Choosing the right affiliate program can mean the difference between success and failure in affiliate marketing. Great affiliate programs can lead to increased website traffic, link conversions, sales, and earnings, while badly chosen programs can lead to wasted time, money and effort. If you are looking for work from home opportunities, well-chosen affiliate programs present the perfect option.

With thousands of affiliate programs to choose from, finding those that are right for your needs can seem like a daunting task. You can simplify the process by following a few simple guidelines. The following top ten tips for choosing an affiliate programs can help you separate great programs from inferior ones.

1. A great affiliate program offers both popular and niche products. If you are focusing on a niche topic, finding great products may take a bit more time, but the results will ultimately be worth the extra effort. Ideally, an affiliate program should offer a nice mix of the hottest items as well niche items.

2. A high-quality affiliate program offers unlimited potential for growth. Avoid affiliate programs that place a limit on how much you can sell or earn.  Increased sales benefit both you and the online retailer, so there is no good reason to place a cap on your earning potential.

3. An affiliate program should have a definitive payment structure. Never join an affiliate program that cannot provide a clear and specific agreement about how earning are calculated and when you will be paid. You can avoid online affiliate scams by always getting the payment structure in writing.

4. Any affiliate program you choose should offer an effective tracking system. A clear sign of a poor affiliate programs is the lack of a working tracking system. Great affiliate programs include your affiliate identification number in your affiliate links, so it is easy to track and record your referrals and successful sales.

5. An affiliate program should also provide a variety of linking options. From banner ads to text links, you need to have a selection of linking options in order to succeed in affiliate marketing. Certain links types are more effective in particular situations, so it is important to have a number of different choices.

6. Look for an affiliate program that offers marketing and promotional tools. Truly exceptional affiliate programs are eager to help you succeed. Those that provide marketing tools such as free content, product images, and product reviews are among the best on the Web.

7. Consider the general reputation of the affiliate program before you join. Affiliate programs with a poor reputation should be avoided. You can learn more about a specific affiliate program by conducting an online search or browsing through affiliate marketing forums.

8. Any affiliate program you choose should offer products and services that you genuinely recommend. If you don’t like the items you’re trying to sell, how can you expect online consumers to purchase them. Join affiliate programs that provide products that you personally endorse and enjoy. Share your enthusiasm and passion for a product with your readers.

9. Look for an affiliate program that provides customized reports. Detailed sales reports should tell you which items were purchased. By tracking your sales success, you can choose better-selling products for future promotions and avoid those that do not sell well on your website.

10. Choose programs that provide contextual affiliate links. Featuring relevant products on specific pages is the key to succeeding in affiliate marketing. Some affiliate programs automatically select an assortment of products that are contextually-relevant to your Web content. Other programs allow you to select the links yourself.

Once you have selected an affiliate program, always strive to offer the best products and information to your readers. Choosing the best affiliate programs for your needs is only part of the journey towards a thriving affiliate business. Create quality content and promote products that your readers want to buy in order to generate sales and start earning a lucrative affiliate income.