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This was a huge benefit to me as an affiliate, I was truly tripping before using Pretty Links.
Pretty Links is a Link Management Tool, it allows you to create and track short links directly in WordPress. This is useful because you can stay organized and certain what your visitors are clicking on.
Pretty Links Plugin
You definitely should be tracking your links outside of any affiliate networks tracking software. This allows you to spot and challenge discrepancies that arrive.
Ultimately, it's your responsibility to keep a tight ship. I learned this through my later experiment with CPA and Voluum tracking software. It's a story for another time, but in this affiliate game many beginners don't go through the trouble of understanding the basics and thus set themselves up for failure.
If you do one thing, at least understand your traffic, where it's from, what they're clicking on.
First off you can start for free like I did, and buy it once you've earned a few dollars as an affiliate. This has been my route personally, but obviously there is most definitely a faster route if you have a couple hundered dollars to invest.
Obviously, this is a gateway to a greater conversation around tracking and analytics, check out this article if you're interested in taking it further with Google Analytics.
But, keep in mind Pretty links plugin is just that, a plugin for WordPress.
One of my biggest aha moments came while I was poking around the pro options area and realized that I did a ton of work unnecessarily. The huge advantage of pretty links is the ability to add links where none existed.
There is a pro option that allows you to automate the linking process by signifying which keywords within your ENTIRE site you want highlighted and linked.
(I'm actually about to use this and check it with the keyword Click Magick as I just became an affiliate for them a week ago.)
One of the best shortcuts ever if you've experienced the tedious task of scanning and linking past blog posts. If you haven't you will, but once you do go ahead and make the move.
Work smarter not harder in this affiliate game. Stop romanticizing the idea of $0 invested and $1,000s earned. You need to invest in yourself and your business, trust me. Or don't, and waste a few months trying to make the shortcut (a.k.a. being cheap) work.
Additionally, you are tracking each and every click when this happens and you can add or remove keywords as you find appropriate. This is great for tying together your blog with internal links.
Note: you can get pretty detailed with this if you decided to tweak the options and use the “Extend Tracking” option.
Access to data asks us to become smarter marketers and more sophisticated affiliates. You can treat this as an art or just another side-hustle.
But, I'll guarantee you that you will increase your skills and overall likelihood of breaking through if you pay close attention to the nuances of what makes a good affiliate.
You can even A/B test your offers with the same link.
How about making the link expire and redirect for those launch situations that have a cutoff date. You can do that with the pro plan, although I didn't find use for it just yet, I plan on using the feature in the near future. This is ideal for limited promotions and coupons.
How Much Is Pretty Links Pro?
I opted for the “Beginner” plan because I only wanted to use it for this blog.
I'll say it was the best $50 I've spent on software so far.
This is a must-have tool for the mindset shift that happens going from bootstrapping affiliate, to data-driven marketer.
You start to look at the content you're putting together a bit differently.
You begin to want to track every link and gain understanding around how effectively you are choosing offers, placing links, and directing traffic overall.
Essentially, you start to realize that the Beginner upgrade is fine and you'll later consider going the “Marketer” route as you imagine using the tool on other websites.
If you get it, you'll understand just how useful of a tool Pretty Links really is.
The assumption is that you are using WordPress to build your blog on. The best WordPress link tracking plugin is Pretty Links bar none.
I know I know -- I'm a hypocrite with my flagship blog Project Newsense on Squarespace. But, this is an expense I can afford (barely) and I'm building it there because of the e-commerce integration along with the heightened aesthetic. It's definitely not serving the same purpose as this site or any of my other niche WordPress blogs.
Still, one of my biggest referrals is the legacy Project Newsense site which is indeed SEO optimized to attract a certain visitor using the strategies from SEO Affiliate Domination.
Pretty links review
Pretty Links vs Thirsty Affiliates
They cost the same.
Pretty links has 4.5x more 5 star reviews.
I know it doesn't matter to some, but I'll say that I'm glad to have come across Pretty Links first and that it was a Free tool that I used almost daily before I went ahead and upgraded to Pro.
Don't get me wrong, ClickMagick is great but I haven't used it just yet. Mostly it's because I have no need to use it at this point. But, it's one of those names you hear early and often as a beginner. I'll probably do a separate review in order to give it a fair shot, but I warn you it's this type of back and forth that can absolutely run you insane as a new affiliate.
You've got to get consistent and use a few tools really well instead of several.
There are ClickMagick alternatives and Pretty Links is the one I've chosen to master, in the course of doing so I might find a better way. But, I urge you to consider the user (you) rather than the tool.
Don't get if wrong -- These are two very different tools.
But, since I came across Bitly first just like you probably did, I will address the elephant in the room.
If you've spent any time trying to understand the data in Bitly, you'll realize how satisfying it is to know you received a certain number of clicks on a particular date.
Pretty Links free license isn't much different in my respects.
One is convenient and offers some very interesting options, the other is more the introduction for link shortening and tracking.
Now that I've used free versions of both, I'll always prefer Pretty Links because of the plugin feature and the convenience that provides.
You'll be logging into WordPress often if you're really on your game. For me one of the first things I do is check my links from the previous day before digging into Google Search Console for an even more in-depth look.
Pretty Links vs TinyURL
The site is definitely in need of an update, but essentially this is bit.ly with a little less bells and whistles.
There really is no need to use something like Pretty Links if all you're wanting to do is shorten a URL. You can do that with several free tools. But, if you want an link management tool that allows you to swap out affiliate links, use your custom domain, and give you critical click data then you should consider Pretty Links for certain.
How to use Pretty Links
You're going to want to use it for everything that links externally. That's phase one, it was unnatural at first, but after some time it became second-nature. On top of that function (that makes it a clear win over Bitly) it also allows you to add links to your blog post without clicking over to a new tab or needing to reach a new section in WP. In short, this post (and most on this blog for that matter) has blue highlighted text that is all linked and tracked.
Use it for everything, you'll be able to truly see what's hot and what's maybe not as interesting to your audience. There is an art to this, it's the art of pivoting and testing effectively. It took me far too long to accept that the right tools are necessary even if you thought you'd be able to earn affiliate commission without investing.
Hint: Don't waste your time, get the resources you need.-- Me
Affiliate Link Tracking
For some reason it seems affiliates believe throwing money after traffic is the fast route to riches.
I get it, but what I can't get behind is the idea that you would spend $100s on traffic and not really track or store any of the data moving forward. For those who understand the need for it but still refuse to take the time to learn and use GA and/or GTM you can hire me.
I just started digging into the settings and noticed there's a feature called “Extended Tracking” that I just turned on while writing this. I'm fully committed and looking to get the most out of this tool. You can count on an update soon to solidify the expectation.
Whether you know it or not, optimizing from the beginning of your journey will lead to smarter, more intentional marketing.
The huge advantage that I've found with Pretty Links is how quick and easy it is. As I mentioned above when comparing Bitly and Pretty Links, the big difference is in everyday use and how natural it is to have it within your WordPress dashboard.
Using external trackers is inconvenient. My introduction to the idea of link shortening and tracking was through Bitly, and I still use it in my IG bio. The biggest difference is that I don't EVER log in. I just don't check it and don't think to, it's a step that is unnecessary at this stage in my game and I'm really more relying on Bitly to shorten my URL instead of using it for tracking.
Affiliate Link Checker
Check broken links and make quick adjustments seamlessly. This happened on one of my niche affiliate blogs about a month ago. The affiliate program for Spire.io was halted on Share-A-Sale and I panicked. Little did I know Pretty Links had me covered.
All I had to do was go into the site's WordPress dashboard and change the referring link.
This is a free feature and absolutely one of the reasons I decided to go ahead and upgrade to pro. I was more than saved, and later the change would lead to a handful of sales in the following week.
I had chosen a dud product to promote, but the transition into promoting something else in it's place took seconds.
No scouring each blog post (I've literally got thousands of posts I've created using the SEO AD strategy to get my first commissions) and thank God that it's not that taxing of a process to replace and redirect my hard earned traffic. I didn't realize how awesome of a feature this was until I absolutely needed it to replace an offer that rebranded seemingly overnight. It was a fitness tracker that became a sleep tracker.
I was super concerned because of all the content I made around the product, later I was happy to realize it wouldn't matter because I could send that traffic to a competitor's fitness tracker because the visitors were still interested in tracking their fitness goals.
Be sure you have the best broken link checker/link tracker/link shortener in my opinion. Get Pretty Links Pro or at least start with the free version if you don't have the money to invest right now. Go and install the plug-in and call it good for now. But trust me, I've operated with both the paid and free verision. In order to get the full benefit out of Pretty Links you'll need to pay the $49 for a beginner account. Additionally there's a 14 day money-back guarantee if you don't feel it's worth it.