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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.

How to add affiliate links in WordPress using 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:

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

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.

ThirstyAffiliates settings page

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:

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.

Add new affiliate link in WordPress using ThirstyAffiliates

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. You may also want to see our list of the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

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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.

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Reader Interactions

43 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. 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.

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


  2. 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?

  3. 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.

    • 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.


      • 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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 :-)

  10. 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

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. hi
    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

    • 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.

  15. 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?


  16. 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

  17. 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 ..??

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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?


  21. 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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