Written by: Dominique Jackson

9 Affiliate Marketing Tools For 2021 (From a Real Affiliate Marketer)

If you Google “affiliate marketing tools”, you'll find a bunch of articles that list dozens of tools, websites and services.

The reality is most of those lists are unnecessarily long because:

  1. They hope that a longer article will rank higher in Google
  2. They want to maximize their commission by recommending as many tools as possible

A lot of the time, they recommend tools they don’t use, and sometimes the people writing them don’t even do affiliate marketing.

So when I decided to make this list, I wanted to boil it down to just the essentials.

I run over a dozen niche websites, and I can guarantee you that it doesn’t take 31 tools to make money with affiliate marketing.

Also, I’m assuming you have the basics (a web host, domain name provider, and WordPress).

With that being said, here are nine essential affiliate marketing tools I personally use and recommend to build profitable niche websites.

Affiliate Marketing Tools for SEO

ahrefs - affiliate marketing tools

An SEO tool of some sort is a must for affiliate marketing. You need software to do keyword research, track rankings, analyze competitors, and monitor your backlinks. Ahrefs does all of that and more.

I primarily use Ahrefs for keyword research. It’s super easy to find long tail, targeted keywords thanks to all of their filters.

ahrefs keyword filters

I also use Ahrefs when I’m doing niche analysis. In fact, I use it to analyze a lot of the niches I breakdown in our newsletter. You can search any site and see a list of the keywords they rank for, who’s linking to them, any SEO issues they have and a lot more.

ahrefs competitive analysis example

The only potential issue with Ahrefs is it’s on the pricier side if you’re just getting started. 

Their pricing starts at $99/month for a monthly plan. But in my opinion, that plan has too many limitations so I suggest going for the standard plan ($179/month).

If you don’t want to spend that much, I recommend going for the next tool on my list.

2. Mangools

mangools - affiliate marketing tools

If you want a full suite SEO tool (something to do keyword research, backlink analysis, rank tracking, etc.) but don’t want to spend as much as Ahrefs, Mangools is a good alternative.

Mangools is a suite of five tools:

I’ll be honest. While it does all of these things, it doesn’t do them at the level of Ahrefs. 

However, I’d go with Mangools over Ahrefs Lite plan. Their highest price tier is still cheaper than Ahrefs’ smallest plan. So it’s a fraction of the cost and will allow you to do everything you need for a niche website.

I primarily use Mangools to track my keyword rankings, do keyword research and occasionally to check metrics like DA and PA for different sites.

mangools site profiler

One of the things I like about KWFinder in particular, is the “Autocomplete” feature. It’s essentially like Google Autocomplete, but with keyword data.

You add your seed keyword, and KWFinder will show you relevant keywords with that exact term.

KWFinder autocomplete - affiliate marketing tools

The reason I use both Ahrefs and Mangools is because I like to have multiple sources of data. Sometimes the search volumes I get from Ahrefs seem low, so I do a search in KWFinder to see what their data shows.

However, you don’t need Ahrefs and Mangools, just one. If you want something a little more lightweight and affordable, go with Mangools. If you can afford $179/month and want more data, go with Ahrefs.

frase - affiliate marketing tools

The next affiliate marketing tool on my list is Frase. Frase is a part of the content optimization software trend that’s starting to take off.

Frase uses AI to analyze the top ranking pages for a topic/keyword and suggests relevant keywords, topics, and questions to include in your article to improve your chances of ranking.

It’s somewhat comparable to tools like SurferSEO and Marketmuse.

I primarily use Frase to optimize old articles that aren’t ranking as well as they should, or have lost traffic.

To optimize existing articles, you enter the URL for your existing article and the target keyword/Search Query (you can also copy/paste the content directly into Frase).

frase optimize existing content - affiliate marketing tools

Then Frase imports your article and analyzes it against the top ranking pages for your target keyword.

You’ll get a full report that shows an optimization score (percentage), and a list of relevant keywords competing sites mention.

frase results - affiliate marketing tools

In the screenshot above, you can see the Apartment Therapy article has a score of 35%, which is slightly better than the average score of 34% (represented by the yellow marker).

In order to improve their score and make their article more relevant for the target keyword, they could go through Frase’s suggested keywords and add them in.

One thing to take note of though, is you don’t need to try to hit 100%. I usually just try to be better than the average score, and only add the keywords that make sense.

The other major use-case for Frase is to create content briefs. You can use Frase’s analysis to create a brief for your freelance writers. It’s pretty handy to make sure your content is optimized from the start.

Frase currently starts at $45/month, which isn’t bad for the value you get from it. And most other content optimization tools I’ve seen are either more expensive or not as good.

link whisper - affiliate marketing tools

Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin for adding internal links to your content.

The reason I’m including this on a list of affiliate marketing tools is because one of the most common SEO mistakes affiliate marketers make is not having any internal links on their website—especially if you’re outsourcing the content to a writing service.

A lot of lower cost writing services won’t add internal links to your content. So you’re left with a bunch of orphan pages and articles on your site that don’t link to each other, which is a big missed opportunity to improve your on-page SEO.

Link Whisper crawls all your articles and looks for opportunities to add internal links. Then you can add them with just a few clicks.

add internal links - affiliate marketing tools

I started using Link Whisper because I had one affiliate site with over 100 articles on it, but noticed I barely had any internal links. 

Going through all these posts and manually adding internal links would’ve taken way too long, and I didn’t want to outsource the work to anybody.

So when Link Whisper launched, I jumped on it and quickly used it to add tons of internal links to that site. It was so convenient that I kept using it for my other sites too.

Internal links might seem like a small thing, but they can have a big impact. 

You can use internal links to help Google understand what pages on your site are related, which are important, and also to link from your informational/educational articles to your money pages (buying guides and reviews).

I’ve written an entire article about how to add internal links with WordPress, and Link Whisper is hands-down the easiest and fastest solution I’ve found.

Affiliate Marketing Tools for Affiliate Links

5. AAWP

aawp - affiliate marketing tools

Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin (AAWP) is probably one of the most frequently recommended affiliate marketing tools you’ll see.

It’s a WordPress plugin that allows you to add Amazon affiliate links into your content much quicker than using Amazon’s built-in tools.

You download the plugin, add in your Amazon Tracking ID, then you’re able to add tables, buttons, lists and other formats to your content using shortcodes.

Here’s an example of what the shortcode looks like on the backend.

aawp shortcode - affiliate marketing tools

And here’s the output:

aawp output - affiliate marketing tools

One of my favorite features of AAWP that a lot people overlook, is you can track clicks on your affiliate links in Google Analytics!

You can see which products people click on and what articles they click from using Events in Google Analytics.

aawp click tracking

Another benefit of AAWP is it makes it easier to transfer websites if you sell them. If you use AAWP to add affiliate links to your content, the new owner just has to swap out your tracking ID with their own and all the affiliate links will be updated automatically.

The only downside of AAWP is that customizing shortcodes requires some trial and error. 

They have documentation that explains how to add product boxes, lists, etc., but customizing them requires you to use different fields which aren’t explained very well.

But it’s still one of the easiest ways I’ve seen to add Amazon affiliate links, product boxes and comparison tables into your content.

geniuslink - affiliate marketing tools

GeniusLink is an affiliate marketing tool that lets you create, manage, and track your affiliate links.

I use AAWP when I want to quickly add product boxes and sometimes tables to my content. But for text links and CTA buttons in buying guides, I use GeniusLink + their WordPress Plugin.

First I’ll explain what GeniusLink does, then how I use it with their WordPress plugin.

GeniusLink allows you to create custom links for your affiliate links. So instead of using the affiliate links you get from Amazon, Shareasale, or whatever affiliate program you use, you’d add the URL to GeniusLink and use their link instead.

geniuslink example

There are a ton of benefits and use cases for this.

Localization

This was one of the biggest benefits for me. I use Amazon for pretty much all of my affiliate sites. And while the bulk of my traffic comes from the U.S. my sites also get traffic from Canada, U.K. and other countries. 

With GeniusLink, all my Amazon affiliate links are automatically localized to the visitor's country.

geniuslink localization - affiliate marketing tools

That allows me to get more revenue, and higher conversions since people are directed to Amazon.ca instead of Amazon.com if they’re in Canada for instance.

Choice Pages

If you’re a part of multiple affiliate programs, you might want to give people an option for where to buy a specific product. 

For instance, let’s say I’m an affiliate for Amazon and Best Buy. If I recommend a camera, I can create a custom page in GeniusLink that allows people to choose to buy it from Amazon or Best Buy.

Here’s an example of what the Choice Pages look like.

geniuslink choice page example

Track Broken and Out of Stock Products

One of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers make is not updating their product links when something goes out of stock, or if Amazon stops carrying a product altogether. 

That leads to lower conversions and lost revenue for you.

GeniusLink notifies you when a product you’re linking to is out of stock or if the link is broken, and tells you what articles you’re linking to it from so you can update them.

geniuslink link health - affiliate marketing tools

There are a ton of other benefits, but those three alone were enough to convince me to go with this affiliate marketing tool.

The last big benefit is their WordPress Plugin. 

With their plugin, any Amazon.com link you add on your website is automatically tagged with your tracking ID.

The reason this was so appealing to me is because I currently outsource all of the writing for my niche sites. And I have a VA upload the content to WordPress.

When my writers want to link to Amazon products, they can just use the generic product link from Amazon. Once the content is added in WordPress, they’ll automatically be tagged with my tracking ID when someone clicks the link.

That one feature has saved me so much time and made the process of outsourcing affiliate content way smoother.

It’s also really affordable. Their pricing is based on the number of clicks you get on your affiliate links. You can see exactly how much you’d pay on their pricing page.

Affiliate Marketing Tools for Design

thrive themes - affiliate marketing tools

I stopped using the default WordPress editor a while ago. The classic editor is fine, but it doesn’t give me the level of customization I needed to make buying guides, reviews, and other types of affiliate content look as great as I’d like.

And I really don’t like the new WordPress editor at all.

Instead, I use Thrive Themes. Specifically, I use:

You can see Thrive in action on Nichewit. The website was built on it, all the content is added with it and all the sign-up forms are built with it.

Thrive uses a drag-and-drop editor, so you can build pretty much anything without using any code. I use it to add CTA buttons, product boxes, pros and cons lists, and other elements that are more visually appealing than just text. 

For instance, you can build product boxes like this:

product box - affiliate marketing tools

Or pros and cons boxes like these:

thrive pros and cons boxes

The list of things you can build and customize is endless. 

One of my favorite things about the Thrive suite of tools is they’re all really easy to use. They also have a bunch of videos and guides to help you build whatever you want.

Comparing the click through rates and even conversion rates I’ve gotten from my sites using Thrive vs. ones that have a more “standard” layout, the sites with Thrive perform much better.

As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to get people from your website to click your affiliate link and make a purchase. Getting that initial click is a lot easier to do when your content is visually appealing and designed for conversions.

canva - affiliate marketing tools

If you know anything about me, I suck at design. I can’t match fonts, picking color combos is a struggle and it’s an all-around struggle for me.

But visuals are wildly important for affiliate marketing, which is why I had to include Canva on my list of the best affiliate marketing tools.

Canva is a drag-and-drop design tool you can use to make graphics for articles, social media, email and anywhere else.

I use it in my affiliate sites to make header images, graphics within blog posts, and perhaps most importantly, product images.

When I first started making affiliate websites, I did what most people do for product screenshots. I used the ones from Amazon. The generic photo with the product on a white background.

generic product image example

Then one day, I was looking at Gear Patrol’s website and noticed that they did something subtle, but it made their images stand out more than what most sites do. Their product images were on a light grey background.

product example - affiliate marketing tools

I wanted to do something similar but I have no clue how to use Photoshop. Instead, I’m able to use Canva to make product images stand out in my buying guides.

affiliate product image - affiliate marketing tools

Putting more effort into your visuals also helps with branding and makes your site look more professional and trustworthy. That translates into higher conversions.

envato elements - affiliate marketing tools

Last but not least, Envato Elements. This might seem out of place on a list of affiliate marketing tools, but there’s a reason I put it on here.

Envato Elements is a library of stock photos, graphics, and templates. The reason this is helpful for affiliate marketers is because I know some of you are just grabbing random images from Google and adding them into your content.

You assume that just because you’re a small site, it’s no big deal.

However, a lot of images you see on Google have restrictions for how you can use them. Some of them require licensing, and if you’re not careful you could run into legal problems.

Plus, there are people who literally make a living finding people using copyrighted images and suing them.

You can save yourself a ton of time by just using Envato Elements to get your stock photos. I use it for a lot of the header images for my sites, and to add visuals within my articles.

The reason I like Envato Elements is they have stock photos that don’t completely suck. Particularly since they acquired Twenty20, which is where I used to get all my stock photos from.

twenty20 - affiliate marketing tools

Another reason it was important for me to add this to my list of affiliate marketing tools is so many niche website builders and affiliate marketers don’t treat their websites like a business. 

So you end up creating sites that look low quality with horrible stock images, bad product photos, and crappy content. The end result is low conversion rates and less revenue.

When you build a site that looks credible, with professional images and visuals, your site feels more trustworthy.

Believe it or not, the photos you use play a major part in that.

Put These Affiliate Marketing Tools to Use

There you have it. These are all affiliate marketing tools I personally use across my portfolio of niche sites.

One word of caution though. All the tools in the world won't make your affiliate website "successful".

Your content, choosing the right keywords, SEO, your conversion rate optimization skills, and other skills are more important than what tools you use.

However, the right tools can make doing those things a lot easier.

Before you go out and buy every tool on this list, make sure you understand why you need them and how they can benefit your website.

Need any tips or advice? Tweet us or contact us here.

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