Digital Prosperity Blog

How To Cloak And Redirect Your Affiliate Links

When promoting information products as an affiliate, you’re always given a really ugly-looking link to track your referred sales.

And without being changed, this link is prone to:

  1. Commission theft – Your prospects can replace your affiliate ID with theirs, losing your commission.
  2. Low click-through rates – Your prospects are used to clicking on natural looking links, i.e. www.something.com. But as your affiliate link usually looks completely different to the standard format (often with different subdomains and tracking IDs), they may not trust the link, and decide not to click it.
  3. Lowering your results – Some email clients will automatically mark links coming from certain affiliate networks as spam, meaning your email doesn’t get read. Plus, Google typically hates “bare” affiliate links, so it could even impact your SEO, too!

So instead, you should always cloak your affiliate links to be more secure, look more natural, and generally get better results.

Here’s exactly how to do it…

Method #1 (Manual) – Use A Redirect Page

This method is more complicated than the second method – but it’s completely free to do.

Step #1 – Firstly, you need to create a new file called “index.php”. Most good web design software will have a “Save As” feature to accomplish this.

Alternatively, you can also create a new Notepad document, then click “File”, then “Save As”, and change “Save As Type” to “All Files”.

Then just type “index.php”, and click the “Save” button.

Step #2 – Then just copy and paste this line of code (all on the same line)…

… Replacing “http://www.YourAffiliateLinkGoesHere.com” with your actual affiliate link – and hit save.

Note: Be sure to keep the rest of the code exactly the same – including apostrophes, etc.

Step #3 – Create a new folder within your website (using FTP or CPanel) called “recommends”. This is where all of your affiliate redirects will be stored, to keep everything organized.

Step #4 – Then within that folder, create another one which represents a “shortened version” of the name of the product you’re promoting.

This can be anything you want, but for example, if I was promoting a product called “Easy WordPress Mastery”, I’d name folder “easywordpress”, or “wordpressmastery”.

Note: Do not use spaces, symbols or upper case letters, as this will make it more difficult than it needs to be. Use lower case letters only.

Step #5 – Upload (drag and drop) your new “index.php” file into your newly-created folder, which we created in the Step #4.

… That’s it!

You can now use (and go to)…

www.YourWebsite.com/recommends/whatever-you-named-it

… and it’ll redirect to your affiliate link automatically.

Method #2 (User Friendly) – Use A Link Tracking Service

This is the method I personally use, as it’s a lot easier – enabling you to cloak your links within a few clicks – plus you have the ability to track the amount of clicks (along with many other cool things) on every link you create.

There are many different link tracking services out there, but I always use (and recommend) a service called Ad Trackz Gold.

Plus, if you have your own domain name which you want to use specifically for link cloaking and tracking (e.g. YourNameRecommends.com), Ad Trackz Gold will allow you to use that domain with the service.

Whichever method you use – just to be sure cloak and redirect your affiliate links from now on, as it’ll save you a ton of headaches, and make your promotions a lot more profitable.

Talk soon!
- James Francis.

P.S. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below…

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