While I was at NAMS6, a Niche Affiliate Marketing Systems Workshop, I learned that one of the best ways to cloak your links, especially your affiliate links, is to use the cPanel Redirects function in your hosting administration area (hosting must use cPanel, like Hostgator and Bluehost). This little tip was suggested by Bob The Teacher as he says it’s safer to use than third party programs that may be here one day and gone the next, consequently, causing you to lose all of your links!
First, What’s a Redirect?
A Redirect is a feature that allows you to send visitors who try to access one URL to another URL. These redirects can be temporary or permanent redirects (most used and recommended).
Why Cloak Affiliate Links Using Redirects?
Well, it looks so much cleaner. For instance, which of the following would you rather see, use, and remember?
- https://freeblogfactory.com/ref,brown-1308515603 OR http://xdwebsolutions.com/freeblog
- http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=107871&u=517569&m=15608&urllink=&afftrack OR http://sharemysale.com
See how much better it is to use redirected links rather than the actual long links themselves? It can also help protect you from those who try to steal your affiliate sales (yes, there are people who do that!).
How to Create a Redirect Using cPanel
Watch the quick video below for a more detailed look into how to setup cPanel Redirects.
However, there’s one caveat to this solution…
During my testing of cPanel Redirects, I found that my newly created links weren’t working and I couldn’t understand why. So I went to my old trusty, Google, to help me solve the issue.
Well, lo and behold, this method doesn’t work properly if you are using WordPress or other CMS that uses a .htaccess file to manage access permissions.
And I’m a WordPress Chick!
So, Then, What Are Your Options?
If you are using a CMS, like WordPress, there are other options.
- PHP redirection (advanced method and you need to know a bit about PHP)
- Pretty Link Pro (premium method)
- Pretty Link Lite (free and easiest way to get started; link is to WordPress plugin)
- SubDomain redirects (i.e. URLRedirect.xdwebsolutions.com; not really recommended as it will most likely still be too long depending on your domain name)
What do you use to cloak/redirect your links? Don’t forget to share with your network!