Affiliate Jump Pages: Why and How
Well, it looks like I could have probably saved people some time by posting this a bit earlier but hey, better late than never right? As you may have noticed, every time I link to Text Link Ads, I actually link to the URL http://bloggingexperiment.com/recommend/text-link-ads.php. Now, if you copy and paste that address into your browser, you’ll almost instantly be taken over to TLA’s home page. This is what’s called a redirect, a “go” page, or an affiliate jump page. So why don’t I just link straight to their home page? Why bother with these jump pages? Well, I’ll tell ya.
First of all, as we’ve seen recently with TLA, affiliate programs will from time to time change their URL’s. Whether it’s switching the name of the campaign or changing the offer or even in this case switching to TinyURLs, there will come a time when you need to change your links. By using an affiliate jump page you only need to change the link in one place. As I mentioned, every time I link to an affiliate program, I’m actually first linking to one of my jump pages. Since the URL of my jump page address won’t be changing, all those links will remain valid no matter what changes need to be made to the jump page itself.
Also, using a jump page allows you to get rid of those often ugly affiliate id laced URLs. In fact, depending on the way you set yours up, you can even convey a sense of trust or legitimacy with your URL’s. If you noticed in the example above, I store most of my redirects in a folder named recommend. The truth is, most people probably won’t notice the URL at all, but if they do, they’ll hopefully be somewhat reassured about the website I’m taking them to since I “recommend” it. A person that is at ease is much more likely to convert than someone who’s skeptical and leery of step. Basically using a jump page can help you avoid some of the negative stigma that has been associated with affiliate marketing in the past.
Another great benefit is the ability to easily track how many referrals you send where. While most affiliate programs will track these numbers for you, I’ve always enjoyed double checking their stats. Most affiliate programs are on the level and would never try to cheat you out of what you’re due. However, I always double check my stats against there’s just to make sure there are no discrepancies. Some stats programs such as MyBlogLog do track where your visitors click, however, others, like Google analytics, don’t offer that information. By creating a jump page, you are then able to install your tracking code on those pages and know how many people hit that page and are then redirected on to the site you’re affiliated with. This can also help you track which sources of traffic convert the best and will help you focus your marketing efforts where they are most effective.
Last but not least, is the SEO benefit affiliate jump pages offer. Any time you link out to a website you put your site at risk. Please don’t misunderstand me, linking out is a necessary part of the internet and should be done frequently. However, you should always be careful about the sites you link to. If you link to sites that have been identified as spam sites or part of a spam network, your site could suffer in the search engine rankings. Again, most affiliate programs are not dangerous to link to, but Google can be a fickle entity and you never know when they will decide to change what they consider spam. If Google decided tomorrow that all affiliate links were a sign of spam, I’d be protected. By using jump pages it looks to Google and every other search engine out there like I’m simply linking to one of my own pages. I’m not at risk of being associated with any unsavory sites but my own.
Ok, I’ve convinced you. Now HOW do you go about creating affiliate jump pages? There are several different methods that you can use, but naturally I think the one I use is the easiest and most effective. Here’s an example of one of my affiliate jump pages:
<insert tracking scripts here>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Language” content=”en-us”>
<title>Sign Up with Text Link Ads</title>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; url=”affiliate url“>
<p align=”center”>You will be taken to the correct page shortly.
<br>If this page does not load after 5 seconds, please
<a href=”affiliate url“>click here</a>.</p>
As you can see, I’ve highlited a few important elements. First of all, you’ll want to include your tracking scripts before the rest of the page so the scripts load first. Otherwise the visitor will have been redirected before you have any record of them.
Next, you should take note of the robots meta tag. You don’t want this page to be indexed and you don’t want your affiliate link to be followed so be sure to include the noindex, nofollow directions in the tag.
Finally, you’ll need to insert your affiliate url in three different places. While the large majority of your users will be immediately redirected, there will be a few with java disabled or what have you so placing a link on the page for those to click through is always a good idea. The rest of the items like your page title and the text you include if the redirect doesn’t work is all up to you.
So there you have it ladies and gents, a quick and easy template for you to follow for your affiliate jump pages. Once the page is finished you’ll obviously want to save it somewhere on your site. Many people save them all in a single “go” folder, but again, that’s all a matter of personal preference. I hope this proves helpful to many of you and I apologize for not posting it sooner.
P.S. We’ve passed the goal of 150 subscribers according to Feedburner’s feed count! There’s always some fluctuation but if on Saturday the number is above 150, I’ll announce the winner of the Complete Blogging Package contest. If you haven’t entered yet, it’s not too late. I’ll be accepting entries up until 12 p.m. (CST) deadline but not a minute after. Check out the complete rules and don’t forget to email me once you’ve entered. Enjoy!