A lot of people are making a living out of affiliate marketing including me, and that has inspired a lot of newbie bloggers to jump into joining affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful way to monetize your blog, if you do it right.
What is Link Cloaking?
Link Cloaking is a method used to shorten the long ugly looking, hard to remember affiliate links to make it more readable and pretty.
The long and not-so-easy to remember affiliate link that looks like this,
will become short and easy to understand.
Why Should You Cloak Your Links?
There are a few reasons why link cloaking is really important.
- You get clean and pretty looking links which are easy to remember/understand.
- You don’t risk leaking your affiliate ID, so others can just replace it with theirs.
- Easier centralized management of all your affiliate links from your WordPress admin. So if you change your affiliate link, central link management reduces the pain of going to every single page to do that.
- You can protect your links from getting hijacked.
- You can hide it from search engines that you are redirecting links to your affiliates.
If there are a few websites that you mention on your website, who do not have an affiliate program even then you should cloak their links to the homepage. The reason being, if they decide to launch a partner program in future, all you need to do is just update the cloaked link and it will automatically update the links wherever you have mentioned them.
How To Cloak Affiliate Links?
Cloaking links with WordPress is really easy. Because we have plugins to do that for us which do not require any coding knowledge.
There are a lot of affiliate marketing plugins available out there but I have hand-picked a few which are good for cloaking affiliate links.
I personally love using this tool. It not only lets you cloak your affiliate links into shorter readable links but also lets you check the analytics (Tracking of monthly and lifetime clicks) on those links right from the Links page.
Easy Affiliate links plugin even lets you easily import and export the links in XML format.
Even though its a lite version it has some amazing features apart from letting you cloak affiliate links. These features include:
- lets you shorten URLS using your own domain (no need to use third-party URL shorteners like bit.ly, tinyurl.com, etc)
- you can track each hit on the URL and get a full, detailed report of where the hit came from, the browser, OS and host.
If you are interested in more features from this plugin, there is a Pretty Link Pro version available with two different pricing options based on your need. With this pro version you can automatically create pretty links, cloak link, auto-tweet links, replace keywords throughout your blog with pretty links and will also get access to members only training and 1-year of premium support.
Link cloaking is one of the main features of this plugin. You can turn your long and ugly looking affiliate links with all those unwanted characters into a pretty looking URL. You can get this feature by downloading the free version.
You can make default settings for your link prefix from the drop-down, add link category, select the redirect type, follow/nofollow links.
There are 3 paid packages available for add-ons like autolinking, amazon affiliate, geolocations and stats. You can check out all the ThirstyAffiliates Add-ons.
Another easy to use affiliate link management plugin to cloak links. You can shorten your links and cloak it.
Easy to generate click analytics reports which can be exported into CSV format. Geolocation feature with which you can redirect visitors in different countries to different destinations. This feature comes in handy when you are targeting country specific affiliates.
I simple plugin to add cloaked affiliate links. You can either add links manually or automatically. There are a lot of other options that you can manage from the “Settings” section of the plugin. It gives you an option to limit the number of links that should be displayed on a page by changing the frequency from “Very Low” which means 1 link will be displayed per page, to “Very High” which will have 5 links on a page.
With this plugin you can extract and display links from sites like Amazon, Clickbank, Shareasale, Ebay, Walmart, Commission Junction, BestBuy and Envato Marketplace.
If all you want a plugin to do is to cloak affiliate links then, this could be the solution. It lets you add links either manually or automatically. It also lets you generate geo targeted cloaked affiliate links.
But the only problem with this plugin is it has not been updated since last 2 years. (So it may/may not work with your version). If you decide to install this plugin, I would love to know in comments below if it worked for you not. Also mention what version of WordPress did you install the plugin on.
These are the 6 Free Affiliate Link Cloaking plugins for WordPress that can be used to easily shorten affiliate links. You can also cloak affiliate links without using any of the WordPress plugin (if you are into programming and wanna DIY).
Let me know in comments below which one out of these plugins are you using. If there is any other plugin that you use, share your opinion.