9 Best Plugins for Affiliate Link Cloaking in WordPress in 2021

If you’re an affiliate marketer or you plan to do affiliate marketing on WordPress, you should be considering cloaking your links. Affiliate link cloaking in WordPress is considered a must if you’re serious about affiliate marketing, and for several reasons. 

In this article we’re taking a deeper look at affiliate link cloaking in WordPress. We’ll also dive into the best WordPress plugins for cloaking and shortening your affiliate links so you can get started today.

What Is Affiliate Link Cloaking

Affiliate link cloaking is disguising, or cloaking, your affiliate links into a shorter version. 

Cloaking your affiliate links makes them more visually appealing to visitors and hides your unique affiliate ID

Without link cloaking, affiliate links can be several lines long of text and symbols. This link looks messy and can seem less trustworthy to visitors than a shorter, branded, or easy to read link

The cloaked link effectively tracks your affiliate clicks and commissions while disguising it at the same time. 

What Are The Benefits of Cloaking Your Affiliate Links?

There are plenty of benefits to cloaking your affiliate links. From improving your trustworthiness to protecting your affiliate ID and commissions, here are the top benefits of affiliate link cloaking

Readers are more likely to click on a branded or easy-to-read affiliate link than they are to click on one that’s long, messy, and full of weird letters and symbols. 

Cloaking your affiliate links gives you the ability to provide a short and aesthetically pleasing link, sometimes with your own URL attached. This can, in turn, help you make more affiliate sales through your own branded links. 

Link Tracking

Affiliate link cloaking in WordPress also helps you track your outgoing traffic. If you use a link cloaking plugin, you can typically see which affiliate links are being clicked the most. 

Protects Against Malware 

Cloaking your links helps protect your affiliate commissions. When your affiliate link is fully exposed, you can become vulnerable to malware that replaces your affiliate ID with another – effectively scamming you out of your commissions. 

Increases Email Deliverability

Some affiliate links are seen as “spammy” by email providers. If you include affiliate links in emails to your subscribers, you’ll increase you deliverability rates by using cloaked affiliate links

How To Do Affiliate Link Cloaking in WordPress

The first thing you should do before cloaking your affiliate links in WordPress is check your affiliate program terms and conditions. Most programs allow link cloaking, but some don’t. 

The easiest and fastest ways to do affiliate link cloaking in WordPress is by using plugins or link cloaking services. There’s a variety of free and paid link cloaking options available, which makes it easy to choose the best option for your website. 

9 Best WordPress Plugins for Cloaking Your Affiliate Links
  • ThirstyAffiliates
  • PrettyLinks Pro
  • Lasso
  • Easy Affiliate Links
  • WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links
  • Simple URLs
  • URL Shortener Pro
  • Auto Affiliate Links
  • Affiliate Links 

ThirstyAffiliates is one of the most popular affiliate link cloaking plugins for WordPress

This link cloaker provides automatic affiliate linking via keywords, automatically checks affiliate links for 404 errors, integrates with Google Analytics, creates reports with charts and tables, and more. 

The ThirstyAffiliates plugin is easy to set up and get started using. It has a ton of options, making it a great choice for bloggers and affiliate marketers. This plugin has a free option, but for the best features you’ll have to upgrade to pro. 

ThirstyAffiliate Pros: 

ThirstyAffiliate Cons: 

2. Pretty Links Pro

PrettyLinks is another top contender for “most popular” affiliate link cloaking plugin for WordPress

PrettyLinks creates custom, branded and shortened affiliate links for bloggers. 

This plugin both shortens and makes your links “pretty”, and it automatically adds your cloaked affiliate links throughout your website content for you. 

With PrettyLinks, you have total control over how your links look, how they redirect, and more. This plugin tracks linkclicks and organizes everything for you right in your WordPress dashboard

PrettyLinks has a lite version that’s free, but for the best options we definitely recommend upgrading to pro. 

Pretty Links Pros

Pretty Links Cons

3. Lasso

Lasso is an all-in-one affiliate marketing system for WordPress that provides affiliate link cloaking and a lot more. 

With Lasso, you can create custom product boxes, cloak your affiliate links, create and split-test high converting affiliate product displays, and more. 

This tool allows you to create your own custom cloaked permalink for all your affiliate links

It also shows you all the unmonetized links across your website and will instantly turn them into affiliate links for increased commission opportunities. 

The Lasso dashboard is intuitive and easy to use. It’s easy to add new links, group and categorize them, and customize how you want the link to behave. 

Lasso Pros

Lasso Cons

4. Easy Affiliate Links

Easy Affiliate Links is a link cloaking WordPress plugin by Bootstrapped Ventures. 

This plugin is compatible with both the classic and Gutenberg editors and Elementor, too. 

The Easy Affiliate Links plugin has all the features you need for affiliate link cloaking in WordPress. Features include the ability to create shortlinks to cloak your affiliate links, using ugc and sponsored link attributes, and the ability to leave specific links uncloaked for Amazon Associates terms compatibility. 

With this plugin, you can keep track of monthly and lifetime click counts and import and export links from XML or CSV. 

This is a freemium plugin with a free and paid version. The paid version offers features like click statistics and charts, automatic broken link checker, and an automatic disclaimer when hovering over links. 

Easy Affiliate Links Pros: 

Easy Affiliate Links Cons 

5. WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links

The WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links plugin is a great choice for your WooCommerce store.

This free plugin is basic but does everything you need to cloak and redirect affiliate links in your store. 

The plugin also adds a “disallow” to your robots.txt file to prevent bots from following external links created through the plugin

You can change your URL slug on the settings page to customize your cloaked links. 

WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links Pros

Cons of WooCommerce Cloak Affiliate Links

6. Simple URLs

Simple URLs is a link management plugin that allows you to manage and track link clicks and redirect your affiliate links in WordPress

This is a free plugin that allows you to both shorten and cloak your affiliate links for a better reader experience. 

Simple URLs was recently acquired by Lasso and is now used as their free version of their paid affiliate link tool. 

With this free plugin, you can cloak links, see click stats tracking, customize your URL prefixes, assign no-follow attributes, detect outdated affiliate links, and more. 

Pros of Simple URLs

Cons of Simple URLs

7. URL Shortener Pro

URL Shortener Pro is a paid WordPress plugin made specifically for shortening and cloaking links.

This plugin allows you to create short versions of your URL. This plugin is easy and simple to use. It can be up and running in just a few minutes. 

In addition to shortening URLs, you can create a trimmed version of URLs as well. 

This free plugin tracks link clicks in real-time, too. 

You can also categorize links for easier organization. 

With URL Shortener Pro you can choose your redirects, cloak links, nofollow links, choose to open in a new tab, automatically replace old links, and more.

Pros of URL Shortener

Cons of URL Shortener

8. Auto Affiliate Links

Auto Affiliate Links is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to automatically add affiliate links into your content. 

You can cloak your links, set them to nofollow, and limit the number of links that appear in every article. 

This is a very basic plugin for automatically adding and cloaking affiliate links, but it’s a great asset for affiliate marketers who have a lot of affiliate-heavy content. 

Pros of Auto Affiliate Links

Cons of Auto Affiliate Links

9. Affiliate Links by Custom4Web

Affiliate Links by Custom4Web is a cloaking and shortening WordPress plugin for affiliate linking. 

This plugin has both a free and paid version. The paid version provides more robust statistics and tracking activity and integrates with Google Analytics. 

This plugin allows you to redirect URLs, nofollow your affiliate links, categorize, and more. 

You can easily see each link in your WordPress dashboard with the category, title, description, and click count. 

Affiliate Links Pros

Affiliate Links Cons

Should You Do Affiliate Link Cloaking in WordPress Without a Plugin

While it is possible to cloak affiliate links manually, with the amount of free and paid plugins available today, it’s not necessary. And if you have a lot of affiliate links, it’s not worth the time involved. 

Manually cloaking affiliate links for your WordPress site involves technical back-end knowledge. This process involves creating a new folder on your server and creating and uploading a script file, like this one on GitHub. This process also involves creating another file for redirects and manually adding every link

As you might imagine, this process could take hours and isn’t a great option for beginners or those unfamiliar with altering WordPress database files. 

Affiliate Link Cloaking Plugins for WordPress Make Life Easier

This article explains how to do affiliate link cloaking in WordPress quickly and easily – the hardest part is just deciding which plugin is best for you. 

Almost all of these plugins offer both free and paid versions. If you’re serious about affiliate marketing or have hundreds of links to keep track of, a paid product like PrettyLinks, ThirstyAffiliates, or Lasso is going to be your best bet. 

But if you’re just getting started or want something light and simple, any of the free plugins on this list will work just fine. Make your life easier by setting up one of these plugins to cloak, track, and shorten your affiliate links today.

This content was originally published here.