For owners of a website writing is what your primary focus should be, but the reality turns out that the work you put into maintaining the back-end can seem like another part-time job. Not only does the code need monitoring, your photos need alt-text input, all of the keyword research to make it SEO compatible, the widgets/plugins need updating, and affiliate links need hyperlinking!
Today, however, i'm going to introduce you to the VigLink affiliate network that has created a powerful time-saving tool for those looking to cut a few steps out of the process.
As a side note, VigLink is owned by Sovrn so you may see both names but the website is still located at VigLink.com so for the purposes of this article i'll refer to everything as VigLink although you may see different references to Sovrn or VigLink online.
What is affiliate marketing?
For those new to the game, we will give you a quick overview of affiliate marketing to catch you up to speed. Affiliate marketing are tools that companies create to help you (a website owner) to monetize your site by advertising products or services. This typically comes in the form of hyperlinked text when you're discussing a specific product/service/place/etc which will redirect the customer to that merchant's website. It can also be as a graphic that shows what that company offers and redirects traffic to them.
What do you get out of it? That redirected traffic is tracked and if they end up making a purchase, you'll end up with a commission from that sale. It's really is one of the easiest ways to start your own potential business and the best part is it cost exactly $0 to do. There's never any hidden fees or startup costs, just simply sign up and start advertising and over time it will convert into
Make sure before you start with affiliate marketing you get a website started up unless you plan to do it strictly from social media (although typically it's more difficult to do it that route).
Affiliate Programs VS Affiliate Networks
There's an important difference to understand in the affiliate marketing terminology and that revolves around an affiliate program versus an affiliate network. Affiliate programs refer to an individual company's setup on a platform (either on their own or grouped with others). That means when we refer to a specific company's affiliate program it always refers to just 1 company normally.
Referring instead to an affiliate network is typically a large platform that a company creates which houses many different affiliate programs within it. Affiliate networks are great for both the company and the affiliate partners that advertise on it. The companies benefit because they don't have to put in the leg work to build and maintain the online website/platform saving them time and money. It's great for us as affiliate partners because once you're signed up on the network you'll have access to hundreds if not thousands of affiliate programs once you're signed up!
If you're interested to know more about all of the different great affiliate networks out there, you can checkout the full listing below or check out our YouTube page which we have lots of walk-through videos on many of the best affiliate networks!
Video: VigLink Affiliate Network Review
How To Sign Up for VigLink?
Signing up for VigLink is a quick and easy process so to get started, navigate to https://www.viglink.com/.
Once here you'll see in the top right corner the Sign Up link. Once here you'll have two options to sign up either using your Google account which use your google account information as the sign up (which will lead to a faster sign up experience) or by using your email address and choosing a password.
Once you've selected either one you'll submit your account to be created which will trigger an email sent to your email address to verify your account. Once you click on the link in your email address you'll be taken back to VigLink to input information in order to create your account.
A few pieced of information you'll be asked for include:
- List of the where you typically publish content.
- Your social media profile URL.
- Additional places you'll publish content.
Once you've entered all of the locations you publish content, your account will be created and sent to VigLink for review. At this time you can already start using the VigLink affiliate network on your website!
Do you have a website already?
Before you start using the VigLink affiliate network, you'll also need to make sure that you've created your website already. If you haven't create a website already there are many easy ways to create a website both for free or for a monthly subscription based on what you need.
How Is VigLink Different?
Now that you're signed up, this is where you'll find that VigLink is completely different than all other affiliate networks on the market today! VigLink takes all of the legwork out of signing up for affiliate programs and adding affiliate links.
VigLink finds merchant affiliate programs to add to the VigLink network and instead of you signing up for them, you'll automatically have access to all of the affiliate programs once signed up.
Now here is where the automation piece comes into place. Almost all affiliate networks/programs require you to manually create affiliate links/banners to add to your website.
VigLink does not require you to create manual affiliate links.
Instead, you simply add the VigLink code to the header/footer portion of your website and the VigLink automation will kick in!
The way it works is VigLink will scan each of your website pages and if there are any URLs that are for companies associated with the VigLink affiliate network, they will convert that URL to a VigLink affiliate URL. It will also find special keywords including company names, locations, places, activities, and other words which may link to specific affiliate partners on the VigLink network.
This means that your pages will automatically have the affiliate links put on your page without any work.
The good: This takes out all of the work of having to create and manage affiliate links on your page! It's a huge time saver and makes it so you can focus on creating content instead. It will also create affiliate links for pages which you didn't even know there's affiliate programs for it.
The bad: There are many keywords hyperlinked your page which you may not want hyperlinked or that may not make sense. It will also override any affiliate links that you had prior and make them VigLink affiliate links. You also wont have a choice on what affiliate programs that keywords link out to as the VigLink network will make the decision for you.
What Merchants (Affiliate Programs) are a part of VigLink?
If you do want to see the different merchants that are a part of VigLink, you can click on the Merchant's tab at the top and either enter the company name in the search bar or filter the different results to browse the different merchants available.
This will also help you to be able to know what links you should be talking about on your site so that they are auto-converted for you. If they are not found in VigLink will mean you don't get any credit for potential sales made as a result of your content.
Additionally, in the Merchant Search area, if you click on any merchant you'll be able to see the affiliate commission rate you'll get from using that merchant. Once clicked on a merchant, it'll show you the commission rate under the company name. You can see on the screenshot below:
These commission rates are important especially when determining which links you'll add to your website and the words you choose to use. Using words like Nike will flag VigLink to create an affiliate hyperlink to Nike automatically. Using terms like “Shoes” will mean VigLink will link to an affiliate that is in the “Shoes” category which could be Nike or other companies related to shoes.
How To Use VigLink
Since you don't have to pick affiliate programs or create links, using VigLink is an extremely easy process to startup. To get started, navigate to the affiliate portal by using this link: https://publishers.viglink.com.
Then click on the “Install” tab at the top of the toolbar. This will bring you to the installation guidelines. To install VigLink, copy the HTML code provided to you and then navigate to your website.
This code will then need to be placed just before the </body> section of your website. If you're using WordPress you can also choose to add this to either the header/footer section of your website as those typically are prior to the </body> code of your site.
If you can't find it, there's a header/footer plugin you can install. I use a premium theme from StudioPress, which makes inserting header and footer codes very easy in their Theme Settings area.
They also have other widgets/plugins which you can use depending on what platform you're using which you can see in the above screenshot on the right-hand side.
Once you've completed the installation and the code is on your website, you'll then want to check the installation by using the VigLink tool which is also found under the “Install” tab.
Simply put your website URL into the “Check Your Installation” box and then click “Check”. If it's successful you'll see the “Success!” message. If it is not successful a red box will come up informing you of the error received.
What Happens Once Installed?
Now that the code is already present on your website it will immediately start converting your URL links with affiliate links and start adding affiliate links to keywords. This can often take a couple of hours to complete depending on the size of your website.
When I added it to one of my websites with almost 100 entries, I noticed within 30 minutes all of the pages already had affiliate links all throughout the page linking to VigLink.
While the URLs may seem to be the same URLs as always, if you want to check if a link on your page is a VigLink URL, you'll need to right click on the link and select “Copy Link Address.”
As an example, if you linked to www.agoda.com, as you hover over the link it will still say www.agoda.com. Once you right click and copy the link address instead it'll say something like the following: “https://redirect.viglink.com/?……”. This is how you'll be able to tell that it's a VigLink affiliate link instead. It also helps so your customers don't think they are clicking a link to a different website.
Now that you know how to use the VigLink affiliate network, you'll have a good understanding if it's a good match for you. While VigLink does take so much of the work out of the technical side of affiliate networking, it is also important to understand that VigLink is not a perfect solution. It will add affiliate links to places that really do not make sense or really are not a good fit.
Adding affiliate links to the right place is important to achieving a successful potential sale from a reader. If a specific word is linked to the wrong affiliate network, customers will have this “What just happened?” feeling and not want to click your affiliate links anymore as they wont trust where it will send them.
You can also read more on our guide here on the best places to add affiliate links for results to learn more.
This is why you should first understand if you have the time or not to create your own affiliate links. If you do have the time, it may be in your benefit to create your own links. If you're limited on time and need a fast option for affiliate links then VigLink may be a good option for you instead.
Keep exploring new affiliate networks and understanding which gets you the best potential for earnings! Comment below if you have any questions about the VigLink affiliate network or other affiliate networks in general.