In multiple experiments conducted by companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. It's been undeniably proven that a slow user experience and website reduces traffic, stifles engagement and ultimately costs you money. For instance, Amazon reported that every 100ms of latency (delay) cost them 1% in sales. That's a 10% loss in sales for every second of latency.
As an affiliate, you don't always have full control of every server in the path to conversion, so it's vitally important to optimize the parts that you do control, namely your server for redirects, and your landing pages.
Cloaking Is Not Your FriendDid you know that cloaking your redirects could add multiple seconds to your load time and chew into your profits? If at all possible turn off cloaking.
People have made 15-20% more by turning off cloaking, so this is an option seriously worth considering. If you are sending clicks from a traffic source to your landing page, there is absolutely no reason to cloak your redirect links. Same goes for if your network has reviewed your landing page and knows the page you are sending traffic to.
If turning off cloaking is still not an option, I know there are some direct linkers out there, your second best bet is to test out performance of your links using SSL with cloaking turned off. The reason this works is because when going from https->http referer information is wiped out by all broswers. It's a security feature built into the http specifications, and you can use this to your advantage.
However, due to the way https works, the https protocol is a bit slower than http. Even with this factored in, many people experience better results using SSL for cloaking. However, it's always important to test before deploying this on your server for live campaigns.
One important thing to watch our for on SSL certificates is the browser ubiquity. This is basically a fancy way to indicate the percentage of browsers that will trust and accept the SSl cert without popping up a scary looking, conversion destroying, error message. Look for 99% or higher, some companies go as high as 99.3%. In my research I didn't see any numbers over 99.3%. Although this isn't always true, just assume that a super cheap or free SSL cert will will have a low browser ubiquity, so it's best to stay away from them. Update: I got a few questions from some of our users about implementing this tip and wanted to clarify. For this to work, you need to have the uncloaked redirect link on an https landing page. Adding an https to a direct link will pass the referrer.
Save Your CacheUse a caching system like memcached to reduce the load on your database. Prosper202 has built in support for memcached. So if your host supports it, you should consider turning it on. Pulling data from memory is multiple times faster than pulling data from a database.
Beef Up Your HardwareDon't skimp on your server. We did a whole post on this. So not much to say on this. If you are just starting out, you don't need to get a super powerful server, but always keep in mind that once you start driving tens of thousands of clicks a day, a powerful and fast server becomes a necessity.
When running campaigns traffic every second counts, but this becomes even more important with PPV we users click away very quickly. The more people view your entire landing page, the greater your chances are to generate a sale. Cutting a few seconds of the load time of your lading page, could result in the extra conversions that take a campaign from losing money to break-even, and from break-even to profitability.
Son, Use A CDNA Content Distribution Network (CDN), moves your site's assets such as the css, images, audio and video closer to where you visitor is. You may not have known this till now, but if you are on the west coast and access a server on the east coast, the lag and latency is higher than accessing the same content on a server located on the west coast. This is amplified even more when you start to deal with international traffic.
Depending on how you setup your CDN, one other added benefit is that, you now have multiple points of failure for your landing pages. You are no longer hosting your site on one server. If one of them goes down, your visitors can automatically get routed to the nearest available server.
There are a lot of other things you can do to speed up your site, but if you take a look at this list of 14 rules for faster loading websites, you may get overwhelmed. Thankfully, the kind and loving engineers at google have an Apache Module called mod_pagespeed that takes care of most of the stuff on the list for you.