How a Referral Website works | A Step-by-step Guideline

Simply put, a Referral Website is an Internet Address or Hostname used to get a visitor to another site. For instance, a visitor has just clicked a hyperlink on the referral website, which leads to the website where he is located now.

In other words, the Referral Website is thus the source for the traffic on the current page. When a website is viewed, the visitor’s browser transmits the name of the requested website. And also the origin of the referral link that directed the visitor to it.

Of course, a Referral Website is an important data source when it comes to web analysis. In order to assign traffic to the different sources and to find out where the visitors of a website came from. And thus the terms Affiliate, Affiliates, Affiliation, Referrer, Referrals or Referral Traffic are also common. In addition to the Referral Website.

Background Information for Referral Website

Each time a Web site is accessed, the client and server communicate with each other and transmit various information that is recorded in the log files. This includes, for example, the IP addresssearch terms, and software used to access the site.

For instance, if the browser does not save such data because of security settings, or if the request has been made directly in the URL line of the browser or via a bookmark. The analysis of web sites and traffic in general, pose various problems from a web analysis viewpoint.

On the one hand, the referral website is not always transmitted and, on the other hand, the traffic can come from sources which are not human users (spam, bots, and payment services). In addition, there are often several referrals. And it is not always clear which of them triggered a purchase or a conversion.

This is why the goal of analysis software is to capture the right referral website. In that case, to allow evaluation by webmasters and site operators. However, it may be necessary to make adjustments to the reporting software in order to distinguish between traffic sources.

ReferralCandy for BigCommerce Referral Website
Make use of the ReferralCandy to track the performance of your referral website program. Equally, get an overview of sales and shares, or drill down to details like who referred who. Click on the image to learn more and or get started!

How a Referral Website Works 

Typically, web analytics tools associate a conversion to the website that was viewed last. If the user concludes a purchase in an online shop, the web server of the shop specifies the website which last referred the user to the online shop as the referrer.

However, user surfing and buying behavior is not always linear and they may view shops several times before making a purchase and the shop’s server may receive incorrect or no data under these circumstances. This problem is solved by web analytics tools. For example, by including multiple site visits as part of the statistics and marking or excluding certain referral sites as such.

Tools such as Google Analytics can quite reliably distinguish natural traffic from spam, bots, and payment services when appropriate settings are made (Manage> Report Settings> Filter Bots).

1. Referral exclusion list

At the property level, certain domain names can be removed from the referral traffic with the referral exclusion list. First, however, they must be identified. Under Acquisition,> All Accesses> Referrals, the sessions are presented which are considered as referral traffic by Google Analytics (GA).

These sources are often recognizable because of their 100% bounce rates. This is done under Manage> Tracking Information> Referral Exclusion List. The result is that GA treats all referral sites in such a way that they do not trigger new sessions and no existing sessions are interrupted.

2. Creating a filter

A custom filter can also exclude referrals. The filter type Campaign Source would need to be selected during the creation process to enter the domains that represent referral traffic. It is also possible to use regular expressions to select all known and unwanted referral sources through the text filter.

To this end, all unwanted referral websites would also be identified and then added to GA by RegEx. Regular expressions can be noted in the “Filter Pattern” field. The syntax is:


The pipe (|) is used to distinguish the domains and the slash prevents points from being regarded as regular expressions. No pipe should be used at the end of a regular expression, otherwise, all referrals will be excluded.

3. Customizing of htaccess 

The htaccess file can be used to exclude IP addresses and entire IP ranges. The htaccess file is located in the root directory of the web server and can be edited with a text editor. The syntax is;

order allow,deny allow from all deny from

Any further IP address or hostname is then attached with the command deny from below. The server will subsequently block the corresponding IPs and hostnames, and the analysis software can no longer capture these referrals.

There are other options, which are only mentioned here briefly: exclusion via PHP, NGINX as well as visitor control in Google Tag Manager and, last but not least, the channel groupings in Google Analytics.

Creating a Referral Website Program

You know the power of Word-of-mouth Advertising. In fact, you swear by it. But what marketers usually miss is that word-of-mouth advertising isn’t something that always has to happen completely organically. With a little strategy, you can encourage customers to spread the word.

Online businesses that create referral programs can track their brand advocates, incentivize happy customers to promote their product and increase both customer acquisition and retention. But how do you take an idea like “word of mouth” and turn it into a successful, manageable program? Not to mention, that includes dashboards, analytics, and real-time results?

A Referral Website Program is a great way to find qualified leads in your specific niche. But how do you go about integrating a referral program into a highly sophisticated sales funnel? Below are some of the major Guides.

(a) Decide on Your Offer

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What are they looking for? What kind of incentive will actually get them moving on the possibility of showing off your product to a friend or confidant? Some businesses create contests, while others simply announce that if customers refer a friend, they get a flat payment.

In the world of referral programs, there is no getting without giving. You first have to come up with an offer that works for your brand. When it comes to the retail industry, most customers want deals. Stitch Fix, a subscription-based clothing service, capitalized on this desire by implementing a referral program that would give customers $25 in store credit.

(b) Put the Customer in Charge

If there’s anything you’ve learned in building a business already, it’s this: never make things difficult on the customer. That’s as true for purchases as it should be for referrals. Your goal is to make the process of referring new customers and earning their rewards as easy as possible.

You’ll find some tools for implementing ease-of-use later on in this post, but for now, focus on the few key items.

(c) Social Sharing

This is the digital age, so you want to make sure your program is shareable. If you’ve created a substantial incentive to customers, you’ll give them a reason to spread the word. Make sure that your referral tool makes it easy for them to share. For instance, Stitch Fix makes it easy for customers to refer their friends by including a Social Sharing Plugin or Widget right in the Dashboard.

(d) Seamless integration

The fewer hoops your customer has to jump through, the better. Even the most loyal of customers won’t want to participate if they sign up for your referral program and then find out there are three more steps they have to complete before collecting their referral reward.

(e) Promote Your Referral Website Program

It’s not enough to create a program. Like the product itself, you have to get the word out before you can expect anyone to participate. One of the most common ways to do this is through triggered or time-based email campaigns.

A few days after someone makes a purchase, you can encourage them to share a referral link to give them and a friend further discounts.

Examples of Referral Website Programs Online

1. Compelling Offers from Budsies Referral Website

Budsies creates customized stuffed animals for kids. Who can go wrong recommending that to a friend? Even though the product may naturally generate referrals, Alex Furmansky, Founder and CEO, wants to take advantage of the excitement around the product.

HubSpot Referral Website Programs
Marketing, sales, and service software that helps your business grow without compromise. Because “good for the business” should also mean “good for the customer.” Click the image to learn more!

2. HubSpot’s “Refer-a-Dev” Page

Traditionally, companies use referral programs to encourage customers to refer to products and services. But HubSpot doesn’t just apply a referral program to pure marketing purposes. Instead, they use it to refer to employees.

HubSpot has seen explosive growth in the past few years, and in 2013, they needed software developers to support their efforts. So, the company extended its recruitment efforts by creating a referral program that offered $10,000 to any employee who referred to a developer.

Then again, $10,000 is a big, round number that is not only memorable but inspires people to work for the cause. The offer got people talking about HubSpot, thereby increasing buzz and overall visibility.

3. Dollar Shave Club’s Integrated Program

Everybody and their well-groomed grandpa use Dollar Shave Club, and for good reason: they know how to promote themselves.

Dollar Shave Club goes out of their way to remind customers that referrals are a possibility, visually embedding their program into the user dashboard. Dollar Shave Club’s simple and intuitive setup makes signing up for the referral program a breeze.

If participating in the referral program isn’t simple and intuitive, users won’t do it. Dollar Shave Club uses FriendBuy to make it easy as pie to join the program.

Relevance to Referral Website Analysis

It is of great importance especially in e-commerce to be able to record initial referral websites and to exclude unwanted referrals such as spam or bots. The reason is that these referrals can affect the sales data in the reports.

Granted, all of this ambition sounds very complicated, particularly if you’re not a web developer and have no talent for online marketing. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that already exist on the market for taking the complicated and making it intuitive:

  • – One of the most popular and well-reviewed tools for referral programs online, Ambassador makes enrolling, tracking, and rewarding all easy to manage from a single, simple dashboard. You’ll particularly like the intuitive analytics that shows you exactly where you’re having the most success.
  • Referral Rock – Here you can create, track, and expand upon referral programs to boost word-of-mouth sales. There are plenty of options here, including creating referral rewards, customizing the “friend offer,” and links to help you share information about your referral program on social media.
  • – If you’re looking for more social media engagement, WishPond helps you create landing pages, contests, promotions, and automation for leading platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  • – Easy, simple, and intuitive—the exact kind of program you want if your focus is to make the process as navigable for your customer as possible.

Resourceful References;

  1. The jmexclusives Team: Lead Marketing Promotions and Conversions Campaign Strategies
  2. Referral Website: Ryte Wiki
  3. Weblinks: How To Get Full Referral & Content URLs From Google Analytics
  4. Online Affiliation Guides: Affiliate Marketing Programs Beginners Guide
  5. Monetization Guide: YouTube Channel Account
  6. Charles NGO: What Is Affiliate Marketing?
  7. The Next Web: 10 Ways to Monetize your Mobile App
To Join Our Team:

Copyrights © 2019 | jmexclusives

Scroll to Top