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Are your affiliate links in a mess? Save time and earn more commission by organizing and managing your affiliate links better. Here’s how…
Are your affiliate links in a complete mess? Do you have a whole bunch of broken affiliate links on your website? Do you often skip adding affiliate links to your post (or put it off till ‘later’) because it’s just too much hassle? If so, you could be missing out on a lot of commission! By organizing, managing and tracking your affiliate links better you are likely to make more money, as well as saving time and making your life so much easier!
In this guide, I’ll show you a quick and simple way to organize and manage your affiliate links (without using expensive software!)
(Psst – new to Affiliate Marketing? Head over to my Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing to get up to speed!)
Why organize your affiliate links?
But first up, why? Why bother organizing your affiliate links at all? Is it really necessary? There are 3 good reasons why you should definitely have a good system in place for managing your affiliate links…
When you first start out with affiliate marketing, it’s relatively easy to keep track of your affiliate links since you probably only have a few and you know exactly where they are. However, as your blog grows and as you add in more and more affiliate links, it can quickly become a mess! You may have signed up to dozens of different affiliate schemes and have hundreds of different affiliate links on your website. It’s easy to get in a complete mess and it can become an almighty headache. Organizing and managing your affiliate links well will help you to keep track of everything and result in fewer affiliate link related headaches!
Without a good affiliate link management system in place, adding an affiliate link to a blog post can be a time-consuming and frustrating process… First you have to find the affiliate dashboard for the relevant affiliate scheme, then you have to find (or generate) your affiliate link and finally you need to add it into your blog post. Doing that just once is a bit of a pain, but doing that 15 or 20 times (if you are writing a roundup post, for example) is seriously time-consuming!
And it gets worse… because then you get that email in your inbox saying ‘we’ve changed affiliate software, please change all your affiliate links!’ If you don’t have a good system in place, that can be A LOT of extra work!
If you have a great system to help you keep track of all your affiliate, you are likely to earn more! Why? Well, firstly if you have a good system in place, it is quick and simple to add an affiliate link to any given blog post – this means you are much more likely to do it! (Hands up who has put ‘add affiliate links to blog post’ on your to do list and then never quite got around to doing it because it was just such a long-winded faff?) If you don’t have a great system in place, then it’s all to easy to put off adding affiliate links to your blog posts… and never ever quite get round to it… this means you automatically lose all that potential affiliate commission!
Secondly, if you don’t have a great system in place for organizing and manging your affiliate links, then you are quite likely to have a large number of broken affiliate links on your website… again meaning you are potentially losing out on lots of commission – because your readers may be clicking on your affiliate links but not converting because the link was broken, went to an ‘out of stock’ page… or redirected them to a different page entirely!
And thirdly, if you have a great system in place, you are much more likely join more affiliate schemes and add more affiliate links to your blog posts… Resulting in more affiliate link clicks, sales and commissions! (On the flipside, if you don’t have a great system in place, you may decide not to join any more affiliate schemes as you don’t want even more of a headache…)
How to organize and keep track of your affiliate links – step by step
OK, so hopefully you are now thoroughly convinced that you need a system, but how do you do it? There are, of course, dozens of paid plugins that you can use to help you organize and keep track of your affiliate links, but you don’t have to go down that route… Here’s how to organize, manage and keep track of your affiliate links WITHOUT using expensive software!
Step 1: Create a simple spreadsheet (or download mine!)
The first step is to create a simple spreadsheet, with three columns: Affiliate Scheme, Affiliate Dashboard and Main Affiliate Link. Like this…
No time to create a spreadsheet? No problem, simply download my done-for-you Affiliate Link Tracker Spreadsheet!
NOTE: I highly recommend that, if you have a content calendar, you add a tab for affiliate link management to your existing content calendar spreadsheet, rather than creating a new separate spreadsheet. That way everything related to your blog can be kept in one place and you will always be able to find it easily. You’ll notice that if you download my affiliate link tracking spreadsheet above it’s actually just one tab on a much larger content calendar with lots of different tabs to help you keep track of different parts of your blogging business. To find out more about using a content calendar, head here >>> How to create a content calendar for your blog
Step 2: Add in the details of your existing affiliate schemes
The next step is to populate this simple spreadsheet (or new tab on your existing content calendar spreadsheet!) with the details of the affiliate schemes you are already part of.
First type in the name of the affiliate scheme (for example, ‘ConvertKit’) in the first column.
Next, head to the merchant’s website and find the affiliate dashboard (the place where you can create new links, keep track of your sales etc.) Copy and paste the URL of the affiliate dashboard into your spreadsheet in the second column. (This means any time you need to check the dashboard, you can quickly and easily do that in just one click from your spreadsheet!)
Finally, find your main affiliate link URL, and copy and paste that into the third column. Like this…
You may also have on your website other affiliate links from that merchant which point to different places on their website (For example… links to different products, a link that goes directly to the ‘pricing options’ page, a link which goes directly to the ‘features’ page, links to information pages on the merchant’s website…) You should also add these URLs to your spreadsheet. If you do this, I recommend you use the column adjacent to each link to briefly explain where each link goes. Like this…
Step 3: Add in the details of new affiliate schemes and links
You should also make sure that, going forward, you always add in the details of any new affiliate schemes you join or any new affiliate links you create, so that you can always be sure that your affiliate link tracking spreadsheet is accurate.
Step 4: Use your affiliate link tracking spreadsheet
There are two things you can now do with this spreadsheet…
The first is that any time you are writing a blog post and want to add an affiliate link, you can just quickly flip into your affiliate link tracking spreadsheet and copy and paste the relevant link. This should only take seconds to do – saving you time and making you much less likely to put this job off until ‘later’!
The second thing you can do with this spreadsheet is you can use it to check if you have any broken links / links which are now going to the wrong place / products which are no longer available. All you need to do is quickly click on each affiliate link URL in the spreadsheet to check it is still working as it should. Depending on how many affiliate links you have, this will probably be a 5-10 minute job, which you can do once a month or once a quarter and will help you quickly and easily identify where links need to be updated – so you can keep on getting the right commission!
NOTE: If you have a regular time each month to check broken links, you will be able to catch any affiliate links which are genuinely broken, but this will not find links which are now redirecting to a different page on the merchant’s website or which are still going to the correct product page, but where the product is no longer available. That’s why this spreadsheet is so useful!
How to take your affiliate link organization to the next level…
Even if you just stop here, this simple affiliate link tracking spreadsheet will reduce headaches, save time and help you earn more commission. I recommend you set this affiliate link tracking system up right away… But once you have the system in place, there are a few things you can do to make this system work even better for you…
Add URLs where the link appears
One addition you could make to your affiliate link tracking spreadsheet is to add an extra column which lists out every URL where each affiliate link appears. Like this…
This can be handy… especially if you discover a certain affiliate link needs changing… But if you have a lot of affiliate links which are featured in a lot of different URLs this can get very cumbersome… and of course it relies on you keeping the spreadsheet up-to date!
There is a better solution…
Use Pretty Links
It looks like this…
This has two advantages…
First of all, you can make all your affiliate links super easy to remember… This is useful for you (you can easily remember your own links) and useful for your audience (they will be able to easily remember the URL and so be more likely to use your affiliate links – especially good when giving out links in podcasts / YouTube videos etc.)
But the second – and much bigger – advantage is that you can quickly and easily change where a pretty link points to. So for example, let’s say ConvertKit contacts me and says that they are changing their affiliate software and so I need to change all my ConvertKit affiliate links on Productive Blogging… well I have a lot of ConvertKit links, so that would take me a long time to do manually… But if I have used a pretty link each time, all I would need to do is change the one link where www.productiveblogging.com/ConvertKit points to inside Pretty Links and every ConvertKit affiliate link would automatically be changed. Like this…
And all of this is possible with the basic FREE version of Pretty Links!
NOTE: You should add this pretty link to your affiliate link tracking spreadsheet and always use the pretty link (instead of the affiliate link) when linking to the affiliate product, for this to work. (Also, please be aware that not all affiliate schemes allow you to use Pretty Links, most notably Amazon Affiliates. Do check the terms of service for each affiliate scheme before using Pretty Links to change the URLs. It’s usually OK, but always worth checking!)
Finally, you could also use this spreadsheet to track your affiliate sales revenue, if you wanted to. All you would need to do is add a few extra columns to your affiliate link tracking spreasheet and then once a month, diarise to check on your affiliate sales (by clicking on that affiliate dashboard link) and noting down how much money you made. Like this…
This is obviously extra work, but it does help you to see at a glance which affiliate links / schemes are performing best for you, which in turn you can use to help you decide what to focus on more in the future.
(Psst… those sales revenue numbers in my image above are fake, made up numbers – I’m not telling you my real numbers 😉)
A QUICK NOTE IF YOU HAVE HUNDREDS OF AFFILIATE LINKS…
I have written this post assuming you have a fairly strategic approach to affiliate marketing, where you promote a relatively small number of high value / high commission affiliate products. If you have more of a scattergun approach where you promote hundreds of low value, low commission affiliate products, I definitely don’t recommend you spend hours and hours adding every single affiliate product you’ve ever mentioned on your blog onto this spreadsheet! It’s just not going to be worth the amount of time you would have to spend. What I do recommend is that, going forward, you take a more strategic approach to affiliate marketing and use this spreadsheet to record those affiliate schemes and products.
Over to you…
I’d love to know if this post helped you… or if you have any good tips of your own for organizing, managing and keeping track of affiliate links. Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to download the spreadsheet!
Keep track of your affiliate links with my Affiliate Link Tracker Spreadsheet…
- A beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing for bloggers
- 19 easy ways to increase your affiliate income from your blog
- HOW TO START A MONEY MAKING BLOG – 12 month blog plan: from $0 – $1000 in one year
- 14 reasons why your blog isn’t making money (and what to do about it!)
- Productive Blogging Affiliate Links