Did you know that 80% of businesses around the globe have an affiliate program?
This makes affiliate marketing an effective business model for aspiring entrepreneurs and new ventures.
Affiliate marketing has grown in popularity over the years. It has helped businesses generate traction and capture quality leads for their sales funnel.
This is the reason companies are willing to pay big bucks in commission because the results they get from affiliate marketing usually exceed their expectations.
When you become an affiliate of a brand, you promote their solutions through affiliate links. These links drive traffic to the websites you are promoting and help you generate revenue via commissions.
So, it’s essential to ensure that your affiliate links are fully functional.
Over time, you may run into problems like broken or expired links. When you do, here is how you can fix this issue.
There are two major causes that may lead to broken or expired affiliate links. The first cause represents the company that offers the affiliate program.
If the company makes any change or modification to the page’s URL you link to, you may run into a broken link issue.
The issue may also occur when the company’s current affiliate campaign you promote comes to an end or the company decides to shut down its affiliate program altogether. These changes may make your affiliate links inoperable.
The second cause of the problem lies at your end. Most of the time, the problem occurs when you are careless linking to the respective URL. Even a simple typo error may cause your links to not work.
Your links may also not work due to an issue with your website’s code. So, you may want to consider that as well.
Why do you need a fix?
When you run a business fueled by the affiliate model, having broken links is equivalent to bleeding money.
If your links are not working, you won’t be sending any traffic to the brands you promote. The moment someone clicks your links, they will see an annoying “404 page not found” message on their screens.
So, not only do you lose an opportunity to generate revenue, but you also leave a bad impression on your visitors.
You attracted the right audience with well-thought-out content, promising them that you would help them find the solutions they sought. But you failed to keep your promise. So, there is a high chance that those visitors may not visit your website again any time soon.
Broken affiliate links give the impression that your website is outdated or not maintained, and that is not good for your brand image. So, it’s not just about you losing a few clicks. The reputation of your brand is at stake here.
Broken links may also have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Google is a search engine giant with over 93% of the market share in the industry. When it crawls your website, it checks every link on your pages.
When some of these links don’t work, it’s a huge red flag for the search engine, which may lead you to acknowledge a drop in the rankings.
There are a number of problems that broken or expired affiliate links may cause for you. So, it’s important that you fix the issue as soon as possible.
How to fix broken or expired affiliate links
Now that you know what causes broken or expired affiliate links and why it’s important to fix them, let’s move on with the process. Here are the steps you need to follow to fix the issue:
Step 1: Find problematic links
There are two ways you can find broken or expired affiliate links. The first one is a daunting process that requires you to manually check affiliate links on all of your pages one by one to ensure that they are fully functional.
The process may be thorough, but it is very time-consuming. So, it’s best to consider the second option to find problematic links.
The second option is to leverage web-based website audit tools like Broken Link Checker or Semrush.
The first website audit tool (Broken Link Checker) is for small businesses that have to make do with a limited budget or those that have just started with affiliate programs.
The tool helps you easily find the broken links and take the measures required to fix the issue. All you have to do is add your website’s URL and click the button. Within a few minutes, the tool will crawl your website and find the broken links for you.
Since it’s a free tool, it comes with a few limitations. The tool can process up to 3,000 web pages. So, if your website has more pages, you may have to consider the second option.
The second option is to consider using paid website audit tools like Semrush. To find the broken links using Semrush, log into the tool using your credentials, click ‘Backlinks Analytics’, enter your website, and click ‘Search’.
Now scroll down and find the affiliate links that are tagged as ‘Lost: Broken Page’. These are the links that will cause problems for you and require a fix.
Step 2: Identify the cause
As said earlier, there can be two main causes for your affiliate links to be inoperable. They may represent you or the company that offers the affiliate program.
Your links may not work because the affiliate campaign came to an end or the affiliate program no longer exists. This often leads to a broken or expired link issue.
You may also encounter an issue with your links when there is a problem with your website’s code or you use incorrect URLs when promoting the solutions. So, you must first identify what is causing the issue for you.
Step 3: Reach out to the company
This is an optional step and only applies if the problem with your affiliate links is caused by the company itself.
Usually, companies notify their affiliates when their campaign is coming to an end or they no longer welcome promotions via affiliates.
But if they don’t, feel free to reach out to them and communicate your concern with confidence. However, do this when you have confirmed that everything at your end is working smoothly.
Step 4: Update affiliate links
If the problem lies at the company’s end and the affiliate program is still ongoing, they will provide you with the updated links.
If you are at fault, compare the links you are using with the ones that were provided to you by the company.
In either case, to fix the broken or expired links, you have to replace the inoperable links with the ones that work.
Step 5: Set up redirects
When you replace the old affiliate URLs with the new ones, make sure to set up 301 redirects.
Once you have done this, even when someone clicks the old affiliate link, they will be redirected to the updated page.
Hence, you will be less likely to lose any clicks and keep generating income, even if someone stumbles upon an old URL.
Step 6: Test the updated links
It’s best not to make the same mistake twice. So, before making the changes live on your website, it’s best to test the updated links first.
To do that, all you have to do is click on the new links and make sure that they route you to the intended product pages.
Step 7: Publish the changes
Once you have completed all these steps, all that remains is to publish the changes. And that wraps up the process for you.
A well-maintained website is like a sturdy foundation for a business, shielding it from the pitfalls of broken or expired affiliate links, which can otherwise trip up the path for emerging ventures.
If you are dealing with such issues, just follow the steps outlined in this article to fix the problem in no time.
Guest Author: Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.
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