Are you going to add affiliate links to your blog?
You need to know about affiliate link cloaking before starting affiliate marketing.
If you are a blogger, you will want to put your hands in affiliate marketing someday. The reason is obvious – it is a lucrative way to make money blogging.
In fact, I recommend using affiliate marketing to monetize your blog as soon as you start your blogging business.
What is Affiliate Link Cloaking?
When you choose an affiliate product to promote and signup for their affiliate program, they will give you a link. This link is called affiliate link or affiliate tracking link.
This link often contains numbers, symbols, and letters. Because of these, the link often looks ugly and long.
The process of making this long and ugly URL short and sweet is called link cloaking or affiliate link cloaking.
The purpose of link cloaking is not only making the link short and sweet. But it is also very important for successfully promote affiliate products.
Why Affiliate Link Cloaking is Important?
When you are starting your affiliate marketing journey, it is advisable to cloak affiliate links from the beginning. Because you’ll somehow need to cloak your affiliate links in future for the following reasons –
For Link Management
In future, you’ll find yourself that you have signed up for many affiliate products and you promote those products through your blog posts.
If any of the affiliate products have been changed their affiliate link, how will you replace the link in your blog posts?
You need to check your blog posts one after one to change the affiliate link manually. But this is a lot of works and time-consuming.
The easiest way to do this is to cloak your affiliate links. If you cloak your affiliate links properly from the beginning, you can replace all the affiliate link with a few clicks. And you don’t need to go through all your blog posts, you can do this from your WordPress dashboard.
Of course, you want to know how many clicks an affiliate product gets from your marketing venture. So that you can tweak your affiliate marketing strategy.
If you cloak your link properly, you can see that from a single dashboard.
Prevent Commission Hijacking
When there are profits, there are also some scammers who want to steal your profit.
Scammers install a malware software in your browser and can steal your affiliate commission.
This normally happens as your uncloaked affiliate links show your affiliate id and product id.
Link cloaking prevents this commission theft.
Making Long And Ugly URL Short And Sweet
When you signup for an affiliate product, you’ll be given a link which looks like,
“www. marchent. com/products/?product_id=123&affiliate=123”
This link is very long and ugly.
When you cloaked that link, it’ll look,
“www. yourdomain. com/recommend/product”.
Which is short and sweet.
Easy to Make Affiliate Links “nofollow”
It is recommended that affiliate links should have a nofollow attribute. Because Google loves this that way.
Making all the affiliate links nofollow can be time-consuming.
Using link cloaking plugin, you can make this process easy.
Overcoming Adblock Barrier
Some of your readers may use Adblock extension in their browser. Adblock extension is used to block annoying ads. It also can block your affiliate links.
To overcome this barrier, you need to cloak your affiliate links.
For branding affiliate links
An affiliate link usually contains marchent domain URL with product id and your affiliate id.
“www. marchent. com/products/?product_id=123&affiliate=123”
When your readers see that link on their browser, they will keep them away from going to the site.
Instead, if they see the link something as “yourdomain. com/recommend/product”, they will feel comfortable to go to the site you recommended.
So, cloaking affiliate links will help you to brand those links.
I think I’ve been able to convince you so far to cloak your affiliate links.
So, let see how you can cloak your affiliate links.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links?
The mechanism of cloaking an affiliate link is just to hide the original link. And you can do this in many ways.
But we just don’t want to cloak affiliate links for the shake of link cloaking. Instead, we want to get all the benefits I discussed above.
If you are using WordPress blogging platform, the easiest way to do this is to use a link cloaking plugin.
There are many free and paid WordPress plugins available on the market. But, as you know I only recommend those things which I use or love.
Here in sharpblogger I use ThirstyAffiliates (referral link) WordPress plugin for cloaking my affiliate links. It’s a free plugin and does its job best.
ThirstyAffiliates also has pro add-ons which you can use to boost your affiliate earnings. But it’ll cost you money.
I recommend the free plan for new bloggers as they don’t have enough budget to spend initially. Once you started earning money you can use pro add-ons.
Thirsty has all the features to successfully run your affiliate marketing. Such as –
- You can easily add affiliate links to WordPress posts or pages just from the post editor
- You can manage all your affiliate links from one single dashboard
- You can automatically replace selected keywords with affiliate links (Pro)
- You can automatically add “nofollow” attribute to affiliate links
- You can choose the base URL for branding affiliate links and much more.
To install ThirstyAffiliates WordPress plugin, just go to this link and install the plugin.
It is true that installing many WordPress plugins will slow down your blog and it harms blog SEO.
But, we are not tech savvy and we don’t have enough budgets to spend on these things. So, we need to depend on WordPress plugins for many things to successfully run our blog.
Although we can ignore some other plugins, we can’t ignore affiliate link cloaking plugin for our affiliate marketing venture.
Do you run your affiliate marketing successfully without installing any WordPress plugin? How? Please share in the comments below…