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How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates

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Are you wondering how to add affiliate links to your WordPress site with ThirstyAffiliates?

Adding affiliate links for third-party products/services on your website is a great way to generate passive income. Every time someone buys something through one of your links, you will make a small commission.

In this article, we will show you how to easily add affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates. We will also share some tips to improve your affiliate marketing strategy.

Adding affiliate link in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates

An affiliate link is a special type of link that you add to your online content. You can earn a commission if a visitor clicks on the link and then makes a purchase on the affiliated website.

If you have a WordPress blog, then affiliate marketing can add a steady income stream and improve your monetization strategy.

To add affiliate links in WordPress, you will need to use an affiliate link management plugin. This makes it easy to design custom affiliate links, track their performance, and more.

ThirstyAffiliates is one of the best affiliate link management plugins for WordPress that allows you to store your affiliate links, organize them in categories, and manage them more efficiently.

It even helps you create branded URLs, comes with a search form, and allows you to automatically replace keywords with affiliate links, making it a complete solution.

For more details, you may want to see our comparison of Pretty Links vs. ThirstyAffiliates: which is right for your site?

Note: We use ThirstyAffiliates on WPBeginner for affiliate link management.

Having said that, let’s see how to easily add affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates. You can use the quick links below to jump to different parts of our tutorial:

How to Install and Set Up the ThirstyAffiliates Plugin

First, you will need to visit the ThirstyAffiliates website and click on the ‘Pricing’ tab in the top right corner of the screen.

This will take you to the ‘Pricing’ page, where you have to select a subscription plan that suits your needs.

ThirstyAffiliates pricing

Once you have done that, visit your WordPress website to install and activate the ThirstyAffiliates plugin. For detailed instructions, you may want to see our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Note: ThirstyAffiliates also has a free version that you can use. However, we will be using the pro plugin to unlock more features.

Upon activation, visit the ThirstyAffiliates » Settings page from the WordPress admin sidebar and switch to the ‘License’ tab in the left column.

Here, simply paste your license key for the plugin and click the ‘Activate License Key’ button.

You can find this information in your account on the ThirstyAffiliates website.

Add the ThirstyAffiliates license key

Next, switch to the ‘Link Appearance’ tab from the sidebar on the left to configure some settings.

Once you are there, you can start by choosing a link prefix from the dropdown menu. This prefix will be used in your cloaked link before the link slug.

For example, if you choose the ‘Recommends’ option as the link prefix, then your affiliate links will look like this:

Choose a link prefix from the dropdown menu

You can also create a custom link prefix by selecting the ‘Custom’ option from the ‘Link Prefix’ dropdown menu.

Once you’ve done that, simply type the link prefix of your choice into the ‘Custom Link Prefix’ field. In our example, we are using ‘refer’.

Type custom link prefix

After that, you can also check the box next to the ‘Link Category in URL?’ option if you want to show the selected affiliate link category in the URL.

This will add a link category to the URL after the link prefix and before the link slug like this:

Add link categories to the affiliate URL

Next, scroll down to the ‘Use nofollow on links?’ section and select the ‘Yes’ option from the dropdown menu.

This means that the nofollow attribute will now be added to all your affiliate links, which will tell the search engines not to pass a small portion of your authority to the other website.

We recommend using this option because it’s a general SEO best practice. For more details, you may want to see our step-by-step guide on how to add nofollow links in WordPress.

Add the nofollow attribute to affiliate links

Once you’ve done that, you can also open all your affiliate links in new tabs by choosing ‘Yes’ next to the ‘Open links in a new window?’ option.

After that, you can leave the other settings as default or configure them as you like.

Finally, don’t forget to click the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom to store your settings.

Open affiliate links in new tab

Now that you have set up the plugin, you need to head over to the ThirstyAffiliates » New Affiliate Link page from the WordPress dashboard.

Once you are there, you can start by typing a name for your affiliate link in the ‘Add Title’ field.

As this name will be used in the cloaked URL created by ThirstyAffiliates, we recommend using the product or service name as the link title.

Add affiliate link name

Next, you have to add the full affiliate link with your affiliate ID in the ‘Destination URL’ field.

You can also attach an image to your affiliate link by clicking on the ‘Upload/Insert’ button under the ‘Attach Images’ section.

This will launch the media library on the screen, where you can upload an image of your choice.

We recommend using this setting if you want to display affiliate links in sidebars or have templates where links can be shown with images.

Add a destination URL and attach an image to the affiliate link if you like

Now, scroll down to the ‘Autolink Keywords’ section and type the keywords that you want to automatically link to this particular affiliate link.

This will save you a lot of time when writing a blog post on your website, as the affiliate links will be automatically added once you type in a specific keyword.

Next, you can also set a limit for auto-linking in the ‘Limit (per keyword):’ option.

For example, if you type the number 3 in this field, then ThirstyAffiliates will automatically stop auto-linking the affiliate link with the specific keyword after the first three times.

Add keywords for auto linking

After that, you can also sort your links into categories. To do this, simply click the ‘+ Add New Category’ link in the ‘Link Categories’ section on the right.

From here, type the category name that suits your affiliate link and click the ‘Add New Category’ button.

Add category for the affiliate links

After that, scroll down to the ‘Link Options’ section in the right column and select if you want to add the nofollow attribute, open the link in a new tab, pass the query string to the destination URL, and even change the redirect type of your link.

You can also leave these settings as they are because they will already be configured according to the options that you picked when setting up the plugin.

Configure link options

Finally, click the ‘Save Link’ button at the top to store your settings and create your first affiliate link.

Aside from using the auto-linker, sometimes you may want to manually insert affiliate links to your WordPress posts and pages.

To do this, open a post/page in the Gutenberg editor from the WordPress admin sidebar.

Once you are there, you will notice that ThirstyAffiliates has added an ‘Affiliate Link’ button in the toolbar at the top of your blocks.

Now, to manually add an affiliate link to your WordPress post or page, simply select the anchor text for the link (the words you want to put the link on) and click the ‘TA’ icon in the block toolbar at the top.

Click the TA icon in the block toolbar after selecting anchor text for the affiliate link

This will open a search form on the screen where you have to type the name of the affiliate link that you created.

Once the link appears in the search results, simply click on it to add it to the anchor text.

Type affiliate link names in the search form

After that, don’t forget to click the ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ button at the top to store your settings.

You have now successfully added an affiliate link to your WordPress page/post.

ThirstyAffiliates uses built-in WordPress functionality to manage links. Links added via the ThirstyAffiliates plugin are added into a custom post type, which makes it really simple to add, edit, or delete them.

To manage your affiliate links, simply visit the ThirstyAffiliates » Affiliate Links page from the admin area.

Here, you can click on the ‘Edit’ link under the affiliate link of your choice to make some changes or click on the ‘Trash’ link to delete it.

You can also use the ‘Filters’ option at the top to filter all your affiliate URLs according to categories.

If you have the 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.

Manage affiliate links

To view the full statistics report, just visit the ThirstyAffiliates » Reports page from the WordPress admin sidebar.

From here, you can easily get a statistics report for your affiliate link performance over the last year, month, or week. You can even set a custom date for your report.

ThirstyAffiliates stats

This can help you show which link categories are performing better, which links are getting more clicks and fewer sign-ups, and which ones are getting fewer clicks and more signups.

You can then improve your content strategy to maximize your earning potential.

Bonus Tips for Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a super easy way to earn money online. If you are new to affiliate marketing, then the first step is to find a product or company that you are passionate about and would like to promote.

Once you’ve done that, you can partner with that company by asking to join their affiliate program and then using the affiliate ID provided by them to sell their products on your website.

You can typically find an affiliate program by searching for an ‘Affiliates’ page on a company’s website.

Finding affiliate programs to join

When choosing an affiliate program, it is important to pick a reputable company and recommend a product that you personally use and trust.

In addition, try to find affiliate programs that are relevant to your audience and sell products/services that your visitors may need.

For example, if you run a food blog, then you might want to endorse kitchen appliances, cookbooks, or food-related merchandise that your users may already be interested in.

Moreover, don’t try to overstuff your content with irrelevant affiliate links, as the key to driving traffic to your website and affiliate products is to create quality content.

For more tips, you may want to see our ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners.

Apart from affiliate links, you can also use affiliate product boxes on your website to further highlight the products that you want to promote.

SeedProd preview of the affiliate product box

This strategy can boost sales, increase brand exposure, and save time and resources.

For more details, please see our tutorial on how to create an affiliate product box in WordPress.

We hope that this article helped you learn how to add and manage affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates. You may also want to see our tutorial on how to build an Amazon affiliate store in WordPress and our expert picks for the best WordPress themes for affiliate marketing.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

51 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Kushal Phalak says

    Is there any way to know if all the links are working or not? Like a scheduled checking of all the links and notify if a link is broken and leads to 404 page. And how to keep a track of which affiliate provider is a particular link from, for example: there are some companies which have their own dashboard, but some are provided by third party like ShareASale, so how to filter/sort the links w.r.t. the providers?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      ThirstyAffiliates has a tool in their pro version to help check for any 404s. For the affiliate program itself it would be best understood by the URL for the affiliate program and not from the plugin itself.


      • Kushal Phalak says

        Oh cool! Thanks for the advice, I just noticed that it has a link categorization too. I must’ve missed that, but it is there now that I read the article once again! Great article!

  3. Jiří Vaněk says

    Considering the free version of the plugin, does it have any advantage other than keywords over using the affiliate link in the article the classic way? So if I mark the given keyword, do I make it an affiliate link and set no index (a choice thanks to AIO SEO)?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you use the same link across multiple posts it helps with updating them in bulk across your site and the plugin has tools to set the link indexing and other options.


  4. Ralph says

    This looks like useful solution however I think I like putting my own affiliate links on my own better. Every plugin can slow down the website and i write article for particular product anyway, so don’t see it as something groundbreaking. Or am I wrong?

  5. Nancy says

    This plugin has caused my post editor to not work correctly. Had to deactivate it. The settings page is different than what is displayed above. Not sure what I am doing wrong. But for some reason the plugin is causing a conflict.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you reach out to the plugin’s support and let them know the error, they should be able to help remove the problem.


  6. Karl says

    Hi. Is it possible to name a certain link “” instead of “https://mysite/recommends/”

    In other words: Is it possible to keep the link completely clean?

  7. Sanjay Sajeev says

    Hi, Thirst affiliate is a great plugin to make our affiliate links looks more brandable. I installed and activated thirsty affiliates (free version) in my site.
    And I cloaked my affiliate links. But when i click on the cloaked link, it shows only the destination URL. I set 301 redirects in configuration. Plz give me a solution for this.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Sanjay,

      If you click on the link, it will open the cloaked URL and redirect you to the destination URL. Once redirected, you will see the destination URL in your browser’s address bar.


      • Sanjay Sajeev says

        Thank you for your reply. But when i click in the link, it is going directly to the destination URL. Instead of going first to cloaked URL.

  8. Mo Gibb says

    When I view the saved affiliate link it shows me the full website that the link refers to.
    When I insert affiliate link into a post it just shows the link in the post and the user has to press the link to go to relevant site.
    Is there any way the post can look like the full website as in the affiliate link?
    Thank you

  9. Cathy Sinkeus says

    Above you say you use on Link Prefix “refer” this option is not on mine which I just downloaded. Of the “16” listed which one do you suggest?

    Thanks, Cathy

  10. Neelam says

    Hi I just added thirsty affiliates for my hair extensions website. Problem is i have saved links and images both but when i try to add links then simple link is easy but when i click image it give all images, what if i dont remember which link is associated with what image. it should only add that particular image. is it a bug or every one is facing this?

  11. shamsher says

    Can you please guide me if I want to add other page affiliate link: for example, i have my affiliate link from ThemeForest. but when I link different page/product how I will ad affiliate to that particular page.

  12. sukhoi says

    Thanks for your post . i have a question . have a plugin auto post products in sunfrog to wordpress . Thanks

  13. rob says

    I’m going to try and install this thanks for the help. so few people explain things one step at a time. most videos go way too fast then don’t explain what they are doing.

    thanks :-)

  14. sanjeev Kumar says

    Sir I use This Plugin recently it does not cloumn of cliks.So please tell Me how to correct it and how to alternative method to track the link counts

  15. Gurjit Singh says

    Hi,Thanks for your post
    Please advice How to create Separate page for multiple different Affiliated ad links.

  16. Yash says

    I have created a new link in this thirsty affiliates.

    After creating , I added that link to my page. When I click on it , it is showing “No page found”.

    Once go to this link

    and click on the link “Amazon” and see the problem i have facing.

    Give me a relevant solution over this problem.

  17. Mark says

    This allows you to add links for other products for which you are an affiliate. Do you have a recommendation for a plugin to manage affiliates where we are the main supplier and affiliates are selling our product. Woocommerce is our shop plugin.

  18. Kalifa Atia Mueen says

    i have many links on my wordpress posts , i need to add affiliate code at the end of them , any tool or plugin that can help me to update them in bulk ?
    waiting your help pleas

    • Raza says

      i am also facing the same issue. If you have got any help in that. Let me also know that. I also wanted to add coupon code in my affiliate link.

  19. 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?


  20. 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

  21. 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 ..??

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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?


  25. 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.

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