As a blogger, links are everywhere and are contained in almost everything you create from blog posts to social media updates to affiliates. But there’s an easy way to manage all of your links from one place with the Pretty Links plugin for WordPress – and it’s free!
Pretty Links is an amazing WordPress plugin that allows you to customize your links, provide a single source to update URLs, create simple redirects, and manage your affiliate links (with no follow!).
Yes, there is a paid version but most bloggers have no need for the additional functionalities included at a price.
What Is Pretty Links?
While many bloggers use sources like Bitly, Pretty Links is mostly intended to shorten and customize your links to fit your needs from right in WordPress. It can also be used for redirects if you change a URL (aka permalink) and need a link to navigate the user to an updated or different URL.
But the Pretty Links plugin can do so much more:
Pretty Link Features
Here are the great features of Pretty Links:
- Create shortened URLs of your choice that still include your site address (yoursite .com/your-long-blog-post-title/ can become yoursite .com/blog-post/)
- The above is considered a redirect, which is another use for plugin (301, 302, and 307 redirects only)
- Link click tracking (on unique and total clicks – meaning the total clicks and the number of unique readers that clicked the link)
- Link reporting (filter by a specific link, date range, or unique clicks)
- “No follow” or “Sponsored” link setting (turn this on for a link and you don’t have to individually code your affiliate links – make sure your program allows “masked” links first! Amazon does not) – good for SEO!
- You can turn tracking on and off for specific links
Ways You Can Use Features
Check out the video below showing how the plugin works. But here are some things you can do with the plugin (there may be redundancy from the previous list – these are more examples of the above features in actual use):
- Create clean, shortened URLs for use on Twitter and for other character limited needs
- Have a freebie you offer? Will it be updated? Create a Pretty Link and update the URL once to direct all of your links across your site to the updated version!
- Add “sponsored” to all allowable affiliate links (see note in the features section). Plus you will have one area where you can find all your affiliate links!
- Quickly find all of the links you need from groups you set-up (maybe you are doing a giveaway and want to know how many clicks you receive during your campaign on the individual items)
- Change a page URL? Create a simple redirect to the new page or post
- Track clicks on any and all links for campaigns, giveaways, email blasts, etc
How To Create A Pretty Link
A quick overview of the plugin (free version). This video shows you how to “mask” affiliate links and how to update existing affiliate links with your Pretty Link that already exist on your blog.
Update: This video shows you how to add “no follow” but under Advanced settings you can select “Sponsored” for all your affiliate links (per a new change to the Google algorithm in 2020 – add “Sponsored” to all affiliate links rather than “no follow”!)
Additional plugin used in the video: Better Search Replace
A few things I forgot to mention in the video when it comes to Pretty Links settings:
- Pretty Links > Options > Links: Click on what you want the defaults to be (you can select No Follow and Sponsored so these are automatically activated when you create a Pretty Link)
- Pretty Links > Options > Reporting: Make sure to check the box for auto-trim. Yes, this will delete your clicks older than 90 days from your reporting (permanently), but if you don’t check this box your database of link clicks will be HUGE which can affect your site speed.
- Pretty Links > Options > Reporting: Ensure that you select “Simple Click Count Tracking”. This is selected by default but enabling the more complex tracking can also slow things down.
Clear Your Pretty Links Click Reporting Regularly
Maybe once a month, you will want to go into Pretty Links and export your clicks (if you want to track them). Then, delete them (“trimming” in Pretty Links terms).
If you don’t do this, every single click will be tracked in your database which can be very lengthy and messy (especially if you have a lot of traffic).
Pretty Links is a versatile plugin that can solve many link challenges – for free! Any blogger out there can benefit from the simple (but effective) features in this link-filled world of blogging.
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About Kristine Beaves
Hi, I’m Kristine, a blogger, organization nerd, and mom of 2. You’ll find all my tips, tricks, and know-how on cutting through the crap-load of info out there about blogging with WordPress right here.