There are many great affiliate program you can join to jump into the affiliate marketing world. I always recommend that a new affiliate join Linkshare and Commission Junction and proceed to apply to as many programs as possible. Yes this will cause your inbox to become inundated with ‘Welcome to our program” emails and monthly affiliate newsletters, but it will really give you a feel of the large variety of affiliate programs out there you can participate in and earm money from.
Once you have applied and been accepted to a bunch of affiliate programs you can then search for merchants to represent on your website with banners or text links. I like CJ particularly because they allow you to see which affiliate programs are performing best in a variety of categories. All you have to do is log into CJ, click Get Links and then enter a search phrase like “insurance” and click search. This will bring you up a list of the merchants in CJ that have an insurance-related offer and rank them by EPC (earning per click). This will give you a pretty good indication of which merchants are converting the best for affiliates in CJ.
Some of the more popular niches in affiliate marketing are: insurance, loans, electronics, supplements, and housewares. There are literally thousands of merchants you can affiliate with via CJ or Linkshare. There are also what are called “inhouse” affiliate programs that are run directly from the merchants website. The advantage of inhouse affiliate programs is that you can learn more about the company you are representing as well as ask for a higher payout per lead or per sale. They can afford to do this because they would not have to pay a fee to a 3rd party affiliate network. These are but a couple suggestions on the best afiliate programs to join and how to go about doing it. Now get out there, join some affiliate programs, and start building sites and blogging!