URL Forwarding

A simple technique for improving your online marketing results

affiliate_link

Although it may sound complicated at first, URL Forwarding is actually a very simple technique you can easily use to improve your ad results, increase click-throughs on your links, and make more sales.

What exactly is URL forwarding?

URL forwarding is a tool that allows you to “cloak” or shorten your Website address to an easier-to-remember URL. For example, let’s say you’ve got the following address:

Instead of inserting this rather unwieldy URL into your classified or online ads, flyers, business cards, etc., you could mask this long URL as a much shorter, friendlier address that potential customers will remember and can type into their browsers much more easily:

Even better, by using a URL forwarder, you can also track where your visitors come from when visiting your sites.

Why Use URL Forwarding?

It’s a fact in today’s online world that more and more Websites are no longer allowing affiliate URLs to be placed on their Websites. This restriction is a result of the growing popularity of affiliate programs: increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are posting their affiliate links on these Websites, overwhelming the site with long URLs, often from relatively few affiliate programs.

This “problem of success” has also spilled over into e-mail. Several major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) automatically route e-mails containing affiliate URLs to junk folders…if they deliver them at all. This means that few, if any, of the alerts, newsletters, notifications, or welcome messages you’re e-mailing to your team members may actually ever make it to your intended recipients!

What’s more, many search engines don’t index affiliate URLs when compiling their search results, to avoid cluttering their databases with similar or identical Web pages from the same source. An affiliate ID in the URL is a dead giveaway to these types of sites. Moreover, some visitors won’t click your Website link if it appears to be an affiliate site. This consumer bias may not seem fair to respectable home-business owners, but it’s a fact of life of which successful entrepreneurs must face and adapt.

Fee-Based Vs. Free URL Forwarders:

Although free URL forwarding services sound like a good idea, it’s important to keep in mind that these services are supported through ads that will appear on your forwarded site. This type of setup tends to look amateurish and distracts your customers’ attention from the content on your Website.

Fortunately, fee-based URL forwarders are very reasonably priced to fit almost any budget. In fact, most registering services and many Web hosting companies offer their customers inexpensive URL forwarding services. FatCow Domain and Hosting Services, for example, offers those who register a domain name ($o.75 a month or $9.00 a year) a URL Forwarding service for free. Simply choose an easy-to-remember URL, and you can have it redirected to your long affiliate URL.

Some Extras To Consider:

Besides a shorter URL, forwarding services may also offer the following resources (either for free or for an extra fee):

  • URL Masking: URL Masking allows your URL forwarding name to stay in the address bar instead of your long URL. If your visitors decide to add your site to their favorites, your shortened URL will be added to their favorites and not the long domain name. Also, search engines will link to your shorter URL as well. Free with FatCow
  • Traffic Stats with Referrer Reports: Using traffic stats with referrer reports will show you how many visitors you are getting to your site throughout the day. You will be able to see from which sites your visitors are coming. Using the referrer reports of sites where your visitors have seen your ad will allow you to know which of your advertising sites to keep using. Free with FatCow
  • Path Forwarding: This allows you to forward users to a certain path and/or file on your Website by adding the path and/or file to the end of your prefix.
  • Frame Kill: Frame Kill forces your site to pop out of any frames it might be loading in. This is especially useful when you are linked to another Website and your site opens inside a frame on their page.
  • Meta Tag Support: Allows you to add meta tags to your shortened URL for search engine listings. Examples of meta tags are: keywords, title, and description of your site.
  • Mirror Support: Helps ensure that your URL fowarding address will continue to work, even if your Web host’s server goes down. NOTE: This support does not affect the destination URL to which you’re forwarding, of course, as that resides on a different server.

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