In the past I’ve written about Why I think Affiliates should Cloak Their Links from search engines. I’ve even spoken a few times about how to do it and recommended plugins like GoCodes to help you get from here to there. GoCodes is fine if you aren’t running through a ton of links, or if you use the same links frequently. However if you are working with a datafeed, spreadsheet, or other single use affiliate links, GoCodes just isn’t the right tool for the job … the Eclipse Link Cloaker is …
The Eclipse Link Cloaker isn’t really a cloaking tool, it’s a redirection tool, so it won’t get you in any trouble with the search engines. But, if you use it properly, it’s actually a technique Google recommends. To be clear the Eclipse Link Cloaker is a paid plugin for WordPress, but for $57 it’s a pretty minimal investment if you are serious about affiliate marketing. Here are some of the features of the plugin:
- You can set it up to automatically cloak all outbound links. I’ll admit this isn’t something most people should use but there are some situations where it makes sense. I recommend setting it to manual.
- You can change the redirection folder. This is something I highly recommend doing. I also highly recommend blocking the directory from being crawled using your robots file. Using a redirect through an intermediate page/directory that is blocked using robots is a technique Google is OK with. Really. Go look.
- You can set it up to work with Google analytics to track your conversions. I’m no analytics guru so I can’t give you a walk through, but I grasp the concept and why it’s important.
- You can use named redirects if you want to. It makes things easier to work with for links you’ll reuse often.
OK but how do you use a plugin like this to generate income? Here are some ideas …
- Thinking of publishing a list of suggested gift items for an upcoming holiday like Valentines Day? Pick your 10 best stores from CJ, Linkshare, ShareaSale or any other affiliate program. Hire someone on oDesk to pick out 10 gifts for men, women, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, mistresses, and kids and populate a spreadsheet with titles, descriptions, links, and so on. Write a quick formula to convert the spreadsheet data to HTML with the manual cloak activation code and–voila!–instantly masked affiliate links.
- Do any of your affiliate merchants publish monthly/weekly/daily specials or deals? Write yourself a macro to handle the file and create the HTML automagically. If you do it right, the first time may take a while, but after that it’s a button push. This plugin is especially useful if you need to create a lot of masked links on the fly that will have a limited lifespan.
Is this plugin for you? That really depends on the volume of affiliate links you are going to be pushing out. On this particular blog it’s overkill. In all the years I’ve had this blog there have been less than 50 affiliate links total. However, I’m running this plugin on three other blogs where I push out 50 affiliate links week, so it makes perfect sense there. In my opinion the Eclipse Link Cloaker plugin saved me $57 worth of time in the first week I used it, so I can absolutely justify the purchase. If you’re looking to generate high volume of links quickly and easily, with a minimum of effort I definitely recommend getting Eclipse.
photo credit: Instant Vantage