Development, How To, Theme, Tutorials

How to Cloak Affiliate Links in WordPress

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How would you like to be able to cloak the affiliate links in your WordPress site? Don’t know what cloaking is? Well, you’re not the only one, which is why we have this handy and helpful tutorial. Read on to find out what cloaking is and how you can be a master of it.

Cloaking Is Good!

First of all, cloaking isn’t some disreputable, sneaky, shady, underhanded black hat tactic to dupe your readers, although that unfortunate term may sound that way. There was a time when cloaking links was done to keep search engines from knowing you were an affiliate, but those days are gone.

Link cloaking is simply a way of shortening your affiliate links from something long and nasty looking to concise and sweet. From this:

http://www.example.com/product/product_id=103*affiliate=7548978966876565adinfinitum

To this:

http://www.wptutorials.com.com/referral/productsname

These days it’s a good idea to cloak your affiliate links because:

  • It makes it much easier to manage your links from the WordPress interface
  • It creates short, easy to read URLs for your outgoing links
  • It gives you an extra way to track clicks
  • It prevents others from hijacking your links
  • It looks neater

Link Cloaking Plugins

There are two basic ways to cloak your links, the hard way by writing a redirect script, or by using a plugin. We always advocate doing things the easy way, so here are some suggested plugins to get you started.

Thirsty Affiliates – Probably the most popular cloaking plugin, it has all kinds of tools to help you manage your links and more.

WP Wizard Cloak – Another great plugin with a five star rating from users, it keeps things pretty basic and easy.

Pretty Link Lite – This one has a bit more utility, kind of in between the first two, and has some great analytics features. There’s now a Pretty Link Pro available.

Easy Affiliate Links – Just as useful as the others and an easy to use interface.

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