How to Set Up an Affiliate Program on WordPress

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If you sell products online, setting up an affiliate program lets you leverage the power of marketers and influencers to help sell more. When others can promote your products in exchange for a commission, you’ve created a win-win situation!

If your site is hosted on WordPress, you can set up an affiliate program easily and affordably within just an hour or so.

💡ThriveCart has an in-built affiliate program management system that lets you set your own commission rates, welcome affiliates, and issue automatic payments so you can focus on selling Find out more at the end of this article.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Management on WordPress

Using a WordPress plugin for affiliate management offers a good few advantages, but like any tool, it also comes with its own set of drawbacks. Let’s explore the pros and cons of using a WordPress plugin for affiliate management:

PRO: User-Friendly Interface

Most affiliate management plugins for WordPress are designed with user-friendliness in mind, with no coding involved.

PRO: Centralized Management

With a WordPress plugin, you can manage your affiliate program directly from your WordPress dashboard. This means everything to do with your site is kept in one place.

PRO: Compatibility with Other Plugins

WordPress plugins can play nice with other plugins and tools, as long as you keep them updated. This compatibility allows for additional features, such as SEO tools or product fulfillment solutions.

PRO: Cost-Effective

Many WordPress affiliate management plugins offer cost-effective solutions compared to standalone affiliate management platforms, but functionality on free plugins can be limited.

CON: Trapped in WordPress

Using a WordPress plugin ties your affiliate program to the WordPress platform. If you decide to migrate to a different CMS or platform in the future, transitioning your affiliate program may require additional effort and resources.

CON: Limited Functionality

While WordPress plugins offer essential features for affiliate management, they may lack some advanced functionality, or lock these features behind a paywall. You may find the capabilities of these plugins limiting.

CON: Impact on Website Performance

Depending on the scale of your affiliate program, a WordPress plugin may slow down your site. Larger affiliate programs with high traffic and numerous affiliates might experience slower loading times.

CON: Updates and Compatibility Issues

One of the biggest drawbacks to using plugins is that updates to WordPress or the plugin itself may occasionally lead to compatibility issues with other plugins or themes. This could result in your site going down until you solve the issue.

CON: Bad Security

Older or out-of-date plugins can introduce security issues, and put your and your customers’ confidential information at risk. If you depend on external services, this may introduce vulnerabilities and potential points of failure.

Choosing to use a WordPress plugin may be the ideal solution for you, but be sure to weigh up the pros and cons before you begin. If you prefer to use a more robust, all-in-one system for affiliate management, look no further than ThriveCart – however, if you want to continue with your WordPress site, here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Install AffiliateWP

As WordPress doesn’t have in-built affiliate management features like ThriveCart does, you’ll have to install a third-party plugin in order to get started.

AffiliateWP is one of the more popular affiliate plugins for WordPress, letting you track affiliate links and manage your commission structure from within your dashboard.

It costs $149/year for a Personal plan, which lets you use it on 1 site. For more advanced features, such as affiliate dashboards and custom affiliate IDs, you’ll need the Professional plan (however, these features are included for no additional cost in the ThriveCart lifetime license).

Step 2: Complete the Setup Wizard

AffilateWP’s setup wizard lets you get up and running smoothly within your WordPress dashboard.

Just head to your AffiliateWP settings and click the Launch Setup Wizard button at the bottom of the page, and it will walk you through each step. Start by pasting your license key (found in your AffiliateWP account, or confirmation email), and then click Continue.

You’ll also need to integrate AffiliateWP with your preferred e-commerce or membership plugin, such as WooCommerce or MemberPress.

After that, you’ll need to choose your preferred payout settings. You can pay your affiliates through the AffiliateWP payout service, use PayPal, or handle payments manually.

Then, configure the other settings according to your global affiliate commission rate, which you can adjust in the AffiliateWP Settings tab.

Finally, click Finish Setup and Exit to exit the Setup Wizard. And you’re done!

Step 3: Recruit Affiliates

Now you’re all set up on WordPress, it’s time to drive traffic to your affiliate signup page and start bringing people on board.

You can spread the word about your affiliate program in a variety of ways:

Leverage Existing Networks

Tap into your existing network and customer base. Reach out to satisfied customers, industry influencers, or business partners who may be interested in promoting your products. Send out an email to those you think would be a good fit and explain that you’re launching an affiliate program.

Use Affiliate Directories

Did you know that platforms like and Affilorama connect businesses with potential affiliates seeking partnerships? List your program on affiliate directories like these to increase visibility.

Reward for Referrals

Once you have a few affiliates on board, encourage them to refer others. A referral program can incentivize existing affiliates to bring in like-minded partners, expanding your network organically.

Or… Use ThriveCart

Is your site hosted on WordPress? No problem – you can still use ThriveCart to build a fully functional affiliate program, even if you don’t use all of the digital checkout or membership features also included in the lifetime license.

Because you pay just once for a whole lifetime of ThriveCart, you never have to worry about monthly or annual fees. You can focus on what matters: selling your products and recruiting affiliates for your program.

With ThriveCart, your affiliates get their own account when they sign up, so they can sign in to their own dashboard in order to retrieve their custom links to share. This includes an in-depth analytics board, so they can see how their campaigns perform. Full transparency lets you set up commission rates which are clear from the outset, empowering your affiliates to sell more.

Not only that, but your affiliates can also use ThriveCart to deliver bonuses: so they can add their own special incentives to buy your products, all on their own!

We think it’s a bit of a no-brainer, but we’d love it if you checked out ThriveCart Pro yourself. Find out more here:

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