If you use affiliate links on your website, you’re required by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to disclose this.
Back in 2009, the FTC started releasing guidelines for websites that use affiliate links. These guidelines and the affiliate disclosure requirement are an attempt by the FTC to protect consumers by letting them know that any endorsements or product recommendations they’re relying on come with a potential financial gain to the website doing the recommending and endorsing.
These documents address how endorsements, reviews, sponsored posts and influencer online campaigns should be handled when it comes to disclaimers and notices to the public about affiliate relationships.
It’s all about clarity and transparency for your users so they can make the most informed decisions of what to buy. Basically, if you stand to make money or receive any sort of benefit – financial or otherwise – from your recommendation or endorsement of a product or service, you must disclose this to the public.
This practice builds trust. Disclosures that are hidden in page footers or on a separate page look as if you’re trying to comply without actually doing so. This doesn’t fly with the FTC, and it won’t go down well with a lot of readers, either.
To ensure that you’re following this practice, here are two key tips for disclosure placement on your website or blog:
Always add your disclosure at the top of blog posts. This gives the reader a chance to bounce from the page if they aren’t fans of affiliate links, and it protects you from accusations of deception.
Place a reference to your disclosure near affiliate links. You don’t have to interrupt your post’s flow to do so. Simply add an asterisk or other indicator near the link, then repeat the disclosure at the end of the post.
Your readers shouldn’t have to do any extra legwork in order to see the disclosure. If you keep this in mind, it’s fairly easy to determine the best placements on your site and blog.
To ensure that you’re writing clear affiliate disclosures, here are a few key points to keep in mind:
Be direct. Keep the disclosure short, and don’t beat around the bush.
Use ‘trigger words’. It’s best to use words that let your reader know immediately that you may receive compensation from your links. These words include “compensation” and “commission”.
Avoid niche jargon. Avoid the use of words that the general public may not know, such as “affiliate”, “pay-per-click” (in reference to ads), etc., unless you also provide a direct explanation for them in your disclosure.
You can also create a disclosure template, enabling you to provide readers with a consistent experience across all website pages.
Affiliate link disclosures are a legal necessity, but their use can also build reader trust in both you and your affiliate products. With a link management tool such as Pretty Links, you can create affiliate disclosures for your website in minutes, and you can even automate the process.