There are endless methods and reasons to why you would like to hide your affiliate links. In this post I will mention five of the most popular methods, including how to hide affiliate links with a free WordPress plugin.
Why hide your affiliate links?
As I mentioned above there are several reasons to why you would like to hide your affiliate links. Here follows five of the most important reasons.
It looks more serious
One of the most common reason is that it look a lot more serious to link within your own site instead of linking through an affiliate network. This is what a regular affiliate program link usually looks like:
In this case it’s an edited link from Commission Junction. The first series of numbers will let CJ know which user they should credit and the second series contains the link to where the user should be sent.
If I were new to how the internet works I might as well take this as a spam.
People can’t remove your affiliate id
A lot of sites offer their own affiliate program which means that they often add your ID as a number in the end of their link, like this:
The problem with this method for you as a publicist is that some people basically copy your link and remove your ID. By doing so they remove any money you would have got by referring them.
Easier to replace
A third reason to why you should cloak your affiliate links is because it saves you a lot of time in when you have to change them. Sometimes an affiliate program change their link for different reasons which means that you have to replace every link to them. If you are using any of this methods below you simply have to change one link and all of them will be right.
This is also useful if the affiliate program for some reason closes down and you need to replace it with a new one.
Link from everywhere
This is not a common problem internationally but in Sweden there are a few affiliate networks where you have to refer the user directly from a specific site. Because of this you can’t add your affiliate links to Twitter, etc.
If you on the other hand cloak your links by sending the user to your site first and then automatically redirects him, you can use Twitter as well.
If none of the others reasons where enough to convey you this should. By cloaking your affiliate links you will be able to get statistics on how many clicks your links receive. Thanks to this you can estimate a CTR and RPC.
Summary of why you should cloak your affiliate links
- It looks more serious.
- People can’t remove your affiliate id.
- Easier to replace.
- Link from everywhere.
- Get statistics.
Feel free to share your thoughts on why you should cloak your affiliate links.
Methods to hide affiliate links
Here you have five of the most popular methods to hide affiliate links. Feel free to share your comments below if you are using another method.
Today I see more and more affiliates using URL shortening for their links. One of the most common services to use for this are bit.ly.
Personally I’m not very fond of it but it may be connected with its simplicity and that more and more people are getting used to it.
This is the first method I came in contact with a few years ago. It works as it should, but you have no control over the statistics.
<html> <head> <title>Affiliate Program</title> <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" /> <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1; url=http://www.affiliate-program.com/?ref=132" /> </head> <body> <p>If you are not being forwarded within 5 seconds, <a href="http://www.affiliate-program.com/?ref=132">click here</a>.</p> </body> </html>
Personally I’m not very fond of this method since you have to reload the page where the user simply can stop the script and remove your ID.
This is the method I were using before finding WordPress. The best thing about it is that you are sent forward directly without having to reload a page.
<?php header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently"); header("Location: http://www.affiliate-program.com/?ref=132"); exit(); ?>
Another good thing with this method is that you can develop it with a database and add information on how many clicks every link receives.
This is another easy method where you don’t have to create a new file for every link. Simply add a new line in your .htaccess-file.
Redirect 301 /go/affiliate-program.php http://www.affiliate-program.com/?ref=132
Easy to change in the future but unfortunately you have no statistics.
I’m guessing this is what most of you are looking for. A free and simple plugin to hide your affiliate links. Personally I always recommend GoCodes Plugin since it’s not only free but also easy to customize.
This is what the standard link will look like:
How to set up GoCodes:
- Download and install GoCodes
- Go to Tools –> GoCodes
- Fill in your path after /go/
- Add the URL for your affiliate program
- Check the box to track statistics and press Add Redirect
What are your opinions on hiding affiliate links and if you do it, which method do your prefer to use?