Managing affiliate links is not easy. It becomes tougher if you are not using a link management system.
But if you are using WordPress, you are lucky. A bunch of WordPress plugins out there that make affiliate links management easier. Among them, I use and recommend ThirstyAffiliates.
ThirstyAffiliates is the best affiliate link management tool for WordPress. It allows you add and cloak affiliate links, organize them in categories, insert links into posts/pages, turn keywords into affiliate links and manage affiliate links in an efficient way.
It is one of the best WordPress plugins for affiliate marketers. In this post, I will show you how to manage affiliate links in WordPress using ThirstyAffiliates.
How to Install & Setup ThirstyAffiliates Plugin
ThirstyAffiliates is a free plugin that has premium add-ons. It offers three add-on bundles – Blogger Pack, Green Ninja Bundle and “The Lot”. I’ve purchased “Blogger Pack” because of the Autolinker add-on. Autolinker adds affiliate links automatically to the potential keywords. It helped me to monetize a new blog with affiliate marketing.
Now let’s see how to setup ThirstyAffiliates plugin.
At first, you need to install the plugin. You can download it from ThirstyAffiliates.com, or you can install it directly from WordPress dashboard. Just go to WordPress Admin Panel > Plugins > Add New > Enter “ThirstyAffiliates” on the search box and click on “Install Now” button.
Then activated the plugin. A new tab “Affiliate Links” will be added to your WordPress dashboard. Now hover your mouse cursor to “Affiliate Links” tab and click on “Settings” to configure settings.
On the setting page, the first option is to select the Link Prefix. This prefix will be added before your cloaked link’s slug (eg. https://roadtoblogging.com/go/studiopress). You can use a custom prefix or select existing one. Here at RoadToBlogging, we use “go” as a prefix.
The second option is to show category in URL (eg. https://roadtoblogging.com/go/themes/studiopress/). As it makes URLs long, I don’t recommend it.
The third option is related to the second option. So you can ignore it.
The next option is to select a link redirect type. By default, it is 301 permanent. Just go with the default setting.
The next two options are crucial. I’d recommend you to use no follow on links and open links in new window. So check the both boxes.
The other options are not so important. I think you can ignore those. However, you can take a look if there is anything for you.
Then click on “Save All Changes” button and you are good to go.
How to Add and Cloak Affiliate Links In WordPress
Adding affiliate links in WordPress is simple. Just copy the affiliate link and insert it wherever you want to add it.
But there is a problem. The raw affiliate link is pretty ugly. For example, my StudioPress affiliate link is,
It’s long and ugly. It might confuse the users as the URL doesn’t contain the keyword “StudioPress”.
That’s why affiliate link cloaking came to the scenario. The idea is to mask an affiliate link to make it shorter and prettier. Here is the cloaked version of StudioPress affiliate link.
It’s sweet and simple. And I won’t have to worry if someday StudioPress decides to change the affiliate link structure. I can edit it whenever I want to.
Now let’s see how to add a new affiliate link in ThirstyAffilates to cloak the affiliate link.
Just go to WordPress Admin Panel > Affiliate Links > Add New. If you are using Yoast SEO plugin, you may find the Yoast SEO box there. Just ignore this box.
- Link Name: Affiliate product/service name. This name will be added to the cloaked version.
- Destination URL: Put your original affiliate link here. You can ignore the “No follow this link” and “Open this link in new window” options if you’ve already configured those on setting page.
- Attach Images: You can attach images to your affiliate links if you want to use it as banner ads. Currently, I am not using this option.
- Link Categories: You can categorize your affiliate links in different categories. You can add new category while adding a new affiliate link.
Then click on “Save Link” to add the new link.
Once you’ve clicked on “Save Link”, you will get your “Cloaked URL” under “Destination URL”.
Now use the cloaked URL and you are in control of your affiliate link.
How to Automatically Add Affiliate Links in WordPress
Affiliate link automation is excellent. You don’t need to worry about adding affiliate links while writing your post. Your affiliate links will be added automatically when you mention the product/service name. For example, If I mention the words Thrive Themes, HostGator etc, it will be linked automatically.
ThirstyAffiliates’s Autolinker Add-on makes it easy to add affiliate links to particular keywords.
Once you have added this add-on on WordPress, you will notice a new section named “Autolink Keywords” while adding a new affiliate link or editing an existing one.
Just enter the keywords with a comma that you want to turn into affiliate links. Don’t use random keywords. Using product/service name is the common practice. You can also set a limit on keywords. I prefer 1 or 2 times.
Click on “Save Link” and the mentioned keywords will be turned into affiliate links. It is applicable for both new and old posts. That’s the best thing about the add-on. Affiliate links will be added automatically to your old posts.
How to Insert Affiliate Links in WordPress Posts/Pages
To get the best results from your affiliate links, you have to insert affiliate links manually to your WordPress posts and pages.
ThirstyAffiliates lets you insert affiliate links on your WordPress post editor. It adds two buttons to WordPress editor.
To insert affiliate links, click on the first button. A box will be popped up. Then search for your desired affiliate link and insert the plain link, a shortcode or an image link.
You can also add a new affiliate link from WordPress visual editor quickly. Just click on the second button and a box will be popped up. Enter Link Name & Destination URL and click on “Add Link” or “Add Link & Insert Into Post”.
How to Manage Affiliate Links in ThirstyAffiliates
ThirstyAffiliates makes it easy for you to manage affiliate links from a single dashboard. Just go to WordPress dashboard > Affiliate Links > All Affiliate Links. You will get your all affiliate links in one place. You can edit or delete an affiliate link from there. You can also search for an affiliate link.
You can also see the detailed statistics of your affiliate link by using Statistics add-on. Just installed the Statistics add-on and go to WordPress dashboard > Affiliate Links > Statistics. You can see the overall statistics or statistics for a single affiliate link.
Statistics will help you to figure out the performance of an affiliate program according to the number of clicks.
How to Stop Search Engine Bot From Indexing Affiliate Links
Most of the time, search engine bots ignored a link when you tagged it as nofollow. I’ve already shown you how to add nofollow attribute to affiliate links from setting page. You can also do this while adding a new affiliate link.
But the problem is, sometimes bots index the nofollow links. To stop bots from indexing affiliate links, you can do following two things.
1. Exclude “Affiliate Links” from Sitemap
ThirstyAffiliates generates a custom post type named “Affiliate Links”. Make sure this post type is excluded from the sitemap.
If you are using Yoast SEO, go to WordPress dashboard > SEO > XML Sitemaps and select “Post Types” tab. Then click on “Not in sitemap” under Affiliate Links.
Click on “Save Changes”.
2. Disallow the prefix on Robots.txt file
Disallowing the prefix can prevent bots from indexing affiliate links.
If your link prefix is “go”, you need to add the following line in your Robots.txt file.
Read: How to Edit Robots.txt file in WordPress
Over to You
I hope this post will help you to manage your affiliate links efficiently.
If you are an affiliate marketer or planning to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing, I’d recommend you to buy the Blogger Pack from ThirstyAffiliates. It will make your life easier and increase your affiliate sales.
However, let me know if you have questions regarding affiliate links management.
Thanks! Very clear post. I was wondering how I could automatically change existing affiliate links to no follow.
Let me tell you one thing. Your post is simple, crisp and to the point. I had just installed Thirsty Affiliates and was looking for a guide that could clear my doubts. You just did that. Well done.
Glad I could help. Let me know if you need any other helps.
You’ve done the review and tutorial very nicely. After reading all of the posts I still question myself how is it different than PrettyLink Pro? I’m using PrettyLink for some years and happy with it. Do you believe I need to change it to Thirsty Affiliate plugin? Looking for some comparison to make correct decision.
I’ve used Pretty Link Lite, but never tried the pro version. Here are few problems I faced while using Pretty Link.
1. Whenever I tried to update the target URL of an old link, it showed an error. [ERROR: This Pretty Link Slug is already taken. Check to make sure it isn’t being used by another pretty link, post, page, category or tag slug. If none of these are true then check to see that this slug isn’t the name of a file in the root folder of your WordPress install.]
2. Some of my cloaked affiliate links got indexed by Google even if they were tagged as nofollow. I can easily tackle this on ThirstyAffiliates. And I’ve shown this on the post.
3. As Pretty Links doesn’t have the “Link Prefix” option, sometimes Pretty Link URLs conflicts with WordPress post URL. It happens when both URLs are nearly the same.
4. Pretty Links offers a pro version, not add-ons. As ThirstyAffiliates has add-ons, I don’t have to use the whole version of the plugin when I need only few features of the plugin. Currently, I am only using two add-ons (Autolinker & Statistics) while ThirstyAffiliates has 6 different add-ons.
Hope this points will help you to make a desicion. However, if you are not facing above issues, I think you are good to go with Pretty Link Pro.
Istiak, you’ve described 2 steps of stop affiliate links from search engine bots, kindly let me know that I can follow both above steps OR any one is enough?
Both steps are easy to do if you are using Yoast SEO. Follow both.