Affiliate disclosures aren’t so bad. I mean, they’re mandatory, so you have no choice. But they don’t have to be stuffy, legal, and lame.
An example of Lasso’s disclosure is at the bottom of this display 👇
A book that absolutely inspired how I approach my businesses. If you want to create the best possible thing, you need to look at what everyone else is doing.
They can increase clicks on your affiliate links because you’re showing your visitors that you’re an honest site owner.
Before we get into the rest of this massive but necessary post, I have to make something crystal clear: I’m not a lawyer. I didn’t even consult with one before writing this.
So, while I’ve done my research, and everything in this article is pretty standard, that still doesn’t make me a lawyer qualified to give legal advice.
If you have questions or concerns about adding legal jargon to your website, find a lawyer who understands the Internet.
That said, I wrote this article within the U.S.-based FTC guidelines, which are known to change from time to time. And if you’re in another country, these rules may apply, but I would reach out to your local organizations for help.
Ok, now that THAT’S out of the way. So let’s continue to write about boring stuff while trying to make it fun to read. Deal?
What Is an Affiliate Disclosure?
An FTC affiliate disclosure is a disclaimer statement that informs consumers or potential buyers (aka your visitors) that you are in a paid relationship with the company or person you’re linking to as an affiliate.
And who is the FTC? They’re the Federal Trade Commission. A government agency that’s supposed to help protect consumers. Here are their complete disclosure guidelines on affiliate marketing.
And if you’d like to know more about the FAQs people have about the FTC’s Endorsement Guide, head here.
And I’ll also assume you know what affiliate marketing is, so I won’t detail how that whole thing works.
All you need to know is that if you’re adding links to your affiliate site to make money, you have to add an affiliate disclosure page. Period. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Do I Need an Affiliate Disclosure On My Website?
The answer is a resounding and very loud YES!
If you don’t…
- You could be fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you don’t correctly disclose your affiliate relationship.
- You could be abruptly kicked off specific affiliate programs if you lack proper affiliate disclosure statements.
- Your reputation is at risk by not disclosing it. In other words, no one will like you anymore.
Many people practicing affiliate marketing are terrible at doing this. I think they’re missing out on a vast selling and trust-building opportunity.
Add an affiliate disclosure. It’s easy. I’ll show you.
Affiliate Disclosure Dos and Don’ts
I want to quickly include some very digestible “Dos and Don’ts” content to gain some SEO juice. If you arrived at this section because you’re a skimmer (and trust me, I know who you are because I’m one too), this should satisfy you.
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4 Best Practices for Adding Affiliate Link Disclosures
These things are crucial. You should follow and implement every one of these tips on your website right now if you haven’t already. Let’s go!
1. Place Affiliate Disclosures in Obvious Areas
Ok, maybe these aren’t so obvious for some of you, so I’ll spell it out and try to be as specific as possible.
- The Footer – This will allow your disclosure policy to appear on every single page of your website. But it’s at the bottom, so it’s not the clearest, but it’s the easiest, so we’ll start there.
- Disclaimer/Terms/Privacy Pages – I mentioned your disclosure text should go here, but it shouldn’t be the only place. However, on these pages, you can be lengthy. Again, consult with a lawyer if you’re unsure of what to write.
- About Page – Why not here too? The more, the merrier. And the more the FTC and others will stay off your back.
- Before The Post With Affiliate Links – A great place for an affiliate link disclosure. It lets people know it contains affiliate links even before they read. If you’re not going to add a disclosure near each affiliate link in your post, you should do this.
- In-text Near Affiliate Links – This is by far the best place for an affiliate link disclosure. Even if it gets redundant with multiple links on a page, you’re being clear about what’s going on when someone clicks a link. Also, we can help you with this one; keep reading.
2. “Always Be Disclosing”
To disclose or not to disclose? It shouldn’t be a question! Like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross says, “Always Be Disclosing.”
If you find yourself asking, “should I add a disclosure here?” The answer is always yes. Avoid legal issues. Be proactive. Disclose.
- Disclose when you get paid. This means including sponsored posts, product reviews, advertising fees, and links to products you don’t own but recommend for an affiliate commission—the same deal for social media influencers (it’s not only bloggers who must disclose).
- Disclose on EVERY page an affiliate link appears. Even if you’ve disclosed it already, do it again. Do it until you’ve satisfied Mr. FTC.
- When In Doubt, Shout. What I mean is, if you’re unsure, add a disclosure. It can’t hurt. Even if you’re getting paid in the form of free products.
3. Use Crystal Clear Language
Here’s an easy way to do that: be hilariously honest. When you try to joke out of how clear you’re trying to be, you end up being crystal clear. Try it!
If you want more guidance because maybe humor isn’t your strong suit, we’ve included some templates below that you can steal.
4. Be Mindful of The Medium
Yes, you have to disclose the use of affiliate links anywhere you add an affiliate link. Yes, even verbally in a video or podcast. You need to say your disclosure out loud.
Yes, even in emails and Twitter.
While you and I might understand what that means, some will not. So I provided short affiliate disclosure examples below. Use them.
Protect yourself and be clear with your disclosure wording.
Speaking of short, remember a lot of people see your affiliate links on mobile devices. So this is another reason to keep things short, clear, and legible. And it’s also why I said…
- DON’T include disclaimers in sidebars. People reading on mobile devices might not see it.
Do You Need a Separate Amazon Affiliate Disclosure?
The Amazon affiliate disclosure says you have to mention somewhere on your site that you’re in a paid relationship with Amazon (in addition to the FTC’s disclaimer).
Per Amazon’s Operator Agreement, you must include the following statement (or something similar) on your site:
“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”
I display mine in my website’s footer for Swim U:
- How to Create A Successful Amazon Affiliate Website This Year
- Amazon Affiliate Income: 9 Tips for Earning More
How Lasso Can Help You Disclose Your Affiliate Links
Full disclosure, we sell an affiliate link manager for WordPress.
It’ll help you add affiliate disclosures to all your links without having to do it manually.
Lasso lets you add what we call “Affiliate Link Display Boxes” to your posts with the click of a button.
In your WordPress editor will appear a Cactus icon.
When clicked, you can choose how you’d like to display your affiliate links:
For this example, I’ll click the “Single” option and add my URL.
Lasso brings up a list of all your affiliate links. You can either use the search bar at the top or jump to another page at the bottom to find your link.
Just click the one you want to add, and it’ll insert a shortcode in your post that’ll render a display box that’ll look like this 👇
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about the pursuit of the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.
- Will make you more effective.
- Quick read and highly actionable.
- You have to be open-minded.
If you look beneath the green call-to-action “Buy from Amazon button, you’ll see a built-in disclosure. If you don’t like our default disclosure, you can customize it (or use a global default you can also customize site-wide).
To customize yours, head to any of your product’s pages and adjust the text to say anything you want.
Lasso lets you add disclosures to every “Single” URL display box.
Honest Affiliate Disclosure Examples You Can Use
I’ve scoured the web for the best examples I could find of affiliate disclosures. People are horrible at this. But both you and I won’t be as bad, right?
Affiliate Disclosures for Single Author Blogs
Here are some of the best I’ve found from both bloggers and brands.
1. From Amy Lynn Andrews Disclaimer page:
2. An example from Smart Passive Income’s Toolbox page:
3. And this one from his Disclaimer page:
4. Alternate Full Disclosure:
As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.
When you scroll down the page, you’ll see Pat also has a separate disclaimer for his relationship with Amazon.
5. From Pinch of Yum:
6. Alternate Disclaimer:
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below.
Affiliate Disclosures for Brands
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. (Lasso’s default appearing beneath displays):
As a business, we’re financially compensated for the products reviewed by the companies who produce them. All of the products are tested thoroughly, and high grades are received only by the best ones. The reviews are done based on our own opinions.
9. The Wirecutter’s affiliate disclosure
This version appears in the Header (the “Learn More” is a hyperlink leading to the disclaimer page):
This blog receives a commission for using “company name” products for the food recipes that we shared with you in our posts. Although we receive a commission for using and linking their products, they are perfect for our food recipes, and all our opinion and suggestions are unbiased.
Here’s how the personal finance site, NerdWallet, displays its disclosure:
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
13. A 2-Sentence Affiliate Disclosure Satisfying Both Amazon and the FTC
The blog, Grow a Good Life, is an excellent example of how you can combine both Amazon and the FTC into a single disclosure at the top of your posts:
Affiliate Disclosure Generators
Disclosure generators are special tools that help you display the correct legal jargon on your website. In addition to affiliate disclaimers, they can help with writing your:
- Terms and conditions
- Cookie policies
- Return and refund policies
Adding a Disclaimer Page to Your WordPress Site
If you’re adding a particular Disclaimer page to your WordPress site, head to Pages > Add New.
If you have some coding chops, you can manually add disclaimers to your Header or footer by heading to Appearance > Theme Editor.
Then choose which area of your site you want to include your affiliate disclaimer.
Of course, there are WordPress plugins that help you with this too. Try a Google search using the term “best affiliate disclosure plugin.”
You can head here to see how I set up my Disclosure page.
Affiliate Disclosure Requirements Recap
Ok, you’ve made it through an article about a dull subject. I hope it wasn’t too painful.
Or perhaps you skimmed your way down here to get the Cliff’s Notes. Either way, welcome. Let’s bullet out the best of the best from this post.
- If you’re adding affiliate links to your site, you need to add FTC disclosures. If you don’t, you risk being fined or kicked off specific affiliate programs. In other words, you’ll lose money. And that’s not why we’re in this business.
- Add affiliate disclosures to your privacy page, about page, footer, before posts, near affiliate links, and outside your website. Again, you can use Lasso to make this easier for you.
- Use clear messaging when writing your disclosures. Make sure to let people know how the affiliate link works. Be honest about how you’re making money with these links.
- When in doubt, add a disclosure. And if you need a quick one, use this: Disclosure: We earn a small commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
I hope this post was helpful. There’s a lot of material to cover, but simply following the guidelines we laid out above will keep you and your website compliant.
Curious to know more about how Lasso can help grow your online business? Read the content audit you NEED to run for your affiliate site.
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