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Essential Plugins: GoCodes

by Ben Cook on August 5, 2009

The easiest way for a plugin to make it’s way onto the list of Essential Plugins for Your WordPress Toolbox is for it to save users time, or help them earn more money.

GoCodes as it turns out, does both.

So, it should come as no surprise that it’s up next in our continuing series profiling the most useful WordPress plugins available.

Description & Benefits

Believe it or not, GoCodes’ functionality is fairly simple and straightforward. It allows you to quickly and easily create redirect or shortcut URLs from within your WordPress dashboard.

And when I say quick, I mean quick. You can literally create a shortcut url in a matter of seconds.

For a comparison (and so you’ll appreciate just how much time this plugin will save you) check out this excerpt from a post I wrote two years ago, explaining how to create jump pages.

Here’s an example of one of my affiliate jump pages:
<html>
<head>
<insert tracking scripts here>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Language” content=”en-us”>
<title>Sign Up with Text Link Ads</title>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
<script>window.location=”affiliate url“;</script>
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; url=”affiliate url“>
</head>
<body>
<p align=”center”>You will be taken to the correct page shortly.
<br>If this page does not load after 5 seconds, please
<a href=”affiliate url“>click here</a>.</p>
</body>
</html>

Every time I wanted to create a new jump page, I had to copy this code, insert the URLs into the correct spot, and upload the file to my server.

With GoCodes, I simply enter the URL I want to use as a shortcut, and the destination URL. That’s it.

Installation

If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and want to install GoCodes the “old fashioned” way, you can download the plugin and then upload the entire folder into your Plugins directory.

Or, you can take advantage of the quick and easy installation option WordPress now provides for most plugins. In the left hand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard, expand the Plugins drop down menu, and click Add New. Search for GoCodes and click the little blue “Install” link.

gocodes

Similar Plugins

There are a few other plugins such as Simple Link Cloaker or Affiliate Link Cloaker that have a similar functionality, but I haven’t found anything that really measures up.

The GoCodes interface is very intuitive and keeps all your shortcut URLs organized in one easy to manage location. Plus the redirects it creates are SEO friendly 301 redirects which means you won’t lose any “link juice” if create GoCodes for your internal pages.

Another often overlooked feature the plugin offers is click tracking. For each shortcut URL you create, GoCodes will track how many times links to that URL are clicked which can come in very handy when trying to track individual link performance.

And, if those two items weren’t enough to convince you, it was created by Matt Harzewski aka @redwall_hp who is active in the WordPress community and Twitter. If you’ve ever grown attached to a plugin, only to have the creator abandon the project, you know what kind of difference having an involved plugin author can make.

Recommended Use

The most popular use of GoCodes is undoubtedly masking affiliate links. Instead of having a long and ugly URL like http://www.diythemes.com/thesis/get-thesis?a_aid=skitzzo&a_bid=88100db6 I can instead use http://wpblogger.com/recommend/thesis.

This not only makes the link appear cleaner, it also improves the sense of trust by using the word recommend.

And, as far as Google and the other search engines are concerned, the link is simply pointing to another page on my site. While Google doesn’t necessarily have anything against affiliate links specifically, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

And if, at any time, I should need to change the destination URL, I don’t have to scrounge around looking for each and every affiliate link I’ve created on the site. I simply change the destination URL in the GoCodes admin panel and I’m good to go!

When partnered with SEO Smart Links, you can instantly create loads of nice clean looking affiliate links targeting a URL you can change on a moment’s notice.

Of course, these clean URLs can be used for linking to internal pages as well, perhaps on social sites such as Twitter. Instead of having to post the full, long URL of a post, you can use GoCodes as a sort of URL shortener as well.

If In Doubt, Try It

While this certainly is not an exhaustive list of the possible uses of GoCodes, I would hope by now you see how useful this single plugin can be. As you can tell, I’m a pretty big fan.

You'll love it, I guarantee it!

You'll love it, I guarantee it!

The plugin is free to use, and better yet, I’ll back it with my 100% satisfaction guarantee it!

Give it a try and see for yourself what you think. If its as useful for you as it is for me, come tell me how right I was and feed my ego. If you absolutely hate it, let me know why and I’ll double your money back! (Did I mention it’s free?)

And, if you have any other creative uses for GoCodes, I’d love to hear those as well. As always, I value your feedback.

Original toolbox image source: Off beat Mum, Guaranteed image source: jparis

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

redwall_hp August 12, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for the positive review.

If you have any suggestions for the plugin, be sure to let me know.

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