How to Setup Affiliate Link Tracking in WordPress

I personally use WordPress to run my affiliate marketing efforts but when I first started affiliate marketing a couple of years ago I thought that my affiliate marketing conversion rate seemed a little bit low.  After doing a little research I realized that it might be possible that my affiliate links were being hijacked, which is when someone comes into your website takes the uncloaked affiliate link and add in their own affiliate ID.  What this means is that you never see the commission from an affiliate sale.

It’s hard to tell when it’s happening however it’s easy to put a stop to when you cloak your affiliate links using a piece of software.  I personally use Pretty Link Pro, even though there is a free version available I still use the professional version because it offers a ton of extra features like the ability to search for keywords in your site and replace them with Pretty Links, affiliate link tracking and the ability to manage all your links in one place.  What I’d like to talk about in this article is how you can use a plugin like Pretty Link Pro to do things including…

  1. How you can cloak you affiliate links and put a stop on affiliate link hijacking
  2. Show you how you can track your affiliate links

Let’s get cracking into solving this problem by first understanding a few things about the anatomy of an affiliate link.  An affiliate usually looks like this…

http://www.affiliateprogramlink.com/?affiliate_link_id=##

What you’ll notice is that the affiliate link shown above contains a unique ID that identifies the affiliate who has signed up for the affiliate marketing program and when the link is clicked and a sale occurs this is the affiliate marketer that receives a commission.  Pretty simple eh?  Well when hijackers figured out that they could insert there link into an affiliate marketers web pages this is where the problem of affiliate link hijacking first started.  Now that we’ve got a solid understanding of the problem it’s now time to talk about the solution that you can use to correct this problem and potentially improve your affiliate marketing sales!

Step 1: Log into your WordPress website.  Since I am going to show you during this demonstration how to install the plugin you will need to log into your WordPress website to get the value out of this article.

Step 2: Go the “Plugins” section (available on the left side navigation) and select the “Add New” button

Step 3: Search for the “Pretty Link” plugin and click install (This is the free version of Pretty Link which has the basic functionality that Pretty Link provides; for the professional version of this plugin please click here to get it!)

Step 4: You should now see an option called “Pretty Link” on the left side navigation if you scroll to the bottom.  Click on it when you see it.

Step 5: Click on “Add New Link” as this will see a screen that includes a “Target Link”, “Pretty Link”, “Description” and “Title” and looks similar to the screenshot shown below.  The “Target Link” field is where you should place that affiliate link that you copy from the affiliate marketing program you are affiliated with.  In the “Pretty Link” field you can add a custom name here or leave the auto generated code on the pretty link.  Lastly fill out the “Title” and “Description” field with some meaningful information about the affiliate link and click “Create”.  You’ve just created your first cloaked affiliate link.

Bonus! – Step 6: As a bonus here you may decide that you want to create groups for your affiliate links and other links that you are cloaking and tracking.  This is definitely useful if you are managing a larger number of affiliate links and relationships.  So, in order to setup groups you are first going to click on “Groups” under the “Pretty Link” menu option in your WordPress website.  Next click on the “Add a Pretty Link Group” and enter a name for your group and a description of what you can find in this group and select any existing Pretty Links you want in this group and click “Create”.  Now you’ve just created your first group in the pretty link plugin.

As I said at the beginning of this article, there are a ton of things that you can do with this plugin to help you with affiliate link cloaking and I’ve only touched on a few of the main pieces that a plugin like Pretty Link Pro addresses when it comes to this subject.  I hope that you found this article useful and profitable.

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