I have earlier covered some nice beginner-friendly articles on affiliate marketing and how to get started with it. The first step to affiliate marketing is to find a suitable affiliate program and to join them. But, what happens next?
After you join an affiliate program, you will receive an email from the respective Affiliate Manager with an affiliate link. All they request you to do is to share the affiliate link. And whenever any sale takes place through this affiliate link, you will get a commission.
But, who will be purchasing through your affiliate link? How are you going to keep track of it?
That’s what we are going to discuss today.
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Table of Contents
- How not to use Affiliate Links?
- What worse could happen if I Share Affiliate Links Directly?
- What’s the Solution?
- How to track these Affiliate Link Clicks?
- How to check your affiliate link clicks in Google Analytics?
- Wrapping Up:
How not to use Affiliate Links?
Before worrying about tracking affiliate links, let’s dig some basics. It is highly important that you understand how to use these affiliate links.
It is not recommended to share your affiliate links just by copying and pasting from your affiliate dashboard. They are called naked affiliate links. For bluehost affiliate link, it would look something like
Where the (blogheist) represents your Tracking ID (or Affiliate ID). When you share your affiliate links everywhere directly like this, you could end up with some major problems.
Problem 1: Google Hates It
First and foremost is Google And SEO. They don’t like it. And they consider it as a paid endorsement for an affiliate website. And so they want you to devalue these links.
To comply with Google’s SEO guidelines, we need to use the nofollow tag for these links.
But, manually adding nofollow tags is a tedious task.
Problem 2: Affiliate Links can be Broken
The next problem you will come across is broken affiliate links. Over a period of time, your affiliate program can change the affiliate link structure. In such cases, you need to update your affiliate links. But, you would have used the same affiliate link in multiple places.
Changing all these affiliate links is another tedious task!
How cool it would be if you could change affiliate link at one location and the rest would be changed automatically?
Problem 3: Your Competitors Know the Worst Tricks
The worst case of using naked affiliate links is allowing your competitor to know your affiliate ID. If he isn’t an ethical blogger, he could add your affiliate ID in many spam websites.
And that could be the end of your Affiliate Marketing journey for the particular program!
(Seriously! Your account can be blocked. Read the Affiliate Terms and Conditions for more info)
What’s the Solution?
To overcome all these problems, you need to cloak your affiliate link.
But, what is cloaking affiliate links?
Link cloaking is the process of disguising the affiliate link URL, provided by an affiliate program, to obfuscate your affiliate ID and make the link shorter. This protects your affiliatecommissions by making the affiliate ID less visible and makes the link more visually appealing to visitors. (By ThirstyAffiliates)
By cloaking, my affiliate link for Bluehost,
will become like this.
To cloak my affiliate link, I used ThirstyAffiliates plugin and I would recommend it for your website too.
Okay, Let’s back to the topic.
How to track these Affiliate Link Clicks?
I recommended you to use the ThirstyAffiliates Plugin for various reasons. First, it helps you cloak affiliate links. And next, it can also support you to keep track of affiliate link clicks at Google Analytics.
By default, Google Analytics will not track the cloaked Affiliated links. But we can track these affiliate link clicks using a plugin called MonsterInsights.
MonsterInsights is a freemium plugin. The premium plans start at $99.5 per year. However, the Lite version available at the WordPress repository is more than enough for tracking affiliate link clicks.
Now, let’s get to the tutorial!
Step 1: First, you will have to install the MonsterInsights Plugin from the WordPress repository.
And then activate the plugin.
Need more assistance, feel free to check our tutorial on installing WordPress Plugin.
Step 2: In your WordPress sidebar, choose MonsterInsights -> Settings and Proceed to the General Settings. Here you will notice a section called Google Authentication.
You could use the Authentication feature to connect Google Analytics with MonsterInsights plugin or else you can simply copy and paste your Google Analytics UA Code (This code can be obtained from your Google Analytics account)
Step 3: After successfully connecting your Google Analytics, Proceed to the Publisher tab.
I have entered the path and Label for my Affiliate Links.
Path – It is the base in your affiliate permalink. In my affiliate link https://blogheist.com/r/bluehost, it is ‘/recommends/’.
Label – This is for your own reference. You can identify your affiliate link clicks in Google Analytics using this Label.
So, now you have configured MonsterInsights plugin to track your affiliate link clicks. Now, let’s test it.
After getting enough affiliate link clicks, now you want to check the traffic source for these affiliate links. To do that you can simply go the Google Analytics dashboard.
And then navigate to Events -> Overview
Here you could notice my affiliate link clicks being tracked.
With this Google Analytics Report, you can know which links get more clicks and which don’t get. You could optimize placing these affiliate links and play with it.
I hope this trick, will help you understand your shortfalls and you can focus on boosting your affiliate marketing revenue.
If you find this tutorial useful, pin this.
Here are some more useful resources for you to read next:
- MonsterInsights Review: Why this is one of the Best Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress?
- MonsterInsights Coupon: Enjoy 50% Instant Discount on MonsterInsights Premium
- How to install Google Analytics to WordPress?
- Do you know the keywords people use to find your Website?
- How to set up Author Tracking with MonsterInsights? (The Easy Way)