While working on the new theme, I’ve been shoring up the backend of this site, adding some things that enhance functionality and security. I also found a plugin that makes life easier for the independent author.
Pretty Links (http://blairwilliams.com/pretty-link/) is the creation of developer Blair Williams and is designed to make your links more user friendly. Not only that, it makes creating those user-friendly links user friendly. The power of WordPress is that, once the theme is in place, users don’t have to be experts in programming of any kind to update their content. And believe me, I remember the days when I had to rewrite a client’s entire page to add or delete one line of content. Pretty Links takes that a step further.
I got it to create links for individual episodes of The First One’s Free. Rather than shrinking down a long Amazon URL using tinyurl or ow.ly or Hootsuite’s function, I can create a link off this site and redirect it wherever I want. The beauty of it is that the destination, the URL I create, and the link are completely independent of each other.
Let’s take the link for Episode 2 of The First One’s Free. That has a preorder link of:
Unwieldy, no? Now I can shrink this down and use WordPress’s utility or Hootsuite’s or something else, but I have no clue what the URL is going to be. Also, with each episode and new book, I have to update my back matter – the place where I kindly ask you for reviews and to buy my other material. That’s hard to do if you have a book that’s still waiting to be published on Amazon or any other platform. But…
Let’s take a nice, easy to remember URL like http://tshottle.com/tfof-episode2. I’ve not only shrunk that spaghetti mess above, but I’ve made it look like it’s a redirect from my web site. Which it is in a way. But you see “tshottle.com”. So if the link breaks, you can always come here and get redirected.
But Pretty Links does more. It tracks how many how many hits your link gets, how many are unique, and where they came from. Pretty sweet statistics if you’re trying to see how you’re doing.
Like JetPack and iThemes, Pretty Links is a vital piece of your site’s backend when working on WordPress. I paid for the pro option as it was $37 for a year. I suggest you do the same to take full advantage of it.