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How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates

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Elegant Themes
How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates

We are often asked about affiliate marketing tips for WordPress powered blogs and websites. What is the secret to affiliate marketing success? What is the best affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress? As we have mentioned on our disclosure page that we do make some money at WPBeginner from affiliate links. There is actually no big secret to our affiliate marketing strategy. We only recommend products and services that we use or that we would use. For example, we have recommended Sucuri for WordPress security and monitoring. You can read our article on 5 reasons why we use Sucuri. We have a blueprint page that talks about all the tools/plugins/services that we are using on WPBeginner along with an explanation of why we use them. The only affiliate marketing WordPress plugin that every blogger need is something to manage their affiliate links. In this article, we will show you how to easily manage your affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates.

What is ThirstyAffiliates

ThirstyAffiliates is an affiliate link management plugin for WordPress. It allows you to store your affiliate links, organize them in categories, and manage them in an efficient manner. It also helps you create branded affiliate URLs and automatically replace specific keywords with affiliate links. Most affiliate links look like this:

http://example.com/?product_id=942354&aff_id=145983

Those URLs are hard to remember, and it also looks pretty ugly. Using ThirstyAffiliates, this can be branded or cloaked into:

http://www.yoursite.com/refer/example/

Links can be sorted into categories and sub-categories. You can even add the category slug into your cloaked link.

ThirstyAffiliates uses built-in WordPress functionality by creating a custom post type. This makes it compatible with all other WordPress plugins, including backup plugins. It has a built-in search feature which allows you to easily search for an affiliate link. Inserting links into posts and pages is as simple as adding any other link into your posts. You can search for affiliate links right from the Insert Link box in the post editor.

How to Install and Set up Thirsty Affiliates plugin

Go to ThirstyAffiliates website and choose a subscription plan. At the time of writing, there are three subscription plans available. Standard, Premium and Professional. We have purchased the professional package of the plugin because it has one feature that will double if not triple your affiliate income. That feature is the auto-linker add-on.

While the other features (Importer and Stats) are nice, the auto-linker is the single most useful feature of this plugin aside from the management. No matter which plan you choose, you can use the plugin on unlimited websites. If you have multiple websites, then this is the best deal.

Once you have purchased the plugin, you need to install and activate it. If you purhased premium or professional plan, then you will get add-on plugins too. These are separate plugins and need to be installed separately. Look at our guide on how to install plugins in WordPress. Once you have activated ThirstyAffiliates plugin and add-ons, it will add a new Thirsty Affiliates menu-item in your WordPress admin sidebar. Go to plugin’s settings page located under ThirstyAffiliates » Settings.

Thirsty Affiliates Settings

On the settings page the first option is to choose a Link Prefix. This prefix will be used in your cloaked link before your link slug. The plugin comes pre-loaded with commonly used prefixes such as: recommends, fly, proceed, goto, etc. You can choose custom prefixe as well and add your own prefix. At WPBeginner we use refer as the prefix for our affiliate links.

The second option is to show link category in the URL. This will add link category into the URL after the link prefix and before the link slug. We don’t use this option on our websites because we feel that it makes the link lengthier. For example:

http://www.your-site.com/refer/category/link-name

Third option on the settings page is to add “nofollow” attribute to your affiliate links. We recommend that you check this box and add nofollow to all your affiliate links. There is also the option to open affiliate links in a new window. We would suggest that you check this too. Last option is to record logged in users. If you are running a WordPress website where users can create accounts, then we would recommend that you enable this feature. However, if you are running a site where only a few people can log in to your website, then you can leave this option unchecked. Now that you are done, click save changes and you are ready to use thirsty affiliates on your website.

How to add Affiliate Links using ThirstyAffiliates

Adding affiliate links in ThirstyAffiliates is simple and straight forward. Simply go to ThirstyAffiliates » Add New to add an affiliate link.

Adding a new affiliate link in WordPress using Thirsty Affiliates

Link Name: The name of your link should be easy to identify and remember. This name will be used in the cloaked URL. Using the product name as the link title is probably the best naming practice.

Destination URL: This is the full URL of the page with your affiliate id. This is where you will paste your long affiliate link. Below this field, you will see the checkboxes to make a link nofollow and open it in a new window. If you have not enabled these on the plugin’s settings page, then you can override those settings here.

Attach Images: You can attach images to your affiliate links in Thirsty Affiliates. This is probably useful for websites that want to display affiliate links in sidebars or have templates where links can be shown with images.

Autolink Keywords This powerful feature is available as an add on plugin and comes with ThirstyAffiliates when you buy the professional package. It allows you to add a set of keywords which will be automatically linked to this particular affiliate link. This will save you a lot of time when writing on your site. You can just write your posts and not worry about adding links in the articles. For example if we mention the word HostGator, Sucuri, MaxCDN, and they will all be linked automatically.

However, we have also noticed that some publishers fail to use this feature efficiently. Make sure that you are using very focused keywords for auto-linking. Once again, adding the product name as the keyword is most common practice. Below the keywords you will see two checkboxes. The first checkbox allows ThirstyAffiliates to add links to keywords used in titles. This only applies to heading tags used inside article content not the post title itself. The second checkbox allows you to set a limit on keywords. This option is particularly helpful if the keyword is repeated through out the article and you don’t want to add the same link repteadly. We recommend that you do not link heading tags, and the number of keywords being replaced should be no more than 3.

Link Categories: You can sort your links into categories. These link categories work like post categories. You can add new categories when adding a new link, or you can go to ThirstyAffiliates » Link Categories to manually add link categories.

Adding Affiliate Links in WordPress Posts and Pages

Aside from the auto-linker, sometimes you may want to manually add affiliate links in your WordPress posts and pages. ThirstyAffiliates adds a button into WordPress visual post editor.

Thirsty Affiliate link button in WordPress visual post editor

Clicking on the button will open ThirstyAffiliates link search in a popup. You can either select the link from the list of links or search for a link. You can then insert the plain link, a shortcode, or an image link.

Search and insert affiliate links

For those users who prefer to use text editor in WordPress post edit area, they can simply click on the link button and search for a link. Links added through ThirstyAffiliates will appear as affiliate link in search, like this:

Search and add affiliate links in text editor

Managing Affiliate Links in ThirstyAffiliates

ThirstyAffiliates uses built-in WordPress functionality to manage links. Links added via ThirstyAffiliates plugins are added into a custom post type which makes it really simple to add, edit, or delete an affiliate link. If you have statistics add-on activated, then it will also show you the number of clicks for each link broken down into daily, weekly and monthly clicks.

Managing thirsty affiliate links

The statistics add-on for ThirstyAffiliates also adds detailed statistics for all your affiliate link activity on statistics page. This can help you show which link categories are performing better, which links are getting more clicks and less sign ups, which links are getting less clicks and more signups. You can then improve your content strategy to maximize your earning potential.

Statics add-on for Thirsty Affiliates showing click reports

All your affiliate links can be exported in WordPress XML format and can easily be imported into any other WordPress website using the default WordPress import/export tools.

We hope that this article helped you learn how to manage affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates. If you have any questions or comments, then please leave a comment below.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Hi, thanks for this information. I have been using pretty links for a long time now and tend to just install it as standard and haven’t really bothered looking for anything else. Could you let me know what made you choose Thirsty Affiliates over Pretty Links?

    Thanks,
    Mark.

  2. A.K.Andrew says:

    Thirsty looks really good for managing affiliates in pages, posts and the side bar. However if I want to sell affiliate products in a “store” page will I need a separate ecommerce plugin for the store and if so which would you recommend. Your other post on ths is now 4 years old. I’ve looked at Woo & Wp ecommerce with Affiliates, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money without being clear on the results. To be clear it would only be for affiliate products so a shopping cart will in effect be of of no use. Appreciate your recommendations. Thanks

  3. Loni says:

    my “thirsty affiliates” file shows up in the Site map – in word press. do i need to Disallow it ???

    wont the spiders “see” the cloaked affil. links …..??? anybody ..??
    thanx
    Loni

  4. sunil says:

    Thanks a lot as my search for affiliate marketing plugin ends to this post. This is very useful plugin and I hope I will recommend it in my blog also.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I thought we were not allowed to use affiliate links with WordPress. I am concerned if I use this and add links that WP will delete my account. Can you please give me more information about this?

  6. Jess Molly Brown says:

    Could you please tell me how to display affiliate buttons in the sidebar?

  7. Keith Davis says:

    Hi Guys
    Just bought the plugin and started to play with it.

    Any chance you could add a little more about the categories section… name, slug, description etc?

    Regards

  8. Keith Davis says:

    Been looking at Thirsty affiliates and Pretty links plugin – I think that you’ve pushed me towards Thirsty Aff.

    Thanks for giving out the settings that you guys use. Always useful to know what you guys are using.

    The ability to limit the number of links on a page is pretty good – don’t want too many links.

    Best review of Thirsty affiliates that I’ve found – great job.

  9. Gillian says:

    Really nice tut, thanks a lot.

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