BetterLinks is a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily create shortened links with custom titles, branded links, and affiliate links with query string parameters. If you want to make long affiliate links look great and quickly deploy short URLs for your social networks or marketing, install the plugin on WordPress and you're ready to go.
Great for affiliate link cloaking, affiliate link tracking, and shortening ugly URLs.
BetterLinks is a self-hosted link-cloaking solution for WordPress. The BetterLinks Link Cloaking feature can help you create shorter, cloaked links from longer URLs with ease.
The plugin is easy to use – with a few clicks you can create a short URL for each of your links – but there's so much more to this plugin and it's A competitor to Pretty Links and Thirsty Affiliates, two of the most popular URL cloaker, URL shortener, and affiliate link management tools.
General Use Cases
BetterLinks is great for managing affiliate links, shortening long URLs on your own website or external pages, and tracking everything in one place. The plugin's advanced features can help you analyze the performance of specific URLs, create affiliate link cloaking opportunities, and build a comprehensive link management solution. It's easy to get started with BetterLinks, but read on if you want a more detailed breakdown of BetterLink's features.
- Easy to use – In this category of URL management tools, BetterLinks is by far the easiest plugin to use. It uses a modern design and a faster way of saving links, so you can work with it faster.
- Grid and list view for better link management. Grid is great for sorting and categorizing links. List view is better for editing. There's also a dark mode.
- You can migrate all links from Pretty Links or Thirsty Affiliates with a few clicks.
- Clean design – There's no clutter and everything is nicely presented in one screen. You can also change the view if you prefer a different way to view your links.
- Great analytics reporting – while similar plugins currently have more reporting features, BetterLinks has a better presentation and the development team is working to improve this feature. I expect good things.
- Fast performance – Modern design with JSON database.
- Good support – the support team responds very quickly, even for the free version of the plugin. This wasn't my experience with the premium support of most other tools.
- Prone to bugs – It's a new product, so bugs are to be expected. If you have a large website with thousands of links, I recommend testing the tool on a staging server before deploying it on the live website.
- Security Issues – Since this is a relatively new and unproven plugin, there's always the potential for security vulnerabilities. And in fact, WordFence, the security firewall plugin for WordPress, has found severe vulnerabilities in the plugin's simple 301 redirects feature.
- No option to automatically create a prefix for shortened URLs.
Pro version vs. Free version
The free version of BetterLinks offers a lot of features but here's what you get on the paid plans.
|Everything in Free plus:||Everything in Individual plus:||Everything in Business plus:|
|Use on Single Site||Use on Unlimited Sites||Lifetime Update & Support|
|Advanced Redirect Types|
|User Role Management|
|Google Analytics Integration|
|10% Credit Reward|
|25% Renewal Discount|
|1 Year Update & Support|
|Import and Export links|
|Social Share for UTM Builder|
BetterLinks Vs Prettylinks Vs ThirstyAffiliates
This table is to explain the differences between the three products.
|BetterLinks Pro||Pretty Links Pro||Thirsty Affiliates pro|
|Pricing (one site)||$49||$79||$49|
|Shortening / Destination Cloaking||yes||yes||yes|
|Custom Post Types||yes||no|
|Statistics and Analytics||yes||yes||yes|
|Detailed Click Reporting||no||yes||yes|
|Support||1 year||1 year||1 year|
|Refund guarantee||no||14 days||14 days|
|Automatic Keyword Linking||no||yes||yes|
|Geolocation and Geographic Redirects||yes||yes||yes|
|No Follow & Open In New Tab Options||yes||yes||yes|
|URL Shortening (with bit.ly)||no||no||yes|
|Automatic 404 Checker||no||no||yes|
|Insert Links in Gutenberg Editor||yes||yes||no|
|Automatic Link Titles||no||yes||no|
|Forward URL Parameters||yes||yes||no|
|Integration with Google Analytics||yes||yes||yes|
|User Role Management||yes||no||no|
|Device-based dynamic redirects||yes||no||no|
|Tracking Pixel Redirects||no||yes||no|
|Optimized queries to reduce load time & make faster||yes||no||no|
|Wildcard Redirect||yes||yes (if domain provider supports it)||no|
|Import Data From A JSON File||yes||no||no|
|Social Share Options||no||yes||no|
|Drag & Drop interface||yes||no||no|
Established link shortening and tracking tool companies have a longer history of improving their plugins and weeding out bugs. Pretty Links and Thirsty Links have now merged, so there's a large pool of knowledge there. Of course, this means that the most well-known plugins on the market have a sort of monopoly and there's always a temptation to sit back and rest while newcomers struggle to get to market.
My main criticism of Pretty Links has always been the speed at which a link click is processed. I've heard many complaints that the server takes too long to convert a short link into a full affiliate link or a longer link. I run my websites on private Cloud Servers (Cloudways, recommended by the way) and these servers are very fast.
BetterLinks has come up with a solution. Instead of using the WordPress database to process the links, a JSON file (effectively a single code file) takes care of everything. This speeds up the process considerably. That means less load on the server and a faster WordPress website for visitors. And that ultimately means more money for you.
Pretty Links Latency
Better Links latency
The software is still under development and the excellent team at WP Developers is constantly improving it. So it's only a matter of time before some of these features are added to the plugin's code.
There's no option to automatically create a prefix for shortened URLs. If you prefer to use a prefix like /go/ or /recommended/ or /get/ before each link, you must manually add this to the URL pattern individually.
Granted, this isn't a huge problem, but it leaves open the possibility of forgetting to add it. Many website owners and administrators like to use these types of prefixes for two reasons
- to exclude all links below the URL section (e.g. /go/) from Google's index. This saves you from having to do this for every link
- for better tracking of link clicks in Google Analytics and other analytics platforms.
Should you buy it?
BetterLinks is an all-in-one solution for managing your affiliate links. It's a simple plugin that anyone can use to create and link to any short link or track all of their affiliate links. While there are other similar plugins, Betterlinks does a pretty good job and could work out more economical.
Not to be outdone, PrettyLinks recently added a new feature called PrettyPay Links, which allows you to sell products and services directly through your links.
And the company has also fired back at competitors by adding its “Product Displays” feature where you can present your affiliate links in a visually appealing manner that is also user-friendly. By designing with aesthetics and usability as top priorities, we hope to attract more clicks from your readers by adding visual interest to relevant content pages.
Thirsty Affiliates has a Proactive Link Fixer, a front-end link fixing script that ensures your affiliate links are always up to date). There's also the Geolocation feature which gives you the ability to offer alternate destinations for international clicks via country targeting. Just some of the features that set it apart from BetterLinks. I recommend you try out each of the three plugins to see which one works best for you.