A lot of bloggers use affiliate links to get some income from their wordpress or other CMS blogs.
Is that a bad thing? No.
Is this seen as good thing by blog readers? No.
Most internet users think everything should be free on the internet and knowingly skip the thought that you spent time and worked hard to create quality content for your affiliate blog posts. Some of them point the finger at bloggers who use affiliate links to get income from their blogs thinking they’re doing something wrong. Most people don’t realize that the price of those products is the same and the blogger’s commission is paid by the retail stores.
People disregard the quality of your content and don’t care if you brought value to their decision making. That’s why I recommend having cloaked affiliate links. It makes the process easier and the audience’s need to point the finger at affiliate bloggers decreases.
Why should you use cloaked affiliate links?
I’m not recommending to cloak your affiliate links so you could scam your readers in anyway but I’m using this simple process of cloaking the links for other reason I’m going to point out below:
It’s easier to manage. As an affiliate blogger you need to have statistics about your links. Having a cloaking system with specific tools can allow you to split test, improve UX on your website and have a clear image of how the links behave. This gives you good insight about what affiliate products you should promote and what doesn’t work with your current audience.
Improves click-through rate. Having a good CTR is vital to any affiliate blogger. When you use a cloaked affiliate link like yourdomain.com/go/product-name instead of the normal affiliate link, you actually provide the reader with more information since they see the actual product name when they hover their cursor over the link and not a series of numbers and letters.
It improves your SEO and Shareability. Having a cloaked affiliate link from your own website makes it easier to share it on social networks and customize the information you provide. Seeing how it’s pointing to your website and not to an online store can give you some link juice from others sites.Be honest when using cloaked affiliate links!
How can you use cloaked affiliate links to generate more income?
There are some tricks you can use to actually generate more income from your cloaked affiliate links by basically increasing the CTR and make them seem natural to your audience. Here are some effective ways you can increase your affiliate income.
1. Be honest about your cloaked affiliate links.
People don’t see cloaked affiliate links as something normal and feel you’re trying to scam them somehow. That’s why you should be honest about your links. At the end of your blog posts add a paragraph explaining how these cloaked links work and why you need to cloak them. You can assure your readers there’s no scam involved and you’re using cloaking as a way to gather statistics. If it’s possible, you should use a resource to shorten URLs like goo.gl or bit.ly where users can check the link destination on their own.
Being honest about your cloaked affiliate links encourages your readers to actually click on them and increase your conversion rates.
2. Don’t make Google your enemy.
There are a lot of articles and strong signals from Google pointing out to the fact that they don’t like affiliates. I don’t know how much truth is behind that affirmation but you shouldn’t make Google your enemy. The smart thing to do is making sure that your outgoing affiliate links are nofollow and that you use a smart redirect.
How to use cloaked affiliate links and not make Google your enemy?
- Have a directory name for your redirects on your domain such as /go/ or /partner/.
- Use robots.txt to disallow that specific folder.
- Create 302 redirects for cloaked affiliate links.
- Use nofollow attribute.
If you do this, you won’t be penalized by Google’s algorithms thus increase your generated income.
3. Make use of relevant content on social networks.
If we talked about how you can get more income from cloaked affiliate links on your own website, let’s see how we can do this on social networks. There are several ways to use cloaked affiliate links on social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest to get more income such as:
Sharing a cloaked affiliate link on your social pages to increase your CTR. If you’re doing this, make sure you share that link to interested people and not just broadcast it where nobody will see it. Don’t forget to edit the meta info to improve the chance of people clicking on it.
Sharing your blog posts with cloaked affiliate links. This has to be the most used way to get clicks on your affiliate links. You build up a fan base and share your quality content. People then go to your blog and if they’re convinced, they’ll go on further by clicking on the affiliate links.
Sharing related content. Some services such as snip.ly allow you to cloak the original link and add buttons, ribbons or banners where you can place cloaked affiliate links or links pointing to your own blog. The snip.ly link will display all the original content from the source (for example a news article) and will add a button on the bottom with a CTA to get people to check out your content.