Hello! The odds are pretty good that if you have found this review, you have probably already heard of Wealthy Affiliate, and you want to know if it is a scam or not. When I first started looking into how to earn money from home online, I didn’t even know what affiliate marketing was. Through my research, I found a plethora of information on this term out there!
Once I knew what affiliate marketing was, my next step was to figure out which affiliate marketing program was the best for me. As a beginner, I wanted a real “Affiliate Marketing 101” beginner’s level course. A course that would teach me how to earn money from home online step by step. In this comprehensive review, I will explain, in detail, the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Wealthy Affiliate program.
So, what is Wealthy Affiliate (WA)?
WA is a digital platform designed to help Internet entrepreneurs and affiliate marketers create successful online businesses. They claim to accomplish this by using tools, training, services, and support from industry experts. But do they live up to the hype? Read on and judge for yourself as I take you through the program from start to finish.
Registering for a Wealthy Affiliate account is free! Just click Here.
There are so many programs out there right now that offer you a “free” trial account but then ask you for your credit card information to “verify your age.” Suddenly, your trial runs out, and they charge your credit card. Getting your money back is next to impossible! You can register for a free account with Wealthy Affiliate by providing nothing more than your name and email address. You then create a username and password, and you are all set—chalk one up for WA.
Welcome to Wealthy Affiliate!
Once you log in, you are welcomed by co-founder Kyle Loudon and taken through a brief but helpful tutorial. Then, it’s game on! You are tossed into the membership area, and WOW, there is a ton of stuff there that can seemingly easily overwhelm you. However, the site appears to be very well-structured, and figuring out how to get to the training is very simple.
There are two training courses provided: Online Entrepreneur Certification and Affiliate Bootcamp.
The Online Entrepreneur Certification (OEC)is five phases of training courses (50 lessons and 160 tasks total). Each stage’s various functions help walk you through establishing, marketing, and growing your business in literally any niche you want.
The Affiliate Bootcamp (AB) is seven phases (70 lessons and 226 tasks total) that follow a similar path and focuses on making money by promoting Wealthy Affiliate.
Your free membership provides you with access to phase one of each of these training courses. The OEC level one training, “Getting Started,” consists of 27 tasks. By the time you finish phase one, you will have done the following steps:
- Set up your profile.
- Understand how to earn money from home online.
- Choose your niche.
- Build and set up your website and custom menus.
- Make sure your website is search-engine ready.
- Understanding Keywords and begin creating your content.
The AB level one training, “Getting Your Business Rolling,” consists of 30 tasks. If you completed the first level of the OEC, much of this training is repetitive. Still, by the end, you will have completed all the above, and you will have learned about creating thoughtful, insightful product reviews (like this one :)) and some more detailed training on the framework of your content.
Not bad, right? However, the two level-one training phases, and the two free .siterubix.com websites, is where the freebies end. Oh, by the way, you only have seven days to complete this training before your clock runs out. If you have a life outside of this training, that time flies by so, good luck! Strike one for Wealthy Affiliate.
Of course, the countdown clock is a well-known marketing tactic used by tons of businesses, so it was not a shocker for me, and it did nothing to make me want to hurry up and give them my money! All in all, I think that the free trial had a lot of benefits, especially for newbies like me, but the real stuff happens when you get the premium account.
What comes with Premium, and is it worth it?
Technically, you could have your first Affiliate website up and running within the seven-day free trial; it is not a difficult task to complete when you follow the training provided. However, your odds of making any money from the site the way it is are about as good as your chances of winning the lottery; unless you continue your training and improve your site somehow. That is where the premium training is supposed to come in. But does it? You will soon see for yourself; read on!
As soon as you become a premium member, you gain access to 100% of the previously discussed training courses. This training takes you into the critical areas of Affiliate Marketing: Generating Traffic, Social Engagement, Mastering Content Creation, and MAKING MONEY!
I want to tell you that up to this point, the training is good, but I was disappointed with how the training is presented. No big deal, I haven’t had to spend any money on the training yet. Good quality content is a critical part of a successful online business, yet this topic wasn’t a focal point until the end of the training. You could spend days creating this fantastic looking website, with incredible plugins and the best niche on the planet. But if your content sucks, you will not get a good ranking, your traffic will falter, and you will not convert the traffic you get.
Time to spend some money and see if it’s worth it. First, I will discuss the Online Entrepreneur Certification(OEC) training.
LEVEL TWO – Generating Traffic
In level two OEC training, we learn how to generate traffic through our Wealthy Affiliate website. This training includes:
- Getting a personalized domain and moving your siterubix.com site to that domain
- Setting up a domain-specific email account
- Writing keyword-rich content
- How to use visuals
- Breaking down site traffic
- The use of “low-hanging fruit”
- The importance of posting as yourself
- The power of your productivity
Again, the order of the training focus seems off to me here. Considering your site ranking is supposedly much better with a personalized domain than a siterubix.com domain, why is this not discussed and recommended in the free trial? I understand that the focus of the free training is the FREE part, but in the grand scheme of online business and affiliate marketing, not only is having a personalized domain cheap, but it is also critical. Good news though, now that we are premium members, we get two free customized domains. We also get detailed and straightforward training on how to transfer our siterubix.com to our new site and another video to show you how to create your domain-specific email!
The training on the keyword-rich content is nothing that can’t be found free on the Internet. However, Kyle does emphasize the importance of focusing on relevance and authority, which are both critical points in the relationship between keywords and content. Of particular note in this training is the guidance provided on writing content naturally. Yes, keyword placement is taught, but it is also explained that if you write relevant content on the keywords naturally, you will have better success than just focusing on the keywords themselves. Still, it is a good idea to review and tweak your content afterward to ensure keyword variation.
When it comes to content creation, content does not have to be scary. The site-builder function includes a few templates and allows you to create templates setting specific writing goals such as how many headings, paragraphs, and word count. I don’t know if there is relevance to how many titles and sections you have, but word count is crucial! The training tells you to shoot for a goal of at least 1000 words per article. This goal is very achievable, especially when you focus on something you are interested in, and the site-builder interface is very user-friendly.
One issue I have with their keyword training is that they focus on a research tool called Jaaxy. However, Jaaxy is not part of your membership, so why the focus on using it? I will get to that later in this article, I promise! Just know that there are plenty of free keyword research tools available that you can use to avoid paying for Jaaxy. Two good ones are: Answer The Public and SEMRush.
Moving on to the training on using visuals, I found it ironic that most of the training is heavily text-based. In today’s world, people gravitate towards visual training more than text. WA has a ton of video training options, and they do a good job showing you how to locate and add visuals to your content, but there is a lot of reading in this training.
Low-hanging fruit, Productivity, and finishing Level Two!
Low hanging fruit is excellent but not necessarily worthy of an entire training section. WA has a big focus on low-hanging fruit (and the use of Jaaxy to find it). This training module should have more focus and detail on the importance of keyword clusters and the use of alternative keywords to be used in your posts besides just the primary keyword.
Productivity. Here we go again with improper order of training. I am glad to see that productivity is a focal point in the training, but shouldn’t it be more towards the lessons’ beginning? Specifically, the free trial should include training on how to be productive so that beginners don’t waste a ton of time getting to this point in the lessons.
OK, we’ve come to the end of level-two training, and supposedly we have learned how to optimize our website for SEO. Did we? Yes, to an extent. The WA platform does a great job showing many aspects of SEO optimization, but it lacks some SEO basics, like winning featured snippets. Also, the training consistently encourages you to promote your site within the WA community. This process is a good concept because it gives your site some traffic to improve your ranking, but it is not the “low-hanging fruit,” You could spend this time being more productive in other areas such as social engagement. (If only that productivity training had come sooner!)
Finally,! The reason we are here. Once again, this training comes a little later than it should. This training is excellent, but much of the content should have been made available sooner. Wealthy Affiliate is an “Over-the-Shoulder” style training program, so learning how to monetize your website right away would be beneficial. Here is what we are going to learn in level three:
- How affiliate marketing works
- Finding related Affiliate programs and do product reviews
- Adding your Affiliate links to your website
- How to get Affiliated with Amazon
- Leveraging your product reviews
- Google Adsense
- Which revenue to choose (Affiliate or advertisement)
- How to capture your data
This area, in my opinion, is one of the places Wealthy Affiliate shines bright. If all you focus on is making money, the result will ultimately be no money. You absolutely MUST focus on creating authority and solving problems. If you do that, the money will come. WA has a plethora of information about this, and admittedly, you could find this information free somewhere else. However, WA lays out that you must help and educate your audience if you want to increase traffic. The purpose of your blog is to do two things. Fulfill your needs and fulfill your traffic’s needs. By producing relevant, value-adding information, your site becomes a money-producing asset.
Social engagement is an aspect of marketing that is often ignored. Many Affiliate Marketers are looking for passive traffic. Their goal is to set up their blog, monetize it, and sit back and watch the traffic (and the money) roll in. NEWS FLASH! That is not how this works. Anyone or any site that tells you otherwise is lying! Run away, far, far away.
We will learn to utilize social media to grow our business and, hopefully, our bank accounts in level four. The training courses that will take us through this are:
- Setting up a Social media site on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
- Engaging with your audience through comments
- How to use Facebook correctly
- Pinterest and the power it holds
- Using Twitter for your site
- Posting in WA
- Engaging socially within WA
- General advice on the use of social media
While WA does a great job here, I think they missed the boat by not including YouTube and Instagram. Granted, there are hundreds of training videos that you have access to within WA’s MASSIVE training library, but why would they not include YouTube and Instagram training in this module? Good question. Remember the lesson on the use of visuals? These two social media outlets are excellent ways to drive traffic to your site by showcasing something to do with your niche. There is some training on this later, but have I mentioned that I disagree with the training program’s layout? Still, there is some excellent information in this section, and having it all located in one place is helpful.
LEVEL FIVE: Creating Content
If you think that by joining WA, you will be able to watch a couple of videos, do a few mouse clicks, and PRESTO the money starts rolling in, you’ve come to the wrong place. As we learned in the previous modules, content is the key to a successful site. However, you must use that content well with the other facets of your site. To do that, you have to understand how your content works. This section helps you with that. It includes these lessons:
- Why content is written
- How to set up Google Webmaster tools
- Getting indexed faster
- Increasing your content’s readability
- Setting realistic traffic expectations
- Structured writing
- Writing with the intent to convert
- Bing and Yahoo
- Long-term goals of your content
Ugh. WA should have provided this information much earlier. If you have been completing the assigned tasks in order up to this point, you have at least two articles on your website already. Did you write them correctly? At least it is easy to go back and edit or tweak your content any time you want. Good content, written correctly, results in faster indexing and better conversion. Are there ways to force speedier indexing? Absolutely. Creating a Google XML sitemap and using Google’s “Google Search Console” will help you with this, and the training provided within WA helps tremendously.
Another great thing about WA’s training is that they want you to focus on traffic expectations. Many Affiliate Marketers fail because they set unrealistically high traffic expectations. While the scenario provided in the training program is very generic, it is achievable. Unfortunately, they don’t mention that those numbers are dependent on your competition. I guess they figure that is common knowledge and does not warrant mentioning. Just remember, if your keyword is too broad, for example, “fitness”, you are going to struggle in ranking and attracting traffic.
The training on Yahoo and Bing is helpful, but if we stay focused on the “low-hanging fruit” mantra, our big focus will remain with Google. If you have time, sure, see what you can do to improve your rankings on those two, but NOT if it hurts your Google rankings. The training provided on your long-term goals is good, and the advice is reliable, but they should have provided it early on.
CONGRATULATIONS YOU COMPLETED THE OEC TRAINING!
Affiliate Bootcamp Training
This Training module focuses on promoting Wealthy Affiliate, which is good but is also a big reason for most of the positive reviews Wealthy Affiliate has. There are seven phases to this training. They cover:
- Getting your business rolling
- Traffic conversion, keywords, and content
- Improving Site engagement and social value
- Media and design and how to use it
- Getting referrals and knowing your audience
- Pay-Per-Click(PPC) and other search engines
- PPC campaigns and how to scale them
If you went through the OEC training, there is a lot of repeat information here. In theory, by promoting WA, they get more customers, and you get more money. So what are the differences, and why are there seven phases instead of five? Let’s take a look.
Stage one: Getting your business rolling
A lot of repetition here, but the training also orients you to the WA Affiliate program dashboard. Very helpful. It also lays out the WA commission structure. Now we’re talking! As of January 2020, the commission structure is as follows: (As copied directly from the WA Training page)
“Invites: They Join WA for Free
STARTER Member Commissions:
Initial $19 Premium offer, Commission = $4
Premium Monthly ($49/mth) = $11.25/mth recurring commissions
Premium Yearly ($495/year) = $117.50/year recurring commissions
Initial $49 Premium Plus+ offer, Commission = $11.75
Premium Plus+ Monthly ($99/mth) = $21.75/mth recurring commissions
Premium Plus+ Yearly ($995/year) = $232.50/year recurring commissions
If you are a Premium Member here at Wealthy Affiliate, you get double the commissions as an affiliate, and you also get to take part in our $1 credit program, which allows you to earn from free members you sign-up that set-up their accounts. You also earn money with each domain your referrals buy.
Premium/Premium Plus+ Member Commissions: (100% higher commissions!!!)
Credits: They Set-up their account => $1 (per referral)
Domain Purchases: => $1 recurring annually
Initial $19 Premium offer, Commission = $8
Premium Monthly ($49/mth) = $23.50/mth recurring commissions
Premium Yearly ($495/year) = $235/year recurring commissions
Initial $49 Premium Plus+ offer, Commission = $23.50
Premium Plus+ Monthly ($99/mth) = $46.50/mth recurring commissions
Premium Plus+Yearly ($995/year) = $465.00/year recurring commissions
**Note: on average, 1:8 upgrade to yearly, depending on the Affiliate, and 12% of all free Starter referrals end up going Premium.
When you sign-up someone for free, your goal is to get them to set-up their account. Setting up one’s account will lead you to an initial $1 (2 credits x $0.50). These add up when you are a Premium member.
When someone sets up their account, they are granted an initial $19 first month offer. This converts very well, and almost everyone decides to stay after the first month because of the value, the quality of the services, the help they get, and the overall positive experience offered here at Wealthy Affiliate.
We offer lifetime commissions and lifetime cookies, which is truly unheard of in the industry. If you refer someone to WA, they are your referral FOREVER.
Unlike many programs in the industry that focus on “taking advantage of customers,” our focus has and always will be making our service better. The better our service gets, the more people that stick around, stick around for longer, and the better our conversions get.
That is our PATH to making you more money. Striving to make our service the best in the industry is our goal, and this will remain our constant focus. The MONEY you earn as a result of this and the trust you build from the people you refer to Wealthy Affiliate will lead you to a long term and INCREDIBLE business online.
**We pay out on the 1st of every month, and we have not missed a single affiliate payment since our inception 14 years ago. We pay on time, and we pay out MILLIONS of DOLLARS per year!” WA does an excellent job of promoting and encouraging their customers to sign up for the premium package through community integration. The WA community is very welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and available 24/7/365.
Stage two – Traffic conversion, keywords, and content
Once again, there is a lot of repetition here if you did the OEC. The only difference is the training is geared toward promoting WA instead of third-party programs or products. Lessons include:
Once again, there is a lot of repetition here if you did the OEC. The only difference is the training is geared toward promoting WA instead of third-party programs or products. Lessons include:
- Readable content that converts
- Using affiliate links
- Keywords and selling
- Reviews and targeted keywords
- Take a break
- Backing up your site
- Enhancing your site
- Internal linking
- Writing and sharing a review
- Offering bonuses
Until lesson seven (enhancing your site), much of the above is sorting out your site’s bells and whistles. I understand the reasoning behind the repetition. If you wanted to jump straight into promoting WA instead of creating a niche website for yourself, you still need to know this information. However, if you went through the OEC, you can skim through this training. The guided information in these lessons is still essential. For example, they discuss some useful plugins, menu bars, drop downs, and internal linking.
Internal linking is a big deal. It helps show search engines the structure of your site, which adds value. What is internal linking? It is merely suggesting that a viewer read your latest post on a relevant topic that you think they might be interested in by providing them a link to that post.
Now that you have made it this far in the training program, WA wants you to take a break. They want you to take ten days off from working on your site, blogging, creating content, etc. I’m not sure why, but I have to disagree with this. By all means, let your site sit for a while without doing anything to it. But, while the site is simmering, you can be preparing a lot more content for future releases. After all, if you are smoking a ham, you don’t wait until the ham is ready to start preparing the side dishes, do you? I say you keep pushing on with writing content.
The previous training covers most of what is in this module. The module’s lessons include:
- Using Social media plugins
- How to Make your profiles more brand-friendly
- How to create socially engaging content
- Breaking from social media
- Power writing
- Google Analytics
- The Jaaxy Affiliate program
- How to use your sidebar
- Keep on building your site content
We can all benefit from power writing, and I am glad they cover it here. Here is a summary of how it works. Set a timer for 30 minutes and then start writing. No breaks, no phone calls, no social media, just 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing. I promise you will see an increase in your productivity, which should also boost your confidence!
Remember how I promised to explain why WA focuses on Jaaxy? Well, here is your answer. Jaaxy has an Affiliate program that can earn you more money. I feel like WA should have been more upfront about this earlier in the training program, but it isn’t that big of a deal. Anyway, if you become a Jaaxy Affiliate, your commission structure is as follows:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle! (Just ask G.I. Joe)
Stage Four: Media and design and how to use it
This section is all about promoting images and videos for your site, engaging your viewers, and helping convert them into making a purchasing decision. Many marketers fail to focus on high-quality photos and media on their website, so this is a beneficial training session.
The lessons here are:
- Basics of Website design
- Power of imagery
- How to use WA videos
- How to Create images
- Product review on Jaaxy
- Research Jaaxy keywords
- The power of Pinterest
- Making videos
- The perspective of the Customer
This section is a lot of self-promotion and not a lot of value-added information. They do not discuss outsourcing or the use of third-party options at all. Often times, a small investment in a freelancer can result in an excellent return on your investment, especially if you are not a subject matter expert on the topic of discussion.
Stage Five: Getting referrals and knowing your audience
At this point, I can see why WA recommended that ten-day break. The repetition in the training and the text-heavy training sessions were starting to frustrate me. However, I have been learning a ton, and as a newbie, repetition in learning is beneficial. This lesson focuses on understanding your audience and ultimately turning (converting) them into a referrer. The phases are:
- Intentional content
- Converting comments
- Using videos for conversion
- Another break
- Custom sign-up forms
- Following up
- Custom video sign-ups
- Creating a 6-week plan
OK, my first question here was, “Why in the world is this six-week plan at the end of the training?” This plan is good, but I really could have used it a long time ago, like at the beginning of the training! Ah well, better late than never, and it is still relevant at this point in the training, so it’s OK, I guess. Despite the six-week plan’s untimeliness, I do like that WA included a focus on following up with your traffic. Following up is one of the most potent methods of engaging with your traffic. Whether it’s through the comments section of your website or your social media, follow-up is crucial!
Stage Six: Pay-Per-Click(PPC) and other search engines
The lessons in this module cover:
- Introduction to PPC on Bing
- Bing & Yahoo SEO
- Paying for traffic
- Your first campaign
- Ad groups
- Conversion tracking
- Hidden PPC landing pages
- Keyword creativity
- Refining campaigns and planning
At one time, PPC was a fantastic way to get and convert traffic. While not as relevant as before, PPC is still very much a focal point of successful Affiliate Marketing programs. WA does promote Bing and Yahoo PPC options but not Google’s. Why? WA believes that it is much harder to work with Google than to work with Bing and Yahoo. Maybe it is, and perhaps it isn’t, but I want to make that decision for myself.
Close to 90% of Internet traffic uses Google, and if you choose not to use Google’s PPC program, you are losing that traffic. Based on that information, you can decide what you think of this section, but I took it as advice and not a rule. Ultimately, WA does provide some great advice on how to use PPC campaigns.
Stage Seven: PPC campaigns and how to scale them
If you are still with me, thank you for hanging in there for this review. We’re rounding the final turn and heading for the finish line now! Stage seven takes us through the following lessons:
- Creating a Google Adsense account
- The opportunity with Ads
- Pay-Per-Click and Review pages
- Analyzing your data
- Doubling Down
- Direct Links
- Business Model for PPC
- PPC and Concise pages
- Scaling PPC Campaigns
This training section frustrated me a little. Remember how I said WA promotes Bing and Yahoo but not Google PPC? Well, guess what? Now they want us to create a Google Adsense account. Hmm. I’m confused. Lucky for me, I took that previous training as advice and not a rule, so no significant loss here, just a little frustration.
The Wealthy Affiliate Community – Making your investment worthwhile
So, by now, you are probably wondering why, if I recommend WA, am I telling you all things I don’t like about it. I honestly tried to remain unbiased and explain the good and the bad points of WA in this review. That being said, by far, the best part of WA has got to be the Wealthy Affiliate community. While you are going through the training, you are always encouraged to share your articles, posts, and sites with the WA community.
In the beginning, I felt like this was just a way to gain some momentum and get membership encouragement. However, as I continued through the training, I learned that there are some outstanding community members here, ALL THE TIME! Suppose you have a question on your training, or the training didn’t cover an area, or you are experiencing technical issues, or anything else relevant to Affiliate marketing, you will find a responsive and helpful community.
THE NITTY GRITTY – Pros and Cons of Wealthy Affiliate
- You can start for free
- The training is comprehensive, easy to follow, and broken up into easily manageable tasks
- Affordable Premium membership options
- Website hosting for ten websites (50 with Premium plus) is included in the membership
- Live chat and technical support available 24/7/365
- Website building tool is straightforward and easy to use
- Excellent quality research tools
- Live training and webinars weekly
- A fantastic community of helpful people
- Long-standing proven successful business
- CO-Founders repeatedly advise integrity, honesty, and accuracy
- Free membership is limited to six months of website hosting
- Some of the training is outdated (but they are in the process of updating it)
- Training order is not conducive, and much of the training is repetitive (6-week plan not provided until the end of the training?)
- Jaaxy Research Tool is not included in the membership (Unless you go Premium Plus)
- Training is heavily text-based
- Structured training does not include YouTube and Instagram (But they have a full library of training on these available.)
- Not much discussion about outsourcing or third-party options
- Some of the training is contradictory but may be changing as they are updating things
Conclusion and a Special Bonus Offer!
I hope you found this review of Wealthy Affiliate as supportive and beneficial as I put a great deal of thought and energy into it. If you have any questions that I may not have addressed, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below, and I will do my best to answer them.
Join the starter, it’s $0. You can come back here to my site and yell at me if you don’t like it (seriously). And did I mention it was free? Upon joining, I will make sure to get in touch with you. I want you to make me one promise however if you do join…that you will set-up your account. It is simple and you will be walked through it upon joining WA.
How to Claim Your Bonus…
When you join your FREE Starter Account, I am going to offer you a bonus if you do decide to become a PREMIUM member in the first 7 days (including a 59% discount). When you create your account at Wealthy Affiliate, I will be personally contacting you on your profile with my “hello” and some more information about WA, how to get help from me, and how to claim your bonus. Trust me, this is going to be some AWESOME stuff!
You will never know what you have been missing all of these years until you step foot inside of Wealthy Affiliate.
I strongly encourage you to at least consider trying the free starter membership and going through that training to help you make an even more informed decision whether WA is right for you or not. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this review. You can also check out my review on another work from home opportunity here If you found value in it, I would be grateful if you would consider sharing it with your friends through social media.