If you had to guess what the most common mistake I see new affiliates make, what would you say? I bet a couple popped in your head right away, such as “being too pushy” or “not disclosing”. Those happen all the time for sure.
But in my day-to-day as an affiliate manager, the biggest, craziest and most ridiculous mistake I see bloggers making – that seriously affects their earning potential – is forgetting to use their affiliate links.
Now, you may be thinking, “Umm, Justine, why would someone NOT use their affiliate link?”. Before you fight me, hear me out.
As a blogger, you have a million things to do, right? Each week, your to do list might look something like this:
- create amazing content
- design graphics
- network on social
- send newsletters
- answer emails
- discuss partnerships
- guest post
- work on products
So when you're not in the habit of creating content around affiliate products, such as a product review, it's easy to forget to link to one in a regular post.
Since I share affiliate marketing strategies with awesome people like you, naturally my content may contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you take action (i.e. subscribe, make a purchase) after clicking one of these links, I'll earn some coffee money ☕️ which I promise to drink while creating more helpful content like this.Affiliate Disclosure
For example, Cindy the business blogger joined the Studiopress affiliate program a while back and used her link to review one of their WordPress themes. She found it in her ShareASale dashboard and it was specific to that theme.
A few months later, she's getting set to publish a huge guide to WordPress. In the guide, she mentions a different Studiopress theme she really likes. She can't use the same link as last time because it points to a different theme, so this is where Cindy has a dilemma. She can go login to ShareASale and find the right affiliate link for this theme, but she can't remember her password and figures it'll take at least 5-10 minutes to sort everything out.
Since she's been working on this guide for a looooong time, she desperately wants to ship it and decides to skip the process. “It's just one time” she thinks.
The thing is, if you want to monetize your blog as an affiliate, you need to be diligent about linking to affiliate products as often as possible. You never know what piece of content will take off and net you the highest affiliate earnings. Could have been that guide, Cindy.
That's why I track all my affiliate links in a spreadsheet. You can create your own in a snap, or use what I use – this affordable Affiliate Tracking Toolkit by my friend Addi Ganley. It's a more polished and fun way to track those pesky links.
Every time I get approved for a new program, I login to my affiliate dashboard, grab my affiliate links and stick them in my spreadsheet. Sometimes a program just has one link pointing to the main website. Other times, you'll find lots of links. So try and grab all the ones you plan to use – you can always add more later.
While the spreadsheet makes it easy to track my affiliate links (including payouts, various landing pages and more), it's annoying to have that doc open every time I'm writing a new post. Plus affiliate links can be so darn ugly.
That's where WordPress plugin Pretty Link saves the day. With this simple plugin, I can quickly create vanity URLs (aka links that look pretty) that are easy to remember when inserting links into posts. I now use my tracking toolkit spreadsheet as a master link file to ensure I have a backup in case something happens with Pretty Link.
Here's how Pretty Link transforms your links
Let's say your Studiopress affiliate link is: //www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=XYZXYZ&b=123456&m=12345&afftrack=&urllink=studiopress%2Ecom
With Pretty Link, I can turn that into: //justinegrey.com/studiopress
Now, every time I'm writing a post that mentions Studiopress, I just have to remember my own website (easy!) + /companyname.
Pretty Link has a free version called Lite that you can find and install via your WordPress plugin area. I used that version for a long time so the premium version isn't mandatory.
However, the premium version of Pretty Links has one incredible feature worth it's low price. It automagically change words in your posts to affiliate links. Pretty neat, right? For example, if I wrote Studiopress in any blog post, the word would get linked with my affiliate tracking link thanks to techy magic. While any forgetful or busy blogger could use a feature like this, it's extremely useful for those inserting lots of links (fashion, food and beauty bloggers come to mind).
To help you take action, I whipped up a quick video tutorial to show you how to install & use Pretty Link. Enjoy!
Video Tutorial: Organize + Beautify Your Affiliate Links with Pretty Link
Step 1: From your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins and select “Add New”. In the search bar, type “Pretty Link” to find the plugin from the directory. The free version is called Pretty Link Lite. Install and activate the plugin.
Step 2: The new plugin will appear in your WordPress dashboard menu. Open the plugin to get started with your first pretty link.
Step 3: When you first open the plugin you won't have any links to see. Hit “Add New Pretty Link” to create your first (or a new) vanity URL.
Step 4: Keep the Redirection Type as “307 (Temporary)”. Grab your affiliate link from the relevant affiliate program or spreadsheet if you have one and paste it into the Target URL box.
Step 5: Create your own pretty link/vanity URL. Make sure that you use something memorable and related to the product or service you are linking to.
For example, if you were creating a pretty link for ConvertKit, you might use “ConvertKit” as your link slug so it looks like: yourwebsite.com/convertkit.
Extra Options: After you have added your affiliate link and new pretty link there are a few extra options available within the plugin:
- Groups – You can create groups for your pretty links here. For example, you might have a group of marketing tools or food programs that you want to keep together.
- No-follow – This option allows you to make all of your pretty links “no-follow” for SEO purposes.
- Tracking – This is the only extra option that I use. I ensure that the checkbox is ticked before hitting create.
Step 5: Hit Create at the bottom of the page and your new link will be created! You can copy and paste the new link from the plugin. Or, if you've created a link that's easy to remember, you might just remember it! When someone clicks on the pretty link, they will be automatically forwarded to your affiliate link, complete with your tracking ID etc.
How do you manage your affiliate links? Let me know in the comments below.
Don't forget to subscribe for bonus tutorials, guides and templates in my Affiliate Library: