Following this method allows you to create a “shortcut” link on your website which takes your visitor to the real link. This can be done a number of ways, but nothing beats the simplicity of using the .htaccess file. Now this is only for Apache-hosted websites (if you use cPanel you’re in the clear) and requires adding a line in the file. If you’ve never done something like this before, don’t worry, it’s quite easy.
The line to add is this, which I’ll explain later:
Redirect 301 /myshortcut http://myshortcutsite.com
First of all, create the .htaccess file if you don’t have one already, and don’t forget the dot “.” at the beginning of the file. This is like hiding a file in Linux, perhaps the equivalent of a system file on Windows where it’s there but you have to jump through a few loops to see it. You can use the cPanel file editor or simply telnet or ssh directly to your server and edit the file there. Replace
/myshortcut with the shortcut link that you want to have and
http://myshortcutsite.com the actual destination.
You can use this technique to redirect to different directories within your own website as well.
Redirect 301 /myolddirectory /mynewdirectory
Another way to use this is to make “pretty links” which are a way to turn ugly, long URLs into something short and easy to remember. You can also use it to cloak links.
Why cloak links? Because your web visitors nowadays are getting savvier and savvier. Some visitors have learned to suspect Amazon links, for example, as having an affiliate ID coded in the URL. For whatever reason, some visitors are simply against the idea of you earning a commission off any link and will refuse to click it. When you cloak a link, it looks like a normal part of your website and no visitor will suspect where it really takes you. It is a good idea in general to cloak all your Amazon links as well as links to other sites where you earn a commission.