How To Manage Broken Or Expired Affiliate URLs
Are you an affiliate marketer who has never considered regularly checking the links on your blogs and fixing any broken affiliate links?
If you are monetizing your blog with affiliate links, chances are good that many of your old affiliate links are expired or dead. How do you deal with expired links?
In this guide, I will share my strategy for dealing with broken affiliate links on my blogs.
First let’s consider the test scenario:
- The deal or offer you posted a few months back has expired, and your unique affiliate link is giving a 404 error.
- Affiliate programs have undergone major changes, and old links have stopped working.
- Your old affiliate links are not working for other reasons.
While there certainly could be other reasons for broken links and 404 errors, the first two listed above are the top two reasons for the broken affiliate links which I encounter in my day-to-day blogging life.
Here’s how I deal with these expired links, and I urge you to follow the same strategy or a similar one for your blog:
Solving the problem of expired affiliate links:
Start using the Affiliate Cloaker plugin or tool:
Using an affiliate cloaking plugin has various advantages. This type of plugin makes it easier for you to manage all your affiliate links from one location, so you don’t need to edit individual posts to make changes in the affiliate links.
At the time of the writing this post, I’m using Gocodes Affiliate Plugin for WordPress. If you are not using an affiliate cloaking plugin as yet, I recommend ThirstyAffiliates over Gocodes.
Again, the reason for using an affiliate cloaking plugin is to make it easier for you to manage all your affiliate links. Whether you are using Amazon, iTunes affiliate or any other affiliate network, I highly recommend that you consider adding cloaked links generated by a plugin such as those mentioned above.
Find broken links:
Monitoring your website for broken links is an ongoing process, and you must definitely keep an eye on link status periodically.
To help with this important task, you can use a plugin called broken link checker, which checks all the links on your blog for 404 errors and for evidence that they are being redirected. This plugin also sends an email notification for broken links, which makes it convenient for you to monitor all the links of your blog.
Whenever any of your affiliate links start giving 404 errors, you should replace them with the new link or make the necessary changes recommended in the final section of this article.
You can also use a Mac tool called “Integrity” to check websites for broken links.
Automatically delete “deals” posts that are expired:
One mistake that is often made by many new affiliate marketers is that they don’t delete posts for deals and promos that have expired.
For example, if you write about an exclusive deal from Amazon which will expire in the next two days, how do you deal with such a post after the two days have passed?
Instead of keeping it on your blog (since it doesn’t add any value after the deal has expired), you can delete it. And rather than deleting it manually, you can use a WordPress plugin callPost Expirator which automatically deletes the post after specified time.
Convert expired affiliate links into email capture leads:
Recently I faced an issue with one of the products I was promoting as an affiliate. The product name was Easy WP SEO, and it used to be an amazing SEO plugin for WordPress. In the past couple of months, the developer did a terrible job of maintenance and failed to fix many important issues. For this reason, I had to stop the promotion of the product.
The problem was that there were many affiliate links inside my posts, and I needed to find a way to stop people from buying that product.
I bumped into this video by Authority Hacker, which gave me a great idea for converting those potential buyers into a high-conversion, hyper-targeted email list.
Leadpages, it took me about 5 minutes to create a meaningful landing page for my expired affiliate links.
Here is the example page for your reference (do not subscribe to the list in the example, as it is for an announcement of the next awesome WordPress SEO Plugin).
Conclusion: How to never have a dead affiliate link offer:
How To Manage Broken Or Expired Affiliate URLs: Deal links are not good for user-experience, and being that these are affiliate links you need to take the utmost care of all such links on your blog.
The first thing you should do (if you are not already doing it) is to start using a WordPress affiliate link cloaking plugin. (Refer back to part 1 of this article.)
Thereafter, continue monitoring all links using automated broken link checker tools, and take the actions suggested above.
Let me know how you deal with broken affiliate links? If you find the above tips useful, do share this post with your affiliate marketing friends.