Well affiliates are websites that will put a link through a written link or through a button on their site linking to you. This way people that are are their site will hopefully see your link and click come here, like the site and join. In exchange for them putting a link to your site on their site, you put a link of theirs on yours.
Too bad there isn't a way for you to put them at the bottom of the front page. A lot of times people don't look at the portal page. Most affiliate boxes (At least from what I've seen of forums.) are on the main page. It may be worth your while to see if you can find a code that will let you do that. I can give you the one I use, it works on both Invisionfree and Zetaboards so there is a chance that it may work for you too.
That way your affiliates would be seen on the front page. Let me know and I'll get the code for you.