If you don’t have time to read the entire article – the answer is no. Really. This is a HUGE mistake that so many affiliates make.
In most cases, having direct links that go straight to the sales page is never a good idea. The exception is when you have anchor text on your site that goes to the products directly.
For example, let’s assume you’re writing a woodworking article about building your own chicken coop. You might mention how having a circular saw is extremely helpful. The words ‘circular saw’ can be linked to a circular saw being sold on Amazon.
In this case, it’s fine because Amazon is a selling machine and does a great job of converting visitors into buyers. Over and above that, you should already have an opt-in box on your site to get readers on your list. So, direct links are fine.
However, if you’re using paid ads or driving free traffic from Facebook fan pages, YouTube, etc. it’s best to direct all traffic to a squeeze page, which is also known as a landing page or an opt-in page.
Many names but it’s basically the same thing – a way to capture leads and get them on your list. Many beginner marketers aren’t too sure about how to create opt-in pages and integrate them with their autoresponders like Get Response or Aweber.
With page builders such as Elementor, building an opt-in page has never been easier. Most of these already have templates that you can use out of the box with a few little edits. So, use them.
If you direct your traffic straight to the offer you will lose the visitor and probably never see them again. You might not even make a sale because the visitor has not been ‘warmed up’ and is just passing by. This is especially true when sending your visitors to a sales page that’s not Amazon.
By getting them on your list, you’ll be able to make contact several more times and place the offer before them a few more times and they may buy it. Studies have shown that it takes roughly seven exposures to an offer before someone buys it. By building a list, you can get those repeated exposures.
This brings us to another question – “Should we cloak our affiliate links?”
The answer is yes. One of the best ways to do this is to use a WordPress plugin called Pretty Links (if you’re using WordPress) … and you can use it to make your links ‘no follow’ so that you’re not passing on link juice to the offer site.
However, it’s best to avoid using them with Amazon affiliate links because your account may get banned. There have been reports of people getting banned from the Amazon Associates Program just because they used cloaked links. So, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
With every other site, you should cloak your links. In this way, instead of manually changing every affiliate link on your site should you wish to promote another product, you can just change the cloaked link in one place and all links will be updated.
To conclude, always direct your links to a landing page and cloak them. Your list is an asset. So, build it and you’ll be building your business… and then you can promote other products successfully.