You can find a list of affiliate programs and affiliate networks on thefreecountry.com's Affiliate Program page at http://www.thefreecountry.com/webmaster/affiliate.shtml
To join an affiliate network or program, simply go to the site and complete their online application form. Some programs will give you instant approval while others require a human to check out your application before it is approved. Once it is approved, you'll be given some HTML code which you can cut and paste into your web page. Note that some affiliate networks and programs will not accept you unless you have your own domain name. If you are planning to earn from your site, you should seriously consider registering your own domain name.
How To Choose An Affiliate Program
How should you choose an affiliate program? My suggestion is not to choose a program according to the payment scheme, but rather according to the kind of people who are likely to visit your website. For example, if you are targeting parents on your site, links to affiliates with educational software, books and the like may generate more revenue than banners that link to web hosting companies. The most important rule of choosing an affiliate program is to know your target audience.
Another point to consider is whether you really want to join every single affiliate program that comes your way. Some studies suggest that sites that make the most money from affiliate programs are affiliates of only a small handful of programs. Furthermore, concentrating your advertisements from one network may allow you to be paid faster. If you advertise for hundreds of different affiliate networks on your site, you may wind up earning only (say) a few dollars per month from each network. If your advertiser's minimum payment amount is higher than what you can earn each month, it may take you a long time before you accrue enough to be paid.
On the other hand, that formula does not necessarily hold true for every site (or every page on your site, for that matter). For example, if your site has a particular theme, and an affiliate network only supports one or two suitable advertisers, you might want to sign up for a few affiliate networks so as to get a greater number of relevant advertisers. After all, advertisements that are relevant to your audience are more likely to be taken up than general advertisements. (What's the point of putting banners from only one affiliate if nobody is going to click them?)
Automated Context-Sensitive Advertising.
One of the latest trends in website sponsorship is to sign up with an advertising network like Google AdSense The advertising network automatically checks your web page and determines the most relevant advertisement for the page. As a result, without much additional effort from you, you get advertisements targeted at the interests of your visitors. As mentioned earlier, targeted ads tend to result in better performance and returns.
Advertising revenue is one of the most effortless way to earn money from your site. You merely have to put the banner there and wait for the money to roll in. (Well, okay, not quite. You will still need to have some visitors first before you can make anything.)
Why wait? If you already have a website, let it earn even while you sleep (literally). Every day you let your site "idle" without advertising is a day of lost opportunity.
All the best in your endeavour! Remember also to check out our other article, Increasing Your Affiliate Program Income.