HomeBlogsAffiliate Program GuideHow to create affiliate links – guide for merchants! 

How to create affiliate links – guide for merchants! 

This guide is for merchants who have concerns about creating affiliate links.  

In this article, I will give you some information about: 

  • Affiliate link: what is it? 
  • An example use of affiliate links.  
  • 03 types of affiliate links. 
  • How to create an affiliate link? 
  • How to customize an affiliate link? 
  • How do affiliate links help? 
  • Compare affiliate links with coupons (important to read) 

What is an affiliate link? 

Affiliate links are links used by affiliates, which can be tracked by merchants. When an affiliate signs up for a brand’s affiliate marketing program, they receive an affiliate link that directs their audience to the product pages. These links contain the affiliate’s unique ID, allowing brands to track sales and thereby award their commissions.

An example of using affiliate links

For instance, consider Wirecutter.com, a website that provides product recommendations. Wirecutter earns commissions through affiliate relationships with retailers. Wirecutter receives a commission when a reader purchases a product from an affiliate retailer using Wirecutter’s affiliate link. Importantly, they only earn if the reader keeps the product—there’s no incentive to promote inferior items.


03 types of affiliate links

Affiliates can earn with any links below. There are various types of web pages that affiliates might want to promote on a single site. Here are the 03 types of affiliate links: 

  • Default affiliate link: This link directs potential customers to the homepage of the shop or website. 
  • Product affiliate links: These links are typically tied to certain products, navigating potential customers to specific product pages. Product links will be available for products in the program that the affiliates are in. 
  • Customized affiliate links: These links, sometimes called shortened links, are personalized to make them suitable for promotion activities. Both affiliates and merchants can customize affiliate links. Custom links aren’t limited to just product or homepage links; they can lead to any page within the store.

Default affiliate links and product links are auto-generated. Meanwhile, creating customized links requires manual actions from affiliates or merchants.


Multiple choices for affiliate links facilitate affiliates to deploy various promotional strategies. 

3-step process to create an affiliate link 

  • Access affiliate profile
  • Add affiliates
  • Create affiliate links

We use BixGrow as the example in this post (because we developed it). However, it is notable to know that though each affiliate app has different User interference, the mechanisms are the same.

Here are the details:    

Step 1: Access affiliate dashboard

Access your affiliate management app or tool, and come to the affiliate dashboard. This is the place where you monitor your affiliates and how well they’re doing. To be more specific, it includes affiliates’ referrals, the program they are in, and the products they are promoting.  

Of course, you must find affiliates first before adding any affiliates to the program.


Step 2: Add your affiliates

Add affiliates to your program, you can add them directly, or invite them to be your partner via emails. 

BixGrow offers extensive networks of potential partners. You can explore this network to identify new collaborators by searching for specific names and market niches. 

Once you’ve found suitable affiliates, there will be an affiliate listing on the management screen. 


Step 3: Send affiliate links to your affiliates

Each affiliate owns auto-generated links that are associated with their affiliate accounts. Those links include default links and affiliate product links. Products can only be limited within the affiliate program’s framework of promotable products. 


Sometimes, default affiliate links will be sent to your affiliate via email. However, it is outdated. With apps like BixGrow, affiliates have full access to affiliate marketing links, furthermore, they are also able to tailor it more personalized. 

BixGrow offers the best price among Shopify affiliate apps!

3-step process to customize an affiliate link 

Customized affiliate links are essential for several reasons. Here are some advantages brought by a custom link: 

  • It provides a personal touch to the linking process 
  • It is useful for specific promotional purposes, such as directing individuals to particular product collections. 

It’s important to emphasize that both merchants and affiliates have the capability to create these customized links. However, this guide will present how to customize links from merchants’ perspectives. Here are the steps included: 

  • Login into affiliate accounts 
  • Choose a destination URL 
  • Custom affiliate link

Step 1: Access affiliate accounts

Open affiliates’ profiles windows from the affiliate management interface. After logging, you will be directed to the affiliate interface. 


This interface helps merchants to work control and assign links to affiliates. In here, you can also see a part named “customize this affiliate link” which allows you to change the name of links. 


Step 2: Choose a destination URL 

To customize a link for your promotion on the brand’s website, simply select the specific page you want to direct your audience to. While product links are automatically generated, there are occasions where you may need to guide your audience to other pages, such as a product line landing page, instead of a single product. 

Though all the product links are auto-generated, you might need to direct the audience to other pages in some cases. E.g you need a product line and navigate them to a landing page of a collection, rather than any single product. 

Also, you can simply choose the default affiliate link to make it more of your vibe. 


Step 3: Custom affiliate link

In this stage, merchants can shorten or customize the affiliate links in any way they want. 

Typically, creating affiliate links based on a fixed formula makes them more manageable. 


How do affiliate links help? 

Affiliate links help track affiliates’ performance through unique identifiers embedded within them. 

When a potential customer clicks on an affiliate link, it redirects them to the merchant’s website, and the embedded tracking code records this action.

This tracking code monitors various metrics such as clicks, conversions, and sales. 

Through affiliate links, both affiliates and merchants can track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Affiliates can see how many clicks their links receive and how many of those clicks result in sales or conversions. Merchants, meanwhile, can track which affiliates are driving the most traffic and generating the most revenue for their business.

Affiliate links are not only vital to calculate affiliate commission, it’s also a must to enable data-driven decision-making, allowing affiliates and merchants to optimize their marketing strategies.  

Related articles: How to Set Up Affiliate Commission Rates [8 Steps]
Related articles: 15+ Actionable Tips to Manage Affiliates!

Affiliate coupons: the perfect alternative for affiliate links? 

Affiliate coupons represent another tracking method in affiliate programs, offering the same commission mechanism. The difference lies in orders being tracked by code instead of affiliate links. Tracking by code means customers often have to take manual actions, such as entering a code, to activate the coupon.


However, could it be the perfect alternative?

Affiliate links have long served as the backbone of online marketing. However, their simplicity—the tedious link form—often lacks the punch of a strong call to action.

Meanwhile, coupons are more intriguing, as they are associated with a reason to act—a percentage off, a limited-time offer, a clear call to action embedded within any coupon.

However, there are drawbacks to coupons:

  • Affiliates must send potential customers a store link alongside.
  • Customers must manually input codes, a process prone to errors and friction.

Due to the drawbacks mentioned above, there are certain cases in which coupons can be prominent over affiliate links. For platforms like YouTube or podcasts, where clickable links are restricted, affiliate coupons offer a lifeline. A stronger call to action: sometimes, a clear discount code can be more enticing to potential customers than just a link. For example, in a YouTube video, instead of telling people “I will put the link below,” YouTubers can simply name a specialized code (optimally memorable).

However, is there a solution that combines the convenience of links with the best of coupons?

With BixGrow, affiliates can apply affiliate links overlapped with automatic discount coupons. To be more specific, there will be a discount coupon (of the same affiliate) applied automatically right after people click on an affiliate link. Therefore, affiliates can simply promote the link associated with discounts without literally posting any discounts.

No manual entries, no redirections—just a seamless, irresistible offer waiting to be claimed.


Can affiliates create their own custom affiliate link? 

Yes, the affiliate can create their affiliate custom links that lead potential customers to any webpage of the store domain. 

Can affiliates earn commissions via coupons and affiliate links if both are applied for the same order? 

No, affiliates commissions are only calculated based on coupons or affiliate links, but not both. 

When a coupon and an affiliate link are applied in the same order, will any of them deactivated? 

None of them will be deactivated. The discount coupon still works when the customer purchases. However, the commission for affiliates will not be the add-up amount of both tracking methods, but the fixed rate of the program that the affiliates are in. 

Do affiliate links make money?

Affiliate links help keep track of which purchases can earn a commission. Basically, when someone shares products they like using these links and those links result in sales, they get a cut of the profits from each sale they help make happen.

I have been working in marketing for four years, passionate about creative writing and copy writing. Love to be alone at watersides, sip coffee, play games or read anything that is thought provoking.


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