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Pretty Link The Smart Way – Know What Links Are Clicked And From Where

image - Pretty Link TutorialThis Pretty Link Lite tutorial will show you a better method, that you probably haven’t seen yet, of using the free WordPress plugin. There are many other tutorials on the link tracking tool but I’m going to show you how to use the free version of Pretty Link to track your affiliate links on various sites and social networks. Track how many times your affiliate links are clicked AND know where they were clicked.

A Side Note

Real quick, for those don’t already know it, for several years I owned an all-paid ad tracking membership site. This was a successful membership site because marketers know the value of link tracking. As bloggers, at least those of you that have monetized, link tracking should be something you are paying attention to. The following method of link tracking is very basic and doesn’t give you many details but it’s super easy to use and reliable.

What Does Pretty Link Lite Do?

The Pretty Link plugin takes the ugly and obvious affiliate links and cleans them up by turning them into more friendly looking URLs. Turn this

Into this:

The links you setup in your plugin (in your WordPress dashboard after it’s installed) will redirect to the destination URL (Target URL). Basically, both URLs are visited, it’s just started with your custom link setup in Pretty Link.

Pretty Link Tracking

We can track the number of clicks, along with the IP Address, of the various clicks on the links we setup in the plugin. This can shed some light on the effectiveness of your campaigns, even social media (keep reading).

Last night, I setup a very basic “convenience link” to use for Facebook. It’s not an affiliate link but it’s nice to know if people are clicking over to your social networks, and from where (keep reading). So I setup


Pretty straight forward, right? Now I have a super easy way to send people over to our Facebook page and even keep track of how many people have clicked the link.

The Power Of Knowledge

Here’s the amazing part of knowing how many clicks you are getting, aside from the obvious of knowing which campaigns are working the best. I sent a single tweet using that pretty link at 11:10 PM last night (Saturday). So it’s Saturday night and there’s not a lot going on. The tweet didn’t seem to get any attention; no retweets, favorites or replies. A waist of time, right? Well, let’s look:

image - 32 hits from TwitterWithin minutes, we had 32 clicks on that link.  That’s the power of Twitter but it’s also the power of knowing; without some sort of link tracking, we might assume our tweet was completely ignored. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will turn into a sale, but how many people have given up because they thought no one noticed a tweet, update, post or email?

The Advanced Method – Knowing Where The Link Was Clicked

So now for the part where I show you how to know where the links are being clicked. Don’t worry, “advanced” doesn’t mean it’s difficult; anyone can do this within minutes.

So let’s go back to my Genesis Framework affiliate link. Rather than just using the above example for every link I place online, we set one up for every place we’re going to use it.

I like to use a simple “code” in the tracking link that allows me to see where I used it. Here’s an example of my code but you can use whatever works best for you:

  • e = email
  • f = Facebook
  • g = Google Plus
  • p = Pinterest
  • t = Twitter

How To Setup Your Affiliate Link “Custom Code”:

So rather than using everywhere, I setup what looks like a directory: for links to be used on Twitter for links to be used on Facebook

image - Pretty Link Code Example

You get the point; every website and social network gets their own Pretty Link and I get to see where I’m getting clicks.

More Pretty Link Tips On The Video

Pretty Link – Fast and Simple Link Tracking Method for Bloggers

Action Step

It doesn’t get any easier; log into your WordPress dashboard, click plugins in the left column, click on “add new” and search “Pretty Link Lite“. Install, activate and setup your links. It’s free, it’s easy and you will have a better understanding of what campaigns are generating clicks, and what isn’t.

Over To You, My Fellow Blogger

There you go, simple as pie yet I haven’t seen anyone else explain this. I hope it helps, be sure to watch the video and we’d love your input in the comments below. We’re now using a commenting system that allows you to comment via the traditional WordPress platform, Facebook or Google Plus – just click the appropriate tab. :)

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47 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Twitter: Reginald_Chan
    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for sharing this. I don’t use Pretty link but I am using Thirsty Affiliate. I heard a lot of thing about pretty links but I have to use it.

    I like the explanation of what you said and thanks for that. Really appreciate it and this could be the reason why I might use Pretty Links on my secondary sites to test it out.

    Have a great weekend mate!
    Reginald recently posted..5 Insights You Should Know About Make Money BloggingMy Profile

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Thank you Reginald, I actually looked at Thirsty Affiliates but it looks like many of the features are add-ons that need to be purchased; like tacking and stats downloading, for example, at $29/each. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just wanted a free and simple to use tracking plugin for our readers. I’ve used Pretty Link on several sites so I know it’s reliable and safe. Thanks or participating Reginald, I appreciate that. :)

  2. Pretty links looks really cool, I especially like the way that you can track the links. I used to use a plugin like this, but this one seems to do so much more.

    This may be something that I need to pick up to help me track my links and to make them look prettier than using the ugly affiliate links.

    Thanks for sharing this info. I really was amazed that you got 32 clicks in just a few minutes on Twitter.
    Susan Velez recently posted..Website Marketing Strategy – 30 Day ResultsMy Profile

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Great question Josh, in the options tab, we can exclude bots and even our own IP addresses (which Pretty Link will detect and display for us). I might mention that point in the video we’re recording in an hour, I just wanted to keep this post as simple as possible.

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Thanks Deepanker, while I think we want to cleanup affiliate links and make it a little tougher to strip off the identifier (our link extension), I don’t recommend we hide the fact they are affiliate links. In fact, here in North America at least, the law says we must disclose the that fact. Being honest will our readership is the only way to begin building that great reputation that will strengthen relationships and insure long term success.

      See CAN-SPAM Act

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Thanks Robert, I hope it helps. I used to change the affiliate links slightly to track results. For example, on Twitter I might add #twitter to the destination link but the problem is, we don’t always know if that’s going to break the tracking and cause us to lose credit. Since we have the ability to modify the link on our end, I just let the affiliate URL ride as is.

  3. Its a nice way for tracking the link. Looking forward to use it. Currently i am using Jetpack, but now I think its time for me to try Pretty Link Lite. Thanks for sharing the information. :)

  4. Twitter: AAAccidentlaw
    Having the ability to clean up your link URLs can also be more pleasing to the eye I think. This is just a hunch on my part, but I think large URLs with jumbled numbers and letters can scare off potential clicks. If you can clearly read a URL, I think you are more likely to click through.

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Oh, absolutely Paul, I couldn’t agree more. We want to know what we’re clicking and reading the URL is something many of us do before we click. I always find myself hovering over anchor test to see where it’s going to take me; we’ve all been tricked before. If the ad link looks the slightest bit odd, and most of them do, click throughs will be down.

  5. Jeevan Jacob John

    Twitter: JeevanMe
    Great Tips, Brian :)

    I have heard of pretty link, but never used it. I do plan to do affiliate marketing on my upcoming blog, so this plugin will definitely help (Thanks for the advanced tutorial too – It’s a handy trick to track the sources).

    I usually use Bitly to track all my links (but, I suppose Pretty link is more friendly, especially when tweeting other own content/page etc.)

    Anyways, thanks for the tutorial, Brian. Appreciate it!

    By the way, how are you? I haven’t been blogging for a while – about one year now. Just got back to blogging (well, commenting). It’s certainly good to see that everyone is still blogging :D

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Hey Jeevan, it’s nice to see you around again. No link? I use Bitly too but it’s easier for me to control and edit from my own blogs plus a lot of people are reluctant to click a Bitly link – including myself unless it’s from someone I know and trust.

  6. Twitter: TechWayz
    Hi Brian !
    This is an excellent tutorial ! I always wondered how it was possible for an affiliate link on WP blogs to be clean without any numbers and symbols like “?-” . I didn’t know that the WP plugin was behind the scenes .This is an useful plugin as it not only makes the URL look good but also tracks the number of clicks . I would be trying this plugin for a few of my posts . Thanks for sharing the tutorial and details .

    Pramod recently posted..PS4 Price in India with full specifications and detailsMy Profile

    • Twitter: HotBlogTips
      Hi Mitch, the term S.E.O/Link juice is a little outdated but you wouldn’t want to pass pagerank to an affiliate link anyway; Google have been very consistent in relaying that message, as well as taking action on those that ignore it. So with or without Pretty Link, I recommend you no-follow any affiliate or advertising links.

      I’m sure Google can determine the destination URL but if it’s a link back from an authority site, for example, I’d recommend providing them with a direct link; Google Analytics will provide the tracking for inbound links like that. If you’re using Pretty Link for internal pages, I’m assuming you’re linking back from social networks or your own site.
      Brian D. Hawkins recently posted..Planning the Visual Components of Your Video (Video)My Profile

  7. Twitter: makemyblogmoney
    Brian, I’m ashamed to say that the only way I know that a link has been clicked is by the WordPress notification in the Jetpack. I’m not that great at all of this and when I first set up my blog I had a feeling that nothing was going to come of it.

    Even though I make 5 figures every month, I have no idea where it comes from…the Paypal fairy just delivers it to my account every month! I’ve got to do better bro!
    Wade Harman recently posted..The Psychology of the Sexes in Social Media-Who Is The Bigger Target, Men or Women?My Profile

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