Last updated on January 18th, 2019 at 03:01 pm
Today, we’re going to be talking about the importance of an affiliate link disclosure. Before you can legally promote affiliate links, you need to disclosure your links to your website visitors.
Why I Love Affiliate Marketing
There are plenty of ways to make money with your blog, but I am a huge fan of affiliate marketing. It’s one of the easiest ways to make online profits, without worrying about creating products, offering services or dealing with customer service.
I’m assuming since you’re reading this post, you’re familiar with this monetization method, if not be sure to read the affiliate marketing for dummies post.
I’ve been involved with this form of monetization for several years. It’s definitely changed a lot since I started my first affiliate niche website around 2009.
But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it on your blog to earn profits from your content. You definitely can as long as you write amazing content and have an affiliate strategy that works.
This free training will help you understand what it takes to create a successful website that earns money.
How Do Affiliate Links Work?
Hopefully, you understand how affiliate marketing works? If not, I’ll quickly explain. You find and join affiliate networks that have products, programs or services that are related to your niche.
You go through the application process of promoting the product to earn commissions. Once you’re approved, you get access to a portal that has your unique link that tracks all your conversions and visits.
If someone buys the product or service through your unique link, you’ll earn a commission.
This is what makes the concept so easy for bloggers. All you have to do is send traffic to an external website and you can make bank.
If done correctly you can literally create a business from this business model.
Why You Need to Disclose
Back in the day, anyone could promote anything without worrying about blog disclaimers, affiliate policies, or disclosures.
However, today, there are some strict guidelines that were put into place by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
It may sound scary, but all it means is that if you are linking to products that will earn you money, you need to inform your website visitors that you stand to earn a commission if they buy from you.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t hurt your commissions. The truth is that most people who visit blogs understand already know that the blogger is trying to make money.
In fact, more and more people are choosing to start a blog in hopes of changing their financial situation. That’s why I started this blog and I am sure that if you’re reading this blog, you’re trying to earn money too.
So now let’s talk about what they are and how to create one. Plus, I’ve hunted down some examples from some websites online to give you an idea of what you can add to yours.
Your Readers Will Trust You
Internet savvy people can recognize an affiliate link without being told it is one. However, it isn’t always obvious, especially, to people who are new to Internet marketing.
If someone doesn’t understand how it works, people will assume that you have something to gain or are trying to sneak them into doing or that you have something to gain from endorsing a specific course, product, or service from a company.
A lot of new marketers are scared to disclose their links because they think that it will deter people from buying.
But the truth is that people will appreciate the transparency and honesty. Besides, most of them already know what type of link it is.
Some will still buy from you if they like you. Yup, most people are going to buy from people they like, so it’s your job to get your readers to like you.
You accomplish this by being honest with them in everything you do.
What Is An Affiliate Disclosure?
As I mentioned above an affiliate disclosure is nothing more than adding a separate page on your blog that tells people how you earn money with your blog/website.
I’ve personally linked mine to my affiliate disclaimer which I’ve added to the top of all my blog posts.
Disclosure vs Disclaimer
A disclaimer is a piece of content that you add to the top of all your blog posts that help limit liability and informs users about affiliate links on your blog.
The disclaimer is required at the top of your content if it is monetized with affiliate links. A disclosure can be set up as a page and you only need to create it once.
I personally add a disclaimer on all my blog posts, because I want to make sure that I don’t forget to add it whenever I write a new post.
Here’s how mine looks like on my blog. As you can see, I’ve added some CSS styles to make it stand out a little.
Here’s the tutorial I created that shows how I created my disclaimer for my site. Just in case you need to create yours.
Affiliate Disclosure Generator
Back in the day, it was extremely easy to find a generator that made it easy to create a quick template you could add to your blog.
Unfortunately, after spending a lot of time researching, I couldn’t find any that work properly this day.
I did find a free FMTC Affiliate Plugin that will automatically add a block of text at the top of your blog posts.
However, I couldn’t find a generator website that created templates specifically for affiliate marketers.
Heck, I couldn’t even find the policy generator that I used to use back in the day.
But honestly, it’s not hard to create your own. The most important thing is that you take the time to create one to let your website visitors you’re an affiliate marketer.
How to Phrase Your Disclosures?
You get full control over the words you use, the most important part of the FTC regulations, is that it needs to be “clear and conspicuous.” This means that you need to use clear language, that your readers can understand, even if they have no clue about how affiliate marketing works.
You don’t want to try to be funny and humorous when writing it. The idea is just to make it easy to understand and not try to confuse your readers.
Avoid using jargon or lingo because some of your readers may not understand a simple statement such as “This site uses affiliate contextual linking to earn profits” especially if they are not familiar with Internet marketing.
You Can Be Creative
The FTC press release clearly states that: “Advertisers have the flexibility to be creative in designing their ads. As long as the necessary information is conveyed effectively, and the overall message is conveyed and not misleading.”
What does this mean for you?
This means that you can literally word it any way you want. In fact, Copy Blogger has an awesome article that shows you how you can use your disclosure as a selling point. It was a great read, especially, the part about where he talks about delivering affiliate links with confidence and how it can increase your commissions.
Amazon Affiliate Program Requirements
If you’re a member of the Amazon Associate program, you need to identify yourself as an associate according to their terms.
According to their terms, you have to let people know that you are a member of their program. It needs to be noticeable whenever someone visits your blog.
Most people who promote Amazon products will place their disclosure on the:
I’ve put mine on the footer of my website, you can see it here.
I didn’t use a plugin of any type, I just added it to the coding of my site and I never have to worry about it.
Even though I really don’t promote a lot of Amazon products on this site, I’ve been known to promote a few products.
Can You Put Affiliate Links in Emails?
We’ve all heard that the money is in the list because these are the people that will be buying your products and services.
As long as you’re not using MailChimp as your autoresponder, you can add affiliate links. However, just like your website, you need to make sure that you’re disclosing your links.
I know that it can seem time-consuming to add a disclosure whenever you send an email to your subscribers.
However, just like your website, you can create a template you can use whenever you send an email. It makes it a lot easier when you’re working with a template, plus you won’t have to worry about forgetting it.
What About Social Media?
Anytime you’re promoting affiliate links, you need to disclose them, regardless of what platform you’re using.
All you do is add a little NOTE at the end of your social media post like this.
I personally don’t use Facebook very often, but Lovely Blog Academy does a great job explaining how they do it.
They are not trying to be sneaky and they are properly disclosing what it is.
Final Take Away
Hopefully, this blog post helped you realize how easy it is to create the disclosures you need before you get knee deep into affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can be a great monetization method for new bloggers. However, you need to make sure that you’re abiding by all the rules and regulations so you don’t get into any trouble.
Once you create them, you can rest assured that you’re doing everything correctly. Then you can focus on monetization, content, and promotion without any side effects.
The last thing you want to do is cut corners or think you can get away with it. They are required by law and you want to make sure that you’re running your business properly and legally to avoid any headaches.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- Affiliate Marketing for Dummies What You Need to Know
- Can You Really Make Money Promoting Products Online
- How to Add An Affiliate Disclaimer to Genesis Via A Widget
Are you disclosing your links properly? If not, let me know what you missed or if I missed something.