Discover some of the best link cloaking plugins for WordPress to run worry-free affiliate marketing across your WordPress websites and blogs.
The affiliate marketing sector is booming since brands pour more money into it. Since it is one of the easiest ways to earn referral commission, website owners and bloggers are racing for it.
Everything was fine until hackers targeted the affiliate marketing sphere and started manipulating referral links causing damage to you or other original affiliate marketers.
Against such odds, link cloaking is the proven defense to protect your affiliate marketing interests.
This article introduces some tried and tested WordPress plugins for link cloaking that you can use right away. Also, you get to learn the basics of link cloaking, its link with affiliate marketing, and more.
What Is Link Cloaking?
Link cloaking is a domain name redirect technique. Website developers and affiliate marketers use this method to mask incredibly longer URLs into shorter and crisper ones. You might consider it similar to URL shorteners; however, there are some fundamental differences.
For example, URLs shortened using Bitly will convert a long URL into a link that contains merely 30 or fewer characters. Below is an example of a full-length URL to a list of AI writing tools:
When you transform the URL to a shorter version using Bitly or any other URL shortening platform, you get the following:
This could also work with affiliate marketing links. But there is a fundamental problem. Such links look spooky. Your readership has no idea where the link will redirect them. With growing concerns over spam and phishing email links, the website visitor may prefer not to click on the link.
Link cloaking solves this problem of the trustworthiness of links as well as minimizes the character length. Not to mention hiding the affiliate properties to keep your referral earnings intact.
For instance, the following is an example of an affiliate link to an online whiteboard app:
It would look confusing to the reader when they click on it. Also, some vital properties of the affiliate code are visible. A competitor might manipulate the code using malware. Instead, a branded and shorter version below looks more trustworthy:
The process also brands the URLs using your domain name. It stops any miscommunication between you and your audience.
The Benefits of Link Cloaking
#1. Making URLs Trustworthy
A long-term problem for affiliate links has been their stretched look with never-ending codes and characters. It frightens the average internet user and holds them from clicking the link. They do not know what to expect from the link.
However, when you cloak the referral link using a URL cloaking tool, it gets your domain name and the vendor/product/service name. Now, the user knows what is on the other side, and they happily click on it.
#2. Tracking URL Clicks
Most link cloaking plugins for WordPress or other website hosting solutions offer a dashboard from which you can easily track the click-through rate (CTR) and referral commissions.
#3. Managing Many URLs
You can save money on costly affiliate link management tools by adopting a cloaked link strategy. For example, you can follow this format to cloak links for all referrals:
It becomes easier to create new links, share links with others, categorize all links, or generate business reports.
#4. Boosts Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Link cloaking makes links prettier. When the user is about to click on it, they would see a tiny link that easily tells them the content they can expect. The reader shall click on it if they need the promoted product/service, and the CTR will improve.
#5. Bypass Spam Filtering
If your email marketing and newsletter campaigns contain sponsored links, the email service provider (ESP) might block them. Embedding a cloaked link will help you evade this challenge.
#6. Adding No-Follow Tag
Most affiliate links do not come with a no-follow tag. However, Google suggests you use rel = “nofollow” or rel = “sponsored” when using sponsored links for redirects.
Link cloaking tools automatically use the above two tags so that Google does not penalize your website or blog by reducing the SERP ranking.
#7. Recycle the Same URLs
Once you cloak an URL, you can reuse it in different articles, blogs, websites, and Pinterest affiliate programs. No need to customize the link for different platforms.
The Relationship Between Link Cloaking and Affiliate Marketing
Link cloaking is a tool for healthy affiliate marketing practices. In due course of your referral marketing, you will get specialized URLs from your affiliate platform or the sponsoring brand. Since such links ate excessively longer, expert marketers often use a link cloaking tool to shorten the link.
Besides shortening, cloaked links also help in affiliate management. Wherever your affiliate policy allows cloaked links, you can take this advantage to present URLs to your readers and visitors that look okay.
Why Do You Need Link Cloaking for Affiliate Marketing?
Today’s affiliate marketing ecosystem is fierce and intense. There are affiliate URL hackers who use malware to infect the devices of certain website visitors. Mostly bad actors target high-grossing websites that earn mainly by referrals.
Malware seeks out affiliate links that the user might click and replaces the code with something else to steal your commission.
Alternatively, scammers may use URL hijacking to damage your SEO ranking. When you use cloaked links, such malware can not track the referral codes in affiliate links, and you avoid affiliate fraud.
Besides this, link cloaking helps you to brand your referral links using your domain name if you have one. When a user sees the link is from a brand they trust, they click on it.
Now that you know link cloaking from the inside out, it is time to learn about the best WordPress plugins to cloak your links and make them invisible.
When there is a discussion about the best link cloaking plugin, the name ThirstyAffiliates appears. This is one of the best plugins that affiliate marketers can use to cloak or hide long, ugly-looking affiliate links. With its help, inserting affiliate links into any blog or article becomes an effortless process.
It is not just a random affiliate link cloaker — this plugin is designed to help bloggers make money by protecting your commissions from theft and many other things. Here, you need to enter your keywords, and the plugin will automatically link the affiliate links.
In case you need to comply with the terms and conditions of Amazon, it even has the option to smart link uncloaking. Managing your affiliate links is also easy with this plugin; it allows you to import and export links via CSV to update across sites.
Its front-end link-fixing script feature always keeps the links up to date. When it comes to geolocation-specific links, you can use country targeting to provide alternate destinations for clicks coming from different countries.
ThirstyAffiliates uses proactive link checking, so there is no affiliate link 404 error. It also supports importing data from third-party APIs and integration with Google Analytics.
Do you want to manage links and increase your affiliate income?
Start using Lasso, which offers complete affiliate marketing tools. It allows you to add custom permalinks to every affiliate link so that none of these end up looking ugly.
This platform lets you control which links you cloak by toggling so that you can share memorable links with others. Here, you can settle with one URL for the affiliate links that only you can change if needed. So, updating the affiliate link in one place would be enough whenever there is a change.
It offers a flexible link cloaking option so you can apply different options for different platforms. When you need to stay compliant with a specific affiliate program, it offers the necessary features for you.
Lasso’s dashboard functions as an inventory for all your affiliate links. There are options to organize the links in groups and display them in a list or grid view. Switching from another plugging, such as ThirstyAffiliate and Pretty Links, is also easy with its one-click import feature.
If you own a WordPress website and want Amazon affiliate links into it in seconds, EasyAzon is the right plugin for you. It offers the fastest way to create Amazon affiliate links without leaving the WordPress post editor.
There is no need to go through the manual steps of creating affiliate links from the official Amazon website. This plugin lets you create direct text affiliate links for any products of Amazon.com. Hence, this works as a huge time saver for marketers and influencers.
Automated affiliate link cloaking is the best feature of this tool. On mouse hover, it displays the product info on a pop-up box. Its increased cookie length allows you more time to get a commission if someone adds the product to their shopping cart.
This plugin also automatically localizes the links, so global visitors see the links to the website of their country.
Easy Affiliate Links
Managing affiliate links on their WordPress websites becomes a hectic and time-consuming task for many bloggers and influencers. Worry no more! Easy Affiliate Links is here to save your back. This plugin can assist you in managing all the affiliate links on your website.
It supports cloaked and traditional non-cloaked links as per your choice and website requirements. All the clicks your links get from the visitor are automatically tracked by it.
The plugin is suitable for both the Classic and Block Editor. It even lets you add such links in Elementor through a text widget. Using the plugin, you can generate short links for optional cloaking. The generated links also come with an automatic text disclaimer.
For Amazon links, users can leave those uncloaked to stay compliant. You can even assign categories to your links and track the number of times the links got clicks in a month or a lifetime. If necessary, you can import and export affiliate links using XML and CSV file formats.
For online businesses, Pretty Links has become a crucial tool. This plugin automatically unlocks more affiliate revenue from your old and upcoming content.
It automatically shortens the links and puts them on your website. You can also group and organize the links it generates. In addition, it replaces all keywords and reduces your workload through automation.
The plugin intelligently places the affiliate links in all the appropriate places on your website. It transforms long, hard-to-remember affiliate links into clean, memorable, and shareable links.
Geniuslink offers some cool affiliate link services, including vanity URLs and link shortening. However, it does not provide any dedicated WordPress plugins. You can manage your sponsored links directly on the web app of Geniuslink, which is easy to operate.
Also, you do not need to code anything for implementation; hence, a non-coder can handle your affiliate marketing projects.
Other handy features are:
Automated affiliation for supported retailers
Link localization takes place in the back end
Offers choice pages to visitors when there are multiple retailers for the same product
In the case of Amazon affiliate links, Geniuslink is the only tool that allows some form of link shortening. Otherwise, Amazon Associate policy strictly says that affiliate URL manipulation is disallowed.
So far, you have explored some outstanding WordPress plugins for link cloaking in your affiliate marketing engagements. Some of the above tools will also help you if you host your websites on any other content management system.
You can reduce the time spent searching by directly using the tools above for trial runs. If you like any of the above and the tools match your business requirements, you can sign up.
You have also learned the link cloaking concept to save your hard-earned affiliate marketing commissions from bad actors and hackers. Not to mention, the practice makes sure that the links do not look suspicious.
I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more
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