Success in WordPress website creation depends on many things. It takes into account your creativity, the profitability of your idea, and your perseverance.
More importantly, it depends on your ability and knowledge in the vast world of WordPress plugins.
True enough, affiliate marketers already have a ton of things on their plates. That’s why WordPress is the perfect platform for them. With the ever-expanding plugin library, they can easily add functions and features without having to learn how to code.
Most plugins from the WordPress library also have a straightforward integration process. All you need to do is look for the plugin you need, click ‘Install’, and then ‘Activate’.
But that doesn’t mean you can haphazardly slap on any plugin whenever you feel like it. Sure, a lot of self-taught WordPress users learn through trial and error. But in the case of affiliate marketers, mistakes may cost them a day’s worth of profits.
Whether you need to manage affiliate links or wish to be visible on search engines, below are the top 15 WordPress plugins you must know about as an affiliate marketer:
The first WordPress plugin you need as an affiliate marketer is an affiliate link manager. These accomplish the most important job of integrating affiliate links and making sure you get paid.
First on the list is Easy Affiliate Links – an affiliate link cloaking and management plugin that does exactly as advertised. It makes the tedious process of affiliate link management a breeze by aggregating everything you need in one place.
Upon installation, the plugin should be visible on the main dashboard as ‘Affiliate Links’. Here, you can manually add your affiliate links using the simple interface:
…or you can import links straight from an XML file. You can also export your current link database for safe keeping and reporting purposes.
You may be wondering, why would you need such a plugin when the WordPress content editor already lets you embed links into anything?
The answer is one word: analytics.
With Easy Affiliate Links, you can monitor the clicks on each link over time. This will allow you to test, measure, and tweak your linking strategies for higher conversions.
A more popular alternative to Easy Affiliate Links would be Pretty Link Lite. It is perfect for marketers who wish to do more than just cloak, manage, and monitor their links. Not only does it include all the cloak management features you’ll ever need, but it also comes with extended settings, additional tools, and more comprehensive reports.
If you have the budget, you can also upgrade to the pro version, which allows you to auto-replace keywords throughout your entire site with affiliate links, implement cloaked redirects, and split testing.
ThirstyAffiliates is another straightforward link cloaking and management tool with a twist. Its main advantage over other plugins in this category is its wide range of add-ons.
These add-ons offer a range of useful functionalities to your affiliate link management. For example, the Autolinker works by automatically cloaking affiliate links on your site. Geolocations, on the other hand, lets you modify the visibility of specific affiliate links based on the visitor’s location.
The only drawback is that these add-ons can be pricey, especially when bought by themselves. Fortunately, ThirstyAffiliates offer discounted bundles for price-conscious marketers. Just remember to determine the features you need before you reach a buying decision.
BestAzon is one of the most useful link management plugins for affiliate marketers who sell through Amazon. The way it works is simple: it converts Amazon links into global affiliate links and then redirects users to a localized Amazon store.
This is an excellent way to offer relevant deals to your visitors, boost conversions, and build trust in your brand. Upon installation, you just need to input your Amazon Affiliate IDs for the applicable marketplaces.
It’s worth noting, however, that BestAzon makes money through the non-profit donation model or flat fee payments.
The donation model (free to use) uses 3 out of 100 affiliate link clicks to show an intermediary page that benefits a non-profit organization.
Yet another plugin for those who sell products through Amazon, EasyAzon enables you to quickly create affiliate links without ever leaving the WordPress editor. Simply go to the post or page you wish to add the link to and click the EasyAzon button.
This will bring up the interface where you can search products via keywords or ASIN, which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.
EasyAzon also comes with numerous benefits, such as a free Amazon course. This includes everything you need to know about affiliate selling through Amazon – from the hefty process of selecting a niche to traffic-building strategies for your WordPress site.
If you want a fast, reliable, and lightweight affiliate link cloaking plugin, then WP Cloaker is one of the better options. Regarding features, this plugin is just as intuitive and robust as Easy Affiliate Links.
Despite having a simpler interface, WP Cloaker comes with a real-time reporting tool that can provide you with a handy click graph. You can also take advantage of the “Top 10 Links” dashboard widget to monitor your most successful affiliate campaigns.
Its only disadvantage is the lack of scalability. Still, it should be enough to cover all your affiliate link management needs – from link categorization to user tracking.
Affiliate Links Lite is one of the lesser-known plugins for affiliate link management. It covers all the basics – from link cloaking to click statistics.
The plugin may look generic on the surface, but it has a few neat tricks under its sleeve – especially with the paid version.
For one, Affiliate Links Lite generates a shortcode you can use to embed links into your page content quickly. It also allows you to set conditional redirects based on the user’s location, language, and operating system.
Generating affiliate sales can be tough, especially if you rely solely on contextual affiliate links. To add a bit of diversity in your strategy, consider offering coupon codes to entice more visitors to convert.
As the name suggests, Affiliate Coupons is a plugin that allows you to promote special deals through promo codes on your WordPress site.
After installation, the entire setup process involves a few simple steps. You simply need to add the vendor details, insert the coupon code, top it off with a brief description, and embed your coupons via shortcode.
The whole process sounds simple, but the result actually looks inviting and professional from a user’s point of view.
Whether you like it or not, the design of coupons is a crucial factor that affects click-throughs. This is exactly where Coupon Creator excels. With the simple editor, you can easily create coupons that look as if they’re cut out from magazines.
Coupon Creator works by providing affiliate marketers with templates and a user-friendly interface. Every detail of your coupon – from borders to colors – is fully editable. You can even add CSS effects in the options section with ease.
While the design is a key selling point of this plugin, Coupon Creator doesn’t fall short in other areas, such as Google Analytics integration and printing functionality.
If you depend on the WooCommerce platform for your online selling endeavors, then you should already be familiar with its built-in coupon management features. WooCommerce Extended Coupon Features simply allows you to extend the functionality of said features.
For those who are interested in using this plugin, it’s worth looking into the auto coupon feature. It allows you to create automatic coupons that trigger when certain conditions are met.
For example, if the customer uses a particular payment method, then an auto coupon will automatically be added to the checkout. With the pro version, you can introduce more advanced promo mechanics, such as quantity-based discounts and freebies.
Product Comparison Tables
Need to promote two or more affiliate products in one post? An excellent way to do so is to present each product neatly in a comparison chart or table.
WP-Lister is a flexible product listings plugin that enables you to promote multiple products without consuming too much screen real estate. It’s specifically developed for WooCommerce, Amazon, and eBay products, so you may need to look elsewhere if you use different platforms.
After connecting your existing WooCommerce shop with your eBay or Amazon store, the plugin automatically pulls product data from both sources and aggregates them into your WordPress site.
This next plugin – Catalog – allows you to create comprehensive product catalogs complete with images, star ratings, and social sharing buttons.
Design-wise, Catalog is one of the must-haves in this list. It allows any affiliate marketer to turn their newly-made WordPress site into a professional-looking e-commerce store within a few clicks.
All you need to do is pick from the five free catalog templates – all of which are already pre-configured for maximum user experience. The content slider, for example, is perfect if you want to present product images in high resolution.
Catalog also has several noteworthy features, including but not limited to mobile responsiveness, photo zooming, and lightbox popups. Just be careful when activating too many visual features as they may negatively impact your site’s performance.
TablePress is a free plugin that makes it easy to create interactive tables in WordPress posts. This allows you to present multiple affiliate products in an organized, non-spammy fashion.
Just remember that you have to manually insert your affiliate links, descriptions, and other textual information in the appropriate cells for each product.
Unfortunately, TablePress relies heavily on CSS for visual customizations. It may take a few tries before you can achieve the look you want, but you can always refer to the existing documentation to quickly learn the ropes.
The performance of your website is one of the major factors that effects conversions. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of users will leave your site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less. This means you’re giving up nearly half of your potential customers if you neglect your affiliate site’s performance.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization – also known as “WP Smush” – is the most popular media compression plugin available today. It’s a no-nonsense plugin that can get the job done with a single click.
To access the plugin, go to ‘Media’ > ‘WP Smush’ where you can easily “Bulk Smush” up to 50 of your images for free.
You can pay for the premium version to bulk optimize everything else past the 50-image limit. Otherwise, you’ll have to compress each of them from your media library manually.
WP Smush works by compressing the file size of your images without sacrificing quality. This significantly boosts load times by reducing the total bandwidth consumption of every page.
Lastly, WP Performance Score Booster is a free plugin that performs four optimization techniques on your website: it removes query strings from static resources, enables GZIP compression, specifies a Vary: Accept-Encoding header in .htaccess, and implements browser caching – all in a single click.
To check if the optimizations worked, you can use speed testing tools like PageSpeed Insights and YSlow. If, for some reason, you’d like to disable a certain feature, simply go to ‘Settings’ > ‘WP Performance Score Booster’, uncheck the feature you don’t need, and click Save Changes.
With the plugins above, your site should now be prepared to hit your affiliate marketing goals — from embedding affiliate links to improving the experience of prospective customers.
Christopher Jan Benitez is a professional freelance writer who provides small businesses with content that engages their audience and increases conversion. If you are looking for high-quality articles about anything related to digital marketing, then he's your guy! Feel free to say "hi" to him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.