If you're new to affiliate marketing there are chances that you may not have even heard of this term - link cloaking.
And if you're an affiliate marketer, there are chances that you are already cloaking your affiliate links on your site. Or if you're not cloaking your links, you're making a big affiliate marketing mistake you must avoid.
In this article you will learn how to cloak affiliate links on your website with a WordPress plugin.
There plugins can help you to cloak affiliate links you have put in your website for promoting affiliate products.
These plugins comes with multiple features like managing your affiliate links, categorize your links, adding no follow tag and more.
Let's get started.
What is Link Cloaking?
When you join an affiliate program, you are provided with affiliate links containing your unique affiliate id. These affiliate links are usually long and ugly to look. A traditional affiliate link will look like this-
A link cloaker plugin can help you convert the above ugly looking link to something more brandable. A branded link also results in higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
The long affiliate link given in the above example can be shorten by using link cloaking method to make it look like a branded URL as shown below-
Thus, Link Cloaking (also known as link masking) is a technique used by affiliate marketers for shortening long affiliate links. Now, let's see below why you as an affiliate marketer should start using this technique to cloak affiliate links.
Benefits of Cloaking Affiliate Links
- Create Branded Links. Link cloaking shortens the affiliate link and the link looks more branded to your user. Users are now more likely to click on this branded URL instead of long affiliate link thereby increasing the click-through rate (CTR).
- Easily Manage Links. Now you can easily manage all your affiliate links. You only have to change the link in one place, and it will be automatically modified everywhere.
- Email Marketing. If you actively promote your affiliate campaign by sending emails to your users then it would be wise to cloak your affiliate link in order to land your mails in inbox folder instead of spam folder.
- Track Affiliate Links. These plugins will help you to track all the clicks to your affiliate links. You can easily see which posts, pages, or parts of your blog’s layout are most effective in driving the affiliate sales.
- Automatically Add No Follow Attributes. With the help of these plugins you easily add the rel=nofollow attribute without requiring you to add it manually.
- Preserve Affiliate Commission. By using link cloaking it becomes difficult for anyone to use malware to replace your unique affiliate link. Thus, you preserve your commission. However, there is very remote chance that anyone can actually replace your affiliate link and steal your commission.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links with WordPress Plugins?
Cloaking links or masking links, whatever it may be called, is very straightforward using a WordPress plugin. Below I have covered some of the most popular link cloaking plugins that works almost similar.
Let's see how to cloak links using Pretty Links. Here are the main steps you need to follow to cloak affiliate links on your website:
- Log in to your WordPress Dashboard
- Go to Pretty Links and select New
- Add the Title for your affiliate link (It could be anything related to the affiliate program you're promoting)
- In this step, please check the Redirection type. For affiliate links, it should be set as 301 (Permanent)
- Now enter your original affiliate link under the Target URL option.
- Under the Pretty Links option, enter your short/clean URL. Taking the affiliate link as entered in Step 5, we can enter something like - recommends/xyzcreditcard
Please note that the above steps hold true for whichever link cloaking plugin you may use.
Now let's see what are the best WordPress plugins available that can help to cloak affiliate links.
Pretty Links is one of the most popular and most used link cloaker plugin. It is available as a both free and premium plugin.
On this blog, Technicalwall.com, I am promoting lots of affiliate program. Managing all the links manually can be pretty hard and time-consuming. To save myself from managing all the affiliate links manually, I am using Pretty Links plugin to cloak them. It has helped me to convert these long and ugly affiliate links into short, clean, brandable and memorable links.
- Mask affiliate links into something more memorable and short
- Automatically add no-follow attribute
- Supports 301, 302 and 307 redirection
- Track and manage all affiliate links from a single place (Dashboard)
- Add target="_blank" attribute to all links automatically
To begin with you can install the free plugin by Pretty Links from your WordPress Dashboard. Just go to Install Plugins >> New. Now search for the term - Pretty Links. Click on the Install button and click on the Activate button when the installation is completed.
To cloak a new affiliate link, go to Pretty Links >> New.
To learn more about on how to cloak affiliate links using Pretty Links and its advanced features, check out this article - Pretty Links Review.
Pretty Links is one of the best link management plugin for affiliate marketers. It also has a free version that you can download from the WordPress.org site. Get started with Pretty Links today.
Special Offer: For limited time, readers of Technicalwall.com will get $50 off on the premium Beginner Plan by Pretty Links.
ThirstyAffiliates Affiliate Link Manager is another very popular freemium WordPress plugin that allows you to easily cloak your affiliate links.
This plugin creates a new short-link redirect to your long ugly affiliate link by making a pretty link with your own website URL.
You can group your affiliate links into hierarchical categories. You can even add click tracking to your links to track every click. With this plugin you can easily insert affiliate links in posts, pages and even comments.
- Cloak your affiliate link into short and brandable link
- Group your affiliate links into hierarchical categories
- Manage your links from single place
- Choose from 301 (default), 302 or 307 redirects, all of which are safe link redirects
- Option to add images and banners to your affiliate links
- Track clicks to your affiliate link
Similar to Pretty Links, you can install the ThirstyAffiliates free plugin from the WordPress Dashboard. This plugin also has a PRO version with many more advanced features than the free version.
To know more about ThirstyAffiliates, visit the link given below.
3. Easy Affiliate Links
Easy Affiliate Links is the third link cloaker plugin in our list. It is also available as a free and premium plugin. Free plugin can be download from the WordPress repository or from WordPress.org.
If you want to try the premium plugin, you can get it from here.
The free version allows you to manage and cloak all your affiliate links. Plus, you can also assign categories to your links, track monthly and lifetime clicks, import affiliate links from XML and CSV and export your links to XML.
- The plugin is compatible with both the Classic Editor and new Gutenberg Block Editor
- Supports regular links or affiliate HTML code
- Easily create shortlinks to optionally cloak your affiliate links
- Add UGC and Sponsored attributes for your links
- Add Automatic text disclaimer for your affiliate links
- Manage your affiliate links in different categories
- Track monthly and lifetime click on your affiliate links
It also has a premium version which provides valuable insights with click statistics and charts, and automatic broken links checker.
To know more about Easy Affiliate Links, visit the link given below.
You can use any of the above plugins to cloak your affiliate links. If affiliate marketing is your sole bread and butter it is highly recommended to use these tools to boost your affiliate commissions.
One more suggestion is that as a best practice you must put an affiliate disclosure link in your site. Essentially, whenever an affiliate link is used on your website that results in a commission, you must disclose this information to site visitors. It ensure fair business practices and provide transparency to your site's readers.
I hope that now you know how to cloak affiliate links on your website with WordPress plugins.
If you have any question or suggestion please comment below.
Also, if you are using any other method or plugins to cloak affiliate link please share in the comment box.
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