The homotopy method for the solution of nonlinear equations is revisited in the present study. An analytic method is proposed for determining the valid region of convergence of control parameter of the homotopy series, as an alternative to the classical way of adjusting the region through graphical analysis. Illustrative examples are presented to exhibit a vivid comparison between the homotopy perturbation method (HPM) and the homotopy analysis method (HAM). For special choices of the initial guesses it is shown that the convergence-control parameter does not cover the HPM. In such cases, blindly using the HPM yields a non convergence series to the sought solution. In addition to this, HPM is shown not always to generate a continuous family of solutions in terms of the homotopy parameter. By the convergence-control parameter this can however be prevented to occur in the HAM. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.