How To Add FTC Compliance Blocks With A WordPress Shortcode

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Note: I first posted another version of this blog on another site last year, but I thought it would be helpful to have it on 714web.com as well.


Michael Hyatt released a blog post titled, “Five Ways To Comply With The New FTC Guidelines For Bloggers.” In it, he explained that “the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines that require bloggers to “disclose material connections” for product or service endorsements.”

Five-Ways-to-Comply-with-the-New-FTC-Guidelines-for-Bloggers-Michael-Hyatt

If you are a blogger, I highly recommend that you read that post. In fact, I recommend following his blog. It is one of my personal favorites.

In that post, and in his book titled, “Platform,” Michael Hyatt shared the six disclaimers that he uses for FTC Compliance on his website. He uses a WordPress plugin called Add Post Footer to insert the code into his posts. Although it accomplishes the job and appears to be worth using, I preferred to create a custom shortcode for a few reasons.

  1. I don’t want to have to locate a paragraph of text to copy and paste each time a post requires anything other than the default disclaimer.
  2. Anytime I can eliminate a plugin by writing a little extra code, I think it should be done since it would theoretically be a more efficient option in regard to page load time.
  3. Adding your own custom shortcodes reduces the odds of conflicts between plugins by employing a smart naming convention.

 

Samples of the Shortcode

Here are samples of each block along with the shortcode used to produce it. Scroll below the samples for instructions on how to install this custom shortcode on your own WordPress site.

I have styled these sample blocks to match the originals on Michael Hyatt’s website. However, I recommend updating the style to match your website and updating the text where applicable.

Disclosure 1: No Material Connection

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure 2: Affiliate Links

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure 3: Review or Sample Copy

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure 3 Variation

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure 4: Sponsored Post

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclosure 5: Employee/Shareholder Relationship

Inserting this shortcode into your post or page:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson, the company that published this book. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Results in this:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson, the company that published this book. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Preferred Installation Method

WordPress has a “hidden” feature called, Must Use Plugins. To explain it simply, it is a folder titled “mu-plugins” which is in the wp-content folder. Most likely, you will have to create it. Any PHP found in this folder is considered “must use” and is executed automatically.

Save this ZIP file, extract the two files it contains, upload them to your wp-content/mu-plugins folder (create it if necessary), and the short code will be installed and styled automatically.

I consider this the preferred method since it is easier to install and it isn’t affected when you update your theme. Remember to customize the text in the blocks to apply to you and style it to match your website. Also, if you already have files in this folder, adding these won’t interfere. (I condense all of my custom PHP and CSS into two files.)

 

Alternate Installation Method

Add this to your Functions.php file by going to Appearance/Editor in your WordPress Dashboard:

Remember to customize the text in the blocks to apply to you and style it to match your website.

// Michael Hyatt's Six FTC Compliance Blocks
// Source URL http://michaelhyatt.com/five-ways-to-comply-with-the-new-ftc-guidelines-for-bloggers.html
// Defaults to 2
// 1 = Disclosure 1 - No Material Connection
// 2 = Disclosure 2 - Affiliate Links
// 3 = Disclosure 3 - Review or Sample Copy
// 4 = Disclosure 4 - Sponsored Post
// 5 = Disclosure 5 - Employee/Shareholder Relationship
// 6 = Disclosure 6 is a variation of 3
	function mhftc_shortcode( $atts ) {
		extract(shortcode_atts(array(
		'disclosure' => '2'
	    ), $atts));

    	switch ($disclosure) {
			case '1' :
				$disclosure = 'I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.';
				break;
			case '2' :
				$disclosure = 'Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.';
				break;
			case '3' :
				$disclosure = 'I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.';
				break;
			case '4' :
				$disclosure = 'This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.';
				break;
			case '5' :
				$disclosure = 'I am the CEO of Thomas Nelson, the company that published this book. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read and believe will be good for my readers.';
				break;
			case '6' :
				$disclosure = 'I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.';
				break;
			default :
				break;
		}

		$ftcintro = 'Disclosure of Material Connection: ';
		$ftclink = ' I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission' . "'" . 's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."';
	    $out = '
' . $ftcintro . $disclosure . $ftclink . '
'; return $out;} add_shortcode('mhftc', 'mhftc_shortcode');

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
2 Responses to "How To Add FTC Compliance Blocks With A WordPress Shortcode"
  1. Stephaine says:

    Thank you for posting this informative post. I’ve been reading for a while however I’ve never posted a comment.
    I’ve bookmarked your website and shared this on my Facebook.

    Thanks again for a great post!

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