This is the user interface for Betterlinks, a new link shortening application from the folks at WP developer Betterlinks say they are an advanced WordPress plugin for link shortening tracking and analyzing. In this video, I’m going to demonstrate the main features of Betterlinks, and I’m going to tell you what I think, whether it’s useful, something you should pick up, or maybe just leave behind.
Keep in mind that the version of Better links I’m using this video is very new. It’s just version one one with that in mind. They have a launch offer. So if you want to be an early adopter and try out Better links for yourself, I’ll have a link down below. Now let’s get into the video.
Betterlinks adds a section to the sidebar of your WordPress admin area. You can see it’s right here called Betterlinks. I’m in the manage links area where I’ve got a category set up called Affiliate Links. That’s this inside of affiliate links. I’ve organized three links appsimo, betterlinks and WP Social Ninja.
The reason you might want to use a tool like Betterlinks is that when you sign up to do affiliate marketing, let’s open up the AppSumo link here. You’re going to get a really long and ugly URL. My target URL right here. This is what Appsimo gave me so that I can promote their products. If you click this link, it will go to their home page, but if I share it on social media, it looks ecamm and ugly.
We’ve all been trained to look out for links that look just like this. If you get one from PayPal or your bank, you know someone’s probably trying to scam you. However, in this case, it’s not a scam at all. It’s actually the legitimate affiliate program set up by Appsimo. But the subdomain is where you see the word Appsimo the primary domain.
It says 80 di. If you’re just a casual Internet user, this looks totally scammy and you probably would never click it with Better links. I can change this link into something like this where it says Demo profitable toolsappsimo. Now it’s only demo because I’m setting this up on Demo website. It could be your URL, your primary domain.com, whatever you want.
Like AppSumo. You’ll notice that each link has a title, which I’ve called AppSumo as an optional description section, so you can kind of keep track of your links. There’s also a redirection type, more on that in a second. It’s a little bit nerdy, but it’s important for the search engines. We’ve already talked about the target URL and the shortpixel URL, and I mentioned that I’m currently in an affiliate links category.
The categories are just for me, so I can keep things organized. If you really like to keep things organized, you can also tag your links. I’m not going to do that. There’s some other options we’ll check out in a second. But for now, this is everything we really need to know, I’ll go ahead and update.
Now if I click on the link right here, I can copy it and if I paste it into the URL bar, you can see it says Demo profitable Toolsappsimo. And when I hit return, it’s going to load up the appsimo website. Now, anyone who buys after clicking on my specific link will help me earn a commission. Now you might be saying, that’s great, Dave, but I’m not an affiliate marketer so I don’t need this plugin. Well, maybe you don’t, but there’s some other use cases I’d like to Brizy to your attention.
I make content on YouTube, so I might want to put my YouTube links into better links so it’s easier for me to remember them and then I can share them more quickly. I’ll create a new category called YouTube Videos. Now maybe you don’t make YouTube videos, but you might have some calendar links or a zoom link or anything that you could think of that you’re just repeatedly going to copy and paste because the URL is too long. Anything like that, you could shorten into a much more usable link. Let’s go ahead and add a YouTube video here.
I’ll start off with my target URL. I pasted in a YouTube URL here, which you can see is really long and hard to remember. Now, this video is about WordPress five eight. So I’m going to give it the shortened URL of WP 58 Vid. You could call it whatever you want and come up with whatever naming scheme makes sense to you.
It’s already in the YouTube category, so I’m good to go. Now, the next time I’m talking to someone on social media and I want to share this video because maybe it’ll help them out. I don’t have to go out of my app, go over to YouTube, find the video. Click the link, copy it, go back over to my social media app, find the thread I was in, paste it in, and then move on about my day. I can simply type in the URL because I already remember it.
OOH, bad hair day. Now let’s talk about some of the nerdier things that better links can do that might put you to sleep a little bit. However, some of the things I’m about to mention will earn you more money. So pay attention. First, redirects.
This part is a little bit sleepy and it’s just for the search engines. However, it’s important and actually very simple to understand. Every link that we create in better links is a redirect hope that makes sense. You’re taking a long complicated link and you’re changing it into something easier to remember. Now in most cases, that original link is not going to go away.
We’re simply just temporarily changing the link so that it works with another name. That’s why we’re creating a redirect type called 307, which is a temporary link that’s created by your browser to redirect traffic. Another option you have is a 302 redirect, which is a temporary redirect just like the 307. But this time, rather than having it be created by your browser, a 302 means it was created by your server. Now, that’s not accurate in this case because the browser is actually doing the redirect.
So we want to change this to a 307. The last type of redirect is if you’re moving content permanently. It’s called a 301 redirect, and it’s permanent, meaning you’re moving from one location on the Internet to another. That could mean you’re changing your domain name, or it could mean you’re just moving your blog post from Best Deals of 2020 to Best Deals of 2021. Any traffic from that old URL you want to move to the new, more updated URL.
It’s actually fairly common for people to take old blog posts and then redirect them to new ones. So here’s a page on my demo website. If I wanted to redirect this to a different URL, I’ll simply open it up in the Gutenberg editor. And now I’ll find this option here called Betterlinks Instant Redirect. It’s a lot like what you see inside of the plug in, except you can redirect pages on your website without having to actually go into the plugins while you’re working on it.
You can choose a new target URL, set the redirect type if it’s just temporary or permanent, and you can even categorize it right here. There’s also other link options, which we’ll talk about in a second. These are inside of the plugin, but I just want to mention they’re here inside of Gutenberg as well. Next up is link options. This stuff is equally boring to redirects, but it’s also important.
Link options are mainly things the browser sees as well. So no Follow, Sponsored, and Parameter Forwarding these are all attributes that the browser is going to pay attention to that the end user will never see. No Follow means that you’re not necessarily endorsing the link. You’re just clicking someone off to Amazon or another other reputable site. You don’t want to give up any of your own search engine juice to the link that you’re clicking off to.
Now, you turn this off if you had a guest poster on your website and you want to do link off to their website. You’d make that a follow link because you’re trying to help promote them. But if you’re just reviewing a product from a reputable company like Amazon, it’s best to leave no follow on. The Sponsored option here is just going to add the Sponsored attribute to your link. This is going to let the search engine know that there’s money being exchanged for this link.
That’s all it does. You can turn it on if you want. And parameter forwarding is usually going to be related to whether or not someone is giving you information on one page. And then when you redirect them, whether you want that information to carry over. So as an example, maybe someone fills out a form and then you can pass that information along inside of the URL.
It could be their email address or their location, their zip code. It could get passed along using parameter forwarding to the end destination. Finally we have tracking. This is going to allow us to track our clicks and view analytics about them right inside of Betterlinks. Let’s go ahead and check that out from the sidebar.
I’ll go to Betterlinks and choose analytics. Now. I shared three links on social media yesterday when I was thinking about reviewing this product. So I’ve actually gotten quite a few clicks already to see how the tracking works. I can see what browser people were using, what link they clicked, what their IP address was, when they clicked it, when they clicked it, what the shortened URL was, what platform they were on.
So the refer. As I mentioned, I shared these links on Facebook, but I didn’t use any UTM parameters. If you don’t know what that is, hang tight, we’ll talk about them in a second. So Better Links was able to gather that people were clicking from Facebook, even though I didn’t actually set out to collect that information. And finally of course, I can see the target URL or where they’re ending up.
If I just want analytics on a specific link, I can go ahead and type in that link name here like appsimo, and then it will filter out everything but the appsimo clicks. I can also sort by time. I don’t need to go quite back as far as August since I only installed this on my website yesterday. So that analytics page depends on having this box checked. If you turn this off, those links will not be tracked.
The next section is called Advanced, and this is where you set the status of your link. Meaning that this link right here, this short URL is going to redirect to this longer YouTube URL. I could also set the link to Expire in the future, so I could set an expiration date or I could expire it after a certain number of clicks. The marketer in me sees the potential here to actually generate revenue from this. I could say the first 500 people who click this link will get a better deal after 500 clicks is up.
No deals for anybody. Everybody else is just redirected back to the normal sales page. So let’s try that. Let’s say 500 clicks redirects to a new URL. Once your link has actually expired, don’t worry, you can come into the editor and go ahead and change the redirect URL.
If you change your mind later on. There is a final option here for a draft, which just means you haven’t published the link yet. I don’t see a lot of utility in this, so I think most people will probably set their links to Active with having them expire at some point. In the future. Now, if you want to take this idea of expiration and redirecting your URLs to the next level, you can go down to Dynamic redirects.
Inside of dynamic redirects, we have a lot of really cool marketing options. The UI is a little bit weird to get used to. It looks like you should be able to click here and maybe turn this on. But what you really need to do is go ahead and add a new link. Then you choose enable dynamic redirect.
And now you can actually see the full power. So we have different redirection types. We can have rotations, which just mean that 50% of the traffic are going to see this URL and 50% of the traffic are going to see this URL. Of course I can change that. I could make it 35, 65 or whatever you want.
Now, marketers will probably know this as split testing or AB testing. And you can actually do that right inside of the better links interface. However, it’s not fully fleshed out in my opinion. We can set up a goal link here. So that would be the conversion link, right?
That would show you when someone has converted. However, I’d like to have some more basic features built into the split testing, like picking a winner. Let’s say after 1000 clicks, whichever one is converting best, that one becomes the primary version. And we don’t further test that URL. The test can just end at that point, moving away from split testing but staying with Dynamic redirects.
We have some other options to talk about. Here we have geography. This is going to allow you to send people from different countries to different URLs. Let’s say someone was in Afghanistan, they can go see my video. However, if you’re in Albania, you’re going to go to Google.
Now, the practical application for this would be if you sell in multiple countries, maybe you have different distribution, different websites for those countries, you can go ahead and send out one link and then people will automatically be routed to their country’s appropriate store. Next up we have device dynamic Redirection. So this is exactly what it sounds like. If someone’s on an iOS device, I can send them to one page so that they can buy software for their product. And if they’re on an Android device, I can send them to a different page.
Obviously one use case here would be so that people can get the version of software for the platform that they’re on. So let’s say they’re on a phone and on iOS I could link up to the Apple App Store here and maybe if they’re on a phone but on Android I could go ahead and link up to the Google Play Store. The last type of dynamic redirect is based on time. So this is very similar to what we saw inside of the advanced section where we set an expiration date. Except here we can go ahead and have a start and end date for multiple URLs.
So Target URL one could run for this entire weekend and that could go to my birthday sale page. As an example, after my birthday is over, maybe I want people to go to the next sale that I’m going to offer, maybe a Halloween sale. I would just set up the dates, then input the new URL, and without any further customization, any traffic that might have been driven to the birthday sale, even though the sale had ended, will not be lost because they’ll get redirected to the next best current offer. It doesn’t have to stop here. You could plan out more and more URLs.
If you’ve got more sales or more redirections coming up, you can just continue to add Target URLs in. Next up, let’s talk about UTM parameters. Marketers love UTM parameters because it allows us to know where clicks are coming from. So if you create a link and you want to add some attribution to it, you can use a UTM builder. Now, UTM builders are not fancy.
Google’s got one for free. The nice thing about this is that it allows you to create templates and automatically apply them to certain links without having to go off your website, copy and paste a bunch of stuff and come back in. So it’s just built right into the plugin. So as an example here, I could be promoting Black Friday, and I’m doing it on social media, let’s say Facebook, and I’m good with all that. Let’s go ahead and save this as a template.
All right. So now I’ve got my template called FBF, and any posts that I want to put on Facebook related to Black Friday, I can use this UTM builder to quickly update them. And go ahead and save the link here. And you’re going to see at the end of the URL, we have some UTM parameters which will show up in Google Analytics for me so that I can track where clicks are actually coming from to my content. So that was UTM parameters, but the fun doesn’t have to end here.
There’s also options for sharing on social media. Here I am inside of the WP social link. I’m going to click on this little sharing icon right here, and I’m taking to a similar UTM builder. But this time what it’s going to do is take a link that’s normally going to direct me to this website right here, Wpsocial Ninja.com. And instead of directing me to that link, it’s going to direct me to a social network of my choice where I share that link.
So it’s changing the purpose of the link itself. Let’s go ahead and share this on Twitter. I’m going to go ahead and click on the Twitter icon. I can add some share text, maybe add a hashtag, and let’s generate the URL. Now notice before I click the button that it says WP Social ninja is the destination.
When I generate the URL, it’s going to change. It’s no longer going to WP social ninja, instead it’s going to Twitter.com Share, where it’s going to share information about the social ninja website using my affiliate code. Right? So let’s go ahead and hit save here and I’m going to update this link. If I go over here and copy the link and then open a new tab, paste it in, I should be taken over to Twitter, which I am, and it’s gone ahead and populated a tweet here for me.
You can see it looks really nice. It’s got the open graph image, I got the hashtag I put in there. It looks like I didn’t need to include the actual hashtag that would have been included by the software itself, but I’ve got my Share text. Everything is looking really good. So the purpose of this type of option would be to generate links that you can give to other people so that they can share your content.
If that’s not clear, I think it’s really, really handy if you wanted to get people to help promote your YouTube videos or maybe your content that’s somewhere else but not hosted directly on your website. You can give them a nice friendly URL that they can go ahead and click one button share anywhere. All right, let’s go ahead and check out the final section in the sidebar here, which is Settings. We’re just going to breeze through some of this. It’s basically related to what the presets will be.
So we’ve seen the options for link options, redirect types, you can set what the default is here. So Marine, I’ve got a 307, no follows on Sponsor, so on and so forth. A few nice features that they have is the ability to turn on wildcard redirects. So if you’re moving everything in a directory, maybe it’s a category and you want to move that over to a new URL, you can use a wildcard redirect and then you can redirect an entire folder. If you want to keep your analytics as clean as possible, you can turn off bot clicks that will try to eliminate any automated clicking that’s happening on your website sites so that you’re just getting the real human interaction.
You can go and turn that on. This is an option to turn off that instant redirect, which we saw over in Gutenberg. If I turn this off, it will disappear from the sidebar. So if you don’t think you’re ever going to use that, or maybe your SEO plugin does redirects for you, you can go ahead and turn that off and it won’t bother you. And the last option here is to enforce Https.
Now, most links are going to be Https, but actually some affiliate links still are not. So you might want to not turn this on and just make sure you use Https whenever it’s appropriate for your affiliate links. Under Tools we have some options for export. I always like to see this. One of the reasons we use open source software like WordPress is so we don’t get siloed into another company’s application.
So I like to prevent that with the plugins that I choose as well. We can export either links or the analytics under choose what plugin you want to import from. This is if you’re already using better links or pretty links, or simple 300 and Redirects, you can grab that data and import it with one click into better links. Now I’m currently using another option called Thirsty Affiliates. It doesn’t currently import, however, the developers told me they’re going to be adding the option to do it very, very soon.
Under role management, you can choose who can edit and destroy your links and change them however you’d like them to. So we can allow editors or authors to view the links, but maybe they can’t create them or edit them because they could change them to be their own affiliate URLs or something mischievous like that. Obviously all administrators can do everything, so there’s no way to limit that. But any of the roles you’ve already got created on your website, you can granularly choose who can do what with your links. There is a Google Analytics integration, so if you want to send events over to Google Analytics, you can definitely do that.
And then finally we’ve got a broken link checker. It will check your website on a schedule that you set so that you make sure you don’t have any broken links on your site and everybody’s clicking happily. So there you go. It’s a full featured tour of better links. Now I don’t think this application is perfect.
In fact, I’ve got a laundry list of things I’d love to see them add. First of all, it’s more stuff for bloggers. One of the main reasons you want to use a link shortening application that you host on your own website is for something called auto insertion of links. The idea here is if you’ve got a blog post, you type the Word app Sumo, it’s going to automatically insert your affiliatewp link anytime you type that word. You don’t have to create any link at all.
That is a really killer feature that a lot of other similar applications have. Better links is missing that right now. And quite honestly, it’s going to prevent me from using this until that feature is added because it’s just a huge timesaver. I already mentioned a few of the other things that I’d love to see, like importing from thirsty affiliates. I’d love to see beefing up of the analytics.
I think they’re just kind of sparse right now. There’s no real application for tags. There’s an option to tag your links, but you can’t do anything with them. They don’t show up in analytics. Obviously this is a very early version of the product, so they’re probably going to add analytics for tagging in the future or ways to categorize things based based on what tags they have.
Maybe they automatically go into a category, I don’t know. But right now it just has tags, but you don’t really do anything with them. So I’ve just been ignoring that feature while I’ve been demoing it. A B testing needs to get better. They need to add the option to have a very clear winner chosen and then shut down the test automatically.
Seems like it’s something in line with their dynamic redirection. They certainly have that tech kind of built into the plugin, so I hope to see that very soon in the future. Overall. It’s a great UX. Now, if you’ve ever used any of the other WP developer plugins, they seem to have a very similar design from plug in to plug in.
I think one of the best reasons to pick up this tool would be to get their agency bundle because with that you’re going to get Notification X, Review X, Schedule Press, Better Docs, Essential Add Ons for Elementor. These are all really high quality plugins that you can use on your client websites and then feel really good knowing that you have, let’s say, like a knowledge base for them with Better Docs or maybe a way to do social Proof with Notification X. Just really good value. And the Better Links plug in is included in that agency bundle. So even though it’s not actually part of their promotion, their launch deal, I think the agency bundle is probably where it’s still a point in most people if they’re doing any sort of client work with WordPress.
So that’s better. Links. I really like it. It’s not something I’m going to be using personally quite yet, but I will definitely have my eye on it. I am an agency owner, like I just mentioned, that bundle.
I have the lifetime license of Betterlinks, so as soon as it’s got the features that I want, which is primarily that auto insertion, I’ll probably switch over to it, assuming that it’s easy for me to import. It’s just one less annual license that we’ve have to pay for every single year. So we’re going to start to wrap things up here. If you want to connect, I’ve got my social media links down below, as well as the link to opt into my free weekly email newsletter. Go ahead and sign up for that.
We can stay in touch that way. Otherwise, go ahead and watch one of my other videos up in the corner and I will see you in the next video. Thanks for watching.