As the affiliate marketing industry continues to grow, link cloaking has become a popular practice to turn long, complex URLs into shorter, simpler ones.
This practice helps protect URLs from data theft and makes them more user-friendly.
In this article, we will delve deeper into link cloaking, why it matters, and how to use three of the best plugins for cloaking affiliate links.
What is Link Cloaking?
Link cloaking, also known as URL masking, is the practice of redirecting a destination website's URL to another web page to hide the original URL. It is commonly used in affiliate marketing to track commissions and hide affiliate IDs. Using a cloaked link helps create a more credible and appealing link for visitors.
How Link Cloaking Works?
Link cloaking works by replacing complex symbols with memorable, relevant keywords in the URL.
For example, a long, complex URL such as "www.example.com/products/?product_id=B764giHfjeu8jshdf5euhr" can be simplified to "www.example.com/product-name" with the cloaking technique.
Marketers use link cloaking to produce the appearance of a custom domain name when using an affiliate URL.
Link Cloaking vs. Link Shortening
While link cloaking and link shortening are similar, they serve different purposes. Link shortening services like Aww URL or TinyURL redirect your link to their domain and change your permalink to numbers and letters. On the other hand, link cloaking creates more professional URLs for affiliate marketing, making them more trustworthy and memorable.
Why You Should Cloak Affiliate Links
Using cloaked links for affiliate URLs helps you create personalized links that look trustworthy to visitors. It enhances link trust, enables you to track click data and manage your links, and helps you reach a larger audience. Here's how:
Boost Link Trust
Long links with random numbers and letters may make visitors cautious due to security threats like malware and phishing. A cloaked link with your own domain name and product at the end of your URL slug can make your link clean and appealing, giving users an idea of what to expect. This way, they will feel more secure when clicking on your link.
Enhance Affiliate Link Management
Organizing and tracking multiple affiliate links can be challenging. Using a link cloaker that provides a management tool helps you organize all your links by separating them into categories in a single dashboard. You can categorize them based on your affiliate program or campaign. Link cloaking allows you to access data such as click tracking and conversion tracking, increasing your effectiveness in link management and workflow.
Track Click Data
Using cloaked links enables you to track your affiliate URL performance, identifying the best-performing links and the ones that need improvement. By tracking these links, you can develop an effective strategy to get the desired results.
Reach a Larger Audience
A cloaked link with a clean URL that is easy to remember and more appealing can convince visitors to share it on their social media platforms. This way, you can reach a larger audience and increase your traffic.
Best WordPress Link Cloaking Plugins
WordPress provides many great plugins to extend your site's functionality for different purposes. Here are the best three affiliates WordPress plugins for link cloaking:
ThirstyAffiliates is an excellent choice for affiliate marketers who want a feature-rich plugin with powerful tracking capabilities.
Best for: affiliate marketers who need a comprehensive management tool
Pricing model: Freemium
ThirstyAffiliates allows you to mask your affiliate links, shorten URLs, and track clicks in a user-friendly dashboard. This plugin also provides advanced link insertion to the WordPress post editor.
Easy Affiliate Links
Easy Affiliate Links is a user-friendly and straightforward plugin that allows you to add and manage affiliate links quickly.
Easy Affiliate Links Stats:
Best for: bloggers and affiliate marketers who need an easy-to-use link-cloaking solution
Pricing model: Freemium
This plugin offers a variety of options to cloak your links, such as custom link slugs and the ability to create multiple types of links. It also provides a dashboard to track link clicks, so you can monitor your link performance.
How to Cloak Links Using an FTP Client?
If you're not using WordPress or prefer to cloak links manually, you can use an FTP client to get the job done. Here's how to do it:
- Log in to your website's FTP account and navigate to the root directory.
- Create a new folder and name it "go" or anything you prefer.
- Inside the new folder, create a new PHP file, and name it "index.php".
- Add the following code to the "index.php" file: Replace "http://www.youraffiliateurl.com" with your actual affiliate link.
- Save the changes and upload the "go" folder to your website.
- Now, when you want to cloak a link, create a new folder with a name that matches your desired link, and upload the "index.php" file with the redirect code inside.
Link cloaking is a crucial technique for affiliate marketers that helps you protect your affiliate links and make them more user-friendly. By using link cloaking, you can also track clicks, manage your affiliate links more effectively, and improve your link performance. We hope this article has provided you with valuable information on link cloaking and the best WordPress plugins to use for your affiliate URLs.