Joining an affiliate program is easier than you think. Management companies such as Shareasale have hundreds if not thousands of programs already setup for you to choose from. You find the offers that best match your content and then submit a request to join the program.
Many programs allow to join with little effort after the affiliate manager has reviewed your website or blog. Once they accept you, you have access to their control panel which lists offers available. When you find an offer from an affiliate program, you simply apply, usually with the click of a button.
Once approved into the affiliate program, you are then able to download creative (text or banners designed to drive traffic to the advertiser) and post it on your website, blog or in your emails (if permissible according to the affiliate agreement).
Affiliate Programs pay out in many different ways. Some use PPC (Pay Per Click), others use PPS (Pay Per Sale) and others use PPA (Pay Per Action). Each one has advantages, but the Pay Per Sale is most common outside of Google Adsense, which is a PPC type offer.
Many Internet Marketers believe Affiliate Programs that offer PPA type offers are the easiest to get readers to act on. Others will say the PPS type offer is best. When it comes down to it, your content will determine what the best option for you.
When starting out with Affiliate Programs, most people will opt into the Google Adsense for their content. As you can tell, I use Adsense on this site, but I have the option of using a different type of offer in specific parts of my blog. That is, if I have a targeted area that I believe will convert with a specific offer, I can easily place other offers, either PPC or PPA types in those categories.
A great company to start with in the PPC world is Shareasale. They are friendly, willing to help and will even take your calls to answer any questions you have.