Most people start blogging with clean monetary goals nowadays. They rely heavily on affiliate marketing to achieve their objectives. While affiliate marketing can be very rewarding, the competition can scare you even before you start making any real profits. Among all the other things, affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and effort. It’s one thing to fancy this idea as an “easy and passive source of income”. It’s another to strive to earn commission via affiliate sales.
But if done right, affiliate marketing can become a great source of income for you. Pat Flynn is someone, who has done this really well, and makes more around 50,000 dollars every month via this blog. Now we may not be as popular as Pat Flynn, but as mentioned on our about page, we do make some money at WPKube from affiliate links.
And as a result we get a lot of questions about affiliate marketing tips for WordPress sites. What is secret of affiliate marketing? Which is the best affiliate marketing plugin or tool for WordPress powered blogs? When it comes to making money via affiliate marketing there is no big secret. We only promote products that we tested ourselves. For example, we recommend Startup Framework for WordPress by DesignModo for building eye catching landing and sales pages. You should check our toolbox page, to see which WordPress plugins and services we use.
In this article, we will be doing an in-depth review of a freemium affiliate link management plugin.
ThirstyAffiliates can make your life easier, by bringing a lot of useful tools that will help you improve your affiliate business. It can save you a lot of time that you otherwise will have to spend on editing posts.
It ensures that you get the space for writing great content without having to worry about adding the affiliate links.
What is ThirstyAffiliates?
ThirstyAffiliates is an affiliate link management plugin. It allows you to create good looking affiliate links and makes linking them to the relevant products very easy with a single click through the WordPress editor.
The plugin empowers you to quickly and easily manage your affiliate sales efforts. It replaces your ugly looking affiliate links and replaces them with branded links, and adding those links to your blog posts is super easy.
How to Install and Setup ThirstyAffiliates
The core version of the Thirsty Affiliates plugin is free, but there are premium add-ons available to further enhance the functionality of the plugin. You have two options, either download the plugin from WordPress repository, and upload it, or install the plugin from within the WordPress admin area. To install the plugin from WordPress admin area, head over to the plugins page, and click the “Add New” plugin button.
After installing the plugin, you will see a new link entitled “Affiliate Links” in the WordPress navigation menu, from where you can add the new links and modify the current settings.
To add a new affiliate link, click on the add new option in the ThirstyAffiliates menu.
When you create a new affiliate link, a small window will pop up. You will have to fill in these details just once for each plugin.
You can fill this field with the name of the product for which you are creating an affiliate link. You will later be using this name field to filter out its corresponding affiliate link from the list of links in ThirstyAffiliates.
ThirstyAffiliates cloaks your default affiliate link and makes it look like an easy and friendly link.
While doing so, ThirstyAffiliates uses this link name field to form the pretty URL. So when a user hovers over this link it doesn’t look like http://www.xyz.com/index.php?productid=abc&affiliateid=wpkube. It looks like www.wpkube.com/recommends/abcadplugin
The term abcadplugin is the same as the value that was used to fill the link name field.
Destination URL is the affiliate product page that you want to send your readers to.
You can choose to open this link in a new window. You must check this option. This will save you the need to do so all the times in future when you add this affiliate link to your posts or pages. You can also choose to make this link a “no follow” link.
You can add images from your WordPress media gallery. You can also upload new images. You may want to be careful with this option if you don’t want to show the image each time the product is mentioned in your content.
Since ThirstyAffiliates works with shortcodes too, you may want to add images and place them in your sidebar or widget areas. However, if you only want to use this plugin on your posts and pages, this field shouldn’t matter much to you.
Once you fill these fields, you just have to save the link. Your preferences are recorded for this link now.
Now each time that you use ThirstyAffiliates to add this affiliate link, your preferences will be picked from this setting.
General Settings for ThirstyAffiliates:
When you create a new link in ThirstyAffiliates, you can specify your preferences for it. Future references to that link will follow those preferences. But you can force a certain style on all the links by adding your preferences under the global settings.
Major global settings for ThirstyAffiliates include
Editing the URL
The above example shows how http://www.xyz.com/index.php?productid=abc&affiliateid=wpkube was changed to www.wpkube.com/recommends/abcadplugin. You have a choice to use either of these terms in your links:
recommends, suggests, follows,review, endorses, click, move offer and more. But you can also add your own custom text here.
It’s best if you pick an option soon as changing this term and forcing the change on all existing links will break them.
- Setting all the links to “no follow”
- Opening links in new windows
- Choice to disable the media uploader feature for adding images
Start Using Affiliate Links in your Blog Posts
Once you have saved some affiliate links in ThirstyAffiliates, you can link the products directly from the WordPress editor. Alternatively, you can also add a new affiliate link in your post through here.
You can use the first icon when you already have the corresponding affiliate link saved. Otherwise you can click on the second icon and add one.
Adding an existing link:
Adding a new link:
This is what the basic version of this plugin can accomplish for you.
Autolinker Add-on ($49) – This addon helps you automate the process of linking to your affiliate products. With Autolinker addon, you can specify a set of keywords for each link. Whenever these keywords occur in your posts, Autolinker Add-on will automatically link it to the product for which you had listed this term as a keyword.
So if you are an affiliate for, say, BlueHost, you can specify the term “BlueHost”, “best hosting” or “reliable hosting” as keywords for it. Whenever your content features any of these terms, they will get automatically get linked with your affiliate link. If you do hardcode affiliate marketing and do extensive roundups, this plugin will save you a lot of time and effort.
Stats Add-on ($49) – As the name suggests, Stats Add-on for Thirsty Affliates helps you monitor the performance of your affiliate links. You can view their performance category wise too.
AZON Add-on ($49) – Amazon has one of the most popular affiliate programs. Bloggers sell lots of Amazon products through it. This add-on is designed exclusively for catering to the needs of the affiliates enrolled with the Amazon affiliate program. This add-on makes your life easy by letting you surf Amazon’s product catalog and include affiliate links and images with a single click.
So if you have a blog about golf, you can filter the Amazon products that can be marketed through your blog. This Add-on’s import link feature will help you grab your affiliate link with a single click. You also have the provision to sort the results based on the prices.
ThirstyAffiliates CSV Importer Add-on ($29) – Imagine having hundreds of affiliate links. Adding each one manually to ThirstyAffiliates must look like a lot of work. Thanks to this handy add-on, it’s not. ThirstyAffiliates CSV Importer Add-on lets you import all the information from simple CSV files.
So if you already have a huge affiliate marketing network, you can still move to ThirstyAffiliates very smoothly with this add-on.
ThirstyAffiliates Split Testing ($29) – This add-on enables split testing of the affiliate links. You can test out different affiliate programs against each other with this add-on. You can specify the main destination URL and a couple of alternate URLs. The plugin will direct different people to different links. A winner will be chosen after the testing period is over.
ThirstyAffiliates Geolocations Add-on ($29) – You can offer country specific affiliate links using this add-on. You can direct your traffic to the appropriate links based on the country that they are coming from.
All the major countries are already listed in this add-on. However if you don’t find one that interests you, it can be added manually and a custom Geo specific URL will be created for the same.
ThirstyAffiliates Google Click Tracking Add-on ($29) – If you use this add-on, every time a visitor clicks on an affiliate link on your website, an event will be registered in Google Analytics. This can assist you in analyzing your affiliate campaigns.
Essentially, you are only tidying up your Google Analytics dashboard with this add-on. ThirstyAffiliates Google Click Tracking Add-on helps packing all the information about your affiliate link clicks automatically into the Analytics dashboard.
ThirstyAffiliates Scheduled Links Add-on ($29) – Christmas is just around the corner. During such times of the year, companies often float festive limited time offers. ThirstyAffiliates Scheduled Links Add-on helps leverage such special and limited time offers.
You can direct your visitors to a different and offer-specific URL within a pre-defined period. If a visitor uses your affiliate link within the specified period, he will be directed to a different URL.
So if you are doing a roundup of the upcoming Christmas deals and certain products on your list have created dedicated landing pages for it, you can use this add-on to redirect your traffic to this special landing page instead of the regular landing page.
If you are just getting started, ThirstyAffiliates’ free version is more than enough for you. I for one still use the free version of Thirsty Affiliates on some of my niche sites. Why? Because for those particular sites, I don’t need any premium features / add-ons.
However if you have a full-blown affiliate business website, you you should check out some of add-ons mentioned above. These add-ons can be very useful in improving your current affiliate link setup. Lastly, you should know plugins like ThirstyAffiliates or any other affiliate link management plugin, will only going to help you, if you