If you think affiliate marketing is all about creating a website and fleshing out content to ram affiliate links in, you’re on the wrong path. Like blogs and other content-heavy websites, there’s more marketing strategy than content creation.
If you have an affiliate marketing website or are thinking of starting one, this is a brief introduction to plugins that will help you if you want to be on the way to turning this into a passive income stream.
Affiliate Link Management
Affiliate websites only earn if people click affiliate links and buy from the partner website or online store within a set period of time after that first click-through. So, you’ll need plenty of links, clicks, and you need to drive people to buy whatever you’re promoting. These are the plugins to help you keep track, organize, and beautify all your links to make sure no link is lost, broken, or wasted.
ThirstyAffiliates is a top-ranking plugin for managing affiliate links. By managing we mean tracking every link you post on your site. (Trust me, it’s going to get messy and all over the place if you don’t have an affiliate link manager.)
You can insert links into different posts and then categorize them, so you can search for them easily without having to scan every single post that you’ve published. If you run into a site-wide problem with broken links, you can also edit them all at once through ThirstyAffiliates.
Best Feature: Best link organization
If you don’t want to use ThirstyAffiliates, Pretty Links is a popular alternative that a lot of websites are currently using. You can access a full report on your links from WordPress’ admin dashboard. You can check their performance and if anything needs fixing or updating for better overall performance.
The best part about Pretty Links is that it allows you to create shorter links not only for your website but also for social media sites like Twitter, which I don’t know if I can say the same for ThirstyAffiliates.
Best Feature: Cloaking affiliate links into shorter links
EasyAzon is the trusted plugin for Amazon affiliate products. A major reason for Amazon’s success in marketing and selling products is because of their branding. That orange and red combo as well as their site layout (I’m talking about how easy it is to lose yourself in an Amazon blackhole because of the related products on every product page) are designed to make people purchase even things they don’t need.
I just went on to explain all of that because EasyAzon is the key for you to make use of Amazon’s effective branding as an affiliate partner to encourage your website visitors to buy through your link.
Best Feature: Generating Amazon product previews and link buttons
Amazon Product in a Post
The Amazon Product in a Post plugin works the same way as EasyAzon, only it allows you to add any product already preformatted. As long as you have an Amazon Affiliate account and Amazon’s Product Advertising API keys, you’re set.
Its main difference with EasyAzon is that you can add products in a product grid, and you can add as many products in a single post as you can. You can even make your own text content a part of the product layout.
Best Feature: Formatted Amazon product links
MonsterInsights is like a built-in Google Analytics for WordPress. It can be very useful to track any metrics or data about your site. Specifically for affiliate websites, however, it’s more commonly used to track the links’ performance—which are doing best, which are bringing the most profit, etc.
Best Feature: Tracking link clicks and website traffic
Some affiliate websites act like an e-commerce website, or at least have the same features. These are the top e-commerce plugins that could be helpful with managing affiliate websites as well.
WooCommerce is a very popular WordPress plugin made by the developers of WordPress itself to add e-commerce functionalities to websites made with the platform. If you want to sell your own products from your affiliate website as well as sell others’ products via affiliate links, this is a useful plugin to get.
It will provide the necessary tools like product pages, “Add to Cart”, and checkout features. Adding these functions will make your website even more enticing to browse, encouraging people to stay longer on your page.
Best Feature: Powerful e-commerce features
WPForms is known to be one of the best plugins to create forms with. Their drag-and-drop form builder is extremely easy to use, which makes it a hit with beginners. Affiliate website owners use this commonly to build an audience by creating opt-in forms for email lists.
Other alternative uses for this in relation to running an affiliate website is if you have an affiliate program yourself and are building out your partners. You can use this plugin to create a sign-up form for those who want to sell your products. This can be integrated with other plugins that will send an automated response to anyone who completed the form.
Best Feature: Drag-and-drop form builder
If you’ve heard of scarcity marketing, that’s basically what Thrive Ultimatum is made to utilize. If you’re not familiar, Thrive Ultimatum just allows you to create a campaign with a deadline to encourage website visitors to take action right away.
Affiliate marketing relies heavily on customers clicking on your links and buying a product, so your profit relies on their active participation. Thrive Ultimatum sets up timers for visitors, creating the illusion that your product is limited and they need to do something now (which is buy).
Best Feature: Unique deadline timer for website visitors
SEO plays a huge part in making affiliate websites work. Some would say there are more effective ways to market and make your website visible, but these are 2 plugins that are worth having nonetheless.
I’ve never known anyone with a WordPress website not use Yoast SEO. It’s the most popular and top-ranking SEO plugin, mostly for the all-in-one features it’s capable of. You can use it to optimize every blog post by editing meta tags, titles, and descriptions for better SERP ranking.
The best part is it also connects to Google’s search console so you can control if a certain page or post will be crawled by the search engines when a relevant keyword is searched by a user.
Best Feature: All-in-one SEO plugin
Rank Math is running a close second to Yoast as an effective SEO plugin for WordPress websites. It’s also marketed as an all-in-one SEO tool with the focus on making your website rank higher in SERPs.
If you don’t like doing SEO tasks manually, you’ll like the automation features of this plugin. Upon installation, it will immediately give you a rundown of the best settings and even suggestions for better visibility not only in SERPs but also social media sites.
Best Feature: SEO Analysis Tool – detailed SEO report of your site
General Affiliate Website Tools
Here are the plugins that don’t really fall under any category but are still essential for building a profitable affiliate marketing website.
WP Notification Bars
WP Notification Bars is a plugin that lets you customize a pop-up bar that shows across the top or bottom of your website to notify visitors of a product you’re promoting. That’s usually how you drive visitors to a product right away regardless of what page they land first on your website. You can customize this notification bar with your own branding or do basic targeting campaigns like show only for those who’ve liked your Facebook page, etc.
Best Feature: Customizable notification bar layouts with your own branding
WP RSS Aggregator
Affiliate websites require a lot of content before it can be perceived as reliable by users. It can be a tedious job filling up your site with content. WP RSS Aggregator eases this process by allowing you to get information like product descriptions and the like from your partner affiliate’s original website and post it into your own. You can create auto-blogs or just insert them into a post.
Best Feature: Easy to add auto-blogs and product feeds
Rel Nofollow Checkbox
If you have too many links on your website, you might get suspended by Google because it might detect that as a spammy activity. To avoid this from happening, you can use Rel Nofollow Checkbox, which just lets you check a nofollow attribute to your links. This means search engines don’t have to attribute to those sites for every link that you post. Though not a requirement, this is sometimes a key component to a lot of affiliate websites.
Best Feature: No attribute function for links (to avoid being marked as spam by search engines)
Since you have a website, might as well put some advertisements on it. This is another way to monetize an affiliate website. These plugins could help you organize your ads and even make them an affiliate link to a partner e-commerce website.
AdSanity may be the best ad management plugin for affiliate websites. It allows a lot of functionalities, but mainly turning your ads into affiliate links and displaying them discreetly all throughout your website. Other features include setting a date and time to promote limited discounts by your partner affiliates.
Best Feature: Affiliate ads
Ads Pro, like AdSanity, is an ad management plugin that lets you display ads for all kinds of things you want to promote, either an affiliate product or an affiliate program of your own. It’s unique in that it can go undetected by ad blockers, so your ads will surely display, only filtered by your own tags.
Best Feature: Several ad display options
AdSense In-Post Ads
The special feature of the AdSense In-Post Ads plugin is that it lets you insert an ad of your own anywhere in a blog post, whether in between the content, below, or on the sidebar and not just on the footer or the topmost part where they usually get ignored.
You just add the shortcode that is generated from your most effective AdSense ads. This lets you have the option to create something unique for every blog post, so users don’t see the same ads in every page and that their attention is really captured.
Best Feature: Specified ads for blog posts
AdRotate Banner Manager
AdRotate Banner Manager’s free plugin lets you have the most basic option which is to post your own ads. However, if you choose, you can also get its other features such as getting ads from other ad servers, including Google and Amazon Affiliates.
If you know how to code or have someone who can do it for you, take advantage of that expertise by creating your own advertisements using basic HTML and Java coding without messing with your entire theme’s code.
Best Feature: Use ads from other ad servers
BONUS: Other Helpful Online Tools for Affiliate Marketing
These are not plugins, but I thought I’d share since I also use them quite often for all of my websites, not only the ones for affiliate marketing.
If this was a plugin, this would fall under the SEO category. It’s a powerful SEO and marketing tool for websites from any platform, not just WordPress, specifically for keyword research, analyzing competitors’ online performance. You can use the information provided here to gain insight on your competitors and have some competitive advantage by researching what you can do differently or what’s capturing the attention of your competitors’ audience.
Ahrefs is a popular alternative to SEMRush because of its competitor analysis features as well. You can use this tool to know who your competitors are—who are the top-performing names in your industry. With this information, you can also track backlinks and see how you can expand your affiliate website with their Content Explorer feature.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” This could be used as an accurate metaphor for running an affiliate website. If you think you can create a site, ram it with content and affiliate links, and earn money just from that alone, think again if you’re ready for this. These are by no means required for you to create an affiliate website, but they are commonly used to run a successful one.