Control Your Traffic With Redirects

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When I started building an online business, I heard people saying ‘control your traffic’, use redirects or cloak your links – and I had no idea what they were talking about.

Over time, the reason for this became a lot clearer but it wasn’t until recently that I really understood the absolute importance of using redirects to control my traffic.

Recently, one of the the affiliate programs I participate in closed down.  When they closed down, all of my affiliate links were disabled and anyone who clicks through is sent to a dead page.  This looks really bad and, if I had heeded the advice above, would have been really easy to fix.

As it is, I have linked my raw affiliate link ‘all over the place’ and I can’t remember where!  I now keep getting notices from the affiliate program saying that  I’m sending traffic to a ‘dead link’, but the reporting isn’t detailed enough for me to find out where they are originating, so I can change them.

If I had used redirects through my own website, fixing this issue would be as simple as going to the redirect, changing the target location and saving it.  Problem fixed….  So here’s some advice for you.

Keep Control Of Your Traffic

You need to maintain control of your traffic.  The question is how do you do it? The best way is to setup one link that you use to direct traffic to your third party or affiliate link.  These are called Redirect Links and will allow you to manage your affiliate links and send them whereever you want.

There are third party services that will allow you to redirect your affiliate links, like BUDURL, Viral URL, Tiny URL  however, if you have your website I strongly recommend you redirect your links through website.

By redirecting links through your website, you maintain full control of those links and cement your branding.

Link Redirects Through Your Website

Redirecting links from (or through) your website is a great way of maintaining control of your traffic and maintaining your branding.

When you use redirects through your website, these links will look like:

http://mysite.com/recommends/myfaveproduct or

http://mysite.com/myfaveproduct

and when you click on these links you are taken to another site entirely, generally an affliate link.

You can achieve a link redirect using a html file or through the .htaccess file (if you are running an Apache server).  These methods are effective, but can be cumbersome to manage, put in place and require a degree of knowledge in editing html files.

WordPress Blog Users

If you have a self hosted WordPress Blog, there is a neater solution.  The Redirection Plugin.  This is a great plugin that will allow you to easily add redirects to your site and track the number of hits, using the wordpress graphical interface.

Domain Redirects

Using a domain name to redirect to an affiliate link is a popular practice.  This is one of the strategies outlined in the One Week Marketing Plan and can be very effective.

When you register a domain name, many registrars provide the ability to ‘point’ the domain to another url, like your affiliate link.

Given that you can purchase .info domain for $1.99 per year, this is an excellent strategy.

The only thing that I do have some reservations with this strategy is that you can have one link per domain – which might mean you end up with a number of domain names.

You Be The Director

Once you start using redirect links, you will be able to control where your traffic goes – and if your affiliate programs change, you can make that change quickly and easy.

I also recommend that you use redirect links to control your Social Network links too – that way, if you decide to exit that social network you can still connect with your followers.

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One Response to “Control Your Traffic With Redirects”

  1. Hello Charly,
    Do you know a WP plugin that counts the number of clicks on each link? Would be nice to have such an information!

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