How to Cloak Your Links to Protect Your WordPress Site’s Revenue
Whether you’re earning extra income as an affiliate or you’re running your own program or online store with digital products, your revenue can slip through your fingers if you don’t protect your links.
Your digital file URLs can be endlessly shared and downloaded if you don’t set limits for their use, while long affiliate links can look suspicious to visitors who are not seasoned in affiliate marketing. You can also lose credit for a sale if a user clicks multiple referring links.
These are some of the most common ways you can miss out on revenue, but in this Weekend WordPress project, we’ll cover the best plugins for easily correcting these loopholes to help you keep the cash you have rightfully earned.
MarketPress is our complete e-commerce plugin that helps you sell your products online – even digital ones – and you can be sure your downloadable items are safe.
Your links are protected in three ways:
- The download is only available to the person who has the confirmation email.
- You can set a limit to how many times your file is downloaded per customer, per sale.
- You can enable forced logins in order to complete a purchase so that links can only be accessed by the customer if they are logged in.
There are many other features included which is why it’s a popular choice for WordPress users. It’s a premium plugin worth its weight in gold (or electromagnetic waves.)
Affiliates is another one of our plugins that can help you create a fully automated affiliate program for your site. It also does a fantastic job of tracking the source of the referring traffic in two ways to ensure your affiliates are protected from losing out on potential revenue.
Once signed up, affiliates can enter the URL of the site where the link will be placed. Once clicked, the Affiliates plugin recognizes the referring URL and pairs it with the active account to ensure revenues are counted.
The plugin uses a browser cookie to track referral links. When an affiliate link is clicked, a cookie is created in the user’s browser. When a purchase is completed, the plugin recognizes the cookie and uses it to identify the referral URL and the corresponding affiliate account.
The cookies also help by giving credit to the first referring link that’s clicked if many are used.
This premium plugin fully integrates with the MarketPress eCommerce plugin and has many other useful features that help to make creating affiliate programs easy and seamless.
Pretty Link Lite is a popular plugin that acts like link shrinking service such as tinyurl.com or bit.ly. The magnificent difference is that Pretty Link Lite lets you use your own domain. If you’re already an affiliate, you can clean up the links you already have with this plugin to make it more user-friendly.
You can also track the usage of your pretty links and the plugin provides a detailed report of each hit.
It’s no wonder why this plugin has over 100,000 active users. It’s free to use, but also has a premium version in case you would like to access more features.
WP Wizard Cloak also lets you use your own domain to mask long affiliate links and shorten them to something more desirable. You can also generate and export detailed reports for each click of your links.
You can also send visitors to different URLs based on their country of origin. This can be useful if you are an Amazon affiliate, for example, as you can send users to their country’s version of the Amazon website for their convenience.
It’s a plugin worth exploring since it has other useful features and it’s free, too.
The ThirstyAffiliates plugin not only cloaks and shortens links using your own domain name, but it also lets you further protect your links with 301 redirection to ensure your visitors are consistently guided to the page you want them to see and only that page.
This plugin also makes it really easy to add your affiliate links into your site’s posts or pages in the editor. You can even turn your links into shortcodes for further customization with custom CSS styling.
It’s a lightweight plugin with many more helpful features at no cost. If you find you want more features down the road, there are many available as premium add-ons.
Easy Affiliate Links is a brand new plugin that lets you shorten your affiliate links by cloaking them, but you can also assign categories to your links to help keep you organized. You can also easily access all your links in both the visual and HTML editor to easily add them to your posts and pages.
There are also many features that are planned for future version including analytics, A/B testing, specific links by geography and a broken link checker.
It may be a brand new plugin, but it’s gaining steam fast with over 75 active installs in the first 24 hours since this plugin was added to the WordPress directory. It’s a solid plugin that’s worth checking out.
With these plugins, you’ll be a few steps closer to protecting your links and the revenue they generate for you. It’s as easy as installing a plugin (or two) and setting up a few simple options.
If you’re interested in other ways you can protect your site, check out some of our other posts including WordPress Security: The Ultimate Guide, How To Protect Email Addresses On Your WordPress Site and How to Use SSL and HTTPS with WordPress.
Do you think there is a plugin that’s missing from this list? Feel free to share it in the comments below.