5 Best WordPress Affiliate Plugins : In-Depth Comparison
Affiliate Plugins facilitate the creation, management, and growth of affiliate and referral programs. There are many options on the market. We understand that it’s challenging and time-consuming to sort through them and figure out which tool is right for you. So what differentiates one Affiliate Plugin from the others? When picking the best possible solution, what should you look for? There are five main things:
- Ease of setup and use.
- Deep integrations.
- Data accuracy.
- Pricing and licensing.
We paid extra attention to these areas when building Solid Affiliate, and we feel that they’re some of our most significant differentiating features.
In this post, we’ll start by diving into Solid Affiliate. We’ll explain, in detail, what makes Solid Affiliate unique as well as what our customers like most about it. After that, we’ll dive into other solutions and empower you to research for yourself and make an informed decision.
Every product worth considering (including our own) offers similar, commoditized functionality around tracking referrals and managing affiliates.
These are the basic features :
- Affiliate Link Tracking: Gives your Affiliates referral links to track visits and earn commissions.
- Affiliate Coupon Tracking: Gives your Affiliates coupons to share with their audiences and earn commissions.
- Affiliate Portal: A dedicated portal for your Affiliates to see their statistics and manage their own accounts, empowering them to be more successful and saving your company time.
- Email Notifications: A standard set of email notifications so that your team knows when affiliates sign up and affiliates know when they’ve earned commissions.
- Creatives: A way to manage and share marketing assets with your affiliates, such as banner ads and promotional videos.
- Reports: So that you know exactly how your affiliate program is performing: what’s working, what isn’t, how things are trending, what you should focus on next.
- Commission Rate Configuration: Ability to set commission rates so that the affiliate program makes sense for your business. (example: 20% commission rates for all products, except for one particular product, which grants a $50 flat commission per sale.)
- Affiliate Management: Approve or reject affiliates as they sign up, view all your affiliates in one place where you can search and filter to your heart’s content, view the history of, and manage the account of any individual affiliate.
Solid Affiliate meets all of these requirements (and much more). Regardless of what solution you choose, make sure it includes all the features in the list above.
Now you might be wondering, what differentiates Solid Affiliate? Why do thousands of businesses choose Solid Affiliate over the other affiliate options?
Our customers identified four main reasons, and we’ll detail each below.
If you’ve purchased WordPress plugins in the past, you know how frustrating unexpected add-ons can be. Most of our competitors require you to pay for and install additional add-ons to get full functionality – such as support for subscription referrals.
Solid Affiliate keeps things straightforward and transparent. All our features are included for one price.
What are some of the features included in Solid Affiliate, that other plugins don’t have or make you pay extra for?
- Unlimited everything: Unlimited affiliates, referrals, creatives, and everything else. It will work properly whether you have a dozen affiliates or ten thousand.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions: Full support for recurring referrals with the built-in WooCommerce Subscriptions integration.
- Commission Insights: Know exactly how a commission was calculated for an order, even orders with dozens of items following different commission rates.
- Pro Affiliate Portal: A dedicated area on your website for your affiliates to use. They can register as an affiliate here and, if approved, will be able to log in and see their affiliate links, coupons, creatives, visits, referrals, and paid commissions. The portal is included and gets better with every update.
- PayPal Payouts Integration: What good is an affiliate program if you don’t have a way to pay your affiliates? It’s not good at all, as a matter of fact. That’s why our PayPal integration is included for free.
- Bulk pay your affiliates: Connect Solid Affiliate to a PayPal business account and automate payouts. The plugin will pay your affiliates and keep track of all invoices for you.
- Auto reject refunded referrals: Solid Affiliate will reject any unpaid referrals the instant a refund is issued.
- Refund grace period feature: Avoid the pain of paying a commission on a purchase, only to have the customer request a refund later. You can set your refund policy in Solid Affiliate so that you don’t pay commissions before the refund period is up.
- Admin Notifications: Solid Affiliate has an admin notification system built-in, surfacing any time-sensitive tasks that the admins should take care of. (example: “3 Affiliates are pending your approval”, “There are referrals which need to be paid.”)
Solid Affiliate is deeply integrated into WordPress and focuses solely on the market-leading e-commerce solution: WooCommerce. Many competitors – such as Ambassador and Post Affiliate Pro – don’t have a native WordPress plugin, just a simple integration.
Benefits of our native WordPress approach
- Smooth setup that just works. The Solid Affiliate setup wizard is second to none. You’ll be surprised how quickly you get things running.
- Manage everything from WordPress admin. You don’t need to log into yet another tool to manage your affiliate program. Everything is right there in your WordPress admin panel and will feel instantly familiar.
- Own your own program and all the data. With Solid Affiliate, you have complete control and agency over your program and data. Everything is stored on your site and in your database. We can’t suddenly raise prices and lock you out of your program, or get bought out by a larger company. You own the software and data forever.
- Customize anything. If you ever need custom functionality, developers can hook into and extend the plugin code just like any WordPress software.
Benefits of our focus on WooCommerce integration
- WooCommerce Subscriptions Support. Solid Affiliate works with WooCommerce Subscriptions, without any additional add-ons required. If you’re currently selling subscriptions or plan to in the future, you’ll be able to add them to your affiliate program.
- Solid Affiliate uses more WooCommerce data. Solid Affiliate takes into account every individual item that’s part of a purchase and calculates Affiliate commissions separately. The benefit to you, your affiliates, and your accountants is a high degree of accuracy when dealing with payments and historical logging of commission calculations.
- Thoughtful features.
- Commission Insights and Historical Logging. Solid Affiliate will keep track of exactly how a commission was calculated for every order. (see screenshot)
- Granular Commission Rate Settings. You can keep your commission structure as simple or complex as you need it to be. Solid Affiliate supports custom commission rates on a per affiliate, WooCommerce product, WooCommerce Product Category, and WooCommerce Coupon basis. (see Commission Rates management feature).
- WooCommerce Order Notes: Affiliate-related events are kept track of within Solid Affiliate but also added as order notes within WooCommerce.
- Refund Logging: Solid Affiliate is aware of every refund that happens in WooCommerce and acts accordingly. If the refunded order has an associated affiliate referral, it will reject it automatically and add a note explaining why.
Screenshot of Solid Affiliate: Automatic Referral Rejection on Refund
It’s essential to consider both the benefits and costs when evaluating affiliate program solutions. And in this particular case, we’re not talking about money (more on that below) but the time and effort it takes to manage your affiliate program. In short, a native WordPress solution like Solid Affiliate will save you time and money. There is less duplication of effort, no new password or login screens. The plugin seamlessly adds functionality to the WordPress admin you’re already used to. The ideal solution is one that you can – for the most part – set and forget.
When building Solid Affiliate, we tested out every affiliate plugin on the market. One thing caught us off guard time and time again: setup is way too complicated and time-consuming. So when we built Solid Affiliate, our goal was: “new customer setup should be easy and take less than 5 minutes”.
Here’s a video that shows how quick it is:
If you don’t want to watch the video above, here is a written version to show you how quick and easy it is to get set up and running:
- Step 1 : Install WooCommerce.
- Step 2 : Install WooCommerce Subscriptions (optional).
- Step 3 : Choose your outgoing email address and name.
- Step 4 : Enter your license key.
- Step 5 : One-click Affiliate Portal setup.
More information on our setup wizard for the truly interested.
As we talked about above in differentiator #2, being WordPress native raises the ceiling on what’s possible in a setup wizard. Here are some examples to demonstrate.
You don’t have to redundantly fill in information such as your website name, your WooCommerce products, or your admin email – our plugin pulls the needed data directly from your WordPress database.
Solid Affiliate’s setup wizard reduces the chances of filling out a form incorrectly, missing a shortcode setup, or having an incompatible plugin dependency.
Perhaps the step we’re most proud of is the Affiliate Portal setup. Before we built the wizard, the process went something like this: determine where on your site you want your portal, create that page, add the WordPress shortcode to generate the affiliate portal code, add any extra content to the page, publish the page. Now it’s one step: pick the URL (which is already prefilled with our suggestion) and click a button. Our plugin reaches into your WordPress site and does all the work for you! Easy peasy.
Quality of life features – those which aren’t absolutely necessary to get the job done but are designed to give you a smooth experience – are often the most challenging to build. They require an intimate understanding of the customers’ needs, empathy, and an eye for design. In the same vein, these small details add up to a quality experience: a product that feels just right.
This differentiator is short and sweet: Solid Affiliate has an unbeatable price point. You get unlimited affiliates, unlimited tracked referrals, and unlimited commission payouts all for one low price.
You could literally sign up 1,000+ affiliates and Solid Affiliate will never charge you an extra dollar. Seriously? Yes 😎.
How can Solid Affiliate’s product and support be so much better?
In short: better engineering practices and second-mover advantage. Solid Affiliate is a newer product without any bloat and legacy features slowing down its progress. Our team invested years into a very robust foundation, which allows us to save on engineering, marketing, and customer support costs – and then we pass those savings on to our customers, which makes them happy, which makes us happy, and the cycle repeats.
At the time of writing, AffiliateWP is one of the primary competitors of Solid Affiliate. We often get questions as to why our customers choose Solid Affiliate over AffiliateWP, so we detailed them below for you to read.
AffiliateWP offers features including but not limited to:
- Easy Digital Downloads Integration
- Support for multiple languages
- Affiliate Area (requires $299/year plan)
- PayPal Payouts (requires $299/year plan)
AffiliateWP is natively integrated into WordPress and comes with many integrations for payment processors and form builders.
AffiliateWP is a good product, and we view them as a worthy competitor. That being said, our product is better in many ways, and below we’ll list the top reasons for choosing Solid Affiliate over Affiliate WP.
Both Solid Affiliate and AffiliateWP offer a suite of useful features. However, with Solid Affiliate, you get all of them included with your one-time purchase. At the time of writing, Solid Affiliate is a more transparent and customer-focused company. With AffiliateWP, you’ll constantly be persuaded (some would call it ‘tricked’) into paying more and more money for core functionality. To put this into perspective, over five years, you’re likely to spend thousands more for a lower-quality product. Read Solid Affiliate testimonials.
Both Solid Affiliate and AffiliateWP offer multiple commission rate types so that you can customize your affiliate program to suit your company’s needs. In this way, they’re both powerful and flexible tools, but AffiliateWP can be very confusing when it comes to commission rates.
To figure out how your commission rates are set up while using AffiliateWP, you’d need to go to six different places within the plugin: affiliate profiles, WooCommerce product pages, WooCommerce coupon pages, and multiple disparate settings pages.
Solid Affiliate brings all your different commission rates together and organizes them on one easy-to-understand page.
The same theme extends to the way commission payments are calculated for any given referral. An example: an affiliate refers a customer to your store, and they checkout with nine different items. Most of these items earn your store’s default commission rate (example: 20%), but a few of the items follow custom commission rates (example: $10 flat, $12 flat, 50%). Also, you’ve selected to exclude shipping and taxes from any commission calculations.
As you can see, things get complicated quickly!
AffiliateWP does not keep track of how a commission was calculated. So all you see is “$175 commission” and no further details. You’d have to put on your thinking cap and manually piece together the commission rates for each item. And if you changed a commission rate since the order took place (very probable), you’re entirely out of luck.
Now take this same example but run it through our plugin. In Solid Affiliate, every commission calculation is kept track of and logged forever. Even if it’s six months later and your store has updated its products and affiliate program settings, you’ll have a record of every commission calculation:
When it comes to data integrity and accuracy, Solid Affiliate never settles for second best.
Perhaps the most fundamental question affiliate program managers have: “How profitable is my affiliate program?” Solid Affiliate helps you answer that question with built-in features such as Net Revenue per affiliate and order amount vs. commission amount charts.
Solid Affiliate has an admin notification system built into the plugin, which prompts admin users when there’s an important task to complete (paying affiliates, approving or rejecting affiliates that asked to join, etc.).
Ambassador is a great product that has been around for a while. Since its inception, Ambassador has grown into a full-fledged referral, influencer, affiliate, and partner platform with brand portals and partner portals. They offer features including but not limited to:
EasyAffiliate is a rebranding of AffiliateRoyale, one of the older affiliate plugins for WordPress.
At the time of writing and in our opinion, EasyAffiliate has no distinguishing features compared to Solid Affiliate or AffiliateWP. It has the basic features which you would expect from any affiliate software and charges a subscription fee.
Post Affiliate Pro is a product of the Slovakian company Quality Unit, a reputable software company founded in 2004.
While a great product, we do not consider them a direct competitor because PostAffiliatePro is not a native WordPress integration.