Looking To Clean Up Your Links, A Smart Move!

Before we begin, lately there has been a few things that really irritate me and as I see it, this COULD well be hurting your business! One of the things happens to be regarding affiliate links, so sit back, relax, and enjoy what I have for you today! (If you’re a popcorn lover, then grab some, but remember to leave some for me.)

Cloaking Your Affiliate Links

So it’s time for a product promotion to your subscribers whither it be a broadcast of just a followup message, and you get to the stage were you’ve written an absolutely amazing email, but it’s not time to insert your own affiliate link. Meaning that if one of your subscribers likes what they see, then you can get credited as the referring affiliate.

Now, a little question!…

“What would you think of a marketer, if all you had to click on looked something like http://markmcw.smsdigital.hop.clickbank.net and worst of all you had a few placed throughout the whole email?”

…To start with, it doesn’t appeal to me! It looks very messy, and completely unprofessional considering the fact that you can cloak your links. Just think about it, if you went that extra mile to make things look clean and professional, then will it not increase your reputation and possibly earn you a little move?

I’d much prefer to go and click on a link that looked something like http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/recs/smsdigital and see what the marketer promoting the product is actually saying in their email. Does that last sentence make any sense, I hope so anyway!

The beauty here (Or the way I at least see it anyway!), is that you can set all this up however you like. You don’t need to put all your links into a ‘recs’ folder. Take a look at the following examples and you’ll quite easily see what I am talking about!

  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/discount/whatever – Say this email was going out to all your newsletter subscribers, you might have been able to get a discount page setup. What better than TELLING your subscribers in the link, that it is a discount?! Smart move or what?
  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/grab/kunaki- If you follow this link yourself, then you’ll find that it takes you to a FREE report all about Kunaki.com showing you basically how to get all setup, and ready to ship off your first physical product.
  • http://www.mark-mcwilliams.com/video/trafficblast - You can see from this, that it must be some kind of video, probably talking about traffic. Well if that’s what you thought, then you’d be right! :D

Well I hope you’re beginning to see what I mean when everyone creates these kind of links. Would you not rather click on one of them instead?

Below you’ll find the EXACT code that I use to create what could be called ‘powerful links’ if you used the right kind of text when creating the links!

So here it is!…

<?php $URL="http://markmcw.smsdigital.hop.clickbank.net";
header ("Location: $URL");

Now I better explain exactly what I do with that code. (It would probably help!)

Firstly I open up a blank txt document and insert that code, as shown, but changing the link that I want to redirect too. Then when you go to save it, make sure you type index.php into the box and click save. So assuming that you’ve just saved that file to your desktop, the next step is to create an empty folder. For that we’ll go with ’smsdigital’ and it’s now simply a matter of moving that index.php file into the ’smsdigital’ folder. We then need to decide what the main folder is going to be called, but we will just go with ‘recommends’ and then, yip you guessed it, move the ’smsdigital’ one over into it. We now just need to upload the ’recommends’ folder to our webspace.

Why Use A TinyURL On Your Salespage?

I recently came across this on a few salespages that I’d visited for various reasons, and thought… “Hey, come on, are you NOT trying to act professional?!”- Don’t get me wrong though, there is a time and a place to go using TinyURL.com services, this however isn’t one of them!

Now we all appreciate that if you are using a service such as ClickBank, then the payment link will ALWAYS look something like http://1.smsdigital.pay.clickbank.net but believe it or not, there still is a way to make things look professional here!

Look, does http://www.whateverdomain.com/order.php that redirects to that same ClickBank payment link not look 10 times better? I have mentioned several times now about making your links look and feel professional. But it’s true, and you’ll see marketers like John Thornhill and Lee McIntyre use this very same technique. So why not go and follow something that works?…

The only difference here with the code is that instead of your affiliate link being inserted, you simple use the payment url. Then instead of saving it as an index.php file, you can go and use order.php and link to that from your salespage.

As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago, DON’T go and use a TinyURL as the payment link on your salespage! It’s going to put more people off, than it will encourage them to make a purchase. Don’t make the same mistake others are making.

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12 Responses to “Looking To Clean Up Your Links, A Smart Move!”
  1. Daniël de Mos says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for writing yet another very useful post!

    When first starting on the internet, I didn’t have a clue about cloaking my affiliate links. Then, although I already had a link cloaker, I used TinyUrl instead, just because I was too lazy :oops:

    I have to admit I yet still have to do something about some of the TinyUrl’s, so I think it would be best to cloak them also.

    I fully agree with you affiliate links look awful (not to mention their vulnerability), and tinyUrl’s look real cheap!

    So, let’s get cloaking!

    Great advice not only to use a “recommends” folder, but also ones that actually refer to the product you’re linking to.

    Is there also a remedy for cloaking those neverending 3 lines Aweber links in emails?



  2. Troy Philis says:

    Great post and valuable little snippet of code! I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that there was a better way than just offering up the ugly affiliate link. This article tells me exactly what I need to do.Thanks!

  3. Colin says:

    Hi Mark and thanks for yet ANOTHER great tip!
    You do spoil your readers :grin:


  4. Thanks for your post Mark. It sure helped a techno deprived fool like me to understand.

    Clear and precise instructions…Thanks Man!


  5. First of all, thanks for the comments! As always, I really appreciate them, but it also gives you the chance to add your own ideas to the discussion leading to a bigger and overall BETTER post! – It also gives you the chance to link to any other websites, which can’t be bad can it?!

    @ Daniël – As I mentioned in my post (I think, and definately hope so!) is that TinyURL can be good if used in the right place. When marketing, you want to put across a very professional kind of look, and that’s were doing as I suggest can really make the difference!…

    If anyone want’s to implement any tips and tricks from my posts, then GREAT, but if they don’t, then it’s also cool. All I try to do is provide you with some outstanding content. :D

    @ Troy – Glad it’s of use to yourself, and thanks for the Digg! I’m not a fan of ugly affiliate links, and it almost makes you wonder what on earth you’re actually clicking through too!

    @ Colin – I simply aim to please! :mrgreen:

    @ Al – To start with, you’re NOT a techno deprived fool! So now we’re on the same bandwagon, thanks for your kind words!

    Keep your eyes peeled so that you don’t miss the next post due for publication around late Monday night! (It might turn out to be very early doors on Tuesday, I’m a late bug!) LOL


  6. John Reed says:

    I don’t want to be a permanently Techno Deprived Loon so I’ll try to couch my query in a sensible way, and then Mark you might be able to follow WHAT I don’t understand!!

    No, I can’t even manage that……… I’ll have to set up a site first because this just doesn’t mean much to me at present – even though Cloaking a Link sounds such a simple task to achieve!
    I don’t want a link to look like this

    I want it to look like this, for instance
    What My $269.32 Clickbank Cheque Bought Me

    I’ll come back to you when I’ve set up a site and tried to follow what you’ve already explained Mark, unless you can already see that I’ve totally misunderstood what you were saying!!??

    Thanks for trying

  7. Mark,

    Beautifully written post, old friend!

    i’ve bookmarked your blog ’cause I love how you write…(if I were younger I would’ve subscribed to your ‘feed’ lol)

    Kind regards,

  8. Excellent post Mark, although I have read it about a day too late :eek:

    Keep up the good work on the blog. Your posts are always helpful and insightful.



  9. @ John – I *think* I’m following you, and understand what your after! However, going back and reading it more then the once, sends me on the wrong direction (Sorry!) and maybe confuses me even more?! :shock:

    @ Steve – Well hello there stranger! Glad you enjoyed the post, several people now have commented on how it’s the best post I’ve made every! (I’m going to agree with them now!) Always cracking the jokes aswell, love it!…

    @ Daniel – Erm, stop putting me on the spot! Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them, and as always love what you’re upto aswell!


  10. DesDrec says:

    Great post Mark,

    I must admit I’m pretty lazy when it comes to cloaking links and probably lose loads of sales because of that (silly me). If you’re just getting into IM it’s best to follow Mark’s advice and do things properly from day one. Trust me, you’ll make more money.

    What I would add is if you’re marketing to a non internet marketing niche you can probably get away with being lazy and not cloaking your links. The majority of the bods out there don’t even know what an affiliate link is, whereas our IM friends can see one a mile off!

    I tend to use a redirect page on my server when using affiliate links in my eBooks since you have far more control to change external details. For example, the product your promoting may have changed the affiliate code or even discontinued it. At least this way you can redirect to a different product at any time.

    Thanks once again Mark.


  11. @ DesDrec – Thanks for stopping by, and leaving a comment. You bring up a very important point in your last paragraph! :D (I’ve seen a number of people just putting in the plain affiliate links, and the product owner has changed things completely!) But if they’d gone with the clean links like the ones I showed above, then they could have changed the index.php file and hey presto!…


  12. John says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m an Alex Jeffreys newbie and have just been digging round other peoples blogs.

    Can I ask your opinion?

    When promoting resources such as Aweber or a Hosting Company, would you suggest having a page on my blog called ‘recommends’, from which people would learn more about the product and potentially link off to that site thus earning an affilliate commission?

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on how best to layout / promote affilliate products, without looking as if you are trying to sell something.


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