If you’re thinking of monetizing your blog by using affiliate programs, link cloaking is something that you probably won’t think of instantly. After a while, you’ll realize that your visitors can avoid your affiliate link, or replace it with their own, very easily, thereby robbing you of those much-needed bucks, and this is not a good thing.
Cloaking your links won’t completely eliminate this problem, but it will keep your visitors from immediately realizing you’re sending them off to a Clickbank (or other affiliate marketplace) link.
For most sites, I’m a big fan of GoTryThis. It serves me very well as a link cloaker, with the added benefit of embedding cookies, great stats, split testing, and other neat tricks.
However, for WordPress sites that will either be flipped, or that I want to keep separate from my main sites, the free Link Cloaking Plugin is a brilliant choice.
I’ve just finished installing it on some WordPress 2.7 sites, and it’s fully compatible with that version of the CMS.
Once you’ve installed it in the plugins directory and activated it, you can head to the Settings menu in your WordPress admin to set the overall configuration.
You’ll have the opportunity to choose whether you want to cloak all your links, or just ones that you tag with a special tag. Whether you want links cloaked in pages, posts, or both. You can choose to use the nofollow tag on cloaked links, and if you want all links except links to your own websites to be cloaked and nofollowed, add all your own domains to the exceptions list.
You can also choose your own prefix to your cloaked links. I have noticed a lot of marketers use /recommends/, but I’ve had good results with things like /special/ , /discount/ and /sale/ for more obvious product links.
If you don’t want global link checking, but just want to cloak specific links all around your site, or if you want to add banners to your template that are also cloaked, the Link Cloaking plugin can help with this too.
In the Tools menu, you can select the Cloaked Links item to add static cloaked links.
The plugin will give you a list of each url you enter, and you can use your new cloaked link everywhere… in your template, in your emails, in forum signatures, or anywhere else you’d like to promote that particular link.
A great free alternative to the many commercial plugins out there. Click here to give it a try.