Using Link Tracking To Track Affiliate Sales.

Using Link Tracking To Track Affiliate Sales.

It’s very hard to make a plan for promoting any product unless you know what your audience wants to buy.

One way to do that is to track your clicks and sales of affiliate offers.

Don’t get upset if you have a few ads that don’t work just make sure you don’t use that angle or verbiage in any of your other promotions.

There’s an old Japanese proverb that says it better than me…

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

Let’s begin the training today about Pretty Links…

Pretty Links is a WordPress plugin, it allows you to shorten links and track where your sales are coming from.

It’s easily accessible because it’s right in the back office of your WordPress site.

It works really well, it lets you pick what you want the pretty link to look like.

For example…

If you have a certain affiliate product that you want to promote.

You can put the first 4 letters of the name of the product you’re promoting and then you can put em1 em2 em3 you know depending on how many emails you send out.

Or fb1 fb2 fp3 that way you get an idea of which audiences are working the best for that certain product or which ad campaign is working the best.

Pretty Link is very simple to use and it’s a free plug-in.

To set it up just go to the back office of your WordPress site and go to plugins and search for pretty links.

Then install the plug in.

Make sure you have changed your permalink Common Settings in Settings -> Permalinks away from “Default” to something else.

I prefer using custom and then “/%postname%/” for the simplest possible URL slugs with the best performance.

Next get your affiliate link that you’re going to promote and put it in the Pretty Link plugin.

You can choose the words or the letters that you want at the end of the your url.

For instance, say you’re getting ready to promote a product and you get your affiliate link from Warrior Plus or JVZoo.  

You can put the link in the back of your website where the plug-in is, it gives you a spot where you can use your own information.

For example…

Say you you’re promoting a PLR product. 

You can have at the end there where the plug in allows you to put your information plrFB1.

That’s indicates the first Facebook post for that affiliate product campaign.

This tracking enables you to know which campaigns are getting the most activity.

Then you can make more posts or emails like the ones that are getting the most traffic or the most successful.

This is a free plugin, there’s also a paid version. 

The free version does what you need it to do so I’d use that because it works well…

I hope this helps you in your affiliate business and refer back to our quote if you get discouraged…

Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

Japanese Proverb

One other reason for using a shortener is – should the original product stop being on sale, the site goes dead or the vendor withdraws it, you may have many links out in the wild that could now be considered ‘dead’. All you do then is to change the shortened link to another page or offer. Your ‘dead’ links suddenly live again.

Sometimes you need more information than Pretty Links supplies. Although it can be good to know what browser somebody used or whether they were on a desktop or using mobile, the stats are just not that detailed.

For instance, if you want to know exactly where in the world your clicks are coming from, you will need a different link shorter which includes more tracking details.

Click Magic is one of the best. It can provide a great amount of detail about your clicks and what’s more, divert them to different locations depending on where in the world the click is coming from.

This is important when it comes to certain offers which are geographically or tier 1 targeted.

A number of CPA (Cost Per Action) links are only aimed at certain countries. You don’t need to waste the clicks that are not from that country, merely send them to an offer that they are compatible with. You might not get as much for the click, but you will get something, which is way better than getting nothing.

Click Magic can also let you know if it suspects any of your visitor clicks as being from bots – automated visitors that do not contribute to your site and cannot buy.

This is especially important if you are getting clicks from a less than honest solo ad seller. You want all your clicks to be from real people and a certain percentage to be from Tier 1 countries.

A good halfway house between the free but limited Pretty Links and the more expensive and detailed reports of Click Magic is the online shortener-tracker

You can customise the links (provided nobody else is using that customisation), get some ideas of where they are geographically and what type of internet access they’re using, although you cannot track bot clicks or redirect according to country. There are paid upgrades but the basic service is free.

So there you have 3 options for link shortening and click tracking:

PrettyLinks that is free and requires a WordPress website. is also free, does not require you to have a website.

ClickMagic which is not free but does have some very useful extra features.

Start with one of the free ones and get used to tracking every link you put out in the wild. And don’t forget to check the tracking so you know which of your links are doing the best.

Paid Link Tracking

So far I’ve given the whys and wherefores of free link tracking. It has one huge disadvantage in that you cannot track (apparently) beyond the landing page. You can of course, get round this by converting every clickable page link to a link, but this means that you will have to collate the results from a number of pages, possibly affiliate or payment processor sites and then calculate your return of investments (ROI) manually. Not difficult but certainly time consuming and error prone. This is where a paid link tracker service might come in useful.

One such paid service is It costs between $15 and $19 a month, depending how much you are willing to spend up front (monthly, 6 monthly or annual subscription) and provides you with the facilities to add an invisible pixel to any page you want tracked – normally your destination pages – where your visitors end up after they have opted in and / or paid for your products. It can also provide you with a single URL which will rotate up to 5 pages so that you can find out which of your squeeze pages is converting the best. Finally, when you create a campaign, you can add in your costs (as a single cost or a pay per click rate) as well as revenues and HyperTracker will show you your overall profit or loss on a given campaign. For a new traffic source you merely set up another campaign with a new URL and cost even if they are for the same squeeze and sales pages, so that you can easily compare different sources like a free WSO, different solo ad providers, banners and even pay per click (PPC) – which has given you the greatest number of opt-ins, sales and in an easy to see red / green text format, which has made you the most profit, both in absolute monetary amounts and relative percentages.

So once you factor in the cost of running HyperTracker (or any other paid tracking service) is it worth it? If you have sales of hundreds of dollar per week or higher, most definitely. You may well be spending hundreds of dollars yourself on various traffic sources, so finding where best to spend your money is really important. Even if you’re only making tens of dollars per day, then knowing where to spend your advertising dollar is essential and one or two days profits for a month of tracking is still pretty vital. It’s only at the total beginner stage where you might consider not using the service, and even then, you will always be wondering if you’ve spent your advertising money in the best way possible. Once you get into link tracking, no matter which method you use, you will never be in any doubt.

Before anyone tells me, I’m aware of a free product called Prosper202 which allows you to set up your own link tracking on your own hosting. I’ve done it and it wasn’t too difficult for me, but it isn’t the sort of thing I’d want to explain as you need to be able to set up a MySQL database and user as well as install the product itself.It also needs its own domain (or sub-domain at least) as it has to be installed in the domain root (not in a sub-directory)

I didn’t actually get round to using it before I moved hosting so I cannot offer any comments on it at the moment. In theory, once set up, it would be a good system – from what I can see of its documentation, and it can do much of what HyperTracker can do. However, it does require some good spec hardware to run on, and if you’re on shared hosting, you might get some emails from your provider warning you about how much processor time and memory you are using. Upset them too often and they could pull the plug on you!

More On Link Tracking

Experienced online marketers will generally always make use of link tracking within their websites because they fully understand the importance of it.

What link tracking means and how it is implemented is as follows. Whenever a visitor to a website clicks on any link within that site, the information is recorded and stored in a database. This happens automatically, behind the scenes, and the visitor is usually not even aware of it.

Here is a more detailed description. The online marketer installs special software on the website to handle link tracking. The software is then configured to record information on certain portions of the website (not all links are monitored, as for some there is no need). When a visitor clicks on any of the links, the software normally transports the visitor to a special concealed address first, and logs all the information.

Once the information has been stored, the visitor then arrives at the intended destination. This interim step is designed to be very fast and un-noticeable to the visitor, allowing for little or no chance of any web delays along the way. The actual information that gets recorded is not just an increase in the count of clicks for that link, instead it is much more. All other available data is stored also, information such date, time, ip address, source, country, web browser, and many other items also.

Once the information has been stored correctly, it can be accessed at any time by means of reports, showing as much or as little data as required.

So why is link tracking considered vital to online business? Well, here are some of the key points to consider.

Pinpoint mistakes – All online marketers are expected to check and then double check every aspect of their site before it goes live, but we all know that mistakes can and do happen. Suppose one of the links is configured incorrectly, pointing to the wrong location. This type of error is the sort that could go un-noticed for a long period of time. But by examining the reports from the links tracking software, any of these types of errors are usually easy to locate, and thus correct.

Get instant live data – Online marketers are very often involved in product launches, sometimes their own products and sometimes they do joint ventures with other marketers. Whenever such a launch takes place, it is vital to have full access to live data. Regardless of all testing that has taken place beforehand, once the traffic and the visitors start to arrive, this is the time that things tend to go wrong.

If the link tracking information is not completely up to date in those situations, it may be useless. Many of the affiliate programs and even some versions of free link tracking programs do not provide this real time data, instead it is usually a few hours behind. This is one of the main reasons why marketers like to use their own software, instant data.

Track performance – The next point to consider, obviously, is the actual reports and data. Find out how a particular page or a particular link is performing. Visitors may be expected to follow a route from point A to point B to point C where they make the actual purchase. If any of the links in the chain are not performing very well, such as visitors leaving, the marketer can spot this happening, and proceed to make some corrections.