Webmasters and bloggers can join affiliate programs to boost their online earnings. There are many different affiliate marketing programs and for a beginner, he needs to work out on how to implement and promote those affiliate program. Blogs can be a good source for promoting affiliate programs. If you’re using WordPress, then its a good idea to hide the affiliate link. But before delving deeper, let’s learn what’s link cloaking?
Link cloaking in a simple sense means hiding the original (target/destination) URL from the visitor when they mouse over the link and instead showing them the internal link. This means that the visitor will think as if he is clicking on internal page of the site, when in fact, he’ll be redirected to the destination link (which can be third party website). For example, let’s say you joined an affiliate program and you have your affiliate link ready which will look like http://www.affiliatesite.com/affid=127?. Affiliate links are normally this long and look ugly. Now, with link cloaking, you can convert this link to http://www.yoursite.com/affiliateprogram.
Why Hide/Cloak Affiliate Links?
- Ugly and lengthy affiliate links can be masked (converted) to a short and custom URL of your choice.
- You can also nofollow affiliate links by easily editing robots.txt. All you need to do is to just add the URL trigger (for example: go, recommends, etc) in robots file: Disallow: /go/
- Less maintenance as you don’t need to change/edit affiliate link on each and every page or post. This is useful when one of your affiliate program changes the link. Therefore, instead of editing every post, you can change the target URL from one page.
- This process is not just limited to affiliate links. But you can also mask specific outbound links on your site.
How Affiliate Link Cloaking Works
- Download and install Affiliate Link Cloaking plugin. Alternatively, you can also install this plugin from your WordPress admin > Plugins >Add New and search for this plugin.
- After installing, you’ll see a new menu beneath “settings”. This menu is named as Link Cloaking.
- Click on Add New Link to start adding your affiliate links. Enter the shortlink, full affiliate link and title of the link. After filling out all the fields, click on Add Link button.
- Also check out the Link status and options menu. Link status will display a detailed report about the hits and unique visitors of links. A graph is also displayed which represents the hits received during the period of one month.
This plugin is useful not only for affiliate links but it can also be used to display short links to visitors, be it in internal or external. When visitors click on that shortlink, they will be redirected to the original link. This plugin just works great as it can also get detailed information about the hits that your affiliate link has received.