Joining an affiliate program is an excellent way for bloggers and content creators to generate a decent income on the side. However, before you start promoting someone else’s content on your blog, you should know about one important thing: affiliate disclosures.
Running affiliate products and paid advertisements on your page without disclosing this to your audience could get you in trouble with this audience or even the Federal Trade Commission. You have to adhere to strict guidelines when promoting others’ products on your website.
Thankfully, affiliate disclosure doesn’t have to be a problem if you do it right.
What is an Affiliate Disclosure?
An affiliate disclosure is simply a notice placed near an affiliate link or a product recommendation that provides a brief definition of affiliate marketing and lets the viewer know that you are going to be paid if they buy a product through that link.
They are an important requirement to add when you are promoting products as an affiliate. If a user knows that you are going to get paid if they follow through on your recommendation, their decision may change, and it’s important to not take this choice away from them by way of omission.
These guidelines are important if you are promoting goods in the USA. Similar laws have been introduced in Canada and the UK as well. It’s important if you want to attain affiliate marketing success over the long term.
Why is an Affiliate Disclosure Important?
Content creators and bloggers can have considerable sway over their audience. Like influencers, bloggers have the power to convince their visitors to buy something. Many people trust the blogs that they visit, and don’t think twice before making a purchase recommended by them.
In some cases, this trust can be misused for personal gain, and that’s why the FTC has created a set of guidelines that must be used for creating a sense of transparency. This relates to disclosures online and helps content creators specify whether they will be compensated for the recommendation or not.
How to Write an Affiliate Disclosure
You have considerable freedom when writing an affiliate disclosure, as long as it is clear enough to identify affiliate links, and explain what an affiliate link is in the first place. Here are three tips for writing an affiliate disclosure.
1. Use Simple Sentences
Don’t complicate matters. Write the disclosure so that even a child reading it can understand. It should be written as simply as possible. If you have joined any affiliate programs for bloggers, you should add a simplistic disclosure to your site.
2. Keep it Short
Most blog visitors aren’t going to read through the whole thing. They will probably just skim through the content, so it’s your duty to make the affiliate link as short as possible. Affiliate disclosures should also be easily scannable by a reader. Ideally, it shouldn’t go beyond three paragraphs.
3. Be Descriptive
Don’t assume that your audience will understand. Be descriptive and provide a clarification about what an affiliate link is, so that everyone reading it knows what it means.
How to Place an Affiliate Disclosure Disclaimer in WordPress
WordPress makes it easy to add affiliate disclosures to your site.
You can add a disclaimer associated with affiliate disclosures at the bottom of your post or at the top, regardless of the affiliate products you sell. You can also add it in the sidebar or integrate it within the post. You just have to make sure that it’s readable.
Simply navigate to your WordPress dashboard, and select the Post in which you wish to add the link. To put the link in the header, go to Appearance > Header and set it up. The same can be done with the footer. You can easily find an affiliate disclosure example where it’s placed at the bottom.
However, if your theme doesn’t have a header or footer, these options might not be available to you. In that case, have a site administrator add it in.
Adding Links Through a Plugin
Now, if you run a blog with several posts on it, it can be tedious to announce your affiliate link policy or add an individual disclaimer on each blog.
Luckily, you can use plugins instead of adding a disclosure manually.. Dedicated WP affiliate plugins have been designed to automate the process of adding disclaimers. Here are the top three plugins that you can use for adding affiliate link disclosures to your site:
Affiliates Manager is a free plugin that lets you create affiliate programs, manage links, and add disclosures to your site. It also tracks affiliates and lets you track your payments too. It’s one of the most powerful affiliate marketing tools that you can use.
ThirstyAffiliates is a popular plugin designed primarily for affiliate marketers. If you know a thing or two about affiliate marketing, you’ve probably heard of this one. It’s great for easily adding links to posts, as well as for link cloaking.
Another fantastic plugin with a clean system for managing your affiliate links, AffiliateWP offers extensive analytical information about your campaigns and the success of the different affiliate links you have added. It also makes it easy to add affiliate disclosures. Missing affiliate disclosures is one of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that you could make.
Affiliate Disclosure Examples
Here are a few examples to give you a better idea about how to add affiliate disclosures.
Adding Disclosures at the bottom of a Post
The post above is an excellent affiliate disclosure example written by a travel blogger. It also elaborates on their affiliate disclosure policy. She closes off the post by adding a disclaimer at the bottom of the post, letting people know that the post contains affiliate links. The use of “may” indicates that the same disclaimer is used on several pages, even ones on which an affiliate link might not be placed.
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Affiliate Disclosure in the Sidebar
The Beauty Look Book shows how to add an affiliate link disclosure to the sidebar. This makes your affiliate disclosures easy to read, and you can make it sticky as well. This way, every person reading the blog post will know that the blog contains affiliate links.
Affiliate Disclosure Page in WordPress
Cookie and Kate added a separate page to their blog to let users know that they take a commission for affiliate links. They even go so far as to detail the amount of money they are likely to receive a commission, further simplifying matters. It’s a good way to create a modicum of trust between you and your readers.
In a Nutshell
As you can see, adding an affiliate disclosure policy, or even a simple affiliate disclosure to your blog is a simple, yet necessary step. It’s recommended that you go over the legal guidelines depending upon where you operate and see if you need to add it. Either way, it’s good practice to add a disclaimer as an affiliate disclosure whenever you are dealing with affiliate links.
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Usman is a Digital Marketer at Cloudways- A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform, where he looks after affiliate partnerships and helps digital nomads in generating passive income.
He is a foodie by heart, who loves to explore new eateries around his vicinity.