Before going into how to hide or mask outbound affiliate links, here is some preface for beginners.
You can see countless Affiliate Marketing Programs online today, which give you the opportunity to earn a certain amount of money each time you help them selling services or products. Many Bloggers and Webmasters use affiliate programs to boost their online earnings.
But also, there’s a lot of mix people use to say about affiliate links, which creates chaos on affiliate links usage, for example, affiliate links cause loss in Search engines ranking and even cause to get penalties from them. If you’re still in doubt about placing Affiliate links in your site, you should read Google guidelines for affiliate programs.
After joining an Affiliate Program from a service, you have to grab your affiliate link code and have to put it on your site, to invite your visitors to check out the product. In general, an affiliate link looks like below:
Once in a while, you may want to hide such clumsy and lengthy affiliate link URLs on your blog and mask it with a fancy, shorter URL of your own blog i.e. http://yourblogurl.com/go/abcproduct which redirects to the same lengthy, original affiliate URL and opens your referral on the service site. Well, this will be neat!
On WordPress, it becomes a bit more easy with the help of some plugins, you can browse the plethora of plugins but there is only one which is really easy to operate, that is Simple URLs by StudioPress. It’s the best plugin which helps you to hide or mask or cloak your outbound affiliate links.
Simple URLs plugin for WordPress provides a complete URL management system that allows you to create, manage, and track outbound links from your site by using WordPress custom post types and 301 redirects. With this plugin, you can manage your links just like you manage WordPress posts.
After installation, the plugin will add a new custom post type in the WordPress admin panel, where you can create, edit, delete, and manage URLs. That means, you can start creating your new redirected outbound affiliate links just after the installation! It also provides an on-hand analysis of new links, as it stores click counts in form of a custom field on that custom post type.
Since the plugin makes use of WordPress custom post types, you customize title as well as the URL individually. The finished URL will be something like this:
http://yourblogurl.com/go/custom-url. It’s just an example.
Now, you can use this URL in your posts, sidebar banners or wherever you want with a
rel="nofollow" attribute in it for a precaution of not to get it followed by search engines.
Simple URLs plugin don’t uses page based redirects, hence there is no chance of permalink conflicts with it. It’s Custom post implementation also avoids any performance issues. You can download the plugin using the below link:
You should also see the StudioPress basic guidelines on using Simple URLs.