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Become An Affiliate Marketing Ninja With These Free WP Plugins

by DiTesco

affiliate marketing ninja

Before I proceed, you should know that many people might hate me for this (hopefully not). But as I said over and over again, my objective here is to provide you with maximum alternatives to paid versions of almost everything, and free marketing tools is no exception to that rule.

Don’t get me wrong, not all paid versions have alternatives and some can not even be substituted (the real deals). That’s the reason why they were developed in the first place. Real deals have normally better support and are updated regularly. However, if there is a slightest chance to go around “something” for free while being effective at the same time, I don’t see any reason why we should not give it a go.

Also, I wish to point out that this method only works on WordPress as the tools I will be showing here are WP Plugins (100% free) and if you are using any other platform, I‘m afraid this might not work for you. This among other things is why I have decided to move from blogger to WordPress. One last thing, I warn you though that this post is longer than normal, but its simple and it works, so I guess it is worth it (hopefully – let me know later). Let’s go…

So what does a Marketing Ninja really mean?

Well there are many ways we can define this , but my take on this is that if we have the capability to do all things listed below, then we are pretty much close to being a darn good affiliate marketer (or ninja if you prefer).

So, would it not be nice if we can:

  1. Create Professional Looking Links – Cloak or Mask our ugly affiliate links with a 301 redirect (white hat). Make your links look like you are a pro and avoid using page redirects that may hurt your SEO.
  2. Have a flexible link management – Accepts every (well almost) affiliate link format out there, so you don’t have to waste time with various affiliate marketing tools.
  3. Prevent “Affiliate Theft” – Cloak your affiliate links to prevent link theft and affiliate sabotage.
  4. Track how many times a specific link has been clicked on – Great to see how they are performing.
  5. Help our brand get noticed – No more mysterious characters on links where nobody understands (not even you). Replace all those characters with a URL that starts with http://someoneelse.com/XXXXX??? (ex: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ditesco/130492035875). Using this method for branding, we can replace this URL and redirect to our social profiles. e.g. www.iblogzone.com/go/facebook
  6. Use keywords in your link – The XXXX above can be something like “keywordplugin”. At the same time, you can give each affiliate link an easier name to remember.
  7. Automatically create affiliate links with your keywords of choice – Convert old keywords into affiliate links. If you found a brand new affiliate program or product and can’t wait to promote it, you don’t have to wait until you write your next post. Use with caution.
  8. Improve your SEO by creating automatic deep links within your website
  9. And much more – Use your imagination 🙂

Wow! Is this really possible with just plain and simple two free WordPress Plugins? The answer is YES. Michele of NewBizBlogger was kind enough to tend to my call for help and prepared these two short videos specifically for this post, which shows you how to install and use the plugins.

GoCodes: An URL redirection/shortener plugin. Great for podcasting and redirecting affiliate program URLs. Alternatively you can use simple URLs, if you are having trouble with this plugin. This covers points 1 – 6 above.

SEO Smart Links: SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more. It can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog. Further SEO Smart links allows you to set up your own keywords and set of matching URLs. Covers points 7 – 9 above.

Now put these two together to work and you can have a very powerful marketing tool ready to deploy. Here is an example of what we can do.

1) Create Pro Links: Here is a real ugly looking affiliate link from Google’s Affiliate Network: http://gan.doubleclick.net/gan_click?lid=41000000032988612&pubid=21000000000247739 (a cheap web hosting service by GoDaddy). Using GoCodes, I turn this link to a more professional looking URL like this: http://www.iblogzone.com/go/godaddy. I can now use this link wherever I want.

2) Using SEO Smart Links I will add custom keywords to automatically link to the new URL I’ve created. SEO Smart Links will now create links on any post that has the matching keywords, based on my settings. How cool is that? SEO Smart Links is really one of my top SEO plugins for WordPress.

SEO_Links

Rinse and repeat for any URL you want. I have tested these plugins on different themes and they worked well. Hopefully they will be fully compatible with your themes too. Before I forget, have you noticed on the video that are buttons on them? If you hover on them, more “information” is revealed, and guess what? They are links too. Great for video marketing. Click on the word “clickable” to see how its done.

Congrats, you are now a Marketing Ninja in the making. If you decide to give this method a try, let me know how it goes. Your feedback always helps.

Article by

+DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Consulting Services.

Francisco has written 893 articles at iBlogzone.com

1

Lye Kuek Hin

November 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Hi DiTesco,

This should be a free version of Affiliate Ninja. Thanks for sharing this. It should be helpful to people who have a budget problem.

Talk soon.

Lye

2 DiTesco November 29, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Hi Lye. In a way, yes it could be a free version of AN. On the other hand, I don’t think that one should use this because of “budget” problems, that too is true but part of making money is not spending money, right?

3

Shiva | Blogging Ideas

November 30, 2010 at 7:26 am

Hi DiTesco,
I have been using both of these SEO plugins in my blog, both work great and can help a lot for affiliate marketers and that too both of these plugins are free of cost.

Regards,
Shiva

4 DiTesco November 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Hi Shiva. Good to know that these plugins are working well for you. Hopefully you are using them to its fullest.

5 Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach November 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

These are useful plugins indeed! I myself simply hand-code the redirects meself, but that’s simply because I’m a geek and lack a normal life.

Doing things simply – a smart move indeed.

6 DiTesco November 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Hi Barbara. I can’t even think about the possibility of having to do all this manually. Must be a lot of work. Like you said, I always try to keep the KISS principle when it comes to this 🙂

7 Sire November 30, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Your a bloody legend Ditesco. I’m going to try these plugins right away. They look like just the right tools I need to start to get things rolling. Reckon they may work nicely with MS too.

8 DiTesco December 1, 2010 at 2:14 am

Hi Sire. I am sure that somewhere, this method will fit in nicely with MS. Would love to see how you use it for that purpose. Hope it brings you more conversions 😉

9

Peter J

December 1, 2010 at 1:25 am

Awesome! I’ve never used any form of link masking plugins, and i didn’t know where to start in the first place. Thanks for this!
Wouldn’t it be too obvious though when people see that your not showing them the link that your an affiliate?

10 DiTesco December 1, 2010 at 2:13 am

Hi Peter. You are right. It is obvious, but the whole point is to make your affiliate link more professional and avoid possible misuse. I don’t think that it should be used for “hiding” to your visitors that it is an affiliate link. On the contrary, it is recommendable to disclose it, unless it is even more obvious, like a banner. Thanks for stopping by.

11

Michele Welch

December 1, 2010 at 2:52 am

Dam! I knew you were up to some Ninja move… LOL. DiTesco, you have raised the bar with this post. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

So many people are going to LOVE this. And you put it together fantastically. Very well thought out and thorough.

Great job…can’t wait for the next Ninja move. Hey maybe you can write a whole Ninja Series! 😉

P.S. My pleasure to help you out with the videos…glad to be a part of it. Thanks for asking! 🙂

12 DiTesco December 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

H Michele. Thanks for the compliment. I would not have done it without your help. As for the “ninja” series, hmmmm, kinda like that. Will see if I can come up with “enough” to call it a series 😉 Thanks for stopping by. Talk soon.

13

Adam Paudyal

December 1, 2010 at 5:51 am

This is an awesome share man.

I have never used any masking plugins before. The SEO smart links looks like a very interesting plugin. Since it can automatically link keywords posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories so on..it could be real handy for me! Love Michele’s video. It is freaking awesome!

Thanks buddy.

14 DiTesco December 2, 2010 at 1:06 am

Hello Adam. Glad you liked these plugins and another “smarter” way to use them for your benefit. Michele will be happy to know that her videos were awesome ;-). Thanks for stopping by

15

Robert

December 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Hi DiTesco,

I really doubt anyone is going to “hate” you but you might get them a little PO’d. 🙂 Both of the plug-ins you mention are excellent resources for anyone who does affiliate marketing via Wordpress.

As far as cloaking links, I’ve been using a different plug-in called Link Cloaking Plug-In ( http://w-shadow.com/wordpress-plugins/ ) which also has a free and paid version. I like the one you mention better because it appears much easier to use. It would be a major undertaking for me to switch because I would need to re-do every link on my blog.

I’ll be referring people over here to check out this post because they are looking for a simple solution to cloak and enhance their links. Thanks for providing these excellent resources.

16 DiTesco December 1, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Hi Robert. Getting PO’d is OK as it is just a natural reaction 🙂

These plugins are really easy to use and they serve the purpose. I have not heard of w-shadow before but will probably take a look at it, and you are right not having to re-do your links as I believe it is not only time consuming but can affect your SEO. Since you are doing it already, there’s is really no point of changing them.

As far as you referring people to head this way, that will be awesome and I will very much appreciate it. Good to see you here as usual. Have a great day.

17

Jarret

December 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I haven’t really done much affiliate marketing, but I have to admit it had an ‘addictive’ component to it, lol. A few days ago, I managed to get my first affiliate sale ever for a Solostream Theme affiliate program, it felt more exciting and certainly paid more than the cpm ad revenue that I earned for that day.

18 DiTesco December 2, 2010 at 1:08 am

Hi Jarret. Well congrats on your first affiliate sale ever. It feels good, does it not 🙂 Anyway, I am sure that you are on the right track and hopefully this sale was only the first of many more to come. Keep it up!

19 Srivathsan G.K December 2, 2010 at 5:38 am

well written .. I have been using Gocodes, they are good as a free service.

20 Niche Chick December 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I use some of these plugins, and while SEO Links is a great plugin, I have a couple of issues with it.

First, the manual keyword pairing feature stopped working a couple of updates ago. I went with another plugin for this and I haven’t checked recently to see if this has been fixed.

Second, sometimes I want to manually link a keyword to a particular page, but if it is one that triggers SEO Links, that manual link will be overridden. I suppose *if* I had the keyword pairing manually set within the SEO Links plugin itself, it would take care of this issue . . . but that goes back to point one . . . that feature hasn’t been working lately.

Now I only use that plugin if I’m setting up a site for someone that I know won’t be taking the time to interlink their pages themselves.

21 DiTesco December 3, 2010 at 2:10 am

Hello. It is interesting that you are having issues with SEO Smart Links. I say this because I have been using it for a while now and I have never had any problems with it. maybe there could be a problem with the way you were setting it up. That part where it says Max. Links, Max URLs and Number of links can be tricky. As far as already having a link manually done, I did not experience these plugin overwriting any of them. It will only create a link if it does not exist. As I said, that last part of the configuration is very tricky and I had some issues with it before. All solved now though. Thanks for stopping by.

22 Niche Chick December 3, 2010 at 5:14 am

Hmm, I suppose it could be the configuration, but it was working and then stopped after a WP upgrade.

Most of my installs are using multi-site, so I guess it might be that or a conflict with another plugin.

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