Affiliate Link Cloaking – How to Do It in WordPress (2 Different Ways)

March 26, 2024
Thumb Affiliate Link Cloaking

Have you ever seen a social media post with a sketchy link you were afraid to click on?

sketchy links in social media post

Well, unless you’re using a link cloaking tool, that’s precisely why your links aren’t getting that many clicks – you’re basically scaring away your potential customers!

What’s even worse, you’re missing opportunities to build authority and increase brand awareness.

It’s time to put a stop to that, and give your affiliate links the attention they deserve.

In this post, you’ll discover the two most reliable methods we’ve used to transform ordinary affiliate links into ones that get clicks and maximize brand awareness.

Link Cloaking Vs. Link Shortening

The terms link cloaking and link shortening are often used interchangeably, even though there is a big difference between them.

Link Shortening

Link shortening is about creating shorter and more manageable URLs from long, complex ones, such as those provided by Amazon:


If you were to shorten this link, you’d get something like the link below:


Link Cloaking

Link cloaking is not just about making your links shorter but also more understandable, while also adding branding (usually your URL) to it. 

Take this Amazon affiliate link below as an example:


If you link cloak it, you’d get something like the link below:


As you can see, compared to the link shortening example above, the link we cloaked has meaning, and contains a branded URL – the URL of your website.

Amazon’s Terms of Service Regarding Link Cloaking

If you read Amazon’s terms of service, you might quickly assume that link cloaking is forbidden and that you can get into trouble by using it.

“You will not cloak, hide, spoof, or otherwise obscure the URL of your Site containing Special Links (including by use of Redirecting Links) or the user agent of the application in which Content is displayed or used such that we cannot reasonably determine the site or application from which a customer clicks through such Special Link to the Amazon Site.”

However, this is not the case. Amazon’s terms of service state that you can NOT use link cloaking to deceive:

  • Potential affiliates. Sending affiliates to dangerous, spammy, or different websites from those that were expecting to be taken to.
  • Amazon. Making it difficult for Amazon to recognize the original source of the click.

If you don’t participate in any of these malicious practices, which include creating multiple redirects or deliberately misleading affiliates, you can safely use link cloaking with all of your Amazon affiliate links.

How to Do Affiliate Cloaking in WordPress

There are two main ways you can use link cloaking with your affiliate links in WordPress.

Let’s explore each of these methods, so that you can choose the right one for your business needs.

Method 1: Manual Link Cloaking

This method requires no additional services to leverage link cloaking. It’s a method you’ve probably used hundreds of times in the past without you even realizing it. 

It’s very simple, however, it only allows you to cloak links on your own website – as opposed to other methods that allow you to share cloaked links on social media or anywhere else.

  1. Go To Your WordPress Post Editor

The first step is to head over to WordPress Admin -> ‘Posts’, and find a post where you want to insert a cloaked link. If you haven’t created a content piece where you want to insert a link yet, you can do this as you write your content.

You can also go to the ‘Pages’ tab in your WordPress Admin and follow along, in case you want to cloak a link on any page of your website, instead of a post.

  1. Create a Branded URL

The next step is to write the ‘brandedURL’ you want to show your readers. For example, ‘’, and then highlight the whole of this text.

  1. Create a Branded Link

After you’ve highlighted this URL, click on the ‘link’ button in the text editing menu at the top, and insert the real affiliate URL into the link text.

After that, click on the ‘Publish’ button at the top to save changes to the post/page.

publishing a post in WordPress

This will enable you to show to readers on your blog what appears to be a branded URL, but which is actually just anchor text – the highlighted text that points to the real affiliate link.

Method 2: Using an External Service/Plugin

The first method is very simple but doesn’t offer any data, such as the number of clicks or source of traffic. It also does NOT allow you to share these links on social media or on any other place on the Internet.

To get this functionality, you’ll need to either use an external service or install a plugin on your website.

We’ll be showing two very popular tools for link cloaking, both of which provide analytical data, and give you the ability to share your links beyond your own website. 

#1 – Bitly

Bitly is one of the most popular tools for link cloaking.

It’s free, very intuitive, and can offer analytics data such as the number of clicks. The only downsides to using Bitly are that:

  • If you want to use your custom domain or view the number of clicks, you have to hop on one of their premium plans.
  • You can only create up to 10 links per month with their FREE account.
  1. Create a Bitly Account

Head over to the Bitly website and create a new account.

bitly creating an account
  1. Add Your Links

After you create an account, click on the ‘Create new’ and select ‘Link’.

creating a Bitly link

From there, you’ll have to fill in the destination URL (the original link you want to cloak), title for a reference to the link, and customize the bitly link after the ‘/’ part of the URL.

create a new link in bitly

After you’re done, hit the ‘Create’ button and your link will be automatically created.

  1. Track Performance

If you’re on Bitly’s premium plan, you can see data such as the number of clicks, the device used when clicking on your link, and the source of traffic.

All you have to do is navigate to the ‘Links’ section, select the links, and view the data there.

Bitly analytics

#2 – ClickWhale Plugin

ClickWhale is a FREE WordPress plugin that enables you to create both short links, and branded links.

Unlike most other tools, there is no limit to the number of links you can create – and you can even use your own URL with your affiliate links!

Plus, you can have access to more data than just the number of clicks. However, this functionality is only available with the premium version of the plugin.

  1. Install the ClickWhale Plugin

Install the FREE ClickWhale plugin from either the WP plugins page, or directly from

ClcikWhale link shortener
  1. Add Your Links

Head over to the ClickWhale plugin page in your WordPress dashboard.

From there, you’ll need to navigate to the ‘Links’ section, and click on the ‘Add new’ button.

Add.a new link in ClickWhale

Once there, fill in all of the important information – the link name, URL, description, and category (more on categories later!).

We highly recommend you also include keywords (search terms that users type into Google) inside the link title and slug – and keep it concise for the best results. 

Hit the ‘Save link’ button, and the link will be added to ClickWhale.

filling in link information in ClickWhale

You can then copy the link you’ve just created and share it either on your page, on social media, or anywhere else. Simply go back to the Links section, select your product/link, and copy it from the Link column.

ClickWhale branded link
  1. Categorize Links for Better Organization 

You can also take advantage of the ‘Categories’ feature in ClickWhale to better organize your links.

Grouping your links/products by categories, such as the type of product, makes it much easier to access the necessary links quickly. For instance, if you sell books, you can create categories, such as:

  • Fiction
  • Romance
  • Non-fiction

You can then filter the links/products and access them much quicker.

Let’s look at an example of creating categories for different types of Amazon affiliate products such as electronics, kids toys, and jewelry.

To begin, you need to create all of the necessary categories for your links. To do this, open the ClickWhale plugin page in WordPress, and in the menu on the left, open the ‘Categories’ tab.

To create a new category, click the ‘Add new’ button at the top, and then fill in the details such as the category name/title, the slug, and (optionally) a description. 

adding categories to ClickWhale

Once you have created your categories, you can go ahead and add a category to each of your products. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Edit’ option on any of your products. After that, you’ll get redirected to the ‘Edit Link’ page.

You will need to scroll down, choose a category, and hit the ‘Save Link’ button.

Editing a link in ClickWhale

Once you’ve completed this process, you will then be able to filter your products by the categories to access the appropriate links faster. 

ClickWhale filtering links
  1. Track Your Links

ClickWhale lets you track your links directly in WordPress without relying on external tracking tools such as Google Analytics. 

It helps you track one of the most important metrics of your links – the number of clicks.

ClickWhale analytics

As a result, you won’t need to worry about discrepancies in data between those external services and your WordPress site, any of which may use different tracking methods. 

Note: This feature is only available to our premium users. Upgrade to ClickWhale PRO today.

Leverage Link Cloaking To Get More Affiliate Sales

Link cloaking will make your links look more professional, improve brand awareness, and maximize the chance of getting clicks – which helps boost your revenue.

To learn more tips and tricks you can do with affiliate links, check these resources:

The only way to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive affiliate marketing world is to step up your game and create branded links in a way that lets you monitor data.

And that’s precisely what ClickWhale helps you achieve.

ClickWhale is, in our opinion, the best link management plugin for WordPress. It’s very quick and easy to install on your existing personal or business websites. You can add links, tracking codes, or even create link-in-bio pages – and set up everything in just a few clicks. 

Plus, ClickWhale provides you with accurate data, and a great way to organize all your links into categories that you can filter.  

Get ClickWhale today, track your links, and maximize your affiliate revenue.

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