Every WordPress website we build at Author Brand Kits comes with the Pretty Links plugin installed.
We believe it’s a good tool. It’s that simple. You can find out what else is under the hood of your WordPress site in our write-up here.
In the meantime, we’d like to show you what you can do with the Pretty Links plugin.
What is the Pretty Links Plugin?
Pretty Links is what some might call a “link cloaker” or “URL shortener”. There one stark difference between Pretty Links and other similar link tools: it allows you to take any link and make it look like it’s linking to YOUR website.
So, instead of a bit.ly link or goo.gl, you get a link to your own site.
For example, you just got your shiny new website from Author Brand Kits on yourdomain.com. You also got a Facebook Page and Twitter profile.
Now you’re on YouTube talking about your books and you want to plug your new assets. The website is easy enough, but those Facebook and Twitter URLs can be a bit dicey.
That’s where the Pretty Links plugin comes in.
You can copy and paste your links to your Facebook Page and Twitter profile into Pretty Links and create a custom link that is easy to remember, not only for your audience, but for you as well like yourdomain.com/facebook or yourdomain.com/twitter.
The beauty of the Pretty Links plugin is that it works with any link. If you do any affiliate marketing, you can make links that your audience will trust. As an author, I don’t think I need to explain the value of being able to create memorable links to your books.
Sold? Great, let’s learn how to use it!
How to Create Links with Pretty Links
I just want to chime in here and say that Pretty Links does have premium features, but I’ll be covering how to use the free version and will detail what you get with the paid version a little later on.
- From your WordPress Dashboard, click Pretty Links in the left navigation.
- Click the Add New button.
The Pretty Links Editor will open.
- Fill out the screen as follows:
Add title – This is just for you for reference, so make it something that will remind you what the link is for.
Redirection – Leave this defaulted to 307 Temporary. You can find out more about redirects here.
Target URL – This is the actual link. Paste in your affiliate link, book link, or any other link you want to make into a Pretty Link.
Pretty Link – Pretty Links inserts a 4-character string by default. Delete it and type in your memorable word. YourDomain.com is a given here. You only need to add a word, an abbreviation, or phrase. For example, let’s say this link goes to your latest book (Book 2) in your Hearts on Fire Romance Series. Your Pretty Link might look something like this: yourdomain.com/heartsbook2 or yourdomain.com/HOFBook2
Notes (Optional) – You can type notes in this space that you might find useful in the future in reference to your new Pretty Link.
- Click the Advanced tab and check the boxes that apply to your link. No Follow and Tracking will be checked by default. Here’s what each setting means:
No Follow – Places a no follow, no index in the redirect header. This tells search engines not to follow the link and not to index it, meaning you are not trying to rank the link content.
Sponsored – You should check this box for affiliate links only. This adds a sponsored attribute to the redirect header.
Parameter Forwarding – Passes any attributes of the link to the destination URL. Leave unchecked in most cases.
Tracking – Enables Pretty Link’s click tracking so you can view basic stats on your link traffic. When you’re done, click Update to publish your Pretty Link.The Pretty Links plugin will send you back to the main screen where all of your Pretty Links are listed.
- Click the clipboard icon to copy your Pretty Link and start pasting!That’s it! Easy, right?
Pretty Links Plugin Premium – What You Get
I have to start by saying that I have never used the premium version of the Pretty Links plugin, so there are no affiliate links in this post.
I’m mostly here to sing the praises of the free service which I’ve been using for more than 5 years as of this writing.
In my research for this section of this blog post, I found that Pretty Links has 3 tiered plans:
- Beginner – $49
- Marketer – $99
- Super Affiliate – $149
These prices reflect a $50 discount promotion that is currently running.
Also, there’s a caveat, it appears that all 3 plans are identical except for the number of sites you can use it on. All of the other differentiating features are marked as “Coming Soon”. For this reason, I can’t say that I would recommend any of the paid tiers, especially beyond the basic Beginner plan.
So, what are you getting for the extra outlay?
- More redirect options
- The ability to create link categories and tags
- More detailed analytics
- Alternate base URL
- The ability to generate QR codes
- Affiliate disclosures
- Social share buttons
Some of that is useful, but for authors handling their first WordPress website, they’re really not needed. The free version of Pretty Links is sufficient.
What’s Your Take on the Pretty Links Plugin?
Are you excited about it? We would love to hear from you in the comments below? What are you linking to?