Format Your Ezine - Long Links
Formatting Your Ezine - Long LinksSometimes you might want to link to a really long URL (especially if you participate in affiliate programs) - but will it display correctly in the reader's email program?
Affiliate or associate programs can be a great way to earn money online. The general idea is you put links to a merchant on your web site, and earn a percentage of each sale you refer. (See How To Make Money with Affiliate Programs).
Some affiliate programs (but not all - read the rules for the programs that you're in) also allow you to place affiliate links in e-mails, and opt-in e-mail newsletters.
If you run an Ezine (or can buy Ezine advertising cheaply), this can be a easy way to earn extra money. Especially if it's your own Ezine, readers who trust your opinions, will buy, if a given strong personal recommendation (but don't recommend a duff product and risk losing your hard-earned reputation).
One program with affiliate programs, is that some affiliate programs generate really long link URLs. These don't work well in e-mail, as they either tend to break in mid-line, or the reader's e-mail program may not make such long links clickable.
Here's a fictional example affiliate link which illustrates the point:
There are a number of ways round this problem, that allow you to use shorter URLs:
(In each case replace URL with the full affilate link URL including the initially http://).
Most web hosts allow you to add a default file to each directory (index.cgi, default.asp, index.html, index.htm or some such name), so if you make a special directory containing just the relevant file, you'll be able to give a really snappy URL like this:
While the above is a great basic technique to have in your arsenal, one of the limitations is that it doesn't allow you to track which ads are generating responses.
I am a firm believer in tracking your advertising (the proof of the pudding is the fact that it works as a method of incrementally improving results and increasing revenue), so I highly recommend that you don't just stick to the basics. There are lots of sophisticated scripts which allow tracking, see resources for ad tracking.
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