There is a new version of this plugin. Please download it from the plugin page
This post is about a wordpress plugin that will help you to manage your hidden affiliate links a lot easier then what others have suggested.
If you don't know why you should hide the affiliate links then continue reading, but if you already know this then skip to the plugin part of the post.
One of the best monetization methods for blogs is using affiliate programs.Money making blogs don't get their income from a single source like adsense, they also use affiliate links for a lot of services like Text Link Ads and other products.
Why hide your affiliate links?
Many bloggers think it's good to hide the affiliate links, not because they don't want their visitors to know they are affiliated but because of other reasons like:
- Changing your affiliate links is a lot less work because you have to change in just one place then on hundreds of pages where you use those links
- It hides the ugly part of affiliate codes. People tend to not trust long links with a lot of characters and unknown codes. A nicely formated and clean link is more likely to be clicked then one that contains an affiliate code in it.
- It kind of forces them to click the link instead of just typing the link (without your affiliate code ) in the browser.
- better SEO, the links don't look like affiliate links, the redirect is done from a html page that has noindex on it so search engines shouldn't look at it.
Methods to hide Affiliate links
There are a lot of methods to do this like:
- writing a .htaccess rule
- doing a http redirect from a script. Setting the HTTP location header to the destination url.
- doing a redirect from the meta of a html page
Those methods are not hard to use but they do involve write a small piece of code and require this for each affiliate link. I will not show you in details any of those methods because there's a better, easier way to do this.
I wrote a plugin for wordpress that will let you define such redirects from a nice (AJAXy ) web interface inside your wordpress admin.
The plugin installs just like any other wordpress plugin and once installed you can start defining your affiliate link without having to write any code.
The plugin is released under GPL and the usual "No Warranty" disclaimer applies
The script was tested on wordpress 2.2.3, so it you use any other version and it doesn't work let me know about and problems and I'll try to write a fix. If you use a previous version you should really upgrade to the latest version of wordpress.
Copy hidden-affiliate-links.zip and unzip or copy hidden-affiliate-links folder in wp-content/plugins then go to wp-admin -> Plugins and activate the Hidden Affiliate Links plugin
Using the plugin
After you activate the plugin you can go to wp-admin -> Manage -> Hidden Affiliate Links and add/edit/delete hidden affiliate links. For each link you have to define a slug, a destination link/code and a description.
The "slug" is what the link looks like on your blog, the link/code is the part where the visitor will be redirected and the description is something to remind you what's this link about, but it's also used in the title of the page that's doing the redirect ( in case the redirect does not succeed ).
For example if the slug is go/tla and the link/code is my affiliate link for Text Link Ads http://tinyurl.com/2kasce then if you write a post on your blog and you use a link like http://patchlog.com/go/tla in your post, anyone that clicks that link will be redirected to http://tinyurl.com/2kasce
In case the redirect does no succeed for some reason then you will see a page with the affiliate link in it and the title of the page will be the one specified in the description for the link. You can also customize that page by modifying: redirect_link.php
The script is very easy to use but if you want some power and you have some knowledge of writing regular expressions then here's how you can use it. The slug part can be any regex, and anything that will match that regular expression will be redirected to the real affiliate link.
For example I could make the slug like this: (.+)/tla and everything that ends in /tla like http://patchlog.com/go-to/tla or http://patchlog.com/recommended/tla, would be redirected to my text-link ads affiliate link. Or something like go/(tla|text-link-ads) would match both links like http://patchlog.com/go/tla and http://patchlog.com/go/text-link-ads
I hope you like the plugin and let me know of any questions or problems you might have. Feedback is highly appreciated in the comments section of this post.
If you like the plugin you might want to subscribe to my full RSS feed, other great plugins might be on the way.
there's a new version that can also automatically replace keywords you define with hidden affiliate links Click here to get it.