Are you looking for the best affiliate link management plugin for your website?
The right affiliate URL management plugin will help you add relevant links to your site, so you never miss a chance to make money. They’ll also make it easier to monitor, update, and fine-tune your links to get as many sales as possible.
In this article, we will compare Pretty Links vs ThirstyAffiliates, to help you decide which affiliate plugin is right for your website.
Why Use an Affiliate Link Management Plugin?
Affiliate marketing is where you earn a commission every time someone buys a product using your unique referral link. It’s a great way to make money online without having to create and sell your own digital downloads or physical products.
However, it’s not enough to simply add affiliate links to your site. To get sales, you need to place those links in the right place and show them to the right people.
It’s also important to monitor the number of click-throughs and conversions, identify any broken links, update outdated URLs, and much more.
This can take a lot of time and effort, which is why so many marketers use an affiliate link management plugin. The right plugin can help you better manage your affiliate links, and even help automate certain processes like contextual linking.
In this Pretty Links vs ThirstyAffiliates guide, we’re comparing two of the most popular affiliate plugins to see which is right for your website. Simply use the quick links below to jump straight to the feature you want to compare.
Pretty Links vs ThirstyAffiliates – Overview
An effective link management plugin is a must-have for any affiliate marketer. With that being said, let’s start with an overview of these two popular link management plugins.
ThirstyAffiliates – Overview
ThirstyAffiliates is an affiliate management plugin that allows you to replace ugly affiliate URLs with branded links.
It has everything you need to make money online blogging with WordPress including link scheduling, Google Analytics integration, automatic keyword linking, geolocation specific links, and an automatic 404 checker.
You can also organize your links into categories, so it’s easier to work with lots of different affiliate partners.
Note: We have been using ThirstyAffiliates on our own websites including WPBeginner for over 5 years.
Pretty Links – Overview
Pretty Links is also a popular affiliate link management plugin for WordPress that’s trusted by over 200,000 websites.
You can use Pretty Links to replace long and complicated affiliate URLs with cleaner, more memorable alternatives. These links are easier to post on social media, podcasts, forums, and many other platforms.
You can even create links that originate from your domain name, so they seem more trustworthy to security-conscious shoppers.
In addition to link cloaking, Pretty Links is a complete affiliate link management tool that has tons of advanced features including automatically adding links to your site and detailed conversion reports.
Affiliate Link Management
Affiliate links are a great way to monetize your WordPress blog or website. However, maintaining those links can take a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re a small team. If you don’t manage your links effectively, then you may miss opportunities to make money.
Here’s a look at how these plugins can help you manage your affiliate URLs.
ThirstyAffiliates – Affiliate Link Management
ThirstyAffiliates allows you to manage your links from a single location in your WordPress dashboard. This can save you a ton of time if you ever need to update those URLs.
For example, if an affiliate partner changes a link, then you can simply edit the URL once in the WordPress dashboard, and ThirstyAffiliates will automatically redirect to the new URL across your entire WordPress website.
ThirstyAffiliates’ also support categories, which work in a similar way to post and page categories in WordPress.
This helps to keep your links organized, no matter how many affiliate partners you work with.
However, there’s no way to add tags to your links.
Pretty Links – Affiliate Link Management
Just like ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Links provides a single location where you can manage all your affiliate links.
Again, this means you can edit an affiliate link once, and Pretty Links will apply the change across your entire WordPress website.
Although Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates handle link management in a very similar way, Pretty Links does have some extra features. To start, you can add both categories and tags to your affiliate links.
It even has a separate section where you can manage all your affiliate tags.
This can be particularly useful if you have lots of different affiliate partners or a ton of links that you need to keep organized.
Pretty Links also has a ‘Notes’ section for each link where you can leave reminders for yourself, or even notes for other people.
In this way, you can communicate with clients, guest bloggers, partners, and anyone else who shares the WordPress dashboard with you.
Winner – Pretty Links
If you’re looking for a tool to help you perform essential link management, then both plugins are a great choice.
Both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates will save you a ton of time with link management, no matter how many URLs you add to your online store, blog, or website. However, Pretty Links has a few extra features that can help you organize your links, so it has a slight edge over ThirstyAffiliates in this area.
Broken links are bad news for any website, but 404 errors cost affiliate marketers money.
When a visitor clicks on an affiliate link, it typically means they’re thinking about buying the product. If they get a 404 error, then you’ve missed out on a potential sale.
As an affiliate marketer, you need a link management plugin that helps you fix broken links before they start costing you money. Here’s what both plugins have to offer.
ThirstyAffiliates – Link Checker
ThirstyAffiliates has an Automatic 404 Checker that scans your site and then reports any problems. It will show information about each link in the ‘404 checker’ area of the WordPress dashboard.
You can check for broken links by visiting this tab, but ThirstyAffiliates will also notify your site admin about any broken URLs it discovers. However, there’s no option to send these email notifications to a different email address, which may be a problem if you share the WordPress dashboard with other people.
The Automatic 404 Checker also isn’t enabled by default, so you’ll need to go into the plugin’s settings to activate it.
ThirstyAffiliates also allows you to check the health of specific links as you’re adding them to your online marketplace or website.
This allows you to verify that a link works before publishing it.
Pretty Links – Link Checker
Pretty Links has a Link Health feature that scans your site and creates weekly reports about any broken links it discovers.
However, just like ThirstyAffiliates, you will need to go into the plugins’s settings to enable this feature, as it doesn’t run by default.
Unlike ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Links prioritizes the links that get you the most conversions, by scanning your best-performing links first. This feature is particularly useful for large sites that have hundreds or even thousands of affiliate URLs.
You can see the Link Health report in the WordPress dashboard, but Pretty Links can also notify you about broken links via email. By default, Pretty Links will email your site admin but you can change this to any other address in the plugin’s settings.
Winner – ThirstyAffiliates
Both of these plugins allow you to identify and fix broken links without having to manually track 404 pages in WordPress.
However, ThirstyAffiliates lets you check that a link is working before publishing it, simply by clicking a button. This is a quick way to avoid 404 errors happening in the first place, which gives this plugin a slight advantage over Pretty Links.
Scheduling helps you create automated workflows for your affiliate website. This is important for busy website owners who don’t have time to enable and disable affiliate URLs manually.
It’s also useful if your affiliate partners run sales and other time-sensitive promotions, as you can organize your campaigns in advance.
Let’s see how these plugins compare when it comes to link scheduling.
ThirstyAffiliates – Link Scheduling
With ThirstyAffiliates, you can set the date and time when your affiliate URLs will go live.
You can also create redirects for any visitors who click your affiliate URLs before they’re active, or after they’ve expired.
For example, you might show a custom landing page explaining the promotion has ended, and suggesting some alternatives affiliate products visitors may want to buy instead.
In this way, you can improve the user experience and possibly even turn 404 errors into sales.
Pretty Links – Link Scheduling
Unlike ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Links doesn’t allow you to schedule when your links will go live. However, you can set links to expire automatically on a specific date or after a certain number of clicks. This is perfect if you want to use FOMO to increase conversions.
Similar to ThirstyAffiliates, you can automatically redirect visitors after a link has expired. For example, you might use a page builder plugin to design a custom Sorry page, or you can forward them to an alternative affiliate product.
Winner – Tie
If you like to plan your affiliate campaigns in advance, then this is a good reason to choose ThirstyAffiliates over Pretty Links. However, if you want your links to expire automatically after a certain number of clicks, then this is very easy to set up using Pretty Links.
Link cloaking is where you replace complicated affiliate URLs with user-friendly links that have your own branding. This makes the links look more trustworthy, which encourages shoppers to click on them.
Cloaked links are often shorter, so they’re also easier to share on social media. In addition, link cloaking hides your affiliate ID, so it’s more difficult for malicious third parties to hijack your links and steal your commissions.
Since it’s such an important feature, let’s compare how ThirstyAffiliates and Pretty Links handle affiliate URL cloaking.
Pretty Links – URL Cloaking
Every time you add a link to Pretty Links, you have the option to set up link cloaking. Simply type in the original link and the cloaked URL that you want to use instead.
You can then mark the links as no-follow or sponsored, so you’re in complete control of your WordPress SEO.
‘Sponsored’ tells search engines that the URL is a paid placement or advertisement. Although no-follow and sponsored links are similar, ‘sponsored’ helps search engines understand this is an affiliate URL, so it’s a great example of Pretty Links paying attention to the finer details.
Sometimes you may need to pass a parameter to the target URL, such as a coupon code or customer ID. With Pretty Links, this is as simple as checking a box.
ThirstyAffiliates – URL Cloaking
Similar to Pretty Links, ThirstyAffiliates makes it easy to cloak your affiliate URLs. In fact, the process is practically identical as you simply type in the original link and the URL you want to use instead.
You can also easily change whether the cloaked link opens in a new tab, mark URLs as nofollow, and pass query strings to the destination URL.
However, ThirstyAffiliates only allows you to set up 301, 302, and 307 redirects, so you have fewer options compared to Pretty Links.
If you want to mark affiliate links as sponsored, then you’ll need to add this as an additional rel attribute tag in the plugin’s settings.
This is much more difficult than how Pretty Links handles sponsored links.
On the plus side, ThirstyAffiliates has a unique smart uncloaking feature that helps you follow Amazon’s terms and conditions. The Amazon Associates Program forbids using any kind of redirection including link cloaking. If you ignore this rule, then you may get banned from their affiliate program.
If you’re creating an Amazon Affiliate Store using WordPress, then it’s easy to uncloak a specific Amazon link.
Even better, if you add all your Amazon links to the same category, then you can enable automatic clink uncloaking for that entire category.
Now, any Amazon links you add to your website will be uncloaked by default. This is something that Pretty Links doesn’t offer, and it’s a very attractive feature for anyone who uses Amazon affiliate links.
Winner – ThirstyAffiliates
No matter whether you choose Pretty Links or ThirstyAffiliates, you’ll get advanced link cloaking features.
For the typical affiliate marketer, ThirstyAffiliates and Pretty Links have everything you need to create more shareable, user-friendly, and safe links. However, if you plan to use lots of Amazon links, then ThirstyAffiliates’ automatic link uncloaking is a must-have feature.
Automatic Keyword Linking
It’s easy to overlook an opportunity to add affiliate links to your blog posts. This becomes a bigger problem if you run a multi-author WordPress blog or have guest bloggers.
Both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates can scan your site for specific keywords and phrases and then convert them into affiliate links automatically. Let’s take a closer look at how both plugins handle automatic keyword linking.
Pretty Links – Automatic Keyword Linking
When you add a new URL, you can type in an unlimited number of keywords and phrases. Every time you use these words in your posts and pages, Pretty Links will insert the affiliate link automatically.
Even better, Pretty Links will scan your older content for these keywords and phrases. If you’ve already published some content, then you can start earning money from your back catalog without having to manually update any posts.
Pretty Links also has a settings tab where you can control exactly how this auto-linking works on your site.
This includes setting a limit for the number of affiliate URLs that Pretty Links can add to a single page, so the links don’t distract from your content or annoy your visitors.
Pretty Links can also add a disclosure to every page where it auto-inserts an affiliate URL.
Undisclosed links can create a legal nightmare, so Pretty Links can earn you extra income without risking any fines or damaging your reputation.
ThirstyAffiliates – Automatic Keyword Linking
ThirstyAffiliates works in a very similar way, as you can add keywords every time you create a link. ThirstyAffiliates will then automatically add the link to every page or post that features that word.
Just like Pretty Links, ThirstyAffiliates lets you limit how many affiliate links it will add to a single page or post.
However, unlike Pretty Links it allows you to set a global limit in the plugin’s settings and a limit for a specific affiliate link.
In the plugin’s general settings, you can also disable auto-linking on your homepage and archive pages. You can also disable auto-linking for your pages or posts.
Often, sales pages and landing pages have their own clear call to action. Affiliate URLs can distract from that CTA, so this is an easy way to disable them across all your pages.
These extra settings give you much more control over how auto-linking is used on your WordPress website.
Once you’ve set up auto-linking, it can be difficult to keep track of all the affiliate URLs across your website. With that in mind, you may want to look at the Link Inserted Scanner, as it lists every page and post that uses a particular affiliate link.
This is a simple but effective way to keep track of your URLs, even when using the auto-linking feature.
Winner – Tie
Auto-linking can help you earn extra commission so it’s a must-have feature for all affiliate marketers. Although ThirstyAffiliates has some extra settings, both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates have everything you need to automatically add affiliate URLs to your content, while still keeping control over your links.
Affiliate Marketing Reports
It’s important to monitor how your affiliate links are performing. In this way, you can see what’s working and not working, and then adjust your affiliate marketing activities to get the best results.
Let’s see how ThirstyAffiliates vs Pretty Links stack up in terms of affiliate marketing reports.
ThirstyAffiliates – Affiliate Marketing Reports
ThirstyAffiliates has a reporting dashboard that spans multiple tabs. Here, you can see the total clicks on your different affiliate links and identify your top-performing URLs.
Some links may get more engagement from certain geographical locations. To help you spot these trends, ThirstyAffiliates has a Geolocation Report that tracks link clicks based on the visitor’s location.
Depending on the data, you might decide to show different content to users, based on their geographical location.
For more detailed information, we recommend pairing ThirstyAffiliates and Google Analytics. After making this connection, ThirstyAffiliates will send all its data to your Google Analytics profile.
You can even cross-match the information against your Google Analytics data. In this way, you can get a detailed insight into the people who convert, including the devices and operating systems they’re using, and how they arrived at your site.
This is how we use ThirstyAffiliates on WPBeginner to get maximum insights.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it can be difficult to set up. For that reason, we recommend using MonsterInsights. It is the best analytics solution for WordPress users and can show all your ThirstyAffiliates and Google Analytics data inside the WordPress dashboard.
Pretty Links – Affiliate Marketing Reports
Unlike ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Links doesn’t show you data automatically in a reporting dashboard. Instead, you’ll need to generate custom reports by selecting the links you want to analyze. You can start by generating standard reports, which show the total clicks and unique clicks on each affiliate link.
This is useful to know, but clicks don’t necessarily mean sales and affiliate revenue. With that in mind, you can also create conversion reports, which show the total conversions and the conversion rate for each link.
Unlike ThirstyAffiliates, there’s no way to explore your data based on geographical location by default. However, Pretty Links does integrate with MonsterInsights and Google Analytics.
This allows you to take the built-in Pretty Links reports to the next level and access more detailed information, including where visitors are located.
MonsterInsights will even send real-time data to Google Analytics, so you can track clicks as they’re happening.
Pretty Links also has a unique auto-trim clicks feature that automatically filters known robots and unidentifiable browser clients from your click data, stats, and reports. This can greatly improve the accuracy and quality of your reports.
Winner – Pretty Links
Both of these plugins provide easy access to all the information you need to make decisions based on real data, especially if you’re using a plugin such as MonsterInsights. However, Pretty Links’ auto-trimming feature can significantly improve the accuracy of this information, so it’s our top pick when it comes to affiliate reports.
Professional and Community Support
Both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates are easy to use. However, even experienced affiliate marketers need help from time to time, so let’s compare their support options.
Pretty Links – Professional and Community Support
If you prefer to find answers yourself, then Pretty Links has detailed online documentation and a blog where you’ll find step-by-step guides covering everything from how to use specific Pretty Links features, to general advice on running a successful affiliate site.
If you want one-on-one support, then you can submit a ticket to their Premium Support Request page.
According to Pretty Links, you can typically expect a response within 1-2 business days.
If you don’t have a support license, then Pretty Links encourages you to reach out using their contact form or post to their support forum on the official WordPress repository.
The Pretty Links team members are very active on the free forum and respond quickly to user questions. If you plan to join the conversion, then we recommend reading our guide on how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.
ThirstyAffiliates – Community and Professional Support
If you choose ThirstyAffiliates, then you’ll have access to a huge knowledge base covering both the free and premium versions of the plugin. There’s also a blog where they regularly post affiliate marketing tips, along with step-by-step guides on how to use ThirstyAffiliates.
Similar to Pretty Links, this may be all the information and resources you need to answer your questions and solve any problems you have.
When it comes to one-to-one support, premium customers can submit a ticket and get a response within 24-48 hours. Again, this is very similar to the level of support we see from Pretty Links.
If you have the free plugin then you can use the ThirstyAffiliates contact form, or post to the ThirstyAffiliates support forum. The ThirstyAffiliates team actively monitors this forum and responds to questions quickly, so this is a great resource for anyone using the free plugin.
Winner – Tie
When it comes to support, both plugins offer plenty of options. After comparing and contrasting all of the free and premium support, we’re confident you’ll have no problems getting the help you need, no matter whether you choose Pretty Links or ThirstyAffiliates.
To help you build a successful affiliate marketing business, it’s important to find a plugin that fits your budget. Let’s see which plugin offers the best value for money.
Pretty Links – Price Comparison
Pretty Links has three pricing plans, which seem to target beginners, affiliate marketers with multiple websites, and established marketers who have up to 5 websites.
If you’re a new marketer with a single WordPress website, then the Beginner plan ($99.50 per year) has everything you need to get started. In fact, the only difference between Beginner and the more expensive plans is the number of websites you can use Pretty Links on.
If you have multiple websites, then you’ll need to upgrade to Marketer, which allows you to use Pretty Links on two websites for $149.50 a year.
If you own more than two websites, then Super Affiliate is the most expensive plan ($199.50 per year) and allows you to use Pretty Links on up to 5 websites.
ThirstyAffiliates – Price Comparison
Just like Pretty Links, the only difference between the different ThirstyAffiliates plans is how many sites you can use the plugin on.
If you’re a new affiliate marketer with a single website, then the Basic plan should have everything you need, for $79.50 per year.
If you have multiple websites, then ThirstyAffiliates does represent better value for money. Their Plus plan allows you to use ThirstyAffiliates on up to 5 websites, for $129.50 per year.
If you have more than 5 websites, then the most expensive ThirstyAffiliates plan is priced at $199.50 per year, but you can use it on up to 10 websites.
By comparison, Pretty Links’ most expensive plan is also priced at $199.50 per year, and you can only install the plugin on 5 websites.
Winner – ThirstyAffiliates
If you own a single website, then both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates offer similar features, for a similar amount of money. However, if you own more than 2 websites, then ThirstyAffiliates seems to offer the best value for money.
In fact, if you have more than 5 websites, then you’ll almost certainly need to use the ThirstyAffiliates plugin.
Pretty Links vs ThirstyAffiliates – Which is Right for Your Site?
If you’re looking for an affiliate link management plugin with advanced auto-linking features, then both Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates are great choices.
Both plugins can help you unlock extra revenue while saving you a ton of time. By allowing you to auto-link keywords and manage your links from a single location, Pretty Links and ThirstyAffiliates make affiliate marketing easy, no matter whether you’re a hobby blogger or an experienced business owner.
The affiliate marketing plugin that’s right for you will vary depending on your website, your affiliate partners, and the specific features you need.
With that being said, each plugin has its own strengths and drawbacks. If you want to schedule links in advance, then we recommend using ThirstyAffiliates. If Amazon is your main affiliate partner, then ThirstyAffiliates’ smart link uncloaking is a must-have feature that can help you comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions.
If you’re worried about bots or malicious third parties affecting the accuracy of your data, then the auto-trimming feature in Pretty Links is perfect. We’ve seen this feature significantly improve the accuracy of affiliate reports, so it’s a must-have if you want precise data.
We hope this article helped you decide whether Pretty Links or ThirstyAffiliates is right for your site. You may also want to see our guide on how to create an email newsletter and our expert picks of the best email marketing services for small businesses.
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