When you promote an affiliate program, there are a few ways of linking to the program, for example, when you use it in emails, articles or on websites. A couple of these ways are to use either your actual affiliate link, which could look something like this http://www.affiliateprogram.com?affiliate_id=123456 or using a web page with a meta refresh.
Why should you use a meta refresh instead of the affiliate link? Well, here are a couple of reasons:
First, say the affiliate program changes their affiliate system, or software. This then changes your affiliate URL. So, any articles, autoresponder emails etc where you have promoted the program now have the wrong link in them. And changing all those links ranges from difficult to impossible, especially if you’re trying to change every instance of an article, which you may have marketed via an automatic submission program. This will mean that a good chunk of your marketing efforts may very well now have been wasted.
Secondly, and this is definitely a worst case scenario, the affiliate program ceases. Again, you have a whole bunch of links pointing to a defunct location, with the same problem regarding altering them. If you use the meta refresh method, you can at least point people to a new URL promoting a different program. Okay, the number of people who will join or buy from a different program to the one they thought they were going to visit is probably very low. But I guarantee the number who will join or buy from a defunct program is zero.
So how do you do a meta refresh? Well, you’ll need to make an html page an a site you own. Then, use the code below:
<!-- Send users to the new location. -->
<TITLE>Affiliate Program Name</TITLE>
Change “Affiliate Program Name” to the name of the affiliate program you’re promoting, and “http://www.affiliateprogram.com?affiliate_id=123456” to your actual affiliate URL. Save the page as, say, programname.html in the location you want it, perhaps in a recommends directory, eg http://www.mysite.com/recommends/programname.html
Now, if something does happen to the program, or your affiliate link changes, all you need to do is change the two details on that html page. Use the link to your page in all your promotions.
Finally, if you have some decent tracking software on your site, you may well be able to track where people came from who visit your redirect page, so you can see what part of your marketing is working the best.