- Excellent support
- Multiple options for adding and inserting links
- Add-ons represent variable value for money
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. Promoting products to your readers that are relevant to your niche is one of the easiest and most natural ways of making money from your blog. And the best thing about it is everyone wins: the seller makes a sale, you get your commission, and the buyer gets a great product. But affiliate marketing is difficult to do well. It’s not enough to simply paste an affiliate link in a post and hope for the best. ThirstyAffiliates is a fantastic tool that will help you optimize your affiliate marketing strategy. This ThirstyAffiliates review will tell you everything you need to know.
Affiliate Marketing Tool for WordPress: ThirstyAffiliates Review
How Much Does ThirstyAffiliates Cost?
For a guide to installing plugins see the post, Installing WordPress Plugins. While the basic free plugin is great, there are some premium add-ons to really help you monetize your site.
ThirstyAffiliates offers three plugin bundles:
- Blogger: $79 one-time payment, includes Autolinker and Stats.
- Green Ninja: $149 one-time payment, includes the above plus AZON and Geolocations.
- The Lot: $199 one-time payment for all plugins, includes the above plus Google Click Tracking and CSV Importer.
What Do You Get With ThirstyAffiliates?
The basic plugin allows you to redirect as many affiliate links as you like. Because the plugin is free, you get updates as long as the developer supports the plugin.
Paid add-ons can be used on unlimited websites and come with automatic updates via the WordPress dashboard and one year of email support.
How Does ThirstyAffiliates Work?
ThirstyAffiliates redirects your affiliate links, shortening and cloaking them. Why should you cloak your affiliate links? Historically, links were cloaked to hide them from search engines, improving your SEO. But there are three other good reasons to cloak your affiliate links:
- Create pretty links: let’s be honest; affiliate links are ugly. ThirstyAffiliates turns your ugly links into something like www.myblog.com/recommends/amazing-product. That’s much prettier, and much more useful because it tells you and the reader that the link is for the amazing product.
- Stop page-rank leak: if you publish a post with a lot of outgoing links, your page rank (where your page ranks according to search engines) can drop. ThirstyAffiliates automatically assigns the rel=nofollow attribute to your affiliate links, helping to preserve your page rank.
- Easy management: having all your affiliate links in the same place makes it easy if you ever need to change the structure or export them.
The following slideshow will show you how to set up ThirstyAffiliates and start cloaking your affiliate links:
- After you’ve installed and activated the plugin, go to the settings and adjust them as shown.
- Choose your link prefix from the list or set your own custom prefix.
- You can display link categories (if you’ve set them, see slide 3) in the URL. I don’t because I want the URL to be short.
- It is recommended that all affiliate links are no follow. make sure you tick this box.
- Opening links in a new window means your site will still be open in the reader’s browser which is a good thing!
- More settings: the only one to tick here is disable slug shortening. If you name your links properly, you won’t need this
- You can categorize your links if you like. You could have categories for web hosts, plugins, apps etc. You can choose to display the category in the URL in the settings. I don’t because I like to keep the URL as short as possible.
- Go to Add New to add new affiliate links. Give your link a meaningful name and paste in the URL provided by the affiliate company.
- When you’re writing a post you can add affiliate links from your list or create a new affiliate link. Just select you anchor text then click one of the buttons.
- Select from your list: Select which affiliate link you want to insert and click the link symbol.
- Create and add new: add your link name, the URL from the affiliate company and click Add Link & Insert Into Post. The link will be added to your link list and inserted into the post.
- Autolinker: Automatically cloak affiliate links across your blog. Set up your affiliate links with a list of keywords and the Autolinker takes care of the rest. The Autolinker allows you to control how many times your keywords are linked, where they are linked (sequential or random placement) and under what circumstances.
- Stats: Add click tracking and recording for your affiliate links, with a complete statistics dashboard and breakdown over categories. Smart filters exclude web crawlers, bots and logged in users so your stats don’t get skewed.
- AZON: The Amazon affiliate link importer add-on gives you all the tools you need to not only search for products across the Amazon network but to import them directly into ThirstyAffiliates with a single click. With features such as smart result filtering and 1-click importing, this add-on will change the way you work as an Amazon affiliate.
- Geolocations: Create geo-targeted affiliate links easily with the Geolocations add-on. Adds a new panel in your affiliate link edit screen to manage geolocation links. Allows you to specify a different end-destination for any country giving you maximum flexibility. This is great for sending visitors from one country to a specific geographically based store that sells the item you are promoting.
- Google Click Tracking: The Google Click Tracking add-on automatically adds the recommended Google click event tracking code to your affiliate links. Insert your links throughout your website, and the add-on will automatically drop in the correct Google Approved code to capture clicks on your affiliate links and push them directly to Google Analytics.
- CSV Importer: The CSV Importer add-on lets you import affiliate links from a spreadsheet straight into the ThirstyAffiliates plugin. Simply create your spreadsheet as a CSV (comma delimited file) and the CSV Importer will cloak those affiliate links with ThirstyAffiliates for you.
ThirstyAffiliates Review Criteria
ThirstyAffiliates is a simple plugin but it has enough features to give you maximum control over your affiliate links. There is a wide choice of URL prefixes or you could even choose your own for true customization. Link categories is a neat feature which allows you to keep track of your links. If, like me, you have a lot of affiliate links this is invaluable. Being able to attach images such as banner ads to your affiliate links is another neat feature saving you time adding images and adding links to them manually. And you’re not restricted to just one image. Attach as many as you like to a link, then simply select the one you want to insert in the visual editor. The quick add affiliate link button in the visual editor allows you to add links without breaking stride while writing a post. For a simple, free plugin, these are excellent features.
Ease of Use
ThirstyAffiliates is incredibly easy to use. Adding new links is quick and intuitive and inserting them into your posts is simple. If you have a lot of affiliate links (and for maximum monetization you should), the categories feature can help you manage your links. To truly maximize your affiliate links, you could create a category for each program and store all of your affiliate links (different products, sign up form, support center etc.) within the category. However you choose to use it, ThirstyAffiliates makes managing your affiliate links a breeze.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, the only setup required is to adjust the few settings to your preferences and you’re good to go.
The only support available for the free ThirstyAffiliates plugin is via the WordPress.org support forums. Take a look and you’ll see a long column of resolved support requests. This is a very good sign when the developer is responding so thoroughly to support requests for the free plugin.
When you buy one of the premium add-ons you get one year’s email support included in the price. To submit your support request, just fill in the online support request form and paste in your license key so the developer knows you’re eligible for premium support.
Value for Money
Obviously, the basic ThirstyAffiliates plugin is excellent value for money – it’s FREE! The add-ons, priced between $29 and $49 when purchased individually, represent variable value for money, even when purchased as a bundle at reduced cost. As we’re talking about monetizing your site here, the plugins with the best value for money are those that help you earn more money from your links. It’s clear that Geolocations can help you achieve conversions that would otherwise have been lost due to the buyer being in a different country, and Autolinker can spot affiliate marketing opportunities you may have otherwise missed. The other plugins however, make your life easier rather than directly helping you earn more money.