Affiliate marketing is an important part of generating income online for many websites. But what are affiliate links, and more importantly, how do they work? Read on for a complete break down of everything you need to know about using affiliate links properly.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Wikipedia defines affiliate marketing simply:
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative, even if your following is not large. An affiliate who has garnered a lot of trust from a small audience can out-earn someone with less authority and more reach. The more customers you refer via your affiliate links, the more income you can bring in.
What are Affiliate Links?
Affiliate links are links to an outside source that contain a tracking code. The code, or “cookie,” tracks the clicks on that link and any purchases that result from those clicks. When a visitor to your website clicks on one of your affiliate links and purchases the product or service you are recommending, you are given credit for that referral and earn a commission. It is important to note that purchasing through an affiliate link does not add any extra cost to the purchaser. There is also no personal information stored, it is simply a way of tracking referrals.
How do Affiliate Links Work?
Depending on the affiliate program, the terms of the terms and commissions will vary. Some programs only count purchases made immediately after clicking the link. Others will count any purchase made from that same customer for a set amount of time, such as thirty or sixty days. Commission amounts also vary widely, from as little as 3 percent up to 50 percent depending on the program.
Affiliate Link Disclosure & Best Practices
There are required disclosures and best practices when using affiliate links on your website. Disclosing that a link is an affiliate link is vital. Not only is it being upfront with your audience, but it is also an FTC-mandated practice. Always add an affiliate disclosure to the top of any blog post containing affiliate links. Disclosures after the link or hard to find disclosures will not meet the FTC standards. Be sure to use clear language in your disclosure as well.
It is also best practices to add a no-follow code to the affiliate link to signal search engines not to give it value in rankings. To do so, add
rel="nofollow" within the
a tag while in HTML mode.
Exploring the world of affiliate marketing is a great way to add passive income to your blog. For more blogging tips, explore What is Missing From Your Blog Posts?