Easiest Way to Cloak Your Affiliate Links – Awesome New WordPress Plugin

April 8, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

If you blog for money, you know that using affiliate links in your posts to promote products that you enjoy is a great way to earn revenue online. But are you cloaking your links? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of potential sales while hurting your site in the process. Below are some important reasons why you should all be cloaking your affiliate links.

4 reasons why you should cloak affiliate links on your blog

  1. People may avoid clicking on obvious affiliate links. As Internet users become more aware, they will be less likely to click on links or buy into products that are endorsed only because there is a monetary incentive. You’re not tricking anyone but cloaking just makes your affiliate links less obvious.
  2. Cloaking allows for you to insert relevant keywords into your URLs thus making them appear more natural and more enticing for users to click on.
  3. Cloaking your links also helps you to avoid automatic scripts that replace your affiliate links with their own. Don’t let these people steal your hard earned commissions.
  4. Google may devalue sites with affiliate links in the search engine results pages (due to so many thin affiliate sites that provide no value). This can easily be avoided by utilizing cloaked links.

Up until now, I’ve been cloaking my affiliate links manually by using the simple PHP script below:

header( 'Location: http://AffiliateLinkHere.com/123' ) ;

Although this works pretty well, it’s also very time consuming because each of the php files have to be set up individually.

However, I just recently discovered a WordPress plugin called WordPress Link Cloak that automatically does this by rewriting URLs through htaccess. On my end, I just installed the plugin, entered in the keywords I wanted to convert into affiliate links and wala.

This plugin is amazing because you can use any URL directory and file structure that you want. It’s highly customizable and you can easily limit the number of keywords that are converted to affiliate links on the page.

Below are screen shots of some of the options the plugin offers.


At $77, the plugin is not cheap but I didn’t hesitate to get it because it’s something that I’ve been looking for for a very long time. The other cloaking plugins (like WP Affiliate Pro) do not offer this kind of flexibility and actually leave affiliate footprints that I’m sure the search engines can pick up. This one’s definitely under the radar and if you know what you’re doing, you can easily make up the cost with a few sales.

I think someone at Elite Retreat was looking for something like this as well. I wish I had known about this last week so I could sound like I’m smart or something. Haha, oh well.

So I’ll leave you all with that. Check out WordPress Link Cloak. There’s a video tutorial on there as well if you need more info. If you’re paying attention, you can see that I’m using it here already. 🙂

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Comments

19 Responses to “Easiest Way to Cloak Your Affiliate Links – Awesome New WordPress Plugin”

Affiliate Confession on April 9th, 2008

Gyutae,

The links in your feed don’t work with this plugin. It cuts off the first part of your url and only shows the directory and file. Maybe there’s a tweak for it?

Gyutae Park on April 9th, 2008

Hm, I see that happening in Feedburner emails. Do you see it anywhere else, Alan?

 
 
wisdom on April 9th, 2008

This plugin may be pretty useful if it works properly. Thanks for sharing.

Gyutae Park on April 11th, 2008

It works properly for the most part. The only bug I see right now is that the links don’t display properly in Feedburner subscription emails. Everywhere else it seems to be fine.

Looking forward to the fix.

 
 
DotDriven on April 9th, 2008

Looks interesting. I’ve been using WP Affiliate Pro for quite a while now and it does make it much easier having it automatically grabbing keywords and linking them with your affiliate codes.

I actually like using the php header trick the most though as it looks the most natural. But yes, can be time consuming if you have to do a lot and it doesn’t automatically link all your specified keywords throughout your blog.

I’ll have to check out this new one though 😉

Gyutae Park on April 9th, 2008

Yeah the PHP header script was what I was using for the past 6 months, but like you said it’s very time consuming and tedious. The plugin accomplishes the same thing only it’s a lot easier.

 
 
Dave Turnbull on April 9th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hey everyone, Dave from WordPress Link Cloak here.

That bug should be fixed shortly. 🙂

Gyutae Park on April 9th, 2008

Great, can you let us know when it’s fixed?

 
 
SiteHoppers on April 10th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great stuff Gyutae, I might start using this on my tech site, zedomax.com and do some sniper affiliate marketing… actually I don’t want to link all the keywords in the blog, that’d confuse the readers anyways.

 
Meethere on April 12th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the link
i am definitely going to try it out as it seems easy to cloak.

 
Ehren Cheung on April 14th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

From my perspective, I think this is quite interesting and is a good way to monetize your site but only as long as you inform your readers. It is important that that your visitors know how they would be supporting your site.

 
Dr. Teeth on April 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is really awesome.
We desperately needed a plugin to check our affiliate links.
Nice find gyutae!

 
philip townsend on July 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

i am really new to this and dont understand what the hell you are talking about i have purchased web army knife to do the cloaking and it doesnt work but then again i am passed caring at the moment because of all the crap associated with affiliate link cloaking…can someone just speak english for once instead of all the crap jargon?

 
SEO Software on November 29th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is really amazing. WordPress plugin to cloak the affiliate links. I’ll get this.

 
ExtraBest on December 12th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is good to know. I’m new to WP and very frustrated with the free affiliate cloakers that I’ve tried because I can’t get them to work.

Thanks!

 
Jeff Paul Scam on January 23rd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

It has been amazing to grow any business on the Internet, I need to market strategically to my customers, using a range for tools from content sharing to email marketing, search engine optimization, co-branding, ad buys, and more, to reach your target audience.

 
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