was easier for me to be accepted to promote the products that I wanted to promote. Nothing is more frustrating for me as a blogger than being rejected from an affiliate program that closely aligns with the content that I’m creating. I’ve never had that issue with ShareASale, and my acceptance rate for the programs I want to join is nearly 100%.
- Payouts are always on time, and I’ve never had any issues with transfers to my account. Again, this is something that I would personally value highly in a ShareASale review, so if you’re concerned about whether they are a legitimate company or not, don’t be. I always get paid.
- Easy access to the affiliate managers (the people managing the specific offers) is a huge plus. Any affiliate marketer worth a darn will tell you that having quick and easy access to the affiliate manager for any given program is really important. For example, there have been numerous times that I needed to contact the company of the product that I was promoting to negotiate a higher commission rate (because I was generating so many sales). ShareASale makes this easy, and I’ve been able to build some great relationships with the affiliate managers (and higher commissions) for the products I’m promoting.
- The affiliate links aren’t very WordPress friendly. What I mean by this is that ShareASale uses characters such as “&” in the affiliate links, which WordPress will obliterate and change to “ ” when switching back-and-forth between the text mode and visual mode when editing the article. This is kind of a big deal for me, because I’m an extremely visual person, and I’m always feeling the itch to preview my content often as I am formatting it. As soon as I switch over to the visual formatter, those characters are automatically replaced, and all of my ShareASale text liks become invalid. Therefore, I have to add my links at the very last minute before publishing – in the plain text viewer, which is difficult to navigate since it’s all raw code.
- Related to my above point about WordPress breaking my links, I haven’t yet found a way on the ShareASale website to verify any links that I use. Yes, there are activity reports, and I can see how many clicks each link has generated, but I can’t necessarily tell if I have any broken links anywhere. This is especially frustrating for me because I’m quite sure that many of my links have been inadvertently broken over the years when making edits to older articles in WordPress.
- The design of the ShareASale website is a bit outdated, which in all honesty, isn’t that big of a deal. However, the only reason why I mention this is because it sometimes makes me wonder if they have all the resources (and staff) they need to continue to operate over the long term. Yes, everything works, which is obviously the most important part – but I’m just being petty here and it would be nice if the design of the website was a bit more modern and up to current standards. Just for piece of mind.
How does ShareASale compare to Commission Junction?
Whenever I tell people that my primary source for finding affiliate products to promote is ShareASale, their immediate question back to me is how it compares to Commission Junction (the number one player in the space). I’ve actually got a lot to say about this as well, so let’s just jump right into it and take this ShareASale review up a notch:
- Commission junction (CJ) was what I used when I first started doing affiliate marketing eight years ago. Back then, it seemed like an amazing resource for a beginner like me, and I was able to join many programs fairly easily – even though I didn’t have a very large presence on the web yet. However, times have changed, and I find it all but impossible to join the affiliate programs that I want to join via CJ. This is mostly because the companies that are available to promote on CJ are typically larger and more established brands, and are therefore much more difficult to get approved for. In contrast, the companies that work with ShareASale are generally smaller and are more willing to work with smaller bloggers such as myself.
- CJ will suspend your account if you don’t refer any sales within 180 days. There is no such requirement with ShareASale, which is especially convenient if you’re just starting out and finding it difficult to gain traction. It definitely takes a while to get established with affiliate marketing, and it seems like sShareASale is more willing to accept that then CJ is. Which is fine, because CJ has always established itself as an affiliate marketing portal for more experienced content creators.
- Along the same lines, the CJ website is horribly complex – and downright scary if you don’t know anything about affiliate marketing and all of the abbreviations (CPM, CPC, etc) that go with it. If you’re just starting out with this affiliate stuff, ShareASale is a much better place to start. Their website is much easier to navigate through, and I find that they do a much better job of explaining what all of those abbreviations mean.
How much money can you make with ShareASale?
As with anything in life, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. That’s probably not what you really want to hear in a brutally honest ShareASale review, but it’s the truth. However, I do need to say that I mean it in the best and most encouraging way possible. If you’re looking to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing (and with ShareASale specifically), the income potential is unlimited.
Will you make millions of dollars within just a few months? Most likely not. Just to give you a sense of how I started, I only earned five dollars in my first six months of doing affiliate marketing way back in the day. There is definitely a steep learning curve, and it’s going to take you time to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it to comes to promoting products.
However, once you get it all figured out, it’s a really nice source of recurring income. I had already been doing affiliate marketing for years when I first joined ShareASale, so it was easy for me to start earning commissions very quickly.
I also need to mention that ShareASale is my primary source for finding affiliate products to promote these days. As I mentioned earlier, my acceptance rate with the companies and products I want to promote via ShareASale is much higher than anywhere else. Therefore, I am making a fairly decent income every month by focusing all my efforts in one place.
Some final thoughts as I close out this ShareASale review
To be as brutally honest as possible (that’s the entire point of this ShareASsale review, right?), I need to say that I’ve got a love / hate relationship going on with them. It’s always been that way, right from the very first day that I joined. For the most part, I’m very happy with the service and I’m going to be using them for a long time to come. I’m very sure of that.
However, ShareASale isn’t perfect. The broken text links in WordPress is my biggest gripe, and it’s a pretty big one at that. I can certainly live with it due to the fact that I’m having a lot of great success with ShareASale, but I don’t like that it requires me to pay extra close attention every time I edit an article within WordPress. If they could just sort out those text links, I’d be an extremely happy guy.
Anyway, is ShareASale right for you? Well, if you’re just getting into affiliate marketing, or if you’re sick of being rejected to most affiliate programs over on CJ, then yes! I do know many experienced affiliate marketers who swear by ShareASale as well. There’s a lot to be said about its simplicity compared to other services of this kind, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I am going to be using them for a long time to come.
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