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How to Redirect Your Affiliate Links

Jun 26, 2008
Affiliate marketing can be very interesting work, but it's challenging too. It's hard to sift through all the information out there and figure out what works for you.

However, one thing many people strongly recommend is redirecting your affiliate links. The logic is that many people just feel more comfortable clicking a link they can understand. Also, some have a bias against clicking a link when they think you might get a commission off of it, even though they're no impact on their cost. Just an odd bit of human nature.

There are advantages beyond your clickthrough and sales rate to cloaking your affiliate links. I find it is simpler to remember my links. You don't have to go looking for your link every time; just use the redirect link you created. If they're well named you won't have to look them up very often.

There are a number of ways to redirect your links. How you do it depends on what you're comfortable with and what you can do on your server. You can buy a variety of solutions for this if you want link tracking, or create your own free solutions.

The basic free version is to create a page and do a meta redirect. The one trouble with these is that they can be a touch slow. But all you have to do is create a plain HTML page with META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="5; URL=html-redirect.html" in it. The 5 indicates that the redirect will take place in 5 seconds, and you can bring it to 0 if you want a fast redirect. And of course if you're directing to a new domain you will need to include the full address.

I'm most fond of the 301 permanent redirect using my .htaccess file. You can create one of these using Notepad (not Microsoft Word or other word processing software), but before you upload it to your server, be sure there isn't one there already, as it will mess up your site if you overwrite an existing file with a new one that doesn't have the current information. But if you have one there already you can edit it to add the new redirects.

The code is simple: Redirect permanent /filename addressyouareredirectingto. This should all be on one line. Once again, if you're going off site that means you will need the full address. This works only on Linux servers having the Apache Mod-Rewrite module enabled.

You can also do this in PHP. Within the brackets to start and finish PHP commands, place the following code:

Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
Header( "Location: http://www.new-url.com" );

There are many more ways to create redirects, and if you aren't using them already I strongly encourage you to investigate them. They make your affiliate links look cleaner and may help with your sales. Just check that the tracking is working properly when you use them.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/blog/ about running her home business. Get more tips on successful affiliate marketing at her site.
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