Below I've listed most of the resources I use to build my affiliate marketing sites, along with other tib-bits. I still use many of these resources today.
Most of my affiliate websites are built on a WordPress blogging platform.
The Thesis Theme for WordPress is used for the basic theme of many of my sites. With a large and helpful members forum, the ability to customize the look and feel of any site, Thesis Theme is unbeatable. When someone asks me what they need to start a blog, I always advise them to go with Thesis.
StudioPress by CopyBlogger Media
I also use a few themes by StudioPress. I purchased their Pro Plus Package, which is well worth the cost. It offers numerous ready to go themes with a bit more glitz than does Thesis Theme. I use a StudioPress Theme when I want a more colorful, fun type of site.
The first WordPress theme I ever bought was a Woo Theme. I still use it and several other Woo Themes to this day. Woo Themes have a fantastic support and forum group. A Woo Theme also provides a bit more glitz than does Thesis. I use a Woo Theme when I want a more colorful business look for my sites. One of my oldest and most popular sites, Myrtle Beach Road Trip Travel and Leisure, is built using Gazette. I've got a limited number of 20% Off Coupons if you're serious about purchasing a Woo Theme. If so, contact me, use Coupon Code as the Subject, and I can email you the coupon code. No tricks or spammy stuff I promise, just a coupon redemption code you can use at Woo Themes.
If you're not interested in the blogging platform:
XSitePro is a good way to get a more conventional type website up and running.
XSitePro is a requires very little (if any) coding knowledge and comes with over 1500 pages of manuals/guides - a complete reference work explaining every nut and bolt of the software. They also back the software with a fully-stocked knowledgebase, very active Internet marketing forum (over 17,000 active members just now) and all-year-round, dedicated technical support to answer any questions that users might have.
Artisteer is a really good website generating software. You can have the best of both worlds with Artisteer, you can save your site as a regular website or as a WordPress template. Artisteer is the first and only Web design automation software that instantly creates fantastic looking, unique Website templates and Blog themes. You can customize the look and feel of your site with the literally hundreds of pictures, styles, and gradients all "on the fly", meaning you see them as the changes are made. No programming skills are required to get a really nice looking Artisteer site up and running.
WebHostingBuzz.com VPS Web Hosting
Most of my sites are hosted on a Virtual Private Server at WebHostingBuzz.com. WebHostingBuzz provides web hosting, reseller hosting, vps hosting, dedicated hosting and managed hosting services. They cater to individuals/solo users, small and medium businesses as well as larger enterprises with a wide range of web hosting services and plans.
Setting up my own VPS was quick and easy. I was sent email instructions within a few hours after I made my purchase. At first, I used all the default settings which worked just fine, then as I learned more about the set up, I tweaked some of the settings to better suit my liking.
The one time I had to use their tech support (problem was due in part to my internet provider), the problem was fixed within a few minutes. I was also given an explanation of what I did wrong and why it happened. Seemed that my internet service provider was going on and off-line in short bursts. As I noticed that I could not login to my main server C-Panel, I continued to try to login several times using my credentials but was unable to. This triggered a "login shutdown" safety mechanism on my server. Support was able to unlock my login and get me going.
If you would like to give blogging a shot but just aren't sure yet, email me and I can arrange service on my web server for a trial period of a few months for a small fee.
Bluehost Web Hosting
A VPS can be pretty intimidating for beginners. I started off using Bluehost web hosting many years ago. It's a perfect web hosting solution for those starting out. Bluehost Web Hosting is inexpensive, reliable, and loaded with features. With Bluehost's one click set up, you can have a WordPress blog up in just a few minutes. I still maintain several Bluehost web accounts. Host Unlimited Domains With Bluehost for only $6.95 Per Month..
Hands On Web Hosting
I used Hands On Web Hosting when my wife had a jewelry beading business. Hands On Web Hosting is geared more towards eCommerce sites, but they do offer an "Ultralite" Package that is very good for bloggers. If you’re just starting out in the web hosting world and are looking for the best cheap web site hosting, give Hands On Web Hosting a look. Hands-on Web Hosting offers the cheapest web hosting you’ll find anywhere, so price no longer has to be an issue when it comes to building your own personal web page.
All the above web hosts offer Cpanel, which is your main site control panel. The Softaculous Script Installer, that includes one click install of numerous content management scripts, shopping cart software, forum software, and the basic WordPress blog platform.
I use several commercial products to display product information on my affiliate sites:
WP Zonbuilder Amazon Store Builder
WP Zonbuilder is the perfect tool if you're looking to build an Amazon site or just wanting to display a few Amazon items on your website. It comes fully loaded with templates, tweaks and everything you need to get up and running. Here is an example page from one of my sites using WP Zonbuilder. I believe this page shows the built-in "Gazette" product template. Click here. You can also build and save your own WP Zonbuilder templates, but I haven't found the need to do that yet. I've got a few little tricks I use to "customize" my Amazon pages.
WP Zonbuilder does have learning curves. So I suggest, should you decide to purchase, is to "play" with it, using different settings and see what works best for you.
Sell eBay Stuff On Your Website
Even though I don't use eBay much, I still like to make money with them and you can too! If you've got a website, you can "advertise" other people's stuff and sale them on your site, and make a nice commission. First, join the eBay Partner Program, go to the link at the bottom of the page and click "Affiliates". Then purchase and download this script, Add Ebay Auctions to your Website. The script is actually very easy to set up and use and has a very good support forum if you have questions. Check out the bottom of this page to view a custom created eBay banner for the keywords "Myrtle Beach Coupon Book". This banner is just one example of what you can do as a member of the eBay Partner Network, there is so much more!
Moniker Domain Purchase and Management
Domain purchase and management is by Moniker. Moniker offers a quick and user-friendly domain registration process as well as responsive and reliable customer support. To assist customers in developing and maintaining their online identities, the company bundles value-added products and services with domain names including: URL forwarding, landing pages for parking, website hosting, superior domain management, domain traffic monetization, and real time domain traffic statistics. I currently have around 20 or so domains managed at Moniker.
If you're interested in giving Affiliate Marketing a shot, be forewarned that if you want to be successful, requires hard work, dedication, hours upon hours of site work, research trial and error, and probably above all, patience. Don't invest in Get Rich schemes. The only person making money from them are the people selling them.
Join affiliate marketing forums like A Best Web and Affiliate Summit Forum. Lurk around these forums for a while and get a feel for the place. Both forum sites have many veteran affiliate marketers that love to help "newbys", just don't join and start asking "how do I" questions off the bat. That shows a lack of research on your part. Both forums have Search functions where you can read up on some of the fundamentals of affiliate marketing.
Whatever you do, don't ask to see someones affiliate marketing site. Affiliate marketers are very secretive about showing their sites to affiliates they don't know. Why is that? Most affiliate marketers work hard at getting a site up and running and making their site unique. The last thing they want is someone copying their site and becoming competition. If that sounds harsh, it is, but after you have put hours and hours into a site, the only people you to see it are your customers. We've all learned affiliate marketing by lots of trial and error, research, and reading the forum posts among other things.
If you're still interested..here is a book written by a very successful affiliate marketer, Rosalind Gardner, you should read. It gives very detailed information on affiliate marketing. The Super Affiliate Handbook is a must read for all starting out affiliate marketers. Rosalind even shows examples using her very own websites. For me, I wish I had purchased the book early on in my affiliate marketing career, would have saved me from making many mistakes.
Another great book to help your affiliate marketing is, CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone. I was lucky enough to see Drew Eric Whitman at the Affiliate Summit in 2010 and was blown away by his presentation. His book really offers tested and proven tips, techniques and tricks to get the most out of what your website. What he says DOES WORK!