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Online Income Tips: Managing Affiliates

How do you manage your affiliates? My management has evolved, primarily by accident I admit, but a recent post over at Passive Family Income got me thinking. PFI manages his affiliate links manually – I don’t and here’s why.

Whats the Problem with Affiliate Links?

In short an affiliate link is what pays me online income, it includes the code that says “pay Lis” to the vendor. There is a problem with affiliate links too, in fact two problems:

  • first they are ugly – would you really want to click on a link that looks like : http://47b252e70zsw9sdoja39pbvq2r.hop.clickbank.net/ Many people don’t.
  • often you don’t know if anyone is clicking – clickbank comes to mind they don’t provide any stats on home many clicks you get – just how many people buy.

Here’s the kill though: what if the affiliate changes the code? Yes it happens – and it just happened to me with one of my more successful affiliate earners. You have to change the code, everywhere you used it? Maybe you can remember every place you used an affiliate code – good on you – I can’t!

I use a product called PHP Link Cloak. What a Link Cloaker does (and no its not shady though the name is a little unfortunate IMHO) – is change the link I quoted above to something more user friendly in this case https://lissowerbutts.com/recommends/PHPLinkCloaker If the affiliate changes the code on me – I have to change it in one place – it took me longer to login than it did to actually change the code!

Its more useful than that – it tells me how many clicks I have had on that particular link.  As I can have as many links as I like for the same program I can track how many people click on links on my blog compared to my HubPages, for example.

Its simple to install – you do have to install it on a host that has the following available:

PHP 4 or PHP 5
MYSQL 4.x Database

Hostgator works just fine, apparently GoDaddy does not.

Once you have uploaded the software onto your hosting account you can use the links anywhere you like: email, blogger blogs, on Web 2.0 sites like Infobarrel and HubPages – so for many people will only need to set it up once. However as far as I can tell you can install it as many times as you want if you do want to keep websites separate – for example I wouldn’t use a lissowerbutts.com/recommends …. link on a site which is run by one of my other personas.

And I should probably point out that there are other products out there that do the same job, maybe even for free, but this one was recommended to me by a friend and it worked so I didn’t see any point on wasting any more time on what to me is an online income admin funcition.  The instructions worked just fine and there is a free demo site where you can try before you buy and the standard 60 days money back guarantee from ClickBank. And it costs less than $20.

How do you manage your affiliates? Do you ever forget which products you are promoting? Seriously if you are not using anything and are starting to make some passive income from affiliates check out PHP Link Cloaker Its much easier to put these systems in sooner rather than later!

15 replies on “Online Income Tips: Managing Affiliates”

This is agood tip, I’m going to try to get that on my schedule to try out. Thanks.

One thing of note, though, Clickbank does tell you when your links are clicked on .. each time you make a ‘hoplink’ for a profuct you can add a unique ID, and when you loh intyo your account and click on ‘Analytics’ you will get the report on how many clicks each ID gets , how many sales from each particular link, etc. If you chose not to give the links a specific ID CB will lump all of the unidentified ones together. Your recommended system is likely a better deal, but ClickBank does priovide the information.
.-= Dave Starr´s last blog ..Finding A Good Home Based Business Opportunity =-.

Hi Lis,
I haven’t done much with affiliates yet. Well that’s not true, I have a few products on some sight but I haven’t had any sales. This sounds like a good way to at least see if anyone is clicking on your affiliate links. Right now I just log into clickbank and see I have no sales day after day after day.
Whenever you want to add a new affiliate do you have to do the changes in c-panel?
I’ll check this out.
.-= Agrande with online business opportunities´s last blog ..Home Business Opportunity For Writers =-.

@agrande -its no on cpanel it has its own login panel once you install it- and yes you just login and add a new campaign. I’m crap at clickbank too – but I seem to have got a diverse range of affiliates so its easy to login to one place and see the clicks – its usually more promising than the sales!

@Dave – I must be going blind! I found reports/analytics – but I am seeing no clickinfo just the sales/refund info …

Lis, ClickBank, being ClickBank, of course, calls them Hops. The very first column in the reports under Affiliate Reporting shows Hops, this is the number of hops/clicks that came from any ClockBank link your site(s) are displaying. This information is avilable from current day back 30 days, Aftre 30 days the hop/click data disappers. You can save your reports month by month by exporting to a .csv spreadsheet file.
.-= Dave Starr´s last blog ..Following Gold in Currency Trading =-.

@Dave Well that would explain it! I was looking at more than 30 days! LOL Thanks for clarifying that Dave
@Julie – they tell you 🙂

I was doing the same thing for ages, like looking back over the year so that my figures looked high ;-). Putting an ID on each hoplink and then looking back once a week allows me to get an immediate feel and stop wasting site real estate. If something sells in the first week then I quick pop on another post or two for the same product … if it gets few clicks and/or no sales in a week or so, I roll in somehting else ///this boosts your ClickBank income a lot as opposed to just letting things ‘happen’. Like everything else on the web, ClickBank products blow hot and cold, so it makes sense to stay in the warm to hot zone. Happy Paydays.
.-= Dave Starr´s last blog ..Critical Steps For Credit Repair =-.

Lis,

I was using a wordpress plugin awhile back to cloak affiliate links with WordPress. I don’t think it gave you click-tracking abilities, but I could be wrong. I had found it through the WordPress Plugin directory. An option, if you aren’t using WordPress and still need an affiliate link cloaker, is Get Shorty (http://get-shorty.com/shorty/). This is a free script similar to tinyurl and I’m pretty sure it does offer clik-tracking function. They have a live demo on their site.
.-= Jake @ How To Easy´s last blog ..How To Save Money on Food | Save Money on Meals =-.

Thanks for the tip, I will check it out for sure. I had a morning of pulling my hair out setting up and going over old affiliate programs on a really slow net connection. The most frustrating thing ever. Anything that makes the whole affiliate process easier, the better. I know the code needed to cloak links but the real winner for me is being able to track clicks and, more importantly, affiliate program changes.
.-= Kirsty´s last blog ..Wondering About Wanderstruck.com =-.

Do you get any negative SEO be ‘cloaking’ the links?
I have been advised in the past not to use similar methods.

Or is the balance of easy to maintain outweighing any lost google juice?

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