Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Links | Tools, Tips and Best Practices

By Nate McCallister   
Last Updated on July 9, 2020

Wait! Please don't share another affiliate link on your blog without reading this article.

These tools and tips will help...

  • Optimize your site for search engines
  • Make links more appealing to click and easier to type and remember.
  • Save tons of time adding links to new and existing content

Let's dive into it.

Tip #1 Use the Correct Attribution 

Link attribution has become an important part of SEO and blogging. Google has clarified that they now expect all affiliate links to have a "sponsored" attribution. 

I've provided information in the past about making links nofollow, but things have changed. That was based on information from a 2012 interview with Google's Matt Cutts where he said that web masters should make links nofollow by default.

Here's how to choose which attribution to use when linking to a product or service (anything that people will purchase). 

Use sponsored attribution if you're getting an affiliate commission or have been compensated for placing the link on your site. 

Use follow attribution if you are not getting compensated for the link but the website is high quality and you trust it is safe and legitimate. 

Use nofollow attribution if you are not being compensated for the link and you are not willing to endorse the website as legitimate and safe. For example, if you're linking to a competitor of a product you are promoting and you have not tested the product and don't even know that the company is not a scam, use nofollow attribution or no link at all.

Tip #2 Create Domain Redirects

Creating shortened redirect URLs isn't just for aesthetics (although it is nice to turn an ugly, mile long URL into something short and memorable). Creating redirects with link management software (like Clickmagick) can save you tons of time and prevent lost commissions down the road. 

Here's why.

Affiliate program changing

Affiliate programs change all the time! This email above was just one recent example. One of my top affiliates, ConvertKit, switched platforms and it could have been catastrophic for me if I hadn't set up redirects for my links. 

Do you know how frustrating it is when you have dozens of links spread out over dozens of blog posts that are now dead?

Very frustrating. 

Using a link management tool like Clickmagick (my recommendation) you only need to update the redirect link once and it will change wherever the short tracking link is shown.

If I've lost you, here is an example of what I mean. 

When ConvertKit switched programs, my affiliate link changed from this link https://mbsy.co/convertkit/nmccallister to this one https://convertkit.com?lmref=imaEvw.

Luckily, instead of pasting https://mbsy.co/convertkit/nmccallister whenever I wanted to link to ConvertKit, I used a link (redirect) http://tools.entreresource.com/convertkit.

Clickmagick

All I had to do was log into Clickmagick and edit the end URL of that link. Now http://tools.entreresource.com/convertkit goes to the proper link. This means I don't have to go and replace every appearance. 

Note: I originally feared that redirects could lead to Google penalties. I have yet to receive any penalties, as I'm not trying to deceive the reader. These aren't cloaked links, they are just redirects. If you're uncomfortable with this, you can skip this step and replace all of your links manually when platforms change. Your call!

There you have it. Now, go share some links and make some money! 

Keep in mind, Clickmagick is far from the only option for creating redirects or tracking clicks. I just find it to be the best and it hasn't ever let me down. You can go with a free, but complex, alternative

Tip #3 Don't Add Links to Old Content Manually!

Last month, I was approved for the Canva affiliate program. I had mentioned Canva many times in the past in articles starting all the way back in 2016. 

Adding my affiliate links manually to every mention of the term "Canva" would be a tedious, time-consuming process. 

Fortunately, I could use a tool called Link Whisper to get links added quickly. 

Link Whisper is primarily used for building internal links within your existing content. However, they offer a feature that can be used for adding affiliate links at scale to any post. 

It's called "auto-linking" and it allows us to choose a phrase (like "Canva") and attach a URL behind the phrase whenever it is mentioned anywhere on the website. 

LinkWhisper Autolinking

Within 2 minutes, I can have my new Canva affiliate link live on dozens of pages. All without ever needing to open the pages manually. 

I demo the feature in the video below.

You can accomplish a similar result with tools like Lasso (read my full Lasso review here).

Tools for Managing Your Affiliate Links

You can save time AND monitor what happens with the links you share with just a couple of desktop apps.

Here are the 5 I use and think you should check out

#1 FastLinqs

Fastlinqs

Me and two friends had Fastlinqs built in 2017. We realized we were wasting time finding the links and text we used over and over. So for around $2,000, we hired a developer who created a simple Google Chrome extension that let us store and retrieve whatever links we wanted.

Fastlinqs

I'm biased but Fastlinqs is absolutely one of my most frequently used tools.

 I've used it a handful of times already while writing this blog post!

Fastlinqs has a built in search feature that lets you quickly locate things you need from an unlimited number of items. I type in the word "lead magnet" and I quickly see my post on lead magnets. One click and I've copied it. Boom.

The only downside to Fastlinqs is that it is limited to the Chrome browser only.

#2 TextExpander

Textexpander logo

TextExpander is a tool that allows you to turn any text into a shorter abbreviated code.

For example, I type "$thrivecart" (without the quotation marks of course) and it autofills this "http://tools.entreresource.com/thrive-cart"

The ability to store my unique affiliate links (as shown above) is awesome but TextExpander goes far beyond just short text like that. You can create templates as long as your heart desires. I have several 100+ word email replies I send simply by typing just a couple of letters.

TextExpander also has a mobile application and works on your device directly instead of on a particular browser like Fastlinqs. 

TextExpander serves a similar function to Fastlinqs. However, I still also use Fastlinqs because I find it easier to grab my blog post and YouTube URLs. Since I have combined hundreds of both, I don't want to have to create a bunch of unique short codes and there is no way I could remember them all if I did.

TIP: EXPORT BLOG AND VIDEO URLS FAST

If you have hundreds of blog posts and you want to grab the titles and URLs, check out the free WordPress plugin called Export All URLs. If you want to export all of your YouTube video URLs and titles, check out the free software TubeBuddy. Here is a video I made showing how to export URLs with TubeBuddy. You can easily upload these titles and URLs into Fastlinqs and TextExpander.

Logo


Last but definitely not least is the link tracking powerhouse, Clickmagick. 

ClickMagick provides a suite of features appealing to digital marketers. Here are the most important ones.

  • See how many people click your links, when and from where.
  • Weed out fake bot clicks.
  • Pixel people who click your links.
  • Track conversions on your own products AND your affiliates. 
  • Receive notifications when links are down.
  • Turn ugly URLs into more professional, branded ones.

The tool is too powerful to summarize in a quick blurb here, so read my full ClickMagick review if you're interested (like I know you should be).

I turn almost all of my links into Clickmagick links before sharing them. 

I Convert Almost All Of My Links Into ClickMagick Links Before Storing Them In TextExpander Or Fastlinqs

Anyone who has any online business presence (especially affiliate marketers) owes it to themselves to try out ClickMagick. Readers get an extended 30 day trial of Clickmagick by clicking here.

#4 Link Whisper

We covered this in tip #3, but Link Whisper is a lifesaving tool for properly monetizing your website with affiliate links at scale. 

No Brainer SEO Tool!
Link Whisper: The Easy Way to Build Internal Links

A must have tool for anyone who has multiple pages on their website. Use code ENTRE10 for $10 off your purchase.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Using the auto-linking feature, we can add affiliate links to a limitless number of pages with a couple of clicks and opening no page or post tabs and editing existing content!

#5 Lasso

Show beautiful call to action boxes instead of plain affiliate links.

Here is what one looks like (for Lasso itself).

This Box Was Made with Lasso!
Lasso - Make Product Boxes Like This One!
$29/Month or $260/Year

Lasso makes it easy to create attention grabbing product call outs. This box you're looking at right now was made with it!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Pretty meta, huh?

They also provide similar functionality to Link Whisper and allo you to add these in bulk to pages that mention certain terms. 

What do you use? Tell me in the comments!

About the author, Nate McCallister

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com and the author of Evergreen Affiliate Marketing. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his four kids, Sawyer, Brooks, Van, and Lua, with his beautiful wife, Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics, and piano.

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