What are Affiliate Links?
Last modified: February 23, 2020
Affiliate links are like normal links that connect one webpage to another page on a different domain. The only difference is that affiliate links often have additional details within them that identifies the referrer and instructs the destination to track the use to pay compensation should the person using the link convert.
Affiliate links are a vital part of affiliation networks across the world and many brands, from Amazon to small sellers, use affiliate programs to drive traffic and sales on their site. The brand selling the products gain sales and the affiliate (sender of traffic) receives a commission.
Affiliate Links Start A Process
Affiliate links often have added code at the beginning or end of the regular URL. This tells the browser to add a cookie to the visitor’s browser that will stay with the user for a set period of time. The length of time that this cookie lasts is dependent on the scheme. As is the compensation that the referring site gets.
For instance, some brands will pay affiliates 50% commission, while others will restrict commissions to about 1%.
All Sites Should Display A Notice If It Uses Affiliate Links
Rules about online marketing state that any site that uses affiliate links should have a notice that tells customers that it uses affiliate links. This can be done as a general message or a message that appears on relevant pages.
There are also plugins that can help with this.
Cloaking Affiliate Links
One major problem with affiliate links is that they look messy and unappealing. Therefore, many sites will cloak affiliate links to make them look more user-friendly. An example of this could be:
This is a very good practice for affiliate marketers if they are running several different campaigns and want to track performance too. They can cloak each url with a different cloak to determine where the user click on. For instance, offer-1 could have offer-1-email, offer-1-blog or offer-1-facebook added on.
This can be done on most affiliate marketing WordPress plugins. There are also specific plugins for certain programs, such as Amazon.