I know you ‘ll agree with me:
this thing we call the internet- it’s vast, it’s infinite, it’s an opportunity!
The greatest you, I and all common men and women will have in our lifetime.
“Opportunity for what exactly”? You ask.
Why, for a better life, of course. For a brighter future.
For financial stability.
For the joy of supporting our loved ones so they can have the life they deserve (yes, this reason is close to my heart 🙂 ).
The Internet is a great chance indeed, and I’d be a fool not to use it, and so would you.
“How exactly should we use it”? You ask again.
Through internet marketing, of course. Have you not seen the byline of my website:
Affiliate marketing is the answer.
Everyone can do it.
Everyone can succeed with affiliate marketing.
You too can do it.
You just need:
- A tiny monetary investment(domain, hosting, website, and proper training/guidance)
- A tonne of dedication and self belief
- Stubbornness not to quit when it get tough, stubbornness not to give up when that’s all you want to do.
But why tell you?
I’m guessing you already have a website set up and you even have a few decent articles to your name.
But now you want to insert your affiliate links and are worried:
- That Google will slam you, destroy you and your hard work.
- That your visitor will leave thinking “he’s not going to earn off me, not if I can help it”!
Hey, I understand you. I was there once…
My advice– don’t. Just don’t.
This article will ease your mind.
Here you’ll learn:
- How to mask affiliate link
- How to track affiliate links
- Why you should cloak and track affiliate links(the benefits)
- Finally, I have a bonus for you. (hint: it’s a way for you to make your links extra clickable so you earn even more money 😀 )
- What Does it Mean to Redirect an url, and Why Do it?
- How to Cloak Affiliate Links With Pretty Link- It’s Easy, It’s Fast, It’s Free. What More Do You Want?
- Make Your Links Extra Clickable With This Simple Hack
- Conclusion- What Does Clicking the Big Orange Button Mean to You?
What Does it Mean to Redirect an url, and Why Do it?
To cloak/redirect a link is to take the naked affiliate URL and rename it to something nicer while still pointing to the same affiliate offer.
You should cloak your affiliate links because of these three reasons:
- Affiliate links are usually a mess- New url you create should be clear, concise and compelling
- Beautified affiliate links are click magnets compared to their previous selves.
- You can track the CTR and manage link from one place(a huge timesaver and the greatest benefit in my opinion)
Let’s break these down real quick!
1# Affiliate Links That Invite Clicks- Make Them Links Beautiful!
Here’s my raw affiliate link: https://www.wealthyaffiliate.com/a_aid/2edab459
If you’re like most people:
- This isn’t strikingly beautiful
- This doesn’t entice you to click
- It doesn’t spark your curiosity
- It makes you want to vomit
Are you nodding your head right now?
Yes, as I expected. Affiliate links are ugly and are bug repellent to clicks!
But here’s the thing (you’ll be surprised to learn this):
People are not bugs. 🙂 They deserve better.
And you must deliver (if you’re worth your salt as an affiliate marketer).
Change your link so that:
- Instead of folks squinting as if trying to see but not look,
- They feast their eyes on links that are easy on the eyes, short, sweet, to the point, that promise the world and provoke an unquenchable curiosity.
“This link I am about to click on, it promises to solve my problem, and to do it quickly and painlessly.
Should I click?
If I don’t, I know I’ll be sorry for life but it’ll be too late. I’ll do it! Lest my life is ruined forever. He who dares, WINS!
Yes, I’ve overblown it quite a bit, but that’s the type of reaction you can get with a cloaked affiliate link- they’re powerful stuff 😎
2 # People Click More on Affiliate Links
See this link?
It’s the same one from above except that I made it beautiful (you’ll learn how in a minute)
This is what a link should look like:
- It’s to the point
- No gibberish
- It tells exactly what you’ll get
- The words “Wealthy Affiliate” spark curiosity, especially with those who might be able to guess what it is but aren’t sure, are they right or wrong?
3# You Can Track Affiliate Links
I won’t hide it anymore- The plugin I used is called Pretty Link.
It allows you to track whether people click or not, and what percentage of them passes your affiliate link like it’s a monument.
“Why should I track affiliate links”?
Because crunching data is where your money is made.
With enough info, you can refine your campaigns and maximise your earnings.
- Link position
- Link prominence
- Different wording
- This colour instead of that colour
- Visual cues around the links.
These are all minor things you need to play with, to find that sweet spot where people convert at a highest rate and leave as happy customers, leaving behind their money and the words “we’ll be back for some more”.
Quickly, do this two things for me:
First– Imagine that wonderful scenario.
Second– Understand that you don’t have to imagine anything.
After you’ve gathered enough data through cloaked affiliate links all of this will be possible, and more!
Bottom line– Tracking» knowing» tweaking» earning»more tweaking»more earning. 🙂
Doesn’t Google Forbid Cloaking? What’s the Deal?
Yes, it does forbid it but don’t worry about it.
Because it’s a different kind of cloaking, completely unrelated to the one we’re discussing here.
Google doesn’t have a problem with you cloaking affiliate links because all you’re doing is changing the url into something nicer- while showing the same destination page.
And that’s what makes it a legit practice.
On the other hand, Google forbids a type of cloaking when you have two different versions of one page(one for the crawlers and one for the visitors).
So, when your system detects Google’s spider prowling about, you show it Page A.
When it leaves you revert to page B which is usually a spammy page selling garbage.
Google hates this.
- It ruins the UX(user experience) of the entire search engine
- It messes with the search results
- It produces one grumpy customer who’s now far more likely to switch to Bing, Google’s Bingest 😛 competitor.
Google can’t allow it. Google won’t allow it!
And that is why, besides spiders, bots, crawlers and whatnot, they also have human testers who go about the web and test pages. Those that are caught cloaking are penalised, sometimes completely deindexed.
Bottom line– Learn to cloak… the right way.
Should I Tell People I’m an Affiliate- Won’t That Drive Them Away?
Before we go any further, I need to make something clear.
Here we are talking about cloaking, hiding our affiliate links. It’s almost as if there’s a price on our links and there’re bounty hunters about, sniffing around and waiting for us to make a mistake.
Should we be wary of people’s reaction?
I say- stop.
To answer your question:
Yes, you should be honest, no they won’t leave.
Here s the deal:
Folks don’t give a rats arse whether you’re monetizing your website, in fact, they expect it (it’s normal). They simply don’t care.
When someone lands on your website the last thing on their mind is “is this guy trying to earn off me?”
No, their thoughts are more in line with “I have this burning problem that’s making life difficult for me. Will this article was written by X help me?”
Now I tell you this:
If you can give them the answer,
If you can point them to the right direction,
If you’re willing to share your wisdom without expecting anything in return you will “get it” and you will get a lot of it.
Let me drive the point home- There is no shame in doing affiliate making!
As you spend time in this business, and as you get feedback from your visitors, you will see that most folks are really kind and many will intentionally click on your link to ensure you get a commission.
Of course, this only happens when:
- They really need the service you’re promoting
- You’ve helped them by giving a tonne of value(i.e. free information)
Take this post for example:
You wanted to know how to mask and track affiliate links.
And you came here from Google/Bing/Yahoo looking for answers.
Isn’t it better to:
- Scour the web for hours
- Research on forums,
- Then on Quora
- Then on redits and subredits.
Isn’t it best to read opinions of dozens upon dozens of people?
- Whether you should cloak affiliate links
- How to do it (there’s always a tonne of methods, and everyone is convinced theirs is the best)
- The best way to cloak affiliate links (plugin or htaccess)
- And all other dilemmas to boot
I think it’s best to spend countless hours trying to find you head in the midst of this informational overload
Or do I?
The truth is I don’t, and neither do you.
I know it because here you are, reading my tutorial that tells you exactly what you need to know.
Hey, I’ll be the first to say:
My guide isn’t perfect, it’s lightyears away from being that.
But I know I spent 4 h researching and 30h writing and editing.
And I know that if you spend 15m of your time reading you will get a tonne of value.
- You will know how to cloak your affiliate links
- How to track affilite links
- And you will understand the benefits from doing so
And all for just a mere 15m of your time. It’s a bargain, don’t you think?
At the end of this article, there is a brief promotion of Wealthy Affiliate Universty.
That’s the training centre that taught me the ins and outs of affiliate marketing and it is thanks to them that I’m writing this from my home and comfy chair.
They opened to me a whole new world of possibilities and showed me the way my life could be, IF I was ready to take massive action to make it happen. And I’m so grateful to have been given a chance
So I promote them. With zeal, with passion, with hope!
I ask you:
People who’re interested in affiliate marketing but don’t know where to start, won’t they click to at least see what it’s about?
Yes they will, because I’ve helped them first.
That is the power of affiliate marketing done right.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links With Pretty Link- It’s Easy, It’s Fast, It’s Free. What More Do You Want?
Note– This plugin is very straight forward, I promise you’ll get it in a flash. Still, I’ll be using lots of images because as always- visuals are our friends.
- Install and activate Pretty Link
- In your WordPress dashboard click on the “Pretty Link” tab
Ok, we’re in.
This is the back/end of pretty link plugin
and here is where you manage all your redirects.
- Click Add new Link
- Redirect 307– this is a temporary redirect that you should use with affiliate links. 307 redirect tells the search engines not to pass any PageRank and are very useful if your merchant ever decides to change affiliate network. That’s why it’s “temporary redirect”- you can change if needed.
- Target URL– This is where you paste your whole affiliate link
- Pretty Link– Name your new link(make sure it’s something pretty)- I’ll christen mine get-your-wealthy-affiliate-membership-for-free.
Note. I wrote it with dashes. It’s because I’m creating a new url. And all url’s are written in dashes
That is it for basic options your link is ready to rock, but before that…
There’s some advanced stuff I want to show you (don’t worry it’s only “advanced”)
- Group– this is useful when you have many redirects in place and you need to organise and keep track of them. I named my group WA links.
- Nofollow– Yes. you’ll want to enable this because Google doesn’t like you endorsing merchants you’re affiliated with. Remember that affiliate links are ads.
- Tracking– Link tracking is enabled by default so don’t touch it.
- Create new link.
I promised you a bonus so…
Make Your Links Extra Clickable With This Simple Hack
I know the affiliate marketer in you would agree:
Affiliate links are meant to be clicked on. Affiliate links want to be clicked on, and if they had a power of speech they would yell;
“Hey, look at me! Click me! Click me”! And that’s how they’d draw people in.
Alas, that can never be so we marketers have to help them out.
We have to make our links stand out like inflated red ball in the pool of clear blue water(yes I made that up, I hate the sore thumb cliché).
How to make our links stand out from the crowd?
By dressing them in beautiful buttons.
Yes, that’s right.
- That are proven to attract clicks
- That are pleasant to look at
- That go well with any page design
- That enhance any page lucky enough to have them
- That make your website look a model of professionality
Let me repeat:
Button are powerful weapons you can have but you must use them sparingly(only with affiliate links).
They can and will be a gamechanger for you in the clicks/sales departament, I promise you that.
Note- In preparation for this post I had already made a button. I won’t show you how to do it here because it’s too important to be glossed over.
Here are the steps:
- First, we need the pretty affiliate link we made earlier. So I go to the Pretty Link dashboard and copy the link.
- Next, I need to paste the link into MaxButton editor, in the “url” field.
- Copy the shortcode of the button(this is a piece of code that holds your button)
- Paste it anywhere in the post
- Update the page
Let’s see how it looks live.
Pro tip. I want to add a little something that will bring in even more conversion. It’s a proven method and it takes 5m to do.
What am I talking about?
I will add an arrow that points to my button. Arrows are the best visual cue to draw attention to anything.
But here the thing:
Not any arrow will do. For example, the one from the right, I downloaded it from Pixabay and it’s afine arrow for pointing at thigs. But it won’t cut it with me(in fact I think it’d even decrease conversion rate)
No, I want a hand drawn arrow, and that’s what really makes the difference.
No one in the world knows exactly why these arrows work.
But they do work and are proven click monsters. Even the highest converting button in the world can benefit from a hand-drawn arrow.
And mine deserves the same VIP treatement.
Finally, here it is:
- The button contains my affiliate link
- My affiliate link is cloaked and tracked through Pretty Link
- The arrow seals the deal
People won’t be able to help themselves- They’ll click!
Note- As you can see, the arrow is nothing fancy, it’s the opposite.
I went for that crude look that comes from the unsteady hand. That’s the point.
I suspect there’s something “human” in hand-drawn arrows that attracts people in, and something repellent “machine-like” in the perfect arrow from the above(the red one).
Also, I used PowerPoint to draw, so you don’t need any fancy tool to do the job.
Conclusion- What Does Clicking the Big Orange Button Mean to You?
Inside the button, there is a link that gives you free starter membership at Wealthy Affiliate.
As I mentioned earlier, Wealthy Affiliate is a training platform that taught me everything I know about internet marketing.
Before I joined, I didn’t know what SEO stood for, now here you are reading my article(and enjoying it too- I can tell 😀 ).
Wealthy Affiliate offers two levels of membership
I won’t talk about the premium stuff here, but here’s a chart that shows you the difference. And below I’ll quickly break down what you get with a free starter membership
1# Two SiteRubix Websites+ Hosting
SiteRubix is a premium website builder that is part of Wealthy Affiliate platform. And you can build two websites are with it.
These sites are:
- Built on WordPress
- Free of those annoying ads that are standard with all other free website builders
- Yours forever- you don’t have a limit to how much or little you want to use them- no pressure 🙂
With your website, you also get premium-quality hosting.
Hosting at Wealthy Affiliate is a huge topic worthy of its own post, but here is an image that gives you the gist of it.
Note. This is what premium members get but with starter membership you still have access to 90% of the features. with only y a few of them strictly reserved for premium members.
Also, I’ll say it now because I know you want to ask:
If you start as a free member (which I recommend- always test before paying for anything) and later want to update-you can and it’ll be easy.
With a push of a button, your SiteRubix website will be redirected to your new domain-owned site and all your hard work and ranking will be preserved or even increase.
And you’ll immediately be able to turn on SSL. Free SSL is that rare exclusive feature reserved only for premium members- read about it here
Training at Wealthy Affiliate
Starter members have access to:
- Training provided by members
- And the one given by the owner.
Wealthy Affilite has more than 800 000 members on board and around 50 000 of them are actively contributing to the platform. These are all knowledgeable folks who want to help and share their wisdom
First of all, we at WA are a comunity and sort of like a large familly, we like each other and help each other out.
Second, you can earn good money doing it.
If you create a tutorial that other members find useful, then you get likes(akin to Facebook likes) and these likes make you money on autopilot and over very long time(becuse there’re are always new memebrs eager to learn. So the work you do once pays for years)
How much can you earn with Wealthy Afiflite credits system(that’s how its called)?
I can’t tell becuse I only foucs on my website , but I’ve read that memebers who have more than 20 tutorial earn at least a 1000$, probably much more.
So it pays to be helpful. 😉
Then there’s the Online Certification Course-. This is the true gem of Wealthy Affiliate.
In this course, Kyle Loudon the co owner of Wealthy Affiliate takes you by the hand and leads you from building a website foundation in level 1 to making consistent money in level 5.
Here’s how it works:
- He builds his own website in front of you
- Creates content that ranks(he shows you how)
- Joins affiliate programs
- Earns commissions
- And finishes the course with a website that is making money on autopilot.
How can you repeat his result?
Online certification course is divided into five levels and each has 10 lessons.
Each lesson has:
- Videos you need to watch
- Text portion you must read
- And the crucial part, it has tasks that you must do.
If you can learn those lesson well and if you can do the tasks one by one,you are almost guaranteed to have a money-making machine at the end of level 5.
As Kyle says: the only people who fail with the Online Certification Course are those who quit.
I want to ask you again- what does clicking the big orange button means to you?
Is it a chance?
An opportunity at something great?
A chance of a lifetime?
To turn things around.
To secure a better future for yourself and your close ones.
You tell me- once you’re inside
The way I see it:
Wealthy Affiliate starter membership is free. It takes a minute to join and you don’t need any sensitive data to give, just your name and email, that’s it.
I think you owe it to yourself to at least try for a few days. It just might change your life.
YES, I want my FREE Wealthy Affiliate Membership!
P.S. Once you’re inside I’ll contact you in the first hour to make sure everything is OK, to answer your questions and to guide you to the right training. 🙂
Nikola signing out 😎