Selling affiliate products is a great way to make money online and I’m sure that’s exactly what many of you do, plan to do or will figure out that’s what you need to do. I’ll cover what affiliate marketing is in another post but for now I want to make a simple post to explain what I do to hide my affiliate links.
Whenever you become an affiliate for a product or company, you will receive a specially coded link that when used by a website visitor, it will set a cookie on that visitor’s computer to tell the product owner or company that your website or you referred the visitor to them. If that visitor buys something, you will earn a commission. The link is an integral part of the process as that’s how the company paying the commissions knows to pay YOU.
For the most part, the links that are assigned are long and ugly. To top that off, some people will not use the link, they remove the code that identifies you as the affiliate. In order to “fix” that, the best way I know is to “cloak” the link. Here’s how:
- Create a directory on your site called “info” (or whatever you want to call it). In the “info” directory, create a directory for each of your affiliate links. For example, create a directory called “info” at yoursite.com/info and a directory in the “info” directory called “revolution-theme”.
- In the “revolution-theme” directory, put a file called .htaccess — create this file using a plain text editor like Notepad.
- This file will only have one line in it and it should look like this:
Redirect /info/revolution-theme https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=67579&c=ib&aff=33340&ev=4cdd29eca7
- Note that there are three parts to the line and it should all be on one line (it may wrap in the browser here on the blog): the Redirect command, the location of the directory you want redirected relative to the root of your site (/info/revolution-theme) and the full URL of the location you want that request sent to (the affiliate link). Each of the 3 is separated by a single space and all on one line.
- Upload the .htaccess file to the directory you made for that affiliate. In the example here, you would put the .htaccess file in the revolution-theme directory.
So, if I were to give out the URL http://www.yoursite.com/info/revolution-theme the link would send visitors to revolutiontheme.com using your affiliate code.
There are a few things I want to mention regarding this process that may cause some mix-up. First, when you make the file in Notepad and save it, the file may save as .htaccess.txt. You will need to change the name of the file to exclude the .txt if you want it to work. Also, be sure it has a dot (.) in front of it.
Second, when you upload it to your server, it is considered a hidden file. You may need to change the settings on your FTP program to show hidden files if you want to see it in the directory.
Post any questions in the comment section.
I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day, Copyblogger, and James Chartrand had a great article about designing your website so it caters to an aging audience. His article struck home instantly as I find myself quite often in the same situation he describes in his article.
Does your website cater to an aging society? Well, I had to ask myself the same question. James recommends a 12pt or larger font size, black or very dark gray on a white background. First thing I did was check the CSS file in the new Revolution Theme I had just purchased and installed as I thought the font size was just a bit small.
The CSS said 12px or 12 pixels. Hmm…was that the same? I thought, no way, it’s just too small. So I changed it to 12pt or 12 points. Points is a unit of measure for measuring font size. Wow, that made a huge difference! And huge in the literal sense. It was too big, certainly James didn’t want me to make all the text on my beautiful new blog 12pt, it looked like everything was typed in bold. So what was I to do?
I decided to go somewhere in between. In playing around with different point sizes, I found that 12px was equal to 10pt. And 10pt was too small, 12pt was too big, 11pt must be just right. It’s 10% bigger than the 10pt but doesn’t look like I’m typing everything in bold.
If your audience includes people of like age to you and me (BOOMERS!!!), don’t forget that it’s a bit harder to read a computer screen than it was a few years ago. Our eyes have probably changed a little. Keep the background as white or a very, very, pale color, and always use black for your text. Gray makes us squint and if a customer starts to squint, they might just leave.
One other thing I don’t want to overlook, there may be a few places on your site where you have a heading, logo or graphic of some sort where you’ll want to use reverse color, or white text on a dark colored background. This is fine for graphics, but never, never, never, do white text on a color background for your body text. There is also one combination that you should never use as it just does crazy things to the eyes, young and old alike, never use red on a blue background. If you don’t believe me, try it, it doesn’t work.