Mask Affiliate Links in WordPress with Pretty Link Plugin

Mask Affiliate Links

If you are running an affiliate blog then it makes sense to mask your affiliate links. Partially because people are sometimes hesitant to click on them when they see the affiliate data in the URL and another reason is because affiliate links are hideous! In this tutorial I will show you how to install the free WordPress plugin “Pretty Link Lite.” This is a great plugin which allows you to create custom masked links with your own domain and track clicks on those links.

Step 1

In WordPress under Plugins click on “Add New.” Search for Pretty Link and click on “Install Now” under Pretty Link Lite and then click “OK.”

install pretty link lite

Step 2

Then click on “Activate Plugin.”

activate pretty link

Step 3

Now go down to “Pretty Link” and click on “Pretty Link.”

pretty link wordpress plugin

Step 4

Go ahead and click on “Add a Pretty Link” and I will show you an example with my Infolinks affiliate URL. I choose 301 for permanent redirection as I won’t ever be changing this. In the Target URL box I put the affiliate URL. Then choose a short and easy URL on your own site that the visitor will see. So for mine, I made http://brianleejackson.com/infolinks. And give it a title. Then click on “Create.”

I also check the ‘Nofollow’ this link option. I highly advise you marking your affiliate links as nofollow so that Google will not see them. People have gotten penalties for using too many affiliate links.

pretty link affiliate url

You can now use your new URL anywhere on your website and it will redirect to the actual affiliate URL. You can view hits on the link within the Pretty Link dashboard.

pretty link dashboard

For any website running affiliate links this plugin is a must have.

As always feel free to leave your comments below!

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14 thoughts on “Mask Affiliate Links in WordPress with Pretty Link Plugin”

  1. I was using some mad redirect plugin which messed up my permalink structure (still trying to fix), but I am now using Pretty Links and it seems to be doing the job. I also like analytics it gives.

    • Hey Harry! Ya I have been using Pretty Links for probably almost 5 years now. Probably one of the only plugins I have never had any problems with. Works great.

  2. Hi Brian, thank you for the step-by-step instructions. I have a question I hope you can help with. I read somewhere on line that if ones wp site goes down for any reason the pretty links won’t work where you have placed them. Is this correct? Oh, I plan on using the free version. Will this do? Thank you for your time. Tracy

    • I use the free version on all of my sites Tracy. And yes, if your site goes down the pretty links won’t work. But if your site is down, well, they shouldn’t be clicking on your links anyways :) I don’t use pretty links offsite.

  3. Hi. So I downloaded this plug in per your recommendation. I want to use it for when I link to external links (affiliate or not). I am at the point where you added infolinks as the pretty link, but I dont understand what target url to use. Every link I attach to will be a different url… I was thinking that it would put an attachment icon where I write my post. Then a box would pop up and I’d put the target url in there. That is not what happens, so I am pretty confused. Thanks!!

    • The target URL is your external and or affiliate link (where you want it to go). You have to create additional links within the Pretty Link settings dashboard. You then use the “prettylink” that it generates within your post.

      However, for SEO reasons I wouldn’t use the plugin to normally link to external sites. You don’t want a redirect happening to normal sites. I only use the plugin for affiliate links.

  4. This plug sounds as the right one to install. Before we install it, can you specify if the “masked” link can be edited? We are looking for our body building site, to send traffic to affiliated vendor. Thanks.

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