Cloaking And Shortening Links #1 All You Need To Know Guide

Cloaking And Shortening Links #1 All You Need To Know Guide - Making Money Online

Free link cloakers are everywhere, but why do you need them, and which one can you trust?

If you want to make money with affiliate marketing, you must understand how to cloak and shorten links.

For an affiliate, affiliate links are the most important thing in the universe, and you must handle them with care.

This article will show you how to cloak links properly and which URL shortener services are the most popular.

I’ll explain why you should always use cloaked links instead of URL shortener services.

You will fully comprehend what cloaking is, why you should cloak your links, and how to do so correctly on every platform.

There is a lot of misinformation floating around about link cloaking. Cloaking sounds scary, but cloaking links is a common and effective way to market your business on the web.

Link cloaking allows you to make long, complex URLs more user-friendly. You can also protect your affiliate commissions from script hijackers by cloaking your site. This makes the technique even more important.

This article will explain how link cloaking works and why you should use them. Then we’ll go over how to get started. Let’s get started!

What Is Link Cloaking, Exactly?

Link cloaking is the technique of producing a better-looking or more efficient link that leads somewhere else.

If you’re familiar with affiliate marketing, you’re probably aware that affiliate links are typically fairly long URLs with a lot of parameters inside.

For example, here’s an affiliate link for ExpressVPN:

https://www.linkev.com/?a aid=rawdawg & data1=marcodiverstoptut & data2=blog

Meanwhile, this is the same link but cloaked, over which I have complete control and is hosted on my domain.

https://www.toptut.com/blog/zx/expressvpn/

If you push both buttons, you will get the same outcome.

The human eye cannot see what is going on, but if you enter the second URL here:

https://status.io/

All of the redirects will be visible, and the initial link will appear someplace.

Why Should You Hide Links?

There are numerous reasons to cloak links!

Personally, I believe that URL management is the reason behind this.

For example, if a company decides to change its affiliate scheme, you must change your affiliate links!

It would most likely take you a lifetime to change all of the links on your websites and all of the content.

Meanwhile, if you have a link on your domain that points to that offer, you must change the redirect within that link, and all the links will be updated.

Another reason for cloaking links is that it protects you from affiliate link theft!

For example, if your link is on the front end of a webpage, there are easy Javascript scripts that can run on your page and change the link to whatever the person using the script wishes.

For example, you might replace my URL’s affiliate ID with yours and get a commission from my visitors.

This will not happen if you cloak a link because the user does not have access to your site’s backend.

Another reason to track links is that search engines generally dislike seeing too many affiliate links.

You will be able to disguise the links and make search engines happy if you use link cloaking appropriately.

Another simple reason is that your site’s links will seem nicer!

Users may be more motivated to click on them. 

Cloaking links It has been demonstrated that it can increase link click-through rates.

The distinction is minor, yet it is game-changing. While link cloaking is effective in a variety of contexts, it is especially useful in affiliate marketing. It’s possible to hide your affiliate IDs while still including your brand name in your link strategy with this method.

If you make a lot of sales, you should keep your affiliate IDs hidden. As you are surely aware, affiliate marketing is a competitive industry. A lot of people have been complaining about malware that has infected their computers and are looking for links with affiliate IDs so that they can be changed.

This allows malevolent actors to take your commissions while you are unaware of it. Cloaking your links prevents this type of assault by concealing your affiliate IDs.

Finally, it’s a prevalent fallacy that link cloaking hurts your search engine optimization (SEO). Fortunately, SEO specialists have debunked this theory numerous times. If you’re an affiliate marketer, there’s no reason not to cloak your links.

Redirects of various types

Cloaking links entails sending a status code to everybody who clicks on your link.

For example, if you click a broken link, you will receive a 404 status code in return.

4XX status codes are commonly used for missing pages, 5XX for server issues, 3XX for redirects, and 2XX for everything is good.

We’re going to employ 3XX errors to redirect our links, and these are the most common 3XX status codes.

You can find a complete list of 3XX status codes here, but in this section, we will just discuss the status codes used for cloaking:

  • 301: permanently moved resource—when clicked, the browser will remember that the original content was totally relocated to the new location.
  • 302: temporary resource relocation—the browser will remember the new location only temporarily or until the cache is cleared.
  • 307: transient redirection—the redirection is never remembered by the browser; each time a link is clicked, it is as if it were the first time.

At the end of the redirect, you must always receive a 2XX in return.

How to Hide Affiliate Links?

I can’t tell you how to cloak links because there are far too many options.

I’ll show you the most well-known methods as well as how I do it. 

There are a lot of well-known services, like bit.ly, that can help you hide your identity. My advice is to stay away from all of them.

The simplest way to have complete control over your cloaked links is to create a.php file that redirects to another location.

PHP is a programming language that 99.9% of the web hosting services you’ll use can read and write to.

You have to create an a.php file using an editor such as brackets.io. Then give it whatever name you like and insert your affiliate link into the code below.

> php header ("Location: URL," TRUE, 301);

You must replace the URL with your affiliate link.

For example, in this scenario, you might name the file expressvpn.php and place it in your affiliate links folder (zx in my case) to get something like this:

https://www.toptut.com/blog/zx/expressvpn/

You can also use Javascript and meta redirects, but the latter is a little difficult.

/script> window.location = "URL";

You can find them here.

If you utilize WordPress, there is no better approach than using a plugin like ThirstyAffiliates.

After you install the plugin, you can easily make affiliate links in a matter of seconds with just a few clicks.

Popular URL shortening services

In my opinion, link cloaking and URL shortening are not the same things.

Many people who are new to internet marketing have heard of bit.ly!

This will enable them to generate short, manageable URLs.

These services are used to make URLs shorter, but they’re just URL cloaking services that do the same thing.

The advantage of using them is that you may get detailed metrics simply by appending a + to the end of the URL.

For links, by appending a + to the end of the bit, you can tell who clicked on them.

https://bitly.com/toptut+

The problem is that metrics are public, and you will not be able to change the content of the link later.

Furthermore, most of these services are used by spammers, so your links may be considered spam.

You have no control over these links, and they can ban your account for no reason, resulting in the loss of all your effort.

The following are the most popular and widely used URL shortening services.

Free link Cloaker online:

  • https://bit.do
  • https://bitly.com
  • https://cutt.ly
  • https://www.rebrandly.com
  • https://www.bl.ink
  • https://www.shorturl.at
  • https://tiny.cc
  • https://t2mio.com
  • https://bitlylink.com
  • https://tinyurl.com
  • https://www.joturl.com

That being stated, you should never use URL shortening services like the ones listed above.

On YouTube, I’ve used Bitly on a few channels.

I deeply regret it, and when I have the chance, I will replace all of the bitly links with my own. I’m quite sure a lot of the bitly links I created are no longer active. I have no control over them, putting my business and earnings in jeopardy.

Conclusions

It’s a no-brainer to use bespoke cloaked links rather than URL shortening services like bit.ly. If you are looking for cloaking affiliate links for free – there are plenty of services out there, often called url shortners too.

The major reason you should cloak your link is to make it easier to manage your affiliate links. We’ve also discussed some important extra benefits and how to effectively cloak your links.

ThirstyAffiliates or Pretty Links is the greatest WordPress plugin for cloaking links. It is absolutely free and will allow you to cloak links without any coding skills properly.

This plugin will also prevent bots from crawling your URLs, among other things. There is also a paid version, but I personally use the free version, which is more than adequate.

I hope you found this article informative, and please contact me if you have any questions.

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