If you have ever been an affiliate and marketed the product(s), you will know that there are often several ways of linking to the product, whether the marketing method be on websites, blogs, in articles or emails. Most affiliate programs have an affiliate link, which can look like this:
http://www.myaffiliateprogram.com?myaffiliate_is = 123456
Another method is by making a web page that meta refreshes.
Why use a meta refresh instead of a normal affiliate link?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be a good idea.
The affiliate program you're a member of may change how their system works, for example by changing to a new software system, which would have the side effect of changing your affiliate URL. This would mean that any existing promotional material you have used your URL in, such as emails or articles, would now have the wrong link. At best, changing all those existing instances would be difficult, and would more likely be impossible, as in the case of articles marketed via an automated program. This result would damage your prior marketing, possibly meaning that it was wasted.
The other reason, and this is a much worse situation, is if the affiliate program ceases for any reason. You have a similar problem as mentioned above, with your existing marketing material now pointing to a link that no longer works, and you have the same problem with regards to altering them.
Using a meta refresh means that, should either of the above situations occur, you can send visitors to a new URL promoting a replacement program. There will undoubtedly be less success promoting a different program to the one that visitors thought they were being directed to, however, a less successful link is far better than one that doesn't work at all.
How do you do a meta refresh?
This is done using an HTML page, and you will need a site to do this. Then take a look at the following code:
- <!-- Send users to the new location. -->
- <TITLE>Affiliate Program Name</TITLE>
- <META HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="1; URL=http://www.affiliateprogram.com?affiliate_id=123456">
Where it says Affiliate Program Name in the above code, change that to the actual name of the affiliate program being promoted. Then, change the affiliate URL http://www.affiliateprogram.com?affiliate_id=123456 to your affiliate URL.
Save the file onto your site, perhaps as program.html, in a convenient location. If you have a number of these redirect pages, you could save them all in a dedicated directory.
If something happens to the affiliate program or your affiliate link now, altering your link is a simple matter of changing the two details on your saved HTML page. You can use the link to the page when promoting your program.
These pages can also be used with website tracking software to track where people who visit the page come from, which can be of additional help in improving your marketing efforts.