A long while back I started rounding up various bits of my code into a single affiliate plugin, which I decided to call the WordPress Affiliate101 plugin.
I never got round to releasing any code but at the start of 2011 I wanted to add some new functionality which sparked a general clean up and security review which hopefully has resulted in something releasable.
What Does the Plugin Do?
The core to the plugin is around managing affiliate links within your WordPress blog. When I got my first site, SammyNetbook, up and running I found it hard to keep updating the many affiliate links around the site. One store would sell out, another one would discount the price, I wanted different links for different countries – it was taking too much time to manage.
I came up with the following tools to help:
- A central list of affiliate links
- A shortcode to quickly reference a link in a post
- An automated way to convert common keywords to affiliate links
- List Amazon products from international stores based on a keyword
- Track which links are getting the most clicks and on which pages
Sounds good, let’s see it in action
We’ll go through some use case examples to demonstrate the plugin’s functionality:
Shortcode: It’s easy to tap in a link to Amazon but if you want to earn money from that link you’ll need to add a tag. It is highly likely that you’ll set up different tags for different sites and either can’t remember which one to use or simply don’t want to append the tag each time. Before writing my plugin I’d be constantly looking up affiliate links, at one point I even had a spreadsheet of the commonly used ones but eventually built this plugin to manage them!
Want an affiliated link to Amazon? I now type my redirect shortcode:
And we get an affiliated redirect link like this. If for some reason I want to change the link destination or the tag, I can do so with a quick edit in the admin panel – beats having to update a whole load of posts!
Autolinking: But I’m even lazier than that, sometimes I just want certain keywords to always be converted to an affiliate link. In this case all I typed in was Amazon.com and as you can see, it’s converted into an affiliated link! Easy!
Tracking: As a professional data analyst I love looking over data and making descisions based on how people are really using the site – not just what I think they might be doing. I want to know who is clicking on what link and in which posts they are clicking it. I can then use the information to promote certain posts, change links around and generally experiment with link placement.
You can see a demo of live tracking here:
|Short Link||Destination||Last Clicked|
Of course the plugin has slightly more sophisticated reports than this! There are a few already up and running showing top clicks, Amazon clicks, clicks by post, etc. And there will be more to follow!
Amazon Products: And finally, Amazon is by far my biggest earning merchant to the extent that I will always try to link to their store in every post. Sure, you won’t always want to use them but it would be rare to find someone who never wants to include anything from the Internet retail giant on their WordPress blog.
This part of the plugin allows you to enter a topical keyword into your post and will use that to display up to date and correctly priced relevant products in your post for ever more.
Does this sound like something you’d use? Keep an eye out for the first beta by following my RSS feed