Are you a fan of blog income reports? I know that I am. I love the insight they give you on how other people are operating their businesses. It’s also nice to see the evolution of a business. Too many people think that it’s super easy to make passive income from your blog. And these reports can help dispel the myth that it’s all easy peasy.
However, the biggest mistake is what a blog income report reveals, not what it says.
When you look at one of these reports they might say:
August Income: $4,796.54
My e-course: $3,459.35
My e-book: $567.50
Amazon Affiliate Program: $269.65
My BFF’s e-book: $50.54
Now, I’m probably one of the few people that take these reports as motivation to poke around. What I’m looking for is to see if they clearly explain that they are making money off the last three. I check out the sidebar to look at the graphics. I pop over to their resource page.
And the majority of the time, it’s not transparent that specific graphics or links contribute to your income.
Maybe they have a resources page that says, “Some of the links below are affiliate links.” Or on their sidebar they have “Companies I love.”
And yes, to some people it’s obvious that if you have a Bluehost graphic you are probably getting paid. But that’s not the standard that the Federal Trade Commission (who oversees these laws) uses.
Their standard is that you only need to confuse a “significant minority” to violate the law. The FTC has given us some guidelines to use to make sure that we aren’t confusing our visitors.
- Placement: You can’t hide the disclosure in the footer. It must be conspicuous and obvious to website visitors.
- Action: Visitors can’t be required to take extra steps to read the disclosure (e.g. you can’t make them click to know that it’s an affiliate link).
- Clear: Visitors must easily understand that you are getting paid when they make a purchase from your link/graphic.
- Timing: You can’t just tell visitors once. Disclosures must be on every post, social media post, graphic, link, or comment that contains the link that will result in you getting paid.
(I like to remember these guidelines as the PACT that we make with our website visitors.)
Now, the FTC admits that it’s not monitoring bloggers on this issue. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t comply. The reason you should comply has nothing to do with the G-men. Because we know that it’s unlikely they’ll come knocking at your door.
The reason that you should comply is because it increases trust with your audience.
Telling your audience assures they don’t feel duped. It also continues the purpose behind your blog income report: transparency. Because you have visitors landing on your site that have never read one of your blog income reports. It tells your audience:
I’m doing everything in my power to be totally transparent about how I’m making money.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Thinking about publishing a blog income report? Learn the 1 mistake you should avoid:” quote=”Thinking about publishing a blog income report? @kiffaniestahle shares the 1 mistake you should avoid.”]
I’m no designer, so I won’t try to brainstorm ways you can do this without mucking up your beautiful website. I’ll leave that up to you (or your designer). But I encourage you to brainstorm ways that you can make this transparent. And then implement your best idea by changing just one of your affiliate links. And make it perfectly clear to me that you are getting paid when I click it.
What was your best idea? Share it in the comments so you can help someone else follow these rules.