Better Links Pro vs. Pretty Link Pro

Better-Links-Pro-vs-Pretty-Link-ProShorten long links into friendly URLs for your podcast, presentations, blog, social networks, and also easier memory. I’ve been a long fan of Pretty Link Pro, but Chris Guthrie, maker of EasyAzon Pro, has a new player: Better Links Pro. It’s better-priced, but is it better designed? Let’s see!

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of version 1.1.1 for review, but I continue objectively as I’m fully willing to invest in a better tool. Some of my negative points may also be corrected in future updates.

Price

Let’s start with the main question to most—what is the price difference?

Pretty Link Lite is a free plugin missing several cool features (discussed more below). Pretty Link Pro comes in two prices: single-site for $37 and developer (unlimited sites) for $97. Both editions include lifetime automatic updates and one year of premium support.

Better Links Pro also comes in two prices: multi-site for $27 and developer (unlimited sites) for $37. Both editions have one year of support and updates, but I couldn’t find a renewal price (I expect it to be 50% off).

Through Friday, June 6 at 11:59 PM PDT, the price will be as low as $20 (increasing $1 per day) and will include the unlimited developer rights free!

I like speed and internationalization, so I will have to consider carefully whether I will switch for all of my sites.

Quick highlights

Here’s my quick and initial opinion after writing the in-depth review below.

Better Links Pro is cheaper, simpler, faster, and is better for an international audience;. But it’s not as convenient for making a friendly link to the content you’re publishing at that time. (Like my Episode Numbering method for /#.) It may also require annual renewals.

Pretty Link Pro is more powerful, has more control over automatic links, and is better for making friendly links to the content you’re publishing at that time. But it’s more expensive upfront (no renewals for updates), slower, and doesn’t support localizing links for an international audience.

Standard options

Pretty Link Lite, Pretty Link Pro, and Better Links Pro all offer several default options each new link can inherit, or you can change these for each link.

  • 301 permanent redirect
  • 307 temporary redirect
  • “nofollow”

But Better Links Pro takes this a step further with offering “open in new window” as a default or any link you select. Pretty Link Pro only offers this for automatically replaced keywords. Better Links Pro can also set a “302 temporary” redirect in addition to 301 and 307.

Automatic replacement

Pretty Link Pro leaves the Lite version behind by offering automatic keyword replacement with plenty of controls, thresholds, and styling.

Pretty Link Pro keyword and URL replacement options

Pretty Link Pro

I like how Pretty Link Pro allows me to set an overall maximum for different keywords to be automatically replaced, and a separate maximum for how many times the same keyword will be replaced.

Better Links Pro takes a simpler approach.

Better Links Pro

Better Links Pro

This doesn’t have nearly the control that Pretty Link Pro offers, but Better Links Pro is easier to understand. It also provides a feature I wish Pretty Link Pro had: excluding headings. This means that my level-2 and level-3 headings, which I use a lot, won’t get keywords automatically hyperlinked and make my headings look messy.

Stats and tracking

If you create and use a lot of friendly URLs on your site, getting useful stats can become complicated. Pretty Link Lite, Pretty Link Pro, and Better Links Pro provide stats, but Pretty Link’s is an internal tracking method, which I suspect can cause extra server load (though I haven’t confirmed yet.

Pretty Link Pro

Pretty Link Pro

Pretty Link Pro does offer integration with Google Analytics through a third-party plugin (Google Analyticator, Google Analytics for WordPress, or Google Analytics Plugin) but there’s no explanation of what benefit that gives.

Better Links Pro offers advanced tracking with Google Analytics. It easily authenticates with your Analytics account and will track link performance on specific pages, posts, and custom post types!

Better Links Pro advanced tracking

Better Links Pro advanced tracking

Link bar?

Pretty Link Pro can create links with a stupid link bar. Can you tell I’m not a fan? This frames the link with your own header, which can sometimes get you kicked out of affiliate programs. It’s unfriendly and highly recommended.

So it makes a lot of sense that Better Links Pro wouldn’t even offer this “feature.”

Social-sharing

Pretty Link Pro offers several options to place Twitter badges and social-sharing links on pages and posts, as well as automatically publish content to Twitter. But this integration is old and I’m not sure whether it’s updated enough to trust. Besides, I think there are far better tools to do this kind of thing.

Better Links Pro doesn’t include this social feature, but I don’t blame it. It does seem like unnecessary bloat for a link plugin.

Tools

Pretty Link Lite and Pro offer a bookmarklet that works on desktop and mobile browsers for creating links from the page you’re visiting. Pretty Link Pro offers a custom bookmarklet option for setting some extra defaults.

Better Links Pro offers a basic bookmarklet that works just as well. You can also import your Pretty Link Lite and Pretty Link Pro data (except click data). This took less than half a minute to import 50 of my links from my personal blog.

Groups/categories

Pretty Link Lite/Pro and Better Links Pro let you organize your links. Pretty Link calls them “groups.”

Pretty Link Pro groups

Pretty Link Pro groups

Better Links Pro calls them “categories” and looks more like category and tag creation you’ve seen before in WordPress.

Better Links Pro categories

Better Links Pro categories

By using the standard WordPress hierarchical system for categories, it would seem that a standard link with Better Links Pro can be in multiple categories, while Pretty Link Lite/Pro offer only one. But it seems that Better Links Pro 1.1.1 doesn’t allow categorization for standard links, yet.

Manually creating new links.

Pretty Link Lite/Pro offers two ways to manually create links: through a simple widget on the WordPress dashboard and through a separate page with full control. Pretty Link Pro uses a custom interface with tabs for basic options and advanced (Pro) options.

Pretty Link Pro create new link

Pretty Link Pro create new link

Pretty Link Pro new link advanced options

Pretty Link Pro new link advanced options

Better Links Pro uses an interface similar to the rest of WordPress post- and page-creation pages. Instead of tabs, selecting different types of URL destinations presents a few different options for each.

Better Links Pro create new link

Better Links Pro create new link

Pretty Link Lite will allow a single destination for each link, Pretty Link Pro can split the destinations according to percentages (or weights), and Better Links Pro evenly splits the destinations for this one link.

But Better Links Pro provides a new kind of destination for different geographies. This means I could make a single /amazonURL that will automatically take visitors to the appropriate Amazon website for their country, based on their IP location when they use the link.

Better Links Pro geographic destinations

This is wonderful if you have an international audience and want to monetize with Amazon or other affiliate links that offer different programs for different countries. With Pretty Link Lite/Pro, I would’ve had to make a landing page on my own site handle the country detection and redirection, making an extra step for visitors.

All three link plugins will automatically populate the Name/Title field with the title from the destination URL. They also offer similar default overrides for redirect type and nofollow. But Better Links Pro allows any link to open in a new window or in the current window. Better Links Pro does not allow turning off stats for one link or another.

Pretty Link Lite/Pro can optionally pass URL parameters (/amazon?key=something&here=there) on to the destination URL, but Better Links Pro neither offers nor handles these at all (as of 1.1.1).

A handy little feature Better Links Pro offers is a “Copy” link to copy my new friendly URL to my clipboard. Pretty Link doesn’t offer any easy way to do this on link creation.

Better Links Pro and Pretty Link Pro (not Lite) offer similar keyword-replacement to automatically hyperlink words or phrases with my own URL. Pretty Link Pro offers a little more by also replacing certain URLs with my own URL (this is great for easily updating old links to new affiliate links).

Pretty Link Pro offers a specific feature for split-testing, while Better Links Pro uses the simple multiple destinations with measured results through the stats.

Automatic link creation on content

The first feature that attracted me to Pretty Link Pro was its automatic link creation when I’m creating a page or post. Right in the editor, I could quickly set the friendly URL to use when publish the page or post without having to change my post slug.

Pretty Link Pro on new post editor

Pretty Link Pro on new page/post editor

Better Links Pro currently doesn’t offer this same feature for linking to the content I’m currently creating. It takes the approach of easily making friendly URLs to other content while I’m creating this content.

Just click on the “Better Links” button to search your existing links or quickly create a new one.

Better Links Pro on page post editor

Better Links Pro on page/post editor

Either inserting or creating a new link provide two insertion methods: standard (“Insert”) and hyperlink (“Insert Raw”). The behavior of both of these wasn’t what I expected and I had to experiment to realize what was happening.

Clicking “Insert” will give you a shortcode, like [bl id="452"][/bl]. This won’t make a visible link for the public until you put text inside of the shortcode, like,  [bl id="452"]Amazon[/bl].

Alternatively, clicking “Insert Raw” will do nothing—no link, now raw URL (what I expected), and now further dialog. It’s only when you selected the text to hyperlink before clicking “Better Links” that “Insert Raw” will hyperlink your text with the friendly URL. It’s a little confusing and counterintuitive in version 1.1.1. I wouldn’t be surprised if they improve this in a future version.

Additional features

Better Links Pro doesn’t currently offer additional features (except maybe the future ability to put links into categories?)

Pretty Link Pro offers a host of additional features, but the usefulness of some is debatable.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their son, "Noodle Boy."

21 comments on Better Links Pro vs. Pretty Link Pro

  1. Great comparison. So, who’s the “winner” of these two? For me, the geo location filter of Better Links makes the most sense. I’ve long thought Pretty Links needed to add geographic filtering and I’d be all over it. Especially in a world of affiliates and each store needing their own agreement but still giving value to the reader (I’d love to link to Amazon product for a review and get commission but if not a member of the program, then at least link the user to the product).

    1. The international localization of Amazon.com affiliate links is what sold me on EasyAzon Pro, in addition to some other features that seemed easier than AmazonLink (free on wordpress.org). Pretty Link Pro better step up their game now that they have bigger competition!

      1. But what if it’s not just an Amazon link? Things like iTunes or other affiliate shops. Would you go with the Better Links then?

        1. Right! PHG is quite global for iTunes links, but this would let you create the affiliate links for the other countries for your /itunes URLs.

  2. Thanks for the thorough review, Daniel. Have you decided to switch? Or stick with PLP?

    I like the speed and internationalization of Better Links, but it’s still missing some useful features from PLP. I also don’t like the nonintuitive method of creating links in posts and paying yearly for updates. Development for PLP seems very slow though.

    I might have to try Better Links at the $20 sale price, then see how development goes over the coming year.

    1. The most important feature to me is easy link creation for the content I’m creating. That’s why I upgraded to PLP in the first place. If Better Links Pro gets that feature, I would convert all of my sites immediately. I do like PLP’s URL replacement and keyword threshold, but I realized I wasn’t even using the threshold on The Audacity to Podcast! I should, because, as the above post can prove, not every instance of “Pretty Link Pro” and “Better Links Pro” needs to be a hyperlink. The developer has read my review and provided some feedback as well as received some feedback from it. I’m confident we’ll see a better development cycle for Better Links Pro.

      1. What’s the difference between 302 and 307 temporary redirects? When and why should I use the older 302 standard over 307? I’ve done a little googling and haven’t found anything I can grok yet.

        1. As a former SEO practitioner, I would advise to never even consider anything other than a 301…however things may have changed. A 307 though would never happen.

          Edit: Just did a little more thinking on how I’d do things a little different. A 302 would allow the short URL to be indexed by Google, so it could make sense. In my experience it’s always been about redirects within the current site, not to external (for IM purposes)…so I apologize for that confusion.

          1. Yeah, the cases for a 307 or 302 are rare.

          2. You don’t use them for affiliate links? What are they best for?

  3. Hey Daniel, thanks for the review. You’ve brought up several valid points and suggestions for the future. With our first release of Better Links Pro we tried to focus on including features that I wish existed on the market in the first place, so when we couldn’t find what we wanted we decided to build it ourselves.

    My background is in making money from websites etc and that’s what allowed me to first leave my day job nearly 5 years ago or so. Everyone wants to make more money with the traffic they get from their blogs so for me the advanced tracking we built in is my favorite feature because click data alone (even if it’s selectable by dates) is basically useless other than showing you that you’re getting clicks.

    WHERE you’re getting those clicks is what matters.

    That’s the type of intelligence that helps you as the blogger find opportunities to make more money from your blog. e.g. “Oh wow look that post is getting a ton of traffic but my CTR is really low for this link, let me go add in some more links or improve the text I’m using in my affiliate links”

    The geographic link stuff we built in is also great. I’ve already made some extra commissions for a site I’m building as a public case study on my blog ($0 – $1,000+ per month website and beyond) using that feature. Over the life of that case study site I estimate it will be several thousand dollars in extra commissions. Much better to just use a single link that does the work than create a page with country flags or whatever huge drop in conversions if you do that. Every extra step we make visitors take is an opportunity to leave and never return.

    Altogether clearly I’m pleased with the software we built and obviously bias, but I’m just happy that the plugin is finally done. It’s only been just over 24 hours now, but we’re selling well and I know customers are going to get value out of it. Helping fellow bloggers earn more money from their blogs is what it’s all about.

    Thanks again for the feedback on where we need to improve.

    1. Thank you for commenting here, Chris! I’m excited to see Better Links Pro become even … better. 🙂

      1. I’m not impressed so far with the pace of development on the Better Links Pro plugin. Four months since launch and there have been no significant updates yet.

        1. Yeah. I agree with you there. Then again, Pretty Link Pro has been even slower.

    2. Looks like a great plugin. I’m using Optimize Press 2.0 which doesn’t play well with Pretty Link. Is Better Links compatible with OP2.0? If so I’m very interested.

      1. I couldn’t say. But what’s not playing well between Pretty Link and OP 2.0?

        1. It breaks the live editor although I haven’t tried it recently. But it is still on their list of incompatible plugins.

          1. Try turning off your browser’s ad-blocker for your own domain.

  4. Hidden Swing Podcast says:

    I heard you speak about Pretty Link Pro on a fairly recent podcast. So I purchased the pro version and I DO love the plugin but one of the features I wanted most was the auto keyword replacement. I’ve got through several tutorials but it does not seem to be replacing any keywords with the link. I contacted the PLP people and they wanted me to give them admin access to my website so they could install a “beta” version. As a 20 year veteran IT guy.. that spooks me. Have you heard of anyone else having trouble getting the auto keyword replace feature working?

    1. Have you enabled the keyword replacement feature? Have you also assigned keywords to posts? Often, keywords won’t display in preview mode, but they will in the published version. It could also be a conflict with another plugin.

  5. Joe Pierce says:

    I love Pretty Little Links. I’m a Pro user. I think the reporting could be beefed up but I’m checking into GA to see how that would work.

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