Before joining any affiliate program, be sure to ask questions. Look into the options provided by the program you’re considering and get answers – this is how you should determine which affiliate program is right for you.

Dies it cost anything to join? Most affiliate programs are free to join – so there’s no reason to sign up with an affiliate who wants you to pay them before you can join.

How often are commission checks disbursed? Each program does this on a different schedule – some issue checks once a month, once a quarter and so on. Choose one which fits your requirements. A lot of affiliate programs set a minimum commission which has to be earned before a check will be issued.

Find out the hit per sale ratio – this would be the average number of clicks on a link or banner it takes to make a sale. This is an important number; this will tell you how much traffic you need to drive to your site to see the amount of income you want.

How does the program track referrals and how long do they keep these referrals in their system? Since you will be relying on the merchant to track your referrals, you need to know the answer to this so that you can be confident that you will actually be paid for the marketing work you do on their behalf. Many visitors don’t buy in the first visit but instead come back to the site later and purchase. You need to know how long after their initial referral to the merchant’s site you can still get a commission for their purchases.

What affiliate statistics do they make available to you? Any affiliate program who you should actually do business with should offer you detailed statistics – these should be available to you at any time. Checking your stats is the only way to know how your site is performing and can help you to fine tune your marketing efforts.

Will the affiliate program also pay you for hits and page views, or just sales? It’s good to be paid for all of the above since this will increase your affiliate income. If your affiliate program has a low sales to hit ratio, this is especially good to have.

Who is this merchant anyway? Find out everything you can about the company before you begin doing business with them. Know their products and their sales figures, if possible. If you are well informed about the merchant, it will be easier to decide if their affiliate program will work for you.

Is this a single tier affiliate program or a two tier one? Single tier programs pay you only for the business you bring in for the merchant, but a two tier system pays you for this as well as a percentage of the sales of any affiliate you recommend to them as well. Some even pay a sort of finders fee for each new recruit.

Last of all, what is the rate of commission paid? Somewhere between 5-20% is typical for sales (unless it’s a digital product then it’s 50% or more) and .01-.05 per hit (I try to get $1 or more per visitor but doesn’t always happen). Programs which pay for page views pay even less than this per view. As you can see, the hit to sales ratio is very important.

These are just a few of the questions you should ask before signing up for an affiliate program. There is a lot to consider and a lot to learn before you get too deeply involved. Ask the affiliate program companies these and any other questions you may have. Getting answers can help you to choose the right program for you out of the huge number of available choices.