So far I’ve given the whys and wherefores of free link tracking. It has one huge disadvantage in that you cannot track (apparently) beyond the landing page. You can of course, get round this by converting every clickable page link to a bit.ly link, but this means that you will have to collate the results from a number of bit.ly pages, possibly affiliate or payment processor sites and then calculate your return of investments (ROI) manually. Not difficult but certainly time consuming and error prone. This is where a paid link tracker service might come in useful.
One such paid service is http://www.hypertracker.com It costs between $15 and $19 a month, depending how much you are willing to spend up front (monthly, 6 monthly or annual subscription) and provides you with the facilities to add an invisible pixel to any page you want tracked – normally your destination pages – where your visitors end up after they have opted in and / or paid for your products. It can also provide you with a single URL which will rotate up to 5 pages so that you can find out which of your squeeze pages is converting the best. Finally, when you create a campaign, you can add in your costs (as a single cost or a pay per click rate) as well as revenues and HyperTracker will show you your overall profit or loss on a given campaign. For a new traffic source you merely set up another campaign with a new URL and cost even if they are for the same squeeze and sales pages, so that you can easily compare different sources like a free WSO, different solo ad providers, banners and even pay per click (PPC) – which has given you the greatest number of opt-ins, sales and in an easy to see red / green text format, which has made you the most profit, both in absolute monetary amounts and relative percentages.
So once you factor in the cost of running HyperTracker (or any other paid tracking service) is it worth it? If you have sales of hundreds of dollar per week or higher, most definitely. You may well be spending hundreds of dollars yourself on various traffic sources, so finding where best to spend your money is really important. Even if you’re only making tens of dollars per day, then knowing where to spend your advertising dollar is essential and one or two days profits for a month of tracking is still pretty vital. It’s only at the total beginner stage where you might consider not using the service, and even then, you will always be wondering if you’ve spent your advertising money in the best way possible. Once you get into link tracking, no matter which method you use, you will never be in any doubt.
Before anyone tells me, I’m aware of a free product called Prosper202 which allows you to set up your own link tracking on your own hosting. I’ve done it and it wasn’t too difficult for me, but it isn’t the sort of thing I’d want to explain as you need to be able to set up a MySQL database and user as well as install the product itself.It also needs its own domain (or sub-domain at least) as it has to be installed in the domain root (not in a sub-directory)
I didn’t actually get round to using it before I moved hosting so I cannot offer any comments on it at the moment. In theory, once set up, it would be a good system – from what I can see of its documentation, and it can do much of what HyperTracker can do. However, it does require some good spec hardware to run on, and if you’re on shared hosting, you might get some emails from your provider warning you about how much processor time and memory you are using. Upset them too often and they could pull the plug on you!