When I first started blogging, I used to link to products I recommended as an affiliate with direct links. Oh, they are so ugly.
Considering I was catering to a more web savvy audience, no wonder the sales weren’t all that great. I mean, they could see all those ugly links and if they didn’t realize they were affiliate links, they would probably think I am sending them to some malware site.
As I learned more along the way, I realized that one of the best ways to increase my sales would probably be to make my links pretty.
Then I learned how to do it with custom coding in PHP, which I have to say is pain in the buns. And even though I made my links prettier, I had no clue which ones were being clicked nor what is my conversion rate based on the spots I was putting them in.
Fast forward a little bit more and I learn about the MaxBlogPress team and their plugins. More specifically – the solution to my ugly link problems – Ninja Affiliate plugin.
The main feature of this plugin is making your links pretty, so instead of having something like jdquic.com/556htd/affid:hjyit you would end up with a link like wpleaders.com/ninjaaffiliate.
It looks like a link on your site which makes people more comfortable about clicking it. When they land on the page you sent them to, they will see it wasn’t some malware site and they are more comfortable about exploring it.
The next problem you can run into with your affiliate links is that they often change. Some companies will have a promotion every now and then, and every promotion will have a special link.
So imagine you have a food blog and you review this awesome $300 blender and you make a hefty commission on it. When you wrote the review, you promoted it because it was on sale but still offered great commission. Then the company changed the promotion and is offering a special on grills.
You are not going to rewrite the entire post or even go back and edit all the affiliate links you added. That is too much work, especially if you have a lot of posts.
Instead, you just go into the Ninja Affiliate plugin and change the link target from the old one to the new promotion. But your link can still say foodblog.com/blenderX.
Another thing that makes your affiliate marketing really easy to do with this plugin is the fact that you can set links to automatically link from certain keywords.
For example, instead of inserting an affiliate link every time I mention Ninja Affiliate plugin in this post, I can set it up in the plugin so it automatically links when I mention the words “Ninja affiliate”. I can also set that same link to be inserted every time I say something like “affiliate marketing” or “making money as an affiliate” or “making money blogging”. You get the point!
You can also limit the keyword options, which is pretty useful because some posts you write will probably mention the word dozen times and you don’t wan to overwhelm the reader. Imagine if you were writing a post on how to install WordPress and linked some affiliate offer through the keyword WordPress… Every time you mention WordPress, it would link out to the product you are promoting. Too much! So you can limit the keyword linking to several per post.
Two additional features, that will make your work easier and help with SEO are opening the new window when the outgoing affiliate link is clicked and no-following the link (meaning you don’t “leak link juice” to a site you only recommend because it is making you money).
Once you have your links and keywords set, you can style those links. That means you won’t have to play with the CSS of your blog or theme but simply edit the look of the links in the plugin itself.
You can make your affiliate links stand out more (or less) than your regular links, for example, change their colors and so on. I haven’t seen other affiliate link plugins having this option by the way.
Of course, the thing that made this plugin a must have for me, compared to how I had it set up before is – tracking. It will automatically track the clicks on your links which allows you to track your visitors behavior on the site and see which links are making them click (and convert).
Affiliate marketing is the living for some blogs and at times selling at least one more product can make a big difference for you as a marketer, so increase your chances of making a sale by using this plugin.
Summary: Easy to use, tracking feature, making your links pretty. Great for bloggers and affiliate marketers.