It is very difficult for me to understand why so many people selling affiliate products don’t hide their affiliate ID.
Affiliate links are an important component of your revenue. Don’t risk someone stealing your affiliate ID or allow them to simply go to the site directly, depriving you of your commission.
You need to do everything in your power to protect these links.
How can you do that?
By cloaking them!
Cloaking means that you are masking (concealing) your product or service link so that it doesn’t look like an affiliate link.
If your affiliate link looks like this:
To one that looks like this:
Why would you want to cloak your links?
There are at least five reasons why you should do this:
1. People don’t click on affiliate links.
As you can see in the example above, affiliate links are lengthy and tend to put people off. They tend to distrust where that link is going to lead. Bottom line, people just don’t click on affiliate links.
A cloaked link is consistent with your website and people like familiar territory. As well, it looks more professional.
2. Links look better.
They look better because they are shorter and easier to remember.
Your affiliate links will look like normal links and are user friendly for those who visit your site.
3. People can steal your affiliate links.
They simply replace your affiliate ID with theirs when they buy and they get paid for the sale instead of you.
4. People can bypass your affiliate link.
Someone who sees your affiliate link can erase everything except the merchant’s url and buy the product directly. By doing this you lose your commission.
They do this in spite of the fact that they don’t pay more by going through your affiliate link. You loose your commission and they don’t gain anything!
5. Easier to manage.
Sometimes you have to change your affiliate links. Its easier to do this if they are all in the same place. If you have many affiliate links centralized they are easier to find and manage.
How to cloak (hide) your affiliate links
Create a Redirect
One way to hide your affiliate link is to create a redirect using a WordPress plugin called “Redirection”. Go to “Plugins” on the WP dashboard and then “add new” and type “Redirection”. Download and activate plugin, then go to “Tools.”
When you click on this you will see “Redirection”. Click on that and the following will open:
Your source url will be http://www.mywebsite.com/(insert affiliate name which will be used to identify product)
Your target url is your affiliate link such as:
This method works fine if you are working with a limited number of affiliate links.
Free Link Cloaking Software
Another way is to use a free link cloaking site like www.tinyurl.com . You simply click on the link and just follow the instructions.
This is much better than the long url which is bound to turn everybody off.
A major problem is that people don’t know if they are being redirected to a phishing site to capture sensitive personal information. Or whether they are being redirected to a malicious site loaded with malware.
Because of this some people will not click on this kind of link. Although your link doesn’t fall in that category, it may be avoided. However, it is still an option better than leaving your affiliate links open to being hijacked!
Commercial WordPress Link Cloaking Software
To be successful with affiliate marketing, you not only need to mask your affiliate links, but you also need a way to track your clicks. You want to know which links convert and make money. Pretty Link is the best affiliate link cloaking software which does this and much more. It has both free and paid versions
If your serious about earning real income as an affiliate marketer you have to use the paid version.
It is easy to use and it offers a variety of tracking reports when people click on your affiliate links.
With Pretty link you can shrink, cloak and track links on your WordPress website and automatically replace keywords in your Posts.
You can track how many clicks have you had on a specific link.
Pretty Link makes managing your social links, redirects and affiliate links much easier. Its a WordPress plugin, so all you have to do is upload a zip file to your website, activate it and immediately create cloaked affiliate links in your website.
It combines the ease of use of a third party solution with the power of a custom solution — Pretty Link makes it simple for you to shrink, cloak, track and share your links.
In my opinion Pretty Link Pro is the best link cloaking and edirect plugin on the market and comes highly recommended and is an essential tool for any affiliate marketer.