How To Use Affiliate Links

If you’ve been around the online marketing world for a little while, then you’ve probably figured out what are affiliates… but the question remains: how to use affiliate links, or how do these links work exactly?

That’s exactly what I’ll be explaining in today’s video tutorial!

How To Use Affiliate Links – A Quick Demo

Affiliate Programs Track Sales Through Cookies

Cookies are little files that are stored through your web browser, to keep track of pages you’ve been to, or links you’ve clicked.

When someone clicks through an affiliate link, it generally creates a cookie on that person’s computer.

Cookies can last for many months, or be set to expire immediately after someone clicks away from a link. So the next time that person makes a purchase, the affiliate tracking system can generate a commission for the affiliate.

2 Different Affiliate Link Systems

Here comes the tricky question… Who should get the cookie? Okay, that was a bad joke, but the question remains: should the first link someone clicks create a cookie, or the last one?

First-Click Affiliate Links: The first person refer gets the credit. Sometimes this system upsets affiliates because if they were the one to “convince” the person to buy, they should get the credit, whether or not someone else first introduced the product to the buyer.

Last-Click Affiliate Links: The link that’s clicked immediately before a purchase is made gets the credit. This is the system that most affiliate programs use, and tends to be the most fair and also the easiest to track. But it can also upset affiliates, since you might be affiliate to make the introduction but if the person clicks on another link before they buy, then you wouldn’t get the credit.

PrettyLink: How To Use Affiliate Links The Smart Way

Now from an affiliate marketer’s perspective, keeping track of all the affiliate links you use can become quite the task.

That’s where these simple WordPress plugins come into play: PrettyLink Lite and PrettyLink Pro. (And yes, both of these are affiliate links!)

With these plugins you can easily shorten affiliate links, track the number of clicks through each link, and also have your WordPress site automatically sprinkle your affiliate links throughout your site.

Thanks for reading, over to you now!

Have you ever wondered how to use affiliate links or how links track sales? Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Marinda on February 21, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Thank you Nathalie, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  2. Claire Stone on February 21, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Great video and information Nathalie – something that I’ve been pondering on for a while!

  3. meredith on March 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    HI Nathalie, that was a helpful video. I’m just so unclear about what i’m needing to use I wanted to ask you – I’m wanting to sell certain products from other friends websites. I want to host those links in my online Store and when people click on that link to buy my friends products, I wanted a system that will record it so I gain the commission from that sale. Is pretty link the plug in to use?
    thanks for your great help! meredith

    • Nathalie Lussier on March 20, 2014 at 10:12 am

      You’ll need to get an affiliate link from your friends’ websites – and PrettyLink will help you keep track of those links on your site, but without the original link from their systems it won’t do much. :)

      • manjunath on January 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm

        On my website I have placed link for the Amazon products and daily I have around 100 visitors on my site. And they click the link on my website and it is directed to the Amazon site for the final purchase.
        How will I know which visitor has made the final purchase or not?
        What was the total purchase amount or what is the total commission I have earned from individual visitor daily or weekly?
        How can I track the links which my visitor visits from my website and make the purchase?

        • Nathalie Lussier on January 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm

          You’ll need to login to your Amazon affiliate dashboard to see all those stats!

  4. Mayor on December 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hi! Nice write and video.
    I have been considering affiliating with a web template site.
    But I want the image to be displayed there on my site as well..
    my question is “are affiliates only like links to the other site”?
    or can I display get the page to display on my website?

  5. Manish Rauthan on January 30, 2015 at 10:11 am


    I have a query regarding this affiliate link tracking. I am working on a website based on affiliate sale and I want to track the user who buy items from my links.

    I hope you got my point. A visitor buy a product from my website link. How can I track the user name, email etc.


    • Nathalie Lussier on January 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Depending on the software, you generally don’t get the person’s email address. You can get the name though in most instances.

  6. Robert Alan Guy on February 21, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for the video explanation, very insightful!

  7. Lyndsay Gabeau on June 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Are there any other options for people who don’t have WordPress?

    Thanks so much!

  8. Abhishek Tavasalkar on August 8, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Hello Nathalie,

    I made a search about ‘Affiliate Links’ on Google and your article popped up!

    The thing is before reaching this page, the WordPress plugin page of Pretty Link Lite had also appeared… so basically I had some understanding of what the process is all about!

    Glad to you see, you preach what you pay and yourself are using Pretty Links too…

    …otherwise there are other affiliates who just for the sake of commission promote products!

    Thank You and Have a Nice Day!

  9. Bethany Jett on September 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Do you ever go back and thank people if you recognize their name after they’ve purchased from one of your affiliate links? Is that weird?

  10. Mario on December 10, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Nathalie thank you for this great explanation.

  11. BHARAT JAIN on April 28, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Thanks for explaining in detail how these affiliate links work.

  12. Brandan klodig on August 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Does Using more affiliate links affect SERP? Someone told me that use less Affiliate link as google hate it, I am not sure about this.

  13. Jenni on November 1, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Thank you Nathalie, I did use prettylink lite in the past and I gave up. Still don’t remember why. I’m gonna give it a try once more. Seems cool!

  14. Alberto Hurst on November 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Nathalie,

    Just found this article while I was on stumble upon and the points listed are really great. Also its really a best choice to keep track if your affiliate links and distinguish them to know which article or website is converting best.

    Thanks for sharing this and I will enroll for the webinar on 15th. looking forward to learn something new from you.

    Have a great time ahead