Affiliate Marketing

How to Cloak Affiliate Links (& Why You Should)

I still run my affiliate links through redirects – also referred to as cloaking affiliate links – for several reasons:

running my redirects means that I have a click on the account to match the one that the merchant is reporting. Affiliate links are generally ugly and impossible to remember without making a copy / paste. The redirects allow you to create short and memorable URLs for you and allow you to access frequently used affiliate links. If you are in an industry where you sell to other affiliates, this can prevent people from changing your affiliate ID with theirs. If the merchant decides to change the network or link method, you can change a single redirect instead of having to edit each instance in which you linked it to your entire site. If you decide to change product trader, you can edit a redirect instead of needing to edit each instance in which you have linked to them throughout your site. If a handful of traders I mention on a regular basis do not have any affiliate programs, I often go back to their main site. That way, if they ever start an affiliate program, I can affiliate all my previous links by updating the hidden link. If you use an affiliate site, all you can do to make your site more technically unique than the other 4000 affiliates using the same data feed is a bonus with regard to SEO datafeed affiliate.

What does it mean to hide affiliate links?

Cloaking an affiliate link simply means that you are creating URLs on your site that link to an affiliate link. For example:

This is my affiliate link for Optin Monster without hiding it: This is my affiliate link for Optin Monster after hiding it:

Both links go to the same place, and both links will correctly track my affiliate cookies.

How to Create Camouflaged Affiliate Links

You do not need to use a plugin to create camouflaged affiliate links. You can do it with this method detailed by Yoast or by using your .htaccess file.

However, you should never touch your .htaccess file unless you are well versed in its use. because making a mistake inside could destroy your entire site. Using .htaccess or the Yoast method to manually hide affiliate links means that you lose the additional functionality that a link hiding plugin can provide.

There are several affiliate link plugins on the market, but I use the Pretty Link Pro WordPress Plugin to hide my affiliate links

(Disclosure: I came across Pretty Link Pro years ago and I paid the plugin from my own pocket.) I signed up for this program once I already owned it and I've got it. started using the plugin.There is a link to the plugin using affiliate links.This means that at no additional cost, I can receive a commission if you buy the plugin.)

There is also a free version of the plugin called Pretty Link Lite but the Pro version has features that I will not do without – like being able to change the basic slug in hidden links.

Installing Pretty Link Pro

Once you have purchased and downloaded the plugin, you will need to install it.

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins> Add NewAt the top of the next screen, click the Download a plugin buttonChoose the PLP plugin file from your computer and click Install NowOn the next screen , click on Enable plugin

The plugin is now installed and ready for installation.

Checking Your Purchase of Pretty Link Pro

In order to enable the advanced features in the plugin, you'll want to check your plugin purchase before you set things up.

Look for a tab titled Pretty Link in the left menu of your WordPressMouse dashboard on the Pretty Link tab so that the submenu pops upClick on the last link in the list titled Pretty Link ProOn l & # Next screen enter your username and password for the account you created at Pretty Link Pro when you purchased the SaveClick pluginClick the Get Started link at the top of the screen

A Once you have verified your purchase and clicked on the Start link, you will notice a message at the top of the screen in the Pretty Link admin section stating that a database upgrade is required. Click on the link Automatically update your database and the plugin will update for you.

Setting Options in Pretty Link Pro

Pretty Link Pro has a ton of features, but I'm I'll keep things simple and guide you through the basic options that I configure when I install it so you can start without being overwhelmed by all the extra features you can or do not want to use. Think of it as a quick start guide

Setting basic options

Click the Options link in the navigation pane of Pretty Link in the left menu of your WordPress dashboard. On this page, you'll see three expandable options: link options, PrettyBar options, and report options. We will develop and focus on the link options and reporting options in this section.

Link Options

Click the [+] symbol next to the Link Options section to expand it.

 Nice screen for setting link options "width =" 2397 "height =" 1220 "class =" aligncenter size-full wp-image-27210 "/> </p>
<p> Track Link will be checked by default and should stay that way I also check the nofollow option so all my hidden links are not tracked by default The default link redirection type will default to 307 temporary redirect and I leave it like that at the bottom of the screen </p>
<h4> Reporting Options </h4>
<p> Once you've set up the basic binding options, you'll want to expand the Reporting Options section </p>
<p> <img src= here

Configure Pro Options

Once you have set up the basic options, you can navigate to the Pro options under the Pretty Link navigation pane in the left menu of your WordPress dashboard. On the next screen, you'll see six expandable options: Keyword and URL override options, Page and publishing options, Twitter options, Social network options, Public link creation options, and Options. overall.

Keep things simple and focus on alternative keywords and URLs and global options.

Keyword and URL Replacement Options

What does this section do: Each time you create a nice link, you can define keywords or phrases that you want to assign to it so that Pretty Link automatically links instances of this word or phrase to your Pretty Link for this affiliate program.

The use of automated keyword and URL replacement options the risk that you have undisclosed affiliate links on your site. To ensure compliance with the FTC Disclosure Guidelines for Affiliate Links I prefer to hard code Pretty Link's affiliate links as I would a regular link. In this way I can make sure that I have the disclosure clearly stated in any content that has an affiliate link.

For this reason, I disable this option by unchecking the box next to Keywords and clicking Save URL.

 Nice Link Disable Keywords Replacement Options "width =" 2370 "height =" 897 "class =" aligncenter size-full wp-image-27241 "/> </p>
<p> [19459001ItwasafeatureIusedbeforethelaunchoftheFTCguidelinesbutIprefertoerronthesideofcautionandnotrisk<a href= to be prosecuted for lack of disclosure ]

Global Options


This section allows you to change the base URL of your Pretty Links By default, your Pretty Link would look like this:

http : //

However, I prefer to keep all my nice links in a subfolder so that I can easily prevent Google from exploring them (we'll cover this later in the post).

 Nice Link Global Options Configuration "width =" 2339 "height =" 7 11 "class =" aligncenter full-size wp-image-27253 "/> </p>
<p> I check the box next to Use another base URL for your nice linksJ & # 39; adds the base URL Pretty Link in the field that appears when I check the boxSet Minimum role required to access Pretty Link is set by admin and by default leave it so Once everything matches the screenshots above – with <strong> your personal URL </strong> instead of the URL in the screen capture – click Save at the bottom of the screen </p>
<p> as it should be, but be sure not to add a bar oblique at the end of the URL. The most used basic URLs are: out, go, goto, link, etc. </p>
<p> Once again, Pretty Link has a ton of features that I have not touched on in this post, but here are the essential configuration features for each site. Prevent Google from exploring your beautiful links </h2>
<p> Once you've set up a custom subfolder to manage your nice links, you need to prevent Google from accessing this folder by using a disallow directive in my robots.txt file. Search engines do not want to waste resources by exploring your redirects, and I prefer that they stay away from my affiliate links anyway, so that they do not see tons of links redirected to my site. </p>
<p> If you & # 39; re using the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast, it's easy to do. In your WordPress dashboard, go to the left sidebar and choose Tools> File Editor. </p>
<p> If you do not have a robots.txt file yet, this screen will give you the option to have the WordPress SEO Plugin create one for you. Once you have a robots.txt file, add the following directive – replacement / out / with everything you used in your base URL in the Global Options section above: </p>
<p> User -agent: * <br /> Disallow: / out / </p>
<p> Then click the Save changes to Robots.txt button located below the box. </p>
<p> If you do not use the SEO WordPress plugin, you will find instructions for <a href= Creating and editing a robots.txt file here

Create Nice Links

Now that you have the basic configuration of the plugin, you are ready to create hidden links. Click Add New Link under the Cute Link menu in the left navigation of your WordPress Dashboard.

 Create a new nice link "width =" 2311 "height =" 1169 "class =" aligncenter size -full wp-image-27267 "/> </p>
<p> The redirection type will be automatically set at 307 because we set it by default in our basic options 'Nofollow' this link and the hits on this link will also be checked for the same reason In the target URL, you go put your standard affiliate link for the program.The Pretty Link box will contain a random string by default that you can change to be whatever you want.The title of the link is for backend, so you'll know the program or the product for which Pretty Link is intendedChoose a group to assign the link to, if applicable – see below Groups sectionClick the Create button at the bottom of the screen </p>
<p> You will notice that the Parameter Forwarding option Enabled is not checked – leave it that way, Pretty L ink says that para Returning Counter is a feature intended for developers looking to transmit dynamic (changing) parameters in the target URL based on an action performed by the user. It 's not me, and it' s probably not you. </p>
<p> You may have also noticed the Advanced tab – and we have not done anything with it. The Advanced tab is where you can assign a double redirection, assign keywords to a link if you have left this feature enabled, and configure split tests – none of which are features of which I am I need it or use it. </h2>
<p> The group function allows you to put links in specific groups to classify them. Whether or not you use this feature will be a personal preference. I gather links, but not others. However, one thing I should note is that the Add New Group function has never worked for me from the Add New Link screen. If I want to assign a link to a group, I have to go to the Groups section in the Nice Link menu to create the group if it does not already exist, before creating the first link I'm planning to have. Place it. </p>
<p> <img src= Toolbox page here on Sugarrae. The pretty links on this page are assigned to the tool group. Each of these links created in the Tools group also contains the SID tracking specific to the Toolbox page. I do not use these same links anywhere else on the Toolbox Page

Using a group for the Toolbox Page allows me to see how many clicks the page generates and – using SID tracking at the same time – allows me to compare click reports from me with those reported at the end of the merchant. It also helps me track the number of sales generated by this page because these links do not contain a link to the same merchant (when the merchant program has available SID tracking).

General Pretty Link Reporting


I mentioned the segmentation of group reports above, but you can find the standard report for all links by clicking on the Hits link in the Pretty Link submenu of the WordPress dashboard.

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