Affiliate Marketing: How To Manage All Those Ugly Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online, but you'll have lots of long, ugly links on your site. Here's how to clean them up!

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online, but you’ll have lots of long, ugly URL’s on your site. Here’s how to use Pretty Link to clean up your affiliate marketing and make it appealing to your readers!

Once you have your blog running, you will begin to accumulate affiliate marketing partners. Not counting any potential drama, there’s a logistical downside of having a lot of affiliate partners, you’re going to have many extremely long, terribly looking URL’s that might make you barf. It can be a nightmare trying to manage (and test) all of the different URLs to the affiliate products you’re promoting.

Why Long Affiliate URL’s Won’t Work For You

We appreciate the finesse, and obviously don’t like messy URL’s. Your readers are less likely to click on them. So how do you promote these long URLs effectively in different platforms like email and social media? Many won’t fit in a Twitter stream which only allows 140 characters! On a quick side note, you do use Twitter & Facebook to promote your blog, don’t you?

Here’s another common scenario. You meet an attractive affiliate marketing partner who offers products that would be fantastic for your readers (kind of sound like dating, doesn’t it?) You start promoting their products. After some initial success, you expand the relationship and place their URL’s on more and more pages.

Then one day all of a sudden, the partner stops responding to your email, and you no longer get that commission check. It turns out the partner has gone out of business. What happens then? Would you want to change a bunch of their URL’s to a variety of products that are coded in dozens of different places? Do you have to change them all individually?

How You Can Manage Your Affiliate Links Quickly And Easily – All In One Place!

If you’re like us with hundreds or even thousands of affiliate marketing URL’s on your website, while testing different ads and campaigns, it’d be a freaking nightmare, and just not feasible to do it one by one! This is what we’ll discuss today. Not the bad dream part, but how to make your life easier!

Drum roll please, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, Pretty Link! So what exactly is Pretty Link? The short answer: it’s a simple tool that allows you to manage your URLs in a simple easy way. You can just make a single change at a central location and update all the places where you had that particular link.

Here’s a longer answer. Pretty Link is a WordPress plugin that allows you to manage and shorten those big, huge, confusing, and nasty URL’s into a small, pretty link that is easily tweetable, sharable, etc. You input the long affiliate marketing link and get a much shorter one in return that points you to the same page that you want to go. This could essentially replace,, or any other link shrinking service.

There are other link management tools like LinkTrackr, which is a hosted service. But we’re not yet 100% confident of their reliability. It needs to be as steady as a rock for us to incorporate it in our business, in part because we’re fanatical about perfect uptime for our websites. At the end of the day, if something goes wrong, it would mean real money down the drain. Many internet marketers do recommend LinkTrackr so it’s definitely worth checking out, however.

You can also use Pretty Link to mask affiliate marketing on your site. For example, if you have a site about car parts, and you have an affiliate marketing deal with an auto supply store, you can use it to mask the URL.

So the original long link might look like:

Pretty Link might shorten it to:

Why Should You Mask Affiliate Links?

Why would you want to mask your affiliate marketing URLs? Well other than the purely aesthetic reason for making the links look better, for some reason some people think that you should NOT make money online because it’s somehow wrong.

Going to a soul-draining job and getting paid a meager wage is fine, but earning a profit from publishing information products on the web is bad! They believe that the information on the Internet should be free and won’t click on a link if it “looks like” an affiliate link.

Shocking isn’t it? We know! In our opinion, if you provide quality content, there’s no reason why you should not profit from our recommendation. To paraphrase from The Godfather movie – the scene where the five crime families got together to discuss business – “we’re not communists after all”! Shoot, did we just compare ourselves to the mob?

So to get around the unfair perception of being greedy capitalist pigs (now we kind of sound like communist propaganda), Pretty Link can make the affiliate marketing link look like another page on your site. That person would then click on the link, go to the product page, and ideally find what they’re looking for, and buy something. You’d then get a referral commission from the merchant. Everyone is happy.

On a darker note, there are those who try to profit from other people’s efforts and attempt to steal your affiliate marketing commissions by hijacking your link. For example, hacking into your website and changing the link code to theirs. When the sale occurs, they’d get paid, instead of you! Pretty Link essentially makes it a lot harder for this to happen.

Should You Go Pro?

If you’re looking for more features, the pro version gives you a centralized place to manage and track all your affiliate marketing URL’s over your website, your twitter, etc. This is what we use. You can see all of your URLs from within your WordPress admin panel. It also allows you to automatically tweet your new blog posts, saving you time, and eliminating steps.

You also get a ‘social button’ which will allow your users to spread your posts across all social networks. This can be a very effective way to get the word of mouth traffic coming to your site.

It also has the “Pretty Bar” which keeps your iframe (and logo) on top of the page when you refer visitors away from your site. The reason is so that they know how to easily get back to your site. It’s also more convenient for them to share that affiliate marketing link. The only gotcha with that Pretty Bar is that some merchandise (primarily ClickBank) as of this writing frown on any intercept of their website order page, which is technically what this is.

The pricing is very reasonable at $37 for a single web site, or $97 for unlimited websites, but in our opinion, the best way to start is with the Lite version which is free and allows you to try the basic link management features right away.

And alternatively, give LinkTrackr a try for yourself, there are some definite benefits to a fully hosted service, where someone else worries about managing the software and you focus just on managing your links and promotions.

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