Affiliate Marketers: Why You Should Use 301 Redirects

RedirectionAs an affiliate Marketer I’ve faced two problems in the past, both of which are easily fixed by using 301 permanent redirects.

To clarify: a 301 permanent redirect is basically call-forwarding for your web pages or links.

Setting a permanent (rather than a temporary) re-direct is better for SEO and also prompts browsers to change any bookmarks that may be going to the old link.

The Problems

So what are those two problems?

  1. The need to change all your affiliate links, everywhere you’ve placed them, whenever the person whose product you’re promoting changes their affiliate management system.
  2. The long, ugly appearance of most affiliate links, which is off-putting to people not used to working online

Both problems can cost you money – potentially a lot.

Whenever the owner whose product you’re promoting changes their affiliate management system it’s almost certain that your affiliate link will be changed as well.

And on all the occasions that’s happened to me, the product owner has not been able to (or chose not to) redirect my old affiliate links to my new one.

That left me with having to find every location I’d placed my original affiliate link so I could change it to the new one.

If you’re using a blog to write reviews of your products, and you’ve been promoting a product for some time, you’re going to need to scour your entire blog for all those links in order to change them.

That will take a long time and the chances of you missing some are pretty high.

The Solution

So here’s the solution:

(BTW, if you prefer videos for learning how to do this stuff I created one showing how to set up these redirects – you can find it here.)

For each product you promote create a folder on your server. Name that folder with your product’s name or a shortened version of it.

Then go into that folder and create a file called ‘index.php’ (without the quote marks).

Next insert the following code into your index.php file:

Redirect Code

Replace the ‘’ (ignore the quote marks) in that code with your affiliate link, taking care to retain the space after ‘location:’ and the double quotes at the end of the link.

Make sure there are no extra spaces after the final ?> characters

Save and close the file.

Check that everything is working properly by typing in the new URL for your affiliate link:

e.g.: “”, where ‘newfolder’ is the name of the folder you just created for your affiliate product. This is your redirect link.

This redirect link is the one you should now use everywhere, instead of your original affiliate link. Your original affiliate link is contained within the re-direct code, so people clicking your new (redirect) link will be redirected to your merchant’s site, complete with your affiliate ID.

The two benefits of doing this are:

  1. When the owner of your affiliate product changes their system and requires that you change your affiliate links, you only need to make one change: replace the old affiliate link with the new link in your index.php file. All clicks on your redirect URL will then be automatically re-directed to your new affiliate link. The time this will save you (let alone the loss of money if you miss some of your links) will be enormous.
  2. Your affiliate links will look way more professional and much more inviting for people, particularly people who are not used to working online. This will increase your click through rate.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave us a comment!


Martin Malden

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben 24 September, 2010, 8:07 am

    I never thought of the reason of just making one change if the link gets info gets changed. That is good.

    I always use 301 just for the look of the link.

    • Martin 25 September, 2010, 7:22 am

      Ben, hi,

      Yep – you can save yourself a lot of time and lost commissions by only having to change an affiliate link in one place.



  • mike 1 April, 2011, 4:40 am

    and thanks for this info, but I`m still a little confused with all this, Ive only ever used a wp plugin for cloaking before now and this code stuff is dbl dutch to me, could you make a video explaining this ?

    • Martin 1 April, 2011, 7:15 am

      Hi Mike,

      Good idea – I’ll see if I can fit that in at some point 🙂