Pretty Links is a WordPress link cloaking & management plugin.
Affiliate links look ugly. Especially the links from affiliate marketplaces like ShareASale. Just look at this:
Link cloaking essentially covers your referral id under your domain branded link. Not only that, but it also improves user experience by converting ugly affiliate links to beautiful, and memorable links.
But most importantly, it protects your affiliate commissions from content stealers and malicious script.
One of my most popular content, the affiliate strategies has been stolen by iframe scripts countless times. But it doesn’t scare because all my links are cloaked. That’s why it’s such an essential practice.
Unlike many bloggers try to paint the picture, it’s not a bad or malicious practice. Ironically, it helps you protect your commissions from people who utilize link hijacking.
Thankfully, WordPress users have amazing plugins like Pretty Links. It makes it easier and faster to cloak affiliate links.
Let’s take a closer look at Pretty Links in this review.
Pretty Links – Affiliate Link Cloaker Plugin
It does what its name says, makes your affiliate links prettier, and helps you manage them.
It comes with various other features such as link reporting & auto-linking that can help you generate more revenue from your blog.
Pretty Links is also a URL shortener. But unlike its competitor ThirstyAffiliates, it does it using your domain itself. Not with Bit.ly or some other third party link shortening services.
Pretty Links actively track your affiliate links. It tracks clicks and helps you find your most successful pages.
Link reports are an important feature, considering the fact it can help you improve conversion from clicks quite easily.
If a link is getting more clicks on a particular web page, it makes the content is working. If it’s working, you should be doing more of it.
Similarly, if some pages have high traffic and very few clicks then you need to optimize your affiliate links for getting more attention. Or improve your call to action and content quality.
If a certain link is getting more clicks and they don’t convert in sales, something is wrong with your content. People are not finding the product useful or the relevancy is lacking.
Using Pretty Links you can create memorable, speakable links. An amazing highlight for podcasters.
You can easily speak something like:
instead of “fusebox.fm/?lmref=qfLW_w”.
Your listeners would remember the cloaked links and in the process, they’ll also keep memorizing your brand domain.
By using pretty links you can create less confusing links to easily share on various audio platforms.
Slugs are the words you put at the end of a URL after “/”. For example, BforBloggers.com/slug.
When you cloak a link, the slug is the most important part of the process. It defines where the page will re-direct when you hit that URL in a browser.
Pretty Links comes with multiple slug list and supports custom URL slugs as well. You can choose the slug individually for each link.
One thing to note here is unlike ThirstyAffiliates it isn’t automatically generated when you name the link. You have to enter the slug manually and save the link.
There’s are multiple redirection options you can choose from. The default redirection rule is set to 307 Temporary. When you install Pretty Links, make sure to switch the default settings to 301 Permanent redirect.
In Advanced Settings, you’ll find options to add “rel=”nofollow” tag to affiliate links as well as “rel=”sponsored” tag. You can also enable or disable tracking for individual links using this settings page and turn on parameter forwarding (important for Amazon affiliate links.)
In Pro settings, you have options to:
- Set a date when a particular link expires & stops working
- Specify keywords that are auto-linked to an affiliate link
- Replace a URL with the cloaked link
- Add scripts before <head> element of your blog
- Dynamic redirection – This option lets you utilize geo-targeting, time and technology targeting and split test multiple links with rotation cycles.
You can create multiple categories inside Pretty Links to group affiliate links. There’s also an option to add notes for each link. If there are multiple links of the same merchant you can write about it in the notes how they differ.
Every cloaked link is set to open in a new tab automatically by Pretty Links. It helps in reducing the bounce rate.
Import & Export
One of the most convenient features of Pretty Links is import & export function. If you’re moving from one website to another, using import and export feature you can easily keep the same links and settings on multiple websites.
This is a huge time saver if you work for clients or are selling websites frequently.
It will help you keep your links in a backup when you move from one domain to another as well.
Changing Default Options
The default settings for link cloaking can be changed from the options menu:
You can also enable tracking slug character count and global scripts.
Then there’s an option to add base slug prefix. I highly recommend you to add a prefix slug here such as /refer so the next time you add a link, it looks like this:
Pricing & Plans
Pretty Links has a free plugin and then there’s the premium plugin, which makes more sense. Its free version is far too basic and has nothing to offer compared to other alternatives.
Most of the feature that makes Pretty Links a special plugin is in its pro version.
If you have 1 WordPress website the pro version has a pricing of $49 for an annual subscription.
For 2 websites it’s $99/year.
For 5 websites you’ll have to pay 199/year.
Each plan includes every pro feature and 24×7 support via email. The $199 plan has priority support options as well.
Pretty Links has a money-back guarantee, which means if you don’t like the plugin you can get a full refund in 14 days.
If you have an email list, I highly recommend you to use cloaked links inside your email copy. Email marketing services like MailChimp don’t allow affiliate links in emails and most of the time the links break.
That’s not the case with cloaked links. It’s completely under your control.
Even if you make a mistake of sending an email with a wrong link, you can instantly change it. That’s a huge relief knowing if something goes wrong you won’t have to resend email or apologize to your subscribers.
Rather than paying for link shortening services, it is better to pay for a WordPress plugin like Pretty Links. It saves so much time and helps you get productive.
That itself is worth the investment.
If you’re an affiliate marketer do check out Pretty Links and see how it can help you save time and make more money.