If you want to keep better track of your links, have more control over necessary changes to your links and possibly even have more clicks on your affiliate links, you should be shortening and redirecting your affiliate links.
This means where your affiliate link may look like:
You can change it to a link coming from your own website like:
There are a number of reasons to redirect your link and here are a few:
- Many affiliate links are long and they can actually break into 2 lines if you’re sending them in an email. Once they break up like that, your readers won’t be able to click through.
- Sometimes affiliate programs change their links or even shut down. Our programs are going to be here for a long time, but always be safe with your affiliate links as a matter of practice and redirect them. That means if you ever need to make changes to your link, you can simply make the change from your redirected link, instead of trying to find where you placed all those links on your website and in your emails.
- If a link is showing as coming from your site, your readers might be more likely to click on it than if they see a long strange affiliate link direct from the program. You can even name your file something creative or descriptive (ex. mydomain.com/must-have-toy.html) and your readers might be more likely to click through.
- If you redirect your links the way we describe in #2 in this tutorial, you’ll be able to log into your website statistics and track click throughs for your links. The affiliate program you are involved with may already provide some of these statistics, but you can track multiple links and get all your data from one place.
- It also just makes it easy to remember your affiliate links for promotions on the fly. Whenever you want to recommend our products, you’ll know your link right away. Ive even set up affiliate links for people too so I can promote their current products knowing I can easily change the affiliate link to redirect to whatever product I want to sell of theirs.
3 Ways to Redirect Your Affiliate Links
I’ve come up with instructions for 3 different ways to redirect your affiliate links depending on your resources and knowledge. Any questions, just call me.
1. How to make your redirected link using Cpanel:
You must have cpanel installed where you host your website to be able to do redirects through it. If you do, bonus as it makes them very easy to do redirects. Need a host that has cpanel? Check out my hosting at Mediamage Business Solutions.
1. Login to your cpanel at your host which is typically at http://www.yourdomainname.com/cpanel Just call your hosting company if you don’t know the link to your cpanel.
2. Look for the Domains section of icons and then click on the Redirects icon
3. In my example below I am redirecting it from my mediamage.com domain by choosing it in the dropdown box. In the box beside it, I put the name I wanted to call the link (vbss). I try to use something memorable like if I’m promoting the VBSS then I would put vbss. I then add my long affiliate link into the box that says “redirects to” and click ADD to save it all.
Now when someone clicks on my link:
http://www.mediamage.com/vbss it goes through my affiliate link to the page I want to promote.
2. How to make your redirected link manually using HTML:
1. Create a new blank page for your website. Name the page whatever you’d like (for example: vbss.html).
2. Remove any HTML code and paste this instead:
3. Be sure to replace http://www.INSERTAFFILIATELINK.com with your full affiliate link.
4. Test your link to make sure everything is working. Simply type in the location of your new page into your web browser to ensure it is redirecting (ex. type in yourdomain.com/vbss.html).
3. Advanced Users Only – Redirect links directly in .htaccess file
For those that have access to a FTP program and are familiar with it’s use, I find using it to be the easiest way to redirect links. I hard code the redirects in myself into the .htaccess file which you’ll find in your root directory. If you log into your FTP program and cannot see the .htaccess file make sure the settings in your FTP program are showing hidden files.
Here is the code to add into your .htaccess file to redirect your affiliate link:
Redirect 301 /vbss http://www.INSERTAFFILIATELINK.com
This would result in a redirect link that looks like this: http://yourdomain.com/vbss
Above code broken down:
Redirect 301 /[this is the short name for the redirect] [Your affiliate link goes here]
Almost Finished! Now just SAVE the file to the server and test your link to make sure it works!
Lazy Way to Shorten Links
You can also shorten links the lazy man’s way by using a third party program online. Just know that being lazy you don’t always come out on the top in the end 😉 One reason I don’t like using these link shorteners is that you don’t have control of them if you ever decide to change the affiliate link and promote something else using the same link. Another reason is because affiliate programs come and go and what if you are promoting a facebook product and then it goes belly up? All your links now out on the web will link to a ‘page not found’. Whereas if you had control of the links (using on of the 3 steps above) you could just change the link to another facebook product you’d like to promote and all your links on the web currently would still work and be making you money.
Here are some link shorteners if you still want to do it the lazy way 😉