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Accessible Affiliate Marketing

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As an affiliate, you want the products you're promoting to be accessible to as many people as possible. The more potential customers, the more money you can potentially make.

But how much work are you willing to do to make your website accessible to everyone, even "harder to reach" audiences such as people who are blind, deaf, or elderly?

Questions like these ask you, as an affiliate marketer, to consider issues of accessibility, i.e. the ability of people with disabilities to access the resources of the Internet. In this article we will examine a few accessibility issues of concern to the affiliate marketing industry.

What Is Accessibility?

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you couldn't use the Internet?

Well many people do not have to imagine that unfortunate scenario because if they are blind, deaf, or elderly, their ability to use the Internet is already severely restricted.

Oh, but don't forget--you may be there someday! Human beings age and as that happens, our seeing and hearing abilities decline. Eventually, if you get old enough, you become disabled.

Should being disabled mean being unable to use the Internet?

Hoping not, the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) has developed the "Web Accessibility Initiative" (WAI), intended to make it more possible for disabled individuals to use the Internet to its full capabilities.

This project, despite its habitual over-reliance on acronyms, is producing some outstanding research, for example examining in detail how disabled people use the Internet.

Everyone who builds websites should have a look at this research.

Why Is Accessibility Important for Affiliate Marketing?

As hinted at above, accessibility is not only a moral concern, but a commercial one as well. Affiliate marketing is a numbers game: the more potential customers you have, the more potential money you can make. That's why you write all those SEO articles, remember?

The most powerful example of the commercial importance of accessibility is elderly people, of whom there are starting to be more and more. Taken from the Administration on Aging:

"The older population--persons 65 years or older--numbered 39.6 million in 2009. They represented 12.9 percent of the U.S. population. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ are expected to grow to be 19 percent of the population by 2030."

Do you want to block out 12.9 percent of the U.S. population, 19 percent by 2030?

If not--and the answer should absolutely be no because the aging Baby Boomers are big Internet users and actually have two nickels to rub together--you need to take a look at accessibility technologies such as:

-- Bigger icons

-- "Zoom-able" text

-- Non-automatically refreshing web pages

Thoughtful touches like this can help you make your website more accessible to older people, which, as noted, may well comprise a greater percentage of your customer base of the future.

Affiliate Marketing Accessibility Basics

Luckily, you don't have to completely revamp every aspect of your current website efforts in order to contribute to the movement towards greater Web accessibility.

Some small but important steps you can take:

-- When your HTML editing program asks you to add accessibility text (as all newer versions of HTML editors do), fill in that box. It takes little to no time and can make a big difference.

-- Add captions or other visual aids to your videos. Here is a free video captioning tool.

-- Keep your pages clean and clear if at all possible. Stop confusing me please, you're aggravating both my dementia and my ADD, and that's not a good combination.

Luckily again, many of the accessibility actions you can take as a webmaster are things you should be doing anyways (see: keep your pages clean and clear). Thinking about accessibility basics can reinforce in your mind a fundamental truth of affiliate marketing:

The more accessible you are, the more money you can make as an affiliate marketer.

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