24 Aug Tutorial: How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress
For an affiliate marketer, link cloaking can do wonders as it replaces the annoying URLs with branded ones. But for a newbie, it can be a challenging task as he/she isn’t aware of the proper method to put it in motion.
This guide will soon become your one stop solution for everything related to affiliate link cloaking in WordPress and how to make it work.
But before we dive too deep into the nitty gritty of the actual link cloaking process, let’s first take a look at a brief introduction of what we mean by the term.
What is Link Cloaking?
So what is link cloaking after all? To best define this, let’s take a look at an example to help you better understand.
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Standard affiliate URL – www.affiliateproduct.com/product/?affid=12345
Cloaked URL – www.Example.com/refer/product
Now, two things are going on here.
First, a regular affiliate link looks cheap and non-standard. Also, it puts your affiliate ID in open for the user to find out, and it’s damn easy for anyone to find that you’ll be making money out of that referrer.
Second, people don’t like clicking on affiliate links, as they know for a fact that they will be offered some advertisement or product promotion campaign. The increasing use of ad blockers is an obvious example of this intention.
But, for the sake of survival, a blogger or marketer has to make money out of his/her work. It’s crucial for their growth, so what method you are left to go with?
Either go with the usual process and suffer a bad conversion rate or go with the standard one and enjoy the highest possible conversion rate, based on the quality of content.
So, in a standard definition, a link cloaking is a method of hiding an affiliate link which is long, and showcasing a standard looking URL, hiding away all the unnecessary details.
Still not sure? Explain your side in the discussion section and I’ll bring my resources there.
How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress
If you’re a developer, you can achieve this functionally by putting a custom code into the WordPress core. But, for any regular user, and also for the sake of simplicity, going via the plugin method is the best choice.
Once you have a right plugin implemented into the core, setting up few options can get you done with the process here. And, after then, every affiliate link (as per the configuration) will be cloaked to look impressive.
Bottom line, you need to look for our next and final section, which holds a bunch of cool plugins to try.
Best WordPress Plugins for Link Cloaking
Following are the best plugins to mask an affiliate link correctly.
It’s not a plugin with a single functionality, rather, it packs some tools which all can help you get better conversion via affiliate channels. As we need here, it can cloak a link properly and mask it properly to look standard. It also packs link management module, available behind the scenes to give you proper and regular status of the campaign’s performance.
It also offers redirection modules along with the option to show category slugs in link URLs. It can take care of the dofollow and nofollow characteristics of links (can even be set globally), and everything can be kept in a secure backup. Most importantly, it works on automation and can generate affiliate links without any manual efforts. You can get it for free and use the basic services, but there is also a premium version with tons of advanced features.
#2 Pretty Link Lite
If for some reason, the first recommendation wasn’t worth a look, then here is the second one. It’s available for free, offering certain essential features, while keeping the advanced one to pro version, and it’s regularly updated to ensure proper compatibility with the modern WordPress version. It can take care of the affiliate links, generate them on automation, mask them properly and can even take care of the redirection if needed.
The configurations offered inside are totally SEO friendly. The plugin is also optimized for delivering excellent performance. Moreover, it keeps a proper stats of everything going around and allows downloading the performance tabs in CSV format for further analysis. It can take care of the nofollow and dofollow tags, and the webmaster can quickly turn on/off the affiliate channel for a particular link.
#3 WP Wizard Cloak
As the name suggests, it’s a free plugin that can achieve the link cloaking without offering too many features or configurations to play with. It does keep a proper track of the performance using country code, referring URL, IP address, browser type, and type of clicks which can even be exported into the CSV format. A dedicated support forum is available for any user to put up a support query.
#4 Easy Affiliate Links
It’s a new plugin available without any price tag, offering its services to mast an affiliate link correctly and create short links which look pretty for affiliate campaigns. It allows importing and exporting the links with a single click and even allows assigning categories.
Performance tracking module is also built-in. The developer has promised to bring few more advanced features in coming future, but for now, the available ones are still worthy.
#5 Affiliate Links Lite
It’s a free product again, which packs unique features like link embedding via HTML or Shortcode generator. It allows link cloaking and putting them correctly within the categories.
It can also take care of the redirection using the usual 301, 302, and 307, and can even keep stats log. The developer behind the product is a known name in the industry, and so far, the product managed to get 5 out of 5 ratings.
So, this was all about link cloaking and how to cloak affiliate links in WordPress. If you have any concern or related queries, feel free to mention it in the discussion section, and I’ll take it from there to sort it out. Now, it is time for you to share this helpful tutorial with all your friends working on affiliate channels. Peace!