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How to Cloak external Affiliate Links on Your Joomla Site

How to Cloak external Affiliate Links on Your Joomla Site

URLs. They are the soul of the internet.

People use it to go elsewhere, or to come to you. 

But you know what people hate? Clicking on long URLs.

Like seriously. Look at this URL - https://www.trustme.com/please/open-this-link?v=i-am-not-dangerous

If I saw such a URL, I wouldnt click on it thinking you have been hacked.

Now you are thinking "Gosh! I don't want people to think that I'm crazy, I want people to click the URL"

Link cloaking is a process to convert long and ugly affiliate links  into shorter and more brandable links.

Affiliate links are generally in the format https://www.affiliatesite.com/product-link?affid=yourlongaffid which is not something that you can often recommend people to click on.

Using link cloaking, you can convert it to something simple like yourdomain.com/go/productname

How to cloak affiliate links in your Joomla website

There are many ways you can cloak your links, and the method you want to choose would depend on your current setup. Link cloaking is possible with built in extensions as well as with other SEO joomla components, depending on what your site is built with, you may choose the method you wish to follow.

Using inbuilt com_redirect

Use this method when you don't have admin tools installed or don't have any extension which conflicts with the inbuilt redirect plugin

com_redirect is a Joomla component which is installed by default in all Joomla websites. It is accessible at yourwebsite.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_redirect

First of all, copy paste the link "yourwebsite.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_plugins&view=plugins&filter[search]=System%20-%20Redirect" in a new tab, replace yourwebsite.com with your website URL and enable the plugin if is disabled.

Suppose you want to link to www.amazon.com/product-link?affid=your_aff_id_and_other_parameters_here when yourdomain.com/product-name is typed. To create a cloak vanity URL, navigate to "Components > Redirect" and hit new

You will see the following input fields:
Source URL- Type in the URL which forwards user to external page, which in this case is "/product-link". This link must be an absolute link starting with a "/"
Destination URL - Fill in www.amazon.com/product-link?affid=your_aff_id_and_other_parameters_here or the website where the user is to be redirected
Comments can be filled for reference, hit save and close

Now, upon opening yourdomain.com/product-link, you will be redirected to the affiliate link you put in the destination URL field. Cool, right?

Let us know in the comments below if you prefer this method over the others.

Using Akeeba Admin tools

We recommend you to use this method if you have already installed Akeeba Admin Tools

The process of redirecting using Akeeba Admin Tools is fairly straightforward. Navigate to "Components > Admin Tools" and click on URL redirection.

Set Enable the URL Redirection feature? to "Yes" and click on the new button. You will see two fields to be filled in.
Existing URL: Type in your affiliate link or the link where you want the user to be redirected, here
New URL: Type in the the URL the user would visit to get forwarded to the external website here, without the leading slash. Example, if you want the user to be redirected from yourdomain.com/go/yourjoomlatutor, type in go/yourjoomlatutor

Hit Save and close, that's it! 

Using Hidden menu

This method involves creating a menu with external links as its menu items

Create a menu item by going to yourdomain.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_menus&view=menu&layout=edit , name it linker as shown in below screenshot and hit "Save & Close"

Now add a menu item under the "Linker" menu you just created, with menu item type "System links > External URL"

You will have to fill three input fields. 
Menu title: Enter a menu title for your reference
Alias: Enter the part of URL after your base domain, such that yourwebsite.com/go/affiliate would lead the visitor to https://www.externalaffiliatelink.com/?affid=your_aff_id
Link: External / Affiliate URL

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Monday, 23 September 2019

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