One good thing about affiliate programs is that they are free to join. Or they should be - especially if you are a newbie. This doesn't mean that there aren't good programs which you have to pay to join. It's just that when you are starting out I believe that you should stick to the free ones. At least until you have some cash coming in.
This gives you many options without having to spend a lot of money. However, here's the downside. Because they are so easy to join you could join too many. Not a good idea. Why? Because you could lose your overall focus.
More on that in a bit. Let's look at some basics. As an affiliate you need website hosting for your site. Join one that has an affiliate program - a sort of 2 for 1 deal. Next you're going to need an autoresponder service.
This is to capture and build a mailing list - that's where all the money is. Again, join one that has an affiliate program. These first two were necessary for you to even begin. Now to choose a product or products for you to sell. Golden rule! Join an affiliate program that has a product line that interests you. Or even better - something about which you have extensive knowledge.
And, one that pays a handsome commission. Preferably one that pays 50% or higher. This should be no problem particularly if it is a digital information product such as an e-book. If it is a big ticket item - then you can lower your sights somewhat. Now, presuming that it is early in your career, just one affiliate program could be all you need to jumpstart your business.
This will give you the necessary experience. Only then should you consider joining additional programs - but be sure they relate to your website theme. This way you can give your subscribers some choices. Here's what not to do. Don't go jumping from one program to another.
Give the one you joined a chance. If you go flitting around I'll guarantee that you will not make money. You have to focus. I've used that word in previous articles.
It is absolutely essential that you focus. It is so easy to get distracted. There will always be someone who is hawking the latest 'big chance'. Get your experience first. Eventually you will end up with several affiliate programs and several websites representing different products.
This is only smart. But not until you have served your apprenticeship. But take care. You do not want to have so many products to offer that you put them on the wrong website. Make sure everything is theme related. If you don't this will sink your business like a stone.
In summary, it is certainly possible to make a great income with one affiliate program. When experienced you can add others to enjoy multiple streams of income. The answer to how many affiliate programs should you join and when, is a matter of personal choice. This is key. Please make sure that you are making money with one program before joining others. There's a phrase that I've pinched off Ken Evoy at Site Build IT.
'Tortoise It'. If you don't. I'll guarantee that you will get overwhelmed.
John Hutchinson, the Oldie Newbie, encourages the 'geriatric marketer' to supplement her income here http://www.solutionswealth.com/pips.html