Disclosure of Affiliate Links
What it means for readers is they are seeing terms like affiliate links and sponsored posts on the blogs they read more often. As bloggers, we should inform our readers in each post, in an unavoidable way, before they reach any link that we may profit from. In other words, if we are getting paid, we have to tell you. These days most bloggers like myself have an “Affiliate Disclosure” link, usually at the bottom of the page. It doesn’t matter how much we earn, we just have to tell you. Keep reading to see what I mean by “it doesn’t matter how much we earn”.
So What Are Affiliate Links?
An affiliate link is a link to a website that has been encoded with a tracking cookie. What that cookie does is note if you make a purchase after you clicked on the link. The website you buy from keeps track of the product and dollar amounts purchased. The “owner” of those codes will then receive a commission for referring the sale.
Two things I want to note right away:
1) no one but the website you buy from sees any of your personal information and
2) this does not cost you anything extra.
For example, when you click on the “Simple Traffic Solutions” link (the image) on the side of my blog, you will be using my affiliate link. If you hover over that link you will see my affiliate id embedded within the url. When you click that link you will be sent to a sales page on another site. That site uses a cookie in your browser that stays there for a few days (unless you delete your cookies) and gives me a commission for you purchasing that product because I “sent” you to that site. You are their customer, I simply sent you, or referred you, to their site
So, does it cost you any more to purchase through an affiliate link?
Short answer is generally no. In fact, you are more likely to get a discount or additional bonuses by using an affiliate link. An affiliate often has a plethora of extra goodies at their disposal which, believe it or not, are often more valuable than the item you are purchasing.
Tell Me More About These Affiliate Links
Are all affiliate links the same?
No. Every website has it’s own affiliate program and they are all set up differently. Some cookies are set to count orders for only the original click and some count for days, weeks, or even months. The commission rate is different with each program. There are affiliate programs that pay a set dollar or cents amount per click or sale; some pay only a few cents while others may pay $50 or more.
If they only pay pennies, why bother with them?
It’s a numbers game. If I only have a sale or two each month, it will take me a very long time to reach the payout threshold (a topic for future blogs). Not exactly a good ROI for my time but the thing is, with blog posts, these links are there until I delete them so as my traffic grows, so do my clicks/sales.
Why do affiliate links exist?
Because it is a win-win situation. Websites only have so much advertising money to work with. With an affiliate program, they get more advertising that they don’t have to pay for until AFTER they actually sell something or otherwise benefit. It gets their name, logo, and website in front of more eyes, more often, and is more effective when coming from a personal recommendation.
Note, not every affiliate link is a personal endorsement.
I pass along resources that I have not necessarily personally used as a service to those who may be looking for those resources. For example, being a male, I’m not likely to be interested in, or use, a women’s health club. However, I may come across one that offers a good deal so I might decide to “let you know about it”.
There are bloggers out there who make a full-time income from their blogs, BUT they are putting in full-time hours to do it. In the beginning, it can be more than full-time hours. The benefit most see is the flexibility to be home with their family and set their own hours.
So you blog for money?
Well, yes and no. I am on a journey, and I enjoy sharing my journey and encouraging others in their journey, and I’m beginning to see the benefits of social media. It takes time to write good blog posts. It takes time to review products and share them with you. It takes time to pull together resources (yeah, this takes a LOT of time) and it takes money to blog, as well. While my costs are fairly minimal, they still exist.
This is why I use affiliate links: it is a way to financially support this blog without costing my readers anything extra.
So the next time you see a disclosure from a blogger using affiliate links, you’ll now know what they are and why they use them. If you genuinely are interested in what’s on offer, then give the link a click.
Until next time