Pretty Links is a plugin that I’ve personally used for years now in managing WordPress sites. Because I do a lot of affiliate marketing on my sites I like the plugin for its ability to cloak links and take a very verbose link structures with something that is clean, professional and short. It also offers the ability to track clicks, sources, etc with respect to each pretty link you create and group them in any way you want.
Pretty Links in available in a free version with the base functionality that allows you to do a lot. For those of you looking for a little more power Pretty Links offers 3 versions depending on your needs. If you own 1 WordPress site then chances are the “Beginner” option for $57/year will probably work for you as there is a lot available under the hood. The “Marketer” option for $97/year will work if you manage up to 10 WordPress sites that you want to use Pretty Links on. It has the same functionality and features as the “Beginner” option but it gives you the option to use REST API’s (coming soon) and Social Sharing Plugin Integrations (also coming soon) if you need these features the “Marketer” and “Executive” packages will be providing this however the “Beginner” package will NOT. Finally the Executive package has the same features as the “Marketer” package but it allows you to use Pretty Links on up to 25 WordPress sites at a cost of $197/year. For a full list of the features of each package click here to read more.
Now that you know a little bit about Pretty Links let me show you how you can create your first Pretty Link on your WordPress site. To do this you will need to install Pretty Links on your WordPress site. Once its installed it should show on your left side nav when you are logged into your WordPress site and called “Pretty Links”. When you click the link you’ll see that you have the option to look at your Pretty Links, Add New Links, Groups, Tracking, Tools, Options and Upgrade to Pro. For the purposes of what I am showing you click “Add New Link” and it will take you to a page that resembles this…
What you will notice is that you’ve got the options to set what type of redirection you want the link to take when clicked (307, 302 (both temporary redirects) and 301 (permanent)) your target URL which is the link you want to drive your audience to whether its an affiliate link, a landing page or a downloadable PDF, it should work. Then you can name your Pretty Link (Pretty Links will add characters in there by default but I like to personalize mine especially if I am tracking something to make it easier to understand when I am analyzing the results later. Next, you can give your link a Title and Description which again makes it easier to figure out what the link is in the first place and from their you can click and create your first Pretty Link. If you want to use the Advanced Options section you will notice that you can Group your links which helps when you want to analyze traffic through those links, you can also “No Follow” the link so that search engines don’t follow it and try to index, Parameter forwarding which passes extra parameters of a link (say an affiliate link) to the source allowing you to get credit for referrals and tracking so you can track the clicks. If you haven’t done so you can click the “Create” button and you will have your first Pretty link ready to go.
In terms of inserting the link into your WordPress site’s pages and posts you can either copy and paste the link from the Pretty Links section into the content you want or use the “Insert Pretty Link” button available when you are editing your pages or posts. As you can see its pretty easy to find as its denoted with the “Star” icon in the editor.
What I really like most about this plugin is that its super easy to use, even if your a beginner and the fact that you can use some of the features in a free version makes it a great tool for all even if you don’t have a need for the functionality that the paid plugin versions offer. In terms of website management and link management, being able to manage your links and understand where your traffic goes, what the people on your website like and don’t like is important and I find that Pretty Link gives me the ability to understand some of these patterns.