I’ve been meaning to talk about link redirects for a while now but just didn’t get around to it. Partly because it’s kinda boring and there’s not much to it, and also because I thought everyone was already doing it….but recent events have made me think otherwise and so here it goes!
I don’t know if you use Aweber as your auto-responder but not so long ago there was a major problem that cause havoc for marketers of every level all over the world. Basically Aweber was under a sustained DDOS attack which caused an interference with service meaning that sometimes people could not send out their mails and other times that when the mail was already sent out the links in them didn’t work.
Basically when Aweber went down so did the links. The reason why this happened is because with most auto-responders you will be using their link redirects. So if you send an email with a link saying “Click Here for More Info” then that link gets redirected through their system and onto the intended URL. Great when it works but when there’s a problem the links go nowhere and you have a lot of annoyed subscribers on your hands.
And that brings me on to why you should be using your own in-house Link Redirection Software. Now don’t worry I’m not going to turn this into a pitch fest for the software I use myself, that’s because there are many solutions out there which all really do the same thing. So even if you get set-up with a Free WP Redirect Plugin you’ll still be ok. The main thing I want to get across here is the importance of using redirects and how they can save you a lot of hassle down the line if something goes wrong.
So What Exactly are Redirects?
Well as the name suggests a link redirect software/plugin allows you to change the destination URL of your link in a couple of seconds. Many people use them in online marketing as it allows them to make long, ugly looking affiliate links look “pretty” An example would be turning http://website.com/sadfjhkhjlksfdhjkkih238hjdj9 into http://website.com/link
It basically lets you shorten the affiliate link and send visits to it using your own custom, personalized version of it. But the real beauty is that you can change the destination link whenever you like and when someone clicks your custom link they will be brought to the new location.
But Why Should We Use them?
There are a couple of reasons why link cloaking/redirecting software is important to marketers and below I’ll try and summarize some of the more important ones.
1 – Cloak Affiliate Links : they allow you to transform ugly looking affiliate links into nice, more natural looking links that can tie in with your brand and that your audience will recognize and trust.
Let’s be honest here, which one of these do you think a visitor would be more likely to click :
Raw Clickbank Affiliate Link : http://f66c7lg3jn4u4l6ermw-zbhycv .hop.clickbank.net/
Redirected Link : http://cunmark.com/go/InstaMember
Both those links are real and are for a Website Membership Plugin that I use called Insta Member. Now because I use it on lots of my sites I have no problem recommended it to anyone and have done so many, many times. I think it’s pretty obvious that the second link is the better of the 2. There’s no confusion of where the visitor is going and because it ties in with my blog URL they know they can trust that link.
2 – Change Link Destinations : say for example that the page that you are redirecting to has closed down you could log into your software and simply switch the destination URL to a page where visitors are told what it is after happening. So say my Insta Member link above changed, maybe they have changed their affiliate network and are now with JVZoo as opposed to Clickbank. Instead of going back and editing every link I have on my site pointing to that sales page all I have to do is go in to my redirect software and change the destination URL of my link. So I just take out the Clickbank affiliate link and replace it with the new JVZoo one.
My http://cunmark.com/go/InstaMember link will be updated automatically and when someone clicks it they will be sent to the new URL. No interruption to your visitor and everything works seamlessly behind the scenes.
3 – Keep Track of Your Stats : many of these redirect softwares give you all kinds of valuable data like number of clicks, unique clicks etc. that you can use to tailor your marketing. This can be invaluable to you as you begin to build up a picture of the kind of topics/products that your audience like to read about. By looking at the stats if you see Link A got 100 clicks and Link B got 500 clicks it’s pretty apparent that your audience has more interest in Link B’s topic so in future you can tailor your content around more relevant stuff in that area.
4 – Lessen the Risk of Commission Theft : this isn’t an overly important factor for me personally but it is nonetheless a very important one for many who use redirects. Because you will be redirecting an affiliate link through your own system there is less chance of someone coming along, seeing that you’re promoting a Clickbank Product, and going directly to the sales page themselves or even worse, replacing your affiliate link with their own.
Believe me it happens and by using redirects you can greatly reduce this because your links look a lot more natural and are not using the raw affiliate link which is very easy to hijack and replace with their own ID. So if you are into affiliate marketing then there is are no excuses, you really need to be using link redirects or you could be costing your business big.
5 – Protects You When Problems Occur : like I mentioned at the beginning of this post you can protect yourself from Third Party Problems such as if your auto-responder had gone down by using your own link redirect solution. With the recent Aweber problems if someone clicked a link in your email when they were down it wouldn’t go anywhere, it would just be a broken link.
But if you had your own redirect solution set-up when someone clicked the link they would be visiting your server and getting the redirect. Saving you a lot of hassle along the way.
So I hope by now you can understand some of the many benefits of using Link Redirects in your business and I guess the last thing for me to do is recommend a couple that you can check out for yourself. Like I said I’m not going to push you on to the same system as I use because it costs quite a bit and when you’re starting out you’ll get good results by just using some free solutions that are readily available from the WordPress Plugin Directory. I use a web based software called Link Supercharger but there are loads others like Pretty Link etc.
Simply do a quick Google Search for “Free Link Redirect Plugins/Software” and you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you have any questions about Redirects or have anything you’d like to add feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
Thanks for reading,