An affiliate marketing program is a practical and powerful tactic for any online business. It’s a tried and tested way of generating revenue and increasing brand awareness, and best of all it’s easy to do with any WordPress website.
If you’re new to the idea of affiliate programs, or you’ve yet to find success through them, you might feel the benefit of an affiliate plugin. Plugins are not magic wands of revenue, but they can be powerful tools that help you boost your affiliate marketing. If you’re struggling to get noticed, you may find a WordPress affiliate plugin is exactly the jump start you need.
Choosing a Plugin
When looking for affiliate plugins on WordPress it can get easy to get carried away. There are hundreds of options available, each with their own shiny bells and whistles, so it can be easy to be like a kid in a candy store. The difficult part is actually limiting your selection and choosing only the plugins most relevant to your current capabilities and future goals.
This is to say, Try to avoid being an answer in search of a question. Don’t find an affiliate plugin you like the look of and then look for a way to justify getting it. Instead, focus on what challenges your facing as a business and how to solve them more generally. Then, if you decide a plugin is the way, you can start using it effectively.
If you’ve got to the point where you’ve nailed down a problem you’re looking to solve, take a look at these top affiliate plugins to see if they might be a solution.
If you’re not sure about committing to an affiliate plugin for the long term but are still looking for the benefits that come from a premium service, Ultimate Affiliate Pro might be for you. For a one time payment, you can get all the detailed features of a premium affiliate management system without having to pay a rolling monthly fee.
Ultimate Affiliate Pro links to all the major eCommerce services like PayPal, Stripe, WooCommerce and more, along with customizable options on currency for targeted international commerce. Plus it features an extensive support center filled with video tutorials and online documentation to help you out if you’re stuck.
- High-quality integration with WooCommerce, Stripe, PayPal and more
- Unique complete metrics feature
- Pay out with PayPal
- Option to add your own currency
- Affiliate links as QR codes
Thirsty Affiliates is another powerful affiliate plugin that offers a wide range of services. It offers everything from link cloaking to detailed reports, along with link automation for easy find-and-replace linking.
Thirsty Affiliates is also there for you when things go wrong. It has an automatic 404 checker so you can solve any avoidable error pages and a link fixer that keeps all your links up to date with little to no effort on your part.
- Automatic affiliate linking
- Country targeting, to provide alternate destinations for international clicks
- Proactive link checking for 404 errors
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Importing and exporting of CSV
Let’s start with a strong all-rounder. AffiliateWP is an all-encompassing affiliate management system that’s easy to set up and use. It’s packed full of reporting tools and visualization options to manage your affiliate programs at a glance and in depth. AffiliateWP also merges seamlessly with eCommerce services like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads and iThemes Exchange.
It’s hard to write an exhaustive list all of AffiliateWP’s features, simply because there are so many. For anyone without an affiliate management system, AffiliateWP is a fantastic tool to get you started with affiliates.
- Easy and quick to set up – speedy installation
- Even on servers with aggressive caching, affiliate referrals are tracked reliably
- Integrates well with most major plugins, like WordPress eCommerce
- Many affiliate management tools, like affiliate reports, individual affiliate account editing and affiliate registration moderation
- Referral link generation and customizable emails
4. Pretty Links
You’ll see this widely popular plugin in action on most WordPress sites, and for good reason. In its simplest form, it turns long and cumbersome affiliate links into shorter, easy to remember versions, then has the facility to add these links to posts. Under the hood, it boasts analytics and performance metrics that keep you up to date on how your links are doing, an automation tool that auto-links specific keywords, and a site redirect management tool.
Even with all of these features, Pretty Links is easy to use and a flexible working solution. It works well with responsive WordPress themes and is compatible with everyone from the most experienced developers to the earliest starters.
- Complete control over the appearance of links
- Tracking, grouping, sorting and searching link clicks
- Traditional server-side permanent and temporary redirects
- Automatic link tweeting and keyword-rich website links
- Frequent updates and dedicated support team
If you’re shopping for an affiliate plugin but aren’t ready to invest in one, Affiliates Manager might be for you. This free plugin is easy to install and use, chock full of features, and powerful enough to rival even some premium plugins.
You’d be surprised at how scalable this free service is. You can track and make banner ads for unlimited affiliates and even make them translation ready for international sales. On top of all that it works seamlessly with other WordPress plugins like iThemes Exchange, S2Member, WooCommerce, and JigoShop.
- Integration with WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, Simple Shopping Cart, and MailChimp and Infusionsoft Autoresponder
- Real-time traffic and sales reporting
- Unlimited affiliate tracking
- Flat rate or percentage-based payouts
- Manual adjustments and payouts
“No matter what your business is and what you’re selling, you can’t go far without Google Analytics.” Take it from Eric Andre, an affiliate marketing writer at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting. “Google Analytics is an essential part of seeing if your marketing is working. Without it, you’re practically in the dark when it comes to your online presence.”
With that in mind, a service like MonsterInsights is a great entry-way into Google Analytics. It’s not strictly a plugin in the same way as some of the others on this list, but it’s compatible with affiliate plugins and it provides you with insight into your affiliate performance, so it deserves some recognition.
- Universal website tracking across devices
- Automatically compliant with European and other privacy regulations.
- User scrolling tracking
- Tracking of file downloads
- Tracking of Yoast SEO score stats
If you’re looking for the features of a dedicated affiliate management system without slowing down your website, AdSanity might be for you. This affiliate ad management tool comes in a small package while still packing a punch.
Maeve Wiley, a WordPress blogger at DraftBeyond and Researchpapersuk, says that “AdSanity is lightweight, user friendly and easy to use while still offering all the tracking of heavier solutions”. It also has the added bonus of in-built Ad Block detection. You can make sure your users don’t block the ads you put so much time into generating.
- Self-hosted and network ads
- Great support
- Licensing for 1 public and 1 local domain at least
- Custom ad sizing and group ad widget
- Video ads
For any eCommerce brand selling through Amazon, EasyAzon is for you. This plugin is perfect for anyone running an Amazon affiliate blog, as it allows you to generate and insert affiliate links to Amazon products without needing to jump back and forth to the Amazon site itself.
Like any Amazon plugin worth its salt, it has all the features to make affiliate marketing easy and seamless. This means you can include Amazon “Buy” buttons, relevant images and cloaked links to give your users a pleasing visual experience. Under the hood, it even offers geolocation services to find out where in the world your users are coming to you from.
- Both self-hosted and network ads on WordPress
- Great support
- Licensing for at least 1 public and 1 local domain
- Custom ad sizing and group ad widget
- Video ads
If you are working with WooCommerce, this plugin is the best place for you to start. This free plugin from YITH is the opposite of the maxim “jack of all trades, master of none”’; it does one thing, and it does it well. That one thing is allowing you to set up commissions and affiliates for WooCommerce.
WooCommerce Affiliates is a great choice for anyone just getting started with affiliate programs and trying to figure out what works best for them. It empowers you to set and manage cookies, track product referrals, and enable or disable specific affiliates whenever and wherever you’d like. All of this is managed from an intuitive dashboard. That is ready to go straight away.
- Offer a percentage on social network sales to your influencers
- Detailed user click reports
- Automatic commission payments
- Choose which affiliate information is stored with each visit
- Set commission rates
While we’re on the subject of WooCommerce; I can’t move on without a mention of ReferralCandy. This plugin and the associated plan is all about promotions and rewards, and it’s a great supplement to any affiliate marketing strategy.
ReferralCandy is designed to spread your links far and wide. For example, a new signup might receive a discount code off their first purchase. After making the purchase, they’ll be offered a further discount to share with their friends. This in turn gives them a second discount off a future purchase. You might be giving out more rewards than you’re used to. However, you’ll also be bringing plenty of new customers on board.
- Automatic reward payout
- High engagement email campaigns
- Traffic source tracking and insights
- Integration with Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and more
- 24/7 Live Chat Support
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Gum Essays. She has been involved in many online marketing projects throughout the country. Mother of two children, she enjoys travelling, reading, and attending business training courses.