Why and How To Cloak Your Affiliate Links

Should I cloak my Affiliate Link? A question that many newbie entrepreneur wants answered. This post examine why and how to cloak your affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing is one of the primary ways that bloggers make money online. If you are not into affiliate marketing, I will encourage you to give it a trial. Irrespective of the number of income streams you already have, an additional money maker is always welcome. My previous post on affiliate marketing may give you additional motivation. Ok, back to the topic, “Why and How To Cloak Your Affiliate Links

4 Reasons why you should cloak your affiliate links

  1. Ugly Urls – I personally hate the way some affiliate links looks gibberish, ugly and pretty long. For me that is enough reason to hide them.
  2. Affiliate Commision Theft – Some bloggers claim they cloak their affiliate links to prevent affiliate commission theft. Well I have not experienced such, but I believe it is a possibility.
  3. Psychological Reason – Trust me, some visitors are advert-wise, once they know that a link is an affiliate url, they will simply ignore it! If it is cloaked, they might assume it is an internal link and click on it.
  4. Easy maintainance of URLs – If a company change your affiliate link, you only need to change it in one place and your whole website will be instantly updated.

I guess those four reasons are enough to warrant a blogger cloaking the links. Nobody wants urls that looks ugly or break the page, neither do I want to loose my commissions to some petty thief. Finally, if cloaking will make visitors like my links and click on them, then I am in. The natural question you want to ask next is, How do I cloak my affiliate links?

How to cloak your affiliate links
I am not a code expert but I have done a little research on this. I discovered several options, some of them are listed below in the order of easy implementation.

  • Simple Directory Redirect
  • Third Party Services – e.g TinyUrls
  • Softwares e.g. Link Cloaker
  • Redirect Scripts (if you love codes try Studge)
  • Modifying the .htaccess file (this is for the technical guys)

Well, I use the first one because it is as simple as copying and pasting a code. If you have a WordPress blog, simply take the following steps:

1. Create a folder called “Go.” (I will suggest you use something more natural to your site).
2. Create a .php document (this can easily be done with Notepad) and name it after the appropriate affiliate link you are using e.g. “naijaecash.php”.

Now paste the following code into the document:

<head>
<title>I recommend BlahBlahBlah</title>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>
<script>window.location=”
http://youraffiliatelinkurlhere“;</script>
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; url= http://youraffiliatelinkurlhere
“>
</head>
<body>
<p align=”center”>You are being taken to the correct page.
<br>If the page does load after 5 seconds,
<a href=” http://youraffiliatelinkurlhere
“>click here</a>.</p>
</body>
</html>

Please change texts in red to your own details.

3. Save it into the “Go” folder created above.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you have created a .php file for each of your affiliate links.
5. Go to your FTP and upload your “Go” folder directly to the public_html folder.
6. Change all your all your affiliate links to point towards your new redirect!

For example a former affiliate link for a webhosting company that shows:
http://aThirdpartyWebHostingSite.com/?45ugly33.id
becomes
http://www.yourdomainname.com/go/besthosting.php

I hope this helps. It may not be the best way to do it, but I know it works. If you know of a better method, share with us. I love learning new ways of doing thing better to get optimal result. If you find any mistake, tell me in the comment. If you use the code, you don’t need to link back, but I will be glad if you do or at least drop a comment. Now that you are better enlightened on the reason why and how to cloak your affiliate link, feel free to subscribe to my RSS for future business tips for online entrepreneurs.

4 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. axioblogger says:

    Use a plugin called Gocode plugin. That makes life much more easier. You have to change the file you described above if the URL changes which will be a pain in the ass.

  2. I’ve written extensively about cloaking links but I’ll say this – there are a lot of pitfalls that even many experienced affiliates are ignorant of and much of the advice online is incomplete, misleading or plain wrong.

    There are some good free WP plugins and some bad ones too, If you’re not using WordPress and want a cloaking solution, be careful – many of the free and paid solutions can do more damage than good!

    Straight PHP redirects are fine up to a point – it depends how secure you want your links to be – it will not protect against parasite software and invariably leaves the cloaked link visible in the browser address bar and it’s way too time consuming, and has no tracking facility.

    Convenience and time saving features as well as easy organization of links is vital if you have a lot of them.

    If anyone wants to learn some very interesting facts about cloaking methods and some of the problems involved for affiliates, please drop by my blog and search for “link cloaking” or similar and it will lead you to some eye opening facts.

  3. Chris says:

    I’ve been making a full-time income as an internet marketer for almost 2 years now. The one thing I learned was that you need to build a list. After you have your squeeze page set up, write lots of articles with backlinks to it. It’s very important to build relationships and contacts to be successful in internet marketing.

  4. Smallbizng says:

    You really nailed it there, very comprehensive and complete. I used to use one called offto.net, its been a while i checked them. That part about using it on wordpress blogs is pure brilliance.

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