With the start of the new year, it’s a good time to review best practices. As more bloggers are becoming affiliates, it is even more important to talk about link building.
This post comes with a caveat. Sometimes you are in a hurry to get a post up or it’s for a very specific purpose (like a flash sale) where you just need to get published quickly with an affiliate link that is good for a short period of time. That’s fine. You may want to skip one of the steps below. What I am talking about today are more evergreen content posts where you expect to get traffic over time. For multiple reasons you want to invest just a few minutes in those affiliate links!
Step One: Create the Link Deep
You’ve probably heard about “deep links.” What does that mean? It basically means linking to any page except the home page. It may be a category page or a product page or a sale page. Essentially you want to link to EXACTLY what you are talking about. The only exception I usually use is that if I am talking about a product that I think might sell out relatively soon, I will link to a page of products on the merchant site that are all similar. An example would be if I am writing about a Smurf t-shirt, I might link to a whole page of Smurf t-shirts on the merchant site that includes the one I am writing about.
You want to get the reader as close to the product or deal you are talking about as possible.
You can create the deep link in a couple of ways. If you are lucky, the merchant provided it to you. That’s doesn’t always happen. Depending on the network the merchant is on, you have a couple of options. The longest way is to log in to the network and create the deep link in the interface. That’s a pain. The next best step is to use a bookmarklet provided by the merchant or the network. Some of them have bookmarklets; some do not.
My preferred way to create deep links is using the FMTC Publisher Toolkit because I don’t even have to look up what network the merchant is on to use it. (Don’t forget that you can try the Lite version for free for a month with my coupon code SUNSHINE). I simply navigate to the page on the merchant site that I want to create the link to (whether it is a product, search results, or a sale). I click on the bookmarklet and my affiliate link pops up in the box. How easy is that? [Read more…]