How to Mask Affiliate Links – With a WordPress Plugin

Provide your visitors with a better user experience: Mask those horrible looking affiliate links by creating more visually appealing ones with Pretty Link Lite.

A lot of people are under the illusion that Pretty Link Lite cloaks the link to hide it, this is simply false. Pretty Link creators describe their service as masking, changing the link from a spammy appearance into a pretty link.

How to Mask Affiliate Links

This post is purely about how to mask affiliate links and not cloak them. If your intentions are to trick an audience by cloaking, then Pretty Link Pro may suffice. Believe me, Google and Social Media aren’t daft, they will know.

Enhance Your Users Experience

The reason I use Pretty Link Lite is to enhance my visitors experience and track my performance. When you hover over a link you are not presented with a load of spammy looking letters and numbers.

Pretty Link allows you to change the link into readable text to explain what you are promoting, creating a desirable user experience for your guests. It simply creates an extension to your domain name just like a page or post is represented.

Here’s some examples of a typical affiliate link. The long version, short version and how Pretty Link allows the alteration into a readable text version that doesn’t look like it associates with any spam procedures.


Versions of Affiliate Links


A lot of Associate marketers like Amazon have changed their long links into a shortened version as shown above to provide a better environment for web users.

There are plenty of shortening services including Google which make it possible for anyone to shorten links but it still looks unattractive, better to use the Pretty Link version I think.

The Pretty link’s structure a blogger creates is simply an extension to the domain name to which the Author chooses the wording for the extension.

Be Careful – Search Engines Know!

Search Engines and Social Media have become very strict regarding the use of affiliate links, you can end up getting deranked by Google if you overuse them.

It’s always advisable to have a central point on a website that all promotional posts lead to via internal links to where affiliate links are situated. Google likes interlinking in websites so bear in mind if every page consists of them.

Social Media is now following

Pinterest used to be like Spam City which became annoying for many users. Thinking you were heading off to webpage to read an informative post regarding a subject, visitors were directed to an online store. They have now banned affiliate links making Pinterest far superior, other Social Media platforms are now following.

A website is the only way forward for marketing online, there’s no doubt about it. To have visitors entering into a website and choosing to follow your affiliate link is the legitimate way forward.

How to Install Pretty Link Lite

  • Head over to your WordPress back office
  • Select Plugins
  • Add New
  • Type in the Search Bar – Pretty Link Lite

You will be presented with the Pretty Link Lite plugin which looks like this:

Pretty Link Lite Plugin

  • To activate the Plugin, click install.
  • Pretty Link will be presented in the left WordPress menu:

Pretty Link Installed

How to add a New Link

  • Click on Pretty Link in the menu
  • Select Add New Link

This is where Pretty Link allows a new affiliate link to be masked.

You are automatically presented with a shortened code within the Pretty Link* slug. A slug is the text what follows a domain name.

Add new link

  • Copy your chosen Affiliate Link from your Associate Program and paste it into the Target URL* box
  • Delete the automatic shortened code (slug) and write your chosen text in the box.

I have written in the text box about-me as this text pertains to where visitors will be taken, my profile page within my Associate Program. If you are promoting a product write in the Product Name or Product Number. The original affiliate link will still show up in the address bar when a user is taken to the webpage.

You cannot have spaces as this is a slug. Separate words with a dash

  • Choose a title for your campaign link. I usually make my title the same as the slug.

Fill in your affiliate link

Now the bottom section:

  • Make a Group name if you wish to store certain links together
  • Tick the ‘No Follow this link’ box if you’re adding an affiliate link
  • Tick the box ‘Track Hits On This List’ – You can monitor how many clicks you receive for each created link
  • Click Create when finished

If you are presented with an Error Message you may have duplicated a link. All created slugs have to be unique.

Also, check you haven’t left any spaces in the Pretty Link* slug box

The beauty of Pretty Link

If you have many of the same affiliate links throughout your website and the link has to be changed, perhaps you have found a cheaper version of a product on Amazon for instance, you just change the link in Pretty Link’s Target URL box and that will update all your links in one go. One heck of a time saving job, much better than having to find every page to change every link independently.

For example:

I will now change my about-me link which is set-up to take visitors to my Associate’s Profile page, to the About Me page on my website:

  • Click Pretty Link to present your entire library of created links
  • Hover over the Title and select Edit
  • In the Target URL box – Delete the old link, copy and paste the new one
  • Click Update and you’re done

Update an affiliate link

Inserting Pretty Links into your WordPress Blog

  • Click Pretty Link in the left hand menu in WordPress

Copy the new link

  • Copy the link you have created
  • Paste into the highlighted words or image in your WordPress blog post and perform the same linking method as you would do for any internal linking or linking to any webpage.

Here’s my affiliate link

For this example I have changed the Target URL from my profile page in my Associate Program to the About Me page on this website.

I have also altered the slug to about-simon for demonstration purposes.

If you click the highlighted text, instead of being taken to my Associate’s Profile page you will now be taken to my About Me page on this website.

Changing Affiliate Links

Notice in the address bar: It reads my website address followed by /aboutme. This is the same for affiliate links. Your original link / Affiliate link will be on view in the address bar when visitors enter the webpage to where you are sending them.

Now The Exciting part

Click Pretty Link in the Back Office menu, you are presented with your library of created links.

By hovering a mouse over a created title you are presented with Edit, where a Target URL can be edited. Delete, Reset, Tweet and Email which are self explanatory and Hits which I’ll explain in a sec.

To the right you are presented with how many Hits your Affiliate link has received (including your personal clicks) followed by / how many Unique Hits, this is how many visitors have clicked your link.

Library of Created Links

Click Hits and you are presented with a graph. This visual representation shows received clicks over a month’s period:

Hits a created link has received

Below the graph shows:

  • IP Address the clicks came from
  • Timestamp
  • Target URL, you created
  • Referrer
  • Link

This information allows you to monitor which post the clicks came from and when the process took place.

Monitor your progress

I find this so beneficial to monitor my progress when creating links in Social Media. These Hits allow you to monitor: How you have worded the information and presented it to your audience before they click on your link.

This has produced amazing results for myself in the way visitors bite. Some posts which I would have considered popular have not had much impact, whereas sometimes I produce what I would consider a slow results post have produced unbelievable results.

A ‘Pretty Link Lite’ Tutorial by Wealthy Affiliate

Pretty Link Lite Tutorial


That concludes Pretty Link Lite, a plugin that masks an affiliate link creating a more user friendly appearance enabling the author to track their progress and monitor results shown in the Hits page.

If you would like to Create a Website around your Passion and Earn Revenue through Affiliate Marketing, Getting Started explains the Free Starter package Wealthy Affiliate have designed for anyone eager to get rolling online and learn these amazing techniques from the experts in this field.

This video above is part of Wealthy Affiliate’s training course. This will give an idea of how thorough yet straightforward their training approach is.

100% Legitimate


SimonThanks for reading.

If you have any questions, please drop them in the Comments section below.

Thanks again,

Simon.


 

 

4 Comments

  1. Hy Simon, thank you very much for this usefull tool. i really enjoyed your post. i can assure you that this post brings a very high value for everybody who is interested in the affiliate business. I wish you a great success and looking forward to read more about your business evaluation.

    • Hi Zsolt,
      Yeah, The Pretty Link does what it says: Creates a pretty link instead of those letters and numbers spread into a line, affiliate links represent.

      The pretty link makes your affiliate links look like an extension to your website as it has your website name followed by what name you give the extension.

      I use it all the time I create an affiliate link, it’s very easy to do as described but having the value of creating a better user experience for visitors.

      A pretty link only masks affiliate links, your affiliate link will still show up in the address bar when taken to the page they are linking to.

      Thanks again Zsolt for visiting,
      Simon.

  2. rebecca cosmidou

    Hi, Simon!
    An interesting plugin about how to mask an affiliate link! Your review is great and your instructions too! I just want to ask one question; is it free or i have to go premium after a week or something? Because i find it attractive to have shorten and masked pretty links!
    Best wishes,
    Rebecca!

    • Simon Keighley

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for reading and posting a comment.

      The Pretty Link Plugin is free to use to mask your affiliate links but if you want to hide them you have to purchase the plugin.

      As a member of Wealthy Affiliate we are only taught the legitimate way to run a website and this plugin creates a better use experience as visitors aren’t represented with an awful looking string of letters and numbers, rather a pretty link that looks like an extension to your website.

      As Wealthy Affiliate explain, the likes of Google know you are masking and they are in favour of creating a better user experience yet they will know if you are hiding your links and you have to question why are you? Google certainly will.

      So it’s free to use to mask without requiring to go premium.

      Thanks again Rebecca,

      Simon.

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