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How to Set Up Affiliate Link Tracking in WordPress

How to Set Up Affiliate Link Tracking in WordPress

Affiliate marketing is an effective strategy to generate quality leads, but brands and affiliates may often come across tracking issues from time to time. This article tells you how to track affiliate links to ensure transparency across the board by following a few easy steps.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to promote solutions online. It’s a win-win for brands and affiliates, as both parties benefit from their collaboration.

The only problem is that brands and affiliates often find themselves in disagreement when it comes to payouts.

This is the reason why tracking affiliate links is an absolute necessity, as it promotes transparency among the concerned parties.

However, tracking affiliate links may be tricky, especially when you are new and have just started offering an affiliate program.

This article will showcase a few easy ways and make it easier for you to track affiliate links in WordPress.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

If you have an affiliate program, you already know what affiliate links are. But beginners may not know about them. So, let’s take it from the top before going into the details.

Affiliate links are URLs containing unique IDs that represent each of your affiliates. The links help brands identify the clicks sent by different affiliates onboard, making it easier for them to track the performance of their affiliates.

The links also help affiliates track their commissions and come up with effective promotional strategies based on the insights that tell them about the most and least preferred brands by the intended audience.

Tracking affiliate links has a lot of benefits. For starters, tracking affiliate links gives brands useful insights and helps them track the performance of their affiliates. Affiliate links also facilitate the payout process. They help brands filter the sales with respect to affiliates onboarded and calculate the commissions accordingly.

For affiliates, affiliate links enable them to track the performance of different affiliate marketing campaigns. So, they can measure the return on investment for each. Plus, it gives them the insights they need to optimize their campaigns for better results.

Generally, people don’t join a single affiliate program. They work in collaboration with different brands. And as the operations scale, tracking the sales may become cumbersome.

Affiliate links make it easier for affiliates to track their commissions and serve as proof of the transactions facilitated. Tracking affiliate links promotes transparency and reduces disagreements between brands and affiliates about the payout. 

Customers prefer certain brands over others. Selling these products or services is easier and more profitable due to their high demand. Affiliate links facilitate access to such information and make it easier for you to identify hot-selling brands, so you can easily promote the ones that show promise.

Tracking affiliate links also helps you identify your top traffic sources and allows you to channel your efforts in the right direction.

Tracking affiliate links enables you to identify content types that drive sales. So, in a way, it can help you improve your content marketing strategy.

Did you know that WordPress powers around 43% of all websites online?

WordPress is a renowned platform. It’s a popular choice for growing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs.

That’s why we have selected the platform to tell you how you can set up affiliate link tracking with ease.

Tracking affiliate links is easy when you have a new website. You only have a few pages and affiliates onboard. So, managing them is quite easy.

But it becomes hectic as you grow as a business. You have more affiliates onboard now. So, tracking and managing their links can be challenging and time-consuming.

A quick fix for this is to use an affiliate link management plugin. You can find a variety of options that are compatible with WordPress. Yet, many prefer leveraging UTM tags to track their affiliate links. So, let’s just start with that:

UTM Tagging

Leveraging UTM parameters to track affiliate links or gauge the performance of your affiliate marketing campaigns is one of the viable ways to consider when you have just gotten started.

Here, you add certain parameters to your site’s URL that may help you identify and distinguish different referral sources.

Simply put, the parameters serve as unique identifiers for your affiliates and help you track your conversions with respect to different affiliates onboard.

Let's say you wish to see traction from a particular affiliate marketing campaign or track links representing a particular affiliate. You can simply add UTM tags to your site’s URL and track traffic referred by your affiliates. It may look somewhat like this: ‘https://www.example.com/?utm_source=affiliate.com&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=Easter2024’.

In the tag, the source refers to an affiliate’s website, the medium represents the type of traffic, such as organic or CPC, and the campaign stands for an ongoing affiliate marketing campaign.

To make it work, make sure that the links you share with affiliates have appropriate UTM tags appended.

To leverage UTM tagging, you will need Google Analytics, a free web analytics solution by Google, to gain access to useful insights. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Access Your Google Analytics Account

To track your affiliate traffic, you need to log in to your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have it, you will have to create one first.

Step 2: Create a Property

Once you have accessed your Google Analytics account, start by creating a property for your business.

To create a property, simply click the ‘Admin’ option in the bottom left corner.

After that, click ‘Create Property’ and follow the recommended steps to create a new property for your business.

Step 3: Get a Tracking Code

Once you have created a property for your website, you'll need a tracking code. To get the tracking code for your site, go to ‘Admin’, select the respective property, and click the ‘Tracking Info’ tab. Now, click ‘tracking Code’ to get the code for your website.

Step 4: Add the Tracking Code to Your Site

Once you have accessed the tracking code, you should proceed with the next step, which is adding the code to your website. This is done by adding the code to your website’s header.

If you’re using WordPress, you can easily do it with the help of the ‘WPCode’ plugin.

To install the plugin, access your website’s ‘Admin Panel’, go to ‘Plugins’, and click ‘Add New Plugin’.

Now, search for the ‘WPCode’ plugin and click ‘Install Now’.

Once installation is complete, click ‘Activate’ to enable the plugin.

Now, access the newly installed plugin by clicking ‘Code Snippets’ and then clicking ‘Header & Footer’.

Now, paste your code in the ‘Header’ section and click ‘Save Changes’.

Step 5: Test the Code

Once you have added the tracking code to your website’s header, make sure that it’s working correctly by testing. This is to ensure that the code is tracking the data, making the insights visible through your Google Analytics account.

As the links shared with your affiliates start getting clicks and sending traffic to your website, you will be able to access the insights through Google Analytics. The UTM tags will help Google Analytics track the data and present it to you in an organized fashion.

You can access this data by accessing Google Analytics and going to the ‘Acquisition’ menu. From there, click ‘All Traffic’ and head over to ‘Source/Medium’.

With an affiliate tag, you will be able to track the visitors referred to your website through affiliate links and gauge the performance of affiliates onboard.

Now, let’s proceed with the affiliate link management solutions.

In this article, we will be using Pretty Links, one of the most commonly used free affiliate link management solutions.

The plugin pretty much automates the entire process for you. With a few clicks, you can add or update affiliate links for all your website pages.

Plus, the tool allows you to create different categories and tags. It’s a handy feature that makes affiliate management a whole lot easier.

You can also use the plugin to create affiliate URLs that are simple and easy to read. With no complex characters or symbols, your affiliate URLs are easy to remember. And that makes their management less tedious.

The plugin also helps you set up temporary or permanent redirects for your website. So you don't have to rely on different tools. Pretty Links is a one-stop solution that does it all for you.

Now, let’s get started with the setup process. 

To set up affiliate tracking, start by installing Pretty Links on your WordPress site. And to do that, log into your site’s admin panel and access the ‘Dashboard’.

Now, go to the ‘Plugins’ menu and click ‘Add New Plugin’.

Perform a search for the 'Pretty Links' plugin and click ‘Install Now’.

Wait for the installation process to complete. After that, click ‘Activate’ to enable the plugin on your site.

Step 2: Access the Plugin

After activating the plugin, access it to start the setup process. To do that, go to your ‘Dashboard’ and click 'Pretty Links' from the 'Plugins' menu.

Access 'Pretty Links' from the 'Plugins' menu and click 'Add New' to start setting up your affiliate links.

Now, provide the details to create an affiliate link. You can start with the redirect option and select the type of redirect you want to set on the link. You can choose from 301, 302, or 307 redirect options.

Once you’ve selected the redirect option you want, specify the target URL. This will be the website page that your affiliate link will redirect to.

After specifying the target URL, create a pretty link for it. This link is how your affiliate URL will appear.

You can also add notes to your affiliate links. A handy feature that helps you remember your commitments with different affiliates onboard.

Once you have provided all the necessary details, click 'Update' from the 'Publish' tab.

Congratulations! You have set up an affiliate link. Now repeat the process for all your affiliates.

To track your affiliate links, go to the 'Main Menu' of Pretty Links. You will be able to track all your affiliate links from there.

If you are an established brand and the aforesaid recommendations seem a bit overwhelming to you, you may consider investing in a premium affiliate link management solution.

When it comes to premium affiliate link management solutions, you may find a variety of options. The one we’re using in this article is AffiliateWP.

The plugin makes it possible for you to not just track your affiliate links but also manage your affiliate program through WordPress with ease. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps:

Step 1: Download the Plugin

You can’t install the recommended plugin like other free plugins available on WordPress. To do so, you will have to go to their website and subscribe to a plan that best meets your needs.

After that, login to your account using the provided credentials and download the plugin. Wait for the download to complete and proceed with the next step.

Step 2: Install the Plugin

Once you’ve downloaded the plugin, install it on your WordPress site by logging into your site’s ‘Admin Panel’. Now, head over to ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Add New Plugin’.

Now, look for the ‘Upload Plugin’ option at the top left corner of your screen.

Now, click ‘Choose File’ to upload the plugin downloaded from the website, and proceed with installing the plugin by clicking ‘Install Now’.

Wait for the installation process to complete, and then simply activate the plugin to access all its functionalities.

Step 3: Access Affiliate Area

Once you have activated the plugin, it will automatically create an affiliate area for your WordPress site.

You can access the affiliate area by simply going to your site’s ‘Admin Panel’. From there, go to ‘Pages’, and search ‘Affiliate Area’.

The affiliate area is completely customizable, making it easier for you to manage your affiliates and track their respective links.

It’s a Wrap

There you have it: a detailed guide on how to set up affiliate link tracking in WordPress. The article highlights different processes that may be best suited for established businesses or those getting started.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way for brands to promote their solutions and for affiliates to make money online.

The problem is that there are often disagreements between brands and affiliates when it comes to payouts.

Tracking affiliate links solves this problem for all concerned parties and promotes transparency. It also provides relevant insights for brands and affiliates that can help them come up with effective strategies and make the most of their efforts.

So, if you have been struggling with tracking affiliate links or looking for an easy way to do so, the information in this article may come in handy.

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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