In the world of blogging, affiliate marketing is the most effective way to generate revenue online. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a beginner, because you can start earning money during your very first month thanks to affiliate links.
Now hold on! The possibility to earn passive income through affiliate marketing does sound exciting, but there is another side to it.
The online marketplace is filled with a lot of scammers who’ve perfected different online tactics to steal your commission before you even realize it.
The hard truth is that your website’s security can be breached with malware that replaces your original affiliate links with fake ones to hack your income stream.
The commission you earn via affiliate marketing on your blog site is your hard-earned money. If you don’t want anyone to deprive you of this money, then this guide will help you disguise your affiliate link into a shorter version to make it less visible to the hackers.
This process is commonly known as link cloaking, which not only saves your online income from malicious hackers but also increases your sales revenue by making the affiliate links more appealing to visitors.
Below I’ve made complete affiliate marketers guide to link cloaking that will answer any and all queries you may have.
Affiliate marketing is when a person, usually someone with a lot of following, recommends different products through their blogs or videos. These people earn a commission by referring visitors to the original website from where they can buy the mentioned products.
Do you know you can generate a steady stream of passive income stream by referring to yearly re-occurring subscriptions?
Of course, this depends on the customer not canceling the subscription you’re affiliated with.
Being an affiliate does sound like a cool marketing job that allows you to collaborate with people online and promote their products, but the competition is increasing day-by-day. Not only that, but commission theft is also an emerging problem in the blogging world.
Just check out how many blogs are trying to rank for THIS keyword.
There are smart hackers out there, waiting for a chance to deprive you of the money you’ve earned through your blog site. If you don’t want this to happen to you, get yourself well acquainted with link cloaking!
What You Need To Know About Link Cloaking
Link cloaking allows you to convert your affiliate link into a shorter version. Affiliate URLs are usually quite lengthy and complicated and do not appear pleasing to visitors.
Here are a few of my crazier ones.
The idea is to disguise these referral URLs into short links in order to make them less visible to hackers. It’s also easier to embed short links within a blog, and they can easily redirect the reader to the affiliate link once clicked.
How Does Link Cloaking Work?
What happens when you use link cloaking to secure your referral link? Consider the following example of before and after the link cloaking process of an original affiliate link:
Original Affiliate Link:
After Link Cloaking:
Let’s find out the differences between the two links. The first link is lengthy, complicated, and unpleasant. It contains your exact Affiliate ID, which is the root cause of the problem.
Scammers can hack an actual Affiliate ID, and thus you don’t want to disclose this. Now, you get why I was saying that link cloaking protects your sales. The second link, by contrast, is simple and easy to remember.
As I promised you a complete Affiliate Marketers Guide to Link Cloaking, I’ll be discussing link cloaking in more detail. Don’t worry! You don’t need to be tech-savvy to understand how to link redirection works.
We all know that link redirection takes a visitor to a new link once clicked. The new link can open on the same window or a different one depending upon a user’s settings.
However, the redirection mechanism after link cloaking changes completely. After link cloaking, the affiliate links will be accessed by a 301 redirect, which means that the visitor’s browser page will shift to another page or website.
Your browser will memorize this step of moving to a new page (if the cache isn’t cleared). Do you know what this means? It will serve a dual purpose of fast redirection in the future and a secure redirection link. Essentially, it’s a win-win situation to establish yourself as a successful affiliate marketer.
Benefits of Link Cloaking
This is my favorite part of this affiliate marketer guide. I’ve been emphasizing on how you can protect your sales commission by shortening your affiliate link, but there are numerous other benefits of using link cloaking as well. If you are interested, keep reading!
Affiliate Link Trust
Users that visit your blog or watch your videos are smart people and are continuously judging your work. More importantly, they’re paying attention to the affiliate links embedded in your content.
Visitors are only tempted to click on an affiliate link if it directly tells then where they’ll be redirected to. It’s a rule of thumb that people don’t tend to click on links containing loads of numbers and other gibberish words.
Link cloaking allows you to create neat and attractive affiliate links, which increases the click-through rate (CTR). Consider the following example:
Do you see how the above link establishes trust among your visitor? Here, you’re clearly stating that this is a product or service you recommend. The appearance of the affiliate link above is believable and builds trust among the visitors, motivating them to click.
Definitely more clickable than this link.
Affiliate Link Management
As an affiliate marketer, you need to manage and organize all your affiliate links on one platform. Link cloaking enables you to organize all affiliate links on one dashboard using link cloaking plugins. Trust me, my blogging business would have been a mess without link cloaking plugins.
You can use different affiliates link management plugins like ThirstyAffiliates and other WordPress plugins such as WP Cloaker, My Affiliate Link, and WP Affiliate Link Manager to categorize your cloaked affiliate links into different groups.
For example, you can classify hosting links in the “Hosting” link category, WordPress plugin affiliate links in the “WordPress Plugin” link category, and so on.
Affiliate management also includes another important domain, which is removing affiliate programs that are no longer applicable or functional. Many experienced bloggers commit this mistake of not removing closed or expired affiliate programs from their website.
This can severely damage your online business by worsening user experience with non-operational affiliate links.
An affiliate link cloaking plugin allows you to remove redundant links with a single click on your summarized dashboard. In the absence of a link cloaking plugin, you’ll need to manually remove the uncloaked affiliate links from all your posts and pages one by one.
If you do not want to go through the hassle and fatigue of this tedious manual deletion, then follow my advice, use link cloaking, and install an affiliate link cloaking plugin right now!
Affiliate Link Tracking
Another advantage of affiliate link cloaking is that it gives you the ability to track your site’s traffic and counts how many clicks you get on your affiliate links every day. These insights give you a lot of information about how your affiliate links are working on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
You not only learn about your visitor’s behavior but also about your best and worst-performing affiliate links. Once you know what links aren’t performing well, you can optimize their performance and improve your sales.
Save Your Affiliate Links From Ad Blockers
Some affiliate links contain so many numbers (including your affiliate ID) that they appear as spam links to ad-blocking plugins. As we discussed earlier, internet users are smart people, and most of them use adblocker tools to block unwanted pop-up ads.
Hence, there’s a probability that an adblocker tool mistakes your original affiliate link to be spam and blocks it from opening on the user’s browser. However, if you follow this affiliate marketer guide and use link cloaking to protect your affiliate link, you can successfully eliminate the chances of getting blocked.
Simplification of No-follow Affiliate Links
Let me ask you two questions. Do you want to save your website from getting penalized by Google? And do you want to increase your search ranking on Google? If your answer is yes, which I know it is, then use link cloaking to remove do-follow affiliate links.
If you have an online business, you’re probably already familiar with the basics of Google ranking. Google hates do-follow affiliate links, and they could lead to a penalty on your website. Hence, you’re required to manually add the “rel-nofollow” attribute every single time you create an affiliate link.
Luckily, link cloaking is the ultimate solution to eliminate this problem. Another benefit of link cloaking is that you can reuse the same affiliate link in different posts.
Efficient Email Delivery Rate
The success of your affiliate marketing is also highly dependent on email campaigns. The scheduled emails you send to your visitors contain affiliate links that boost sales via email. When you use original affiliate links with Affiliate ID numbers, the email can be considered spam and can get blacklisted for good.
This can cause serious harm to your affiliate marketing campaign.
If you cloak your links by following this affiliate marketer guide, your emails will never trigger a spam alert. Hence, I always recommend using cloaked affiliate links in your emails to ensure you don’t get flagged.
Affiliate Link Cloaking Using WordPress Plugins
Affiliate marketing is a thriving online business, which is revolutionizing the concept of traditional marketing and promotional campaigns. I’ve discussed in detail all the practical benefits of link cloaking in this affiliate marketers guide.
I have also picked the following three link cloaking WordPress plugins, which are my personal favorite. I have used all three of them from time to time.
Thirsty Affiliates is the most popular affiliate link cloaking plugin for WordPress. It provides a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to add, modify, and delete affiliate links on a single-window dashboard.
Pretty Link Lite
Pretty Link Lite makes affiliate link cloaking management easy and smooth. You can easily see the trending affiliate links on the performance management dashboard.
Easy Affiliate Links
Easy Affiliate Links is a handy plugin that serves you in multiple ways. It helps you cloak the affiliate link and manage their performance from a single dashboard window.
If your goal is to increase your sales and revenues with affiliate marketing, you must protect and secure your online earnings. Link cloaking serves a dual purpose of protecting your affiliate links from hackers to save your commissions and increases your sales revenue by transforming the original unpleasant affiliate link into an attractive affiliate link.
Affiliate marketing is all about building customer trust and enhancing a visitor’s online experience. You can only promote affiliate links on your website if your visitors trust you. It is vital to implement link cloaking in all your affiliate links by providing reliable affiliate links.
After ensuring the reliability of your affiliate links, the next step is to improve customer experience. Link cloaking helps you to update, add, and delete the affiliate links on your posts and pages with a few clicks. Imagine the total number of manhours you save if you follow this affiliate marketer guide to link cloaking.
Once you implement this guide to increase your affiliate sales and commission, let me know how it went in the comments below!
Once you fulfill your duty as an affiliate marketer by link cloaking, you can spend your time analyzing and monitoring the performance of your affiliate links. Link cloaking empowers you to track your affiliate links’ clicks and visitors’ count so you can determine how your blog is doing.
Link cloaking is all about repeating the following rules in a closed loop:
- Protect affiliate links
- Save your commission
- Analyze affiliate links
- Increase online sales
I assure you if you follow these rules, your online affiliate sales will skyrocket in a month. Good luck!
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