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How to Make Authentic Affiliate Links Using Link Cloaking

What is link cloaking or pretty affiliate link? Should you use it for your e-commerce business? Learn everything about link cloaking and how to use it in this feature.

link cloaking

Last updated on April 9, 2024

As an affiliate marketer, one of your goals is to establish an image of trustworthiness. Customers should feel comfortable making a purchase via your recommendations.

The real game of authenticity begins with the affiliate link or URL. They serve as the link between your target audience and the website. If the affiliate links appear unauthentic, visitors may be discouraged from clicking or using them to purchase the product.

So here’s an effective solution for winning trustworthiness and authenticity – affiliate link cloaking.

Link or URL cloaking helps you smoothly send leads to recommended products while masking affiliate identifiers, preserving that all-important authentic feel.

Let’s dive into what is link cloaking, its importance and how to get those links.

What is link cloaking or pretty affiliate link?

Link cloaking disguises the true destination of a URL by masking its parameters.

For example, a link that appears as “” is actually redirected to “” behind the scenes (where 12 is the affiliate or referral ID).

A referral ID (or a referral name) in the destination URL would be an obvious red flag to many visitors. It directly diminishes trust.

With cloaked links, the audience simply sees a clean, trustworthy link pointing to the relevant product page. It makes the link more credible as it doesn’t show the referral ID.

Why is link cloaking important for affiliate marketing?

Think about this.

If you are an affiliate, you want your audience or readers to first focus on the value of the product you are recommending, not worrying if you would benefit personally.

Cloaking keeps the shopping experience frictionless while still letting you earn some commissions for the lead or sale.
Link cloaking reduces potential accusations of being “too sale-sy” early on.

URL cloaking gives that ideal impression. It always helps online store owners and affiliate marketers secure repeat sales over the long run.

There’s another major issue too.

Benefits of link cloaking for affiliate marketing

Here are some incredible benefits of using affiliate link cloaking:

  • Clean URLs: Looks neater, less cluttered, and gives users a better idea of the destination page.
  • Commission protection: Cloaked links will also encourage more people to click your URL and buy, thus giving you the desired commission.
  • Professional presentation: Branded cloaked links create a more polished image for your affiliates.
  • SEO optimization: Cloaked links hold a little SEO advantage compared to non-cloaked ones.
  • Reduced spam filtering: Some cloaking methods can help avoid spam filters.
  • Flexibility: Adapt link text and behavior to specific needs.

How to do link cloaking in WooCommerce?

If you own a WooCommerce store, you can make affiliate links appear genuine and user-friendly by using the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin.

The plugin allows you to run your own affiliate marketing program and manage everything from a single place.

To cloak affiliate links, follow these steps:

  1. Install and activate the “Affiliate for WooCommerce” plugin on your WordPress website.
  2. Once the plugin is activated, go to your WordPress Admin dashboard. Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Affiliate.
  3. Look for the option ‘Tracking param name’. The default is ‘ref’. You can change it to anything else like ‘recommend’.
  4. Enable the checkbox for ‘Personalize affiliate identifier’. This will help affiliates to use the brand name instead of the user ID.
  5. Enable the checkbox for ‘Pretty affiliate links’ to make your link look cleaner. Save your changes.

Once done, your affiliates can customize their affiliate identifier/referral/tracking ID from their ‘My Account’ area by following these steps:

  1. Login to My Account > Affiliate > Profile.
  2. Click on the ‘pencil’ icon beside ‘Your affiliate identifier is’.
  3. Insert identifier i.e. own name, brand name, or other combination of letters only. Save the changes.

The affiliates can share the cloaked links through different promotion channels and get a commission on every successful referral.

Please refer to this document for more details on customizing referral ID.

Not just cloaked links, Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin has more amazing features:

  • Allow affiliates to join via registration forms with manual or automatic approval.
  • Track visitors, conversions, commissions and payouts all in one place.
  • Set up a variety of commission plans based on conditions like product, category, affiliate or referral medium.
  • Set unlimited tiers for a commission plan.
  • Make payouts easily via PayPal or manually.

and more…

Try the live demo!

Should you still go with cloaked links?

The bottom line is that with the cloaked affiliate links’ feature activated or enabled, visitors will see you as a helpful guide rather than a greedy salesperson.

You have to cloak your affiliate links if you want to

  • Build rapport and get the audience hooked
  • Get more clicks and engagements
  • Don’t want to miss your commissions
  • Provide a good user experience

Finally, this is a fact – affiliate marketing links cloaking is not a malicious practice and using a reputable link cloaking tool like Affiliate for WooCommerce will only make your affiliate marketing efforts more effective.

Join the 5200+ people who are empowering their e-commerce businesses with the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin.

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