Do you want to learn how to cloak affiliate links in WordPress?
Affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to earn passive income from your website. Whether it’s your main business or a nice way to create profits on the side, affiliate marketing is a great option for people who love creating and maintaining a niche site.
But one of the most common problems new affiliate marketers run into is with their links: they’re long, ugly, and unsecure.
So, today, we’re going to teach you how to cloak affiliate links in WordPress. Then, we’ll show you a few ways you can boost affiliate sales across your site.
First, though, let’s get clear on why you should cloak your affiliate links in the first place.
What Is Link Cloaking? (& Why Do It?)
Link cloaking is a common practice among affiliate marketers where they take a link provided by an affiliate partner and modify that link to be shorter and more secure.
So rather than showing your users a link like this:
You show them one that looks like this:
And there are several reasons why it’s in an affiliate marketer’s best interest for doing so:
- Build Trust in Your Links: By keeping your company’s name in the affiliate link, you make the external link appear more credible. As a result, more of YOUR audience is likely to click them (since they already know and trust your brand).
- Secure Your Links: New affiliates are often unaware of something called “stealware,” a malicious software designed to hijack your affiliate sales. It does this through taking your affiliate ID and replacing it for another. By cloaking your affiliate link, you can prevent this from happening.
- Manage Your Links: Many link cloaking services are also used to manage affiliate links. That way, if an affiliate ever changes their product links, you don’t have to manually change them all throughout your website.
And now that we know what link cloaking is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at 3 WordPress plugins that you can use to start cloaking links today.
Then we’ll dive into our step-by-step tutorial on how to cloak affiliate links in WordPress.
3 Plugins to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress
1. Pretty Links Pro
Pretty Links is another popular solution for managing and cloaking affiliate links in WordPress. This plugin is easy to install, and you’ll be adding new affiliate links to your site’s content in minutes.
With Pretty Links, you can manage your social links, redirects, and affiliate links to stay organized and improve user experience (UX) across your site.
Plus, it comes with all the link management features you’d want from an affiliate plugin, including:
- Easy to use dashboard
- Traditional, server-side redirects for links
- Automated content marketing optimization
- Twitter integrations for affiliate-related tweets
- Great support staff
- And much more…
If you’re looking for one plugin to keep track of your site’s affiliate links, Pretty Links can be one of your best bets.
Price: Paid plans start at $49/year for one site.
ThirstyAffiliates is one of your best bets when it comes to cloaking affiliate links in WordPress. It allows you to quickly and easily organize, cloak, and manage your links directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Plus, you can place affiliate links automatically for keywords throughout your site’s pages and posts.
From there, you have other features that allow you to:
- Automatically make links “nofollow” for SEO
- A/B test your affiliate offers
- Get detailed analytics on all your sales
- Redirect users based on geographic location
- Schedule your affiliate links
- And so much more…
With ThirstyAffiliates, you can create a highly organized system for your affiliate links to boost your overall profits.
Price: Paid plans start at $49/year for a single site.
3. Easy Affiliate Links
Easy Affiliate Links is a free WordPress plugin that you can use to start cloaking your affiliate links today. As you may expect, it’s more limited than the other two plugins we covered on this list.
But if you’re just starting out or don’t do much affiliate marketing, this can be an excellent free option.
Easy Affiliate Links comes with some great features, such as:
- Use regular links or an affiliate HTML code
- Create short links to cloak your affiliate links
- Import links from XML or CVS files
- Add automatic text disclaimer so users know it’s an affiliate link
- Track monthly and lifetime click counts
- And more…
Again, if you don’t need all the bells and whistles from premium affiliate link management plugins, then Easy Affiliate Links is an excellent free alternative.
Check out Easy Affiliate Links today!
Now that we’ve seen a few tools you can use to cloak affiliate links in WordPress, let’s dive into our step-by-step tutorial using Pretty Links.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress (3 Steps)
Step 1) Download Pretty Links
First, you’ll need to purchase, download, and install the Pretty Links plugin. You can do this the same way you’ve downloaded any other plugin on your WordPress site.
For more help, check out this in-depth guide on how to install a WordPress plugin (3 methods).
Then, you’re ready to get started.
Step 2) Add New Link from WordPress
Go to your WordPress dashboard and locate the Pretty Links plugin. Then click Add New Link.
You’ll see a dashboard where you need to enter the following information:
- Target URL
- Pretty Link
- Title (optional)
- Notes (optional)
First, select which type of redirect you want. You can choose between:
- Pretty Bar
- And more…
For this tutorial, select Cloaked:
Now enter your affiliate link in the Target URL fieldbox:
And finally, enter the URL slug that you’d like to be your cloaked link:
You can make other configurations under Advanced Options to:
- Add your link to a group
- Make your link a “nofollow”
- Track your links
- And more…
Finally, if you have a Pro plan, you can go to Pro Options which lets you:
- Add an expiration for your cloaked links
- Auto-replace keywords with your link
- Replace existing URLs with your cloaked link
- And more…
When you’ve configured your Pretty Link, you’re ready to get your cloaked link.
Step 3) Locate and Use Your Cloaked Link
This last step is the easiest. That’s because your cloaked link has already been generated!
When you’re in the main menu of your Pretty Links dashboard in WordPress, you’ll see a list of your affiliate links.
Included in that list is the field box Cloaked URL where you can find your cloaked link:
And that’s it! You’ve now cloaked your affiliate link in WordPress in just 3 easy steps.
But generating the link is only half the battle. The other half is getting people to actually click that link. For that, you’ll need some strategies for boosting affiliate sales across your site.
Let’s look at 3 ways you can get more sales using OptinMonster.
How to Boost Affiliate Sales
For each of the methods listed below, we’ll be using OptinMonster:
OptinMonster is hands down the world’s #1 tool for getting more conversions on your site, including affiliate sales.
That’s because OptinMonster allows you to quickly build professional-looking and high-converting “optin campaigns.” These campaigns can be in the form of a popup, floating bar, fullscreen welcome mat, and much more.
Each of these campaigns has a powerful call to action that entices customers to click. When they do, you can lead your site’s traffic to your affiliate links to get more sales.
Plus, OptinMonster comes with advanced targeting options to make sure you’re showing the right campaign to the right people at just the right time in their customer journey.
This means you’ll show affiliate links to people who have shown an interest in the product you’re promoting. As a result of this personalization, you’ll get higher conversions and, again, more sales.
And the best part is that there’s more than one strategy for using OptinMonster to boost affiliate clicks. Here are the top 3 that we’ve seen work for our customers.
1. Grow Your Email List
You’ve likely heard about OptinMonster as a tool to grow your email list. While it does much more than just that, it’s the most effective tool for growing your list fast.
In fact, blogger Adam Enfroy was able to grow over 11,000 subscribers in just 1 year. Now, he uses that blog to earn over $80,000 per month, much of which is through affiliate sales.
How does it work? With OptinMonster, you can build targeted campaigns to capture your site’s email addresses. Here’s an example of what this campaign might look like:
To make this even more effective, you should create a lead magnet to offer your target audience.
By providing them with something of value first, you’re more likely to get them to subscribe to your site.
Then, once they’re on your list, you can create an automated email series to nurture the relationship. In a few of your emails, you can promote affiliate links in 1 of 2 ways:
- Directly in the email copy
- With a redirect to your content that holds the affiliate link
If you’re just starting out, you should likely go with option #2. That’s because there are certain rules with email marketing and promoting affiliate links.
Most email service providers (ESPs) discourage promoting affiliate links, and you could get penalized for doing so the wrong way. Then your emails will end up in your audience’s SPAM folder rather than in their inbox where they belong.
Instead, you could simply write an email letting your audience know about a new page or post you’ve put out. When they click through to your content, they can find and use your affiliate links.
But by having a robust email list, you always have thousands of readers ready to click on your affiliate links whenever you’re ready to publish the content.
2. Redirect to High-Converting Content
Another method for using OptinMonster to boost affiliate sales is to create campaigns that redirect users to high converting posts.
Not only is this a great way to improving affiliate sales, but it’s also an excellent strategy for increasing pageviews (which is awesome for SEO).
Both ThirstyAffiliates and Pretty Links give you detailed analytics about which links have been clicked and where your sales are coming from.
That means you can see which pages or posts on your website are generating the most affiliate sales. Then, you can compare this with which posts on your site gets the most traffic.
Finally, you’ll build an optin campaign for posts with lots of traffic and redirect those users to posts that get the most affiliate link clicks.
Here’s an example of a post that redirects users to another page of your site:
As more readers visit your high-converting page, you can expect even more sales over time.
3. Redirect to Affiliate Partner Pages
The last strategy we’ll cover today is similar to the one we just saw. But instead of redirecting users to a page on your site, you’ll redirect them to the affiliate product page you’re promoting.
The process works almost exactly like what we just saw:
- You find pages or posts on your site with lots of traffic
- Create a campaign with a redirect button
- Add the affiliate link to the call to action (CTA) button in your campaign
Here’s an example of what this would look like:
The call to action in this fullscreen campaign, “Yes, Move to WordPress With Bluehost NOW!” will lead users to the product page of the affiliate partner.
This brings them one step closer to making the purchase and driving more affiliate sales for you.
And that’s it! These are 3 ways to boost affiliate sales with OptinMonster.
We hope you enjoyed this post, and we really hope it helped you figure out how to cloak affiliate links in WordPress.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll definitely want to check out the following resources:
- How to Make Money While You Sleep With Affiliate Marketing
- How to Use Social Media for Affiliate Marketing
- The Best WordPress Plugins for Affiliate Marketers (Compared)
These posts will have everything you need to learn how you can increase your affiliate profits and generate more passive income from your site.