Affiliate links usually look ugly, complex and strange to visitors because of their nature, to overcome these problems, most people cloak their links. In this post, I will show you how easy to cloak links on your WordPress site to make them shorter, more beautiful and even trackable with easy to use plugins.
Before moving on with some link cloaking plugins for WordPress, let’s find out what are the advantages of using cloaked links:
- Shorter links
- Some plugins allow you track the clicks, so you can compare the number of clicks the vendor reports, see how an offer performing
- No more strange looking links, or links containing words like “sale” or “ads”
- Hide affiliate ID, username, tracking code etc.
- Easy to understand, i.e. “domainname/go/offername”
- Some plugins allow you to Geo-target your visitors
- Changing the target URL from a dashboard, no more need to edit every page or post
- SEO benefits
I must note that I see many websites that cloak every affiliate link. In my opinion, there is no need to use it if the link points to a website that is trusted and well known, such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, or a known hosting company. Users tend to click links they are familiar with and trust. The only exception to this is when the page of your offer changes frequently and you are referring to that offer in many pages, using a WordPress link cloaking plugin will help you change all links at once.
Plugins to Cloak Your Affiliate Links in WordPress
Here are some free WordPress link cloaking plugins that are easy to use and popular.
- Pretty Link Lite: Built-in analytics, easy to use, group your links in categories, add nofollow tag to links.
- ThirstyAffiliates: Geo-targeting, auto link selected keywords to affiliate links in posts, built-in statistics.
- Easy Affiliate Links: Easy interface, tracking of monthly and lifetime clicks, import and export options.
Basic usage of all cloaking plugins is similar, enter the target URL, enter the short form that your visitors see and hit create or generate link button. While you are free to use any type of short address, making them look meaningful is the best practice. Let your visitors they are leaving your websites by using formats like; “yourdomainname/go/xyzwebsite” or “yourdomainname/out/greatoffer”. After setting or updating a link cloaking plugin on WordPress create a link and check if everything is working fine, the link does not need to be an affiliate link, just point it to any other domain.