Affiliate marketing is one of the many ways blogs and bloggers generate income. I’m sure most of you, especially those who have blogs are familiar with this because some of you are also members of affiliate programs and have affiliate links across your blogs. Here on JaypeeOnline, I also have several affiliate banners and links which mostly are for premium WordPress themes.
So what’s wrong with affiliate links and why do we have to hide them? The problem with most affiliate links is that they’re ugly, too long and are suspicious looking to most blog readers or visitors. Here’s an example:
Wouldn’t it be nice and look better if the link was something like this:
The idea of hiding or “cloaking” these affiliate links is to make blog readers think that the affiliate link is an internal URL or a part of the current blog. When a blog reader or visitor think that it is an internal link on your blog rather than a third party site, that person is more likely to click on the “cloaked” link than the normal affiliate link . Other benefits of “cloaking” or hiding affiliate links is that all our blog links point to an internal address on the domain and it also makes it more convenient for the blogger to update the affiliate links and avoid having dead links when the company updates or changes its affiliate links. Hiding affiliate links can also improve your conversion rate and an improved conversion rate can mean an increase in affiliate earnings.
There are several ways of hiding affiliate links, one is by using online services that shorten URLs like tinyurl or tr.im, another method is using javacript to change the URL’s text displayed on the status bar or installing WordPress plugins but most of them are not free. If you don’t want to spend extra cash just to hide your affiliate links and would want to do it yourself or want to avoid using a plugin, then this tutorial is for you. This tutorial uses PHP redirects which involves only a few steps and is quite easy to follow.
- FTP client and FTP access to your web server
- Text editor (if you don’t have one, you can get one from here or here)
- Create a folder on your blog’s root folder or public_html directory named “go”. (You can use a different name if you want)
- Create a blank PHP document using a text editor. (Use same name with affiliate link to avoid confusion) ex. GoDaddy – godaddy.php
- Copy and paste the following code into the blank PHP document:
(Replace http://youraffiliatelink with actual affiliate link)
- Save the file and upload it to the “go” folder created in Step 1
That’s it! You now have “cloaked” your affiliate link. In case you need to create several PHP redirects for different affiliate links, just follow and repeat the steps listed above making sure that you name the PHP document with the same name as the affiliate link so you won’t get confused.
Your affiliate link redirect will look something like this:
I hope this simple tutorial has helped you improve your affiliate links and make it easier to manage without having to purchase a WordPress plugin and also help you improve your conversion rate and affiliate earnings. If you need assistance in creating the PHP redirects and setting it up on your blog, feel free to contact me or leave a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to help you.