Hey, Drew here. Welcome to my Wealthy Affiliate review, fresh and updated for 2023.
I decided to buy a membership with the Wealthy Affiliate. I spent a good portion of over 2 weeks going through the course. I looked for things like strategy, the reputation of the creators, quality of training, student success, and value for your money.
I’ll be able to tell you if I think you should invest in Wealthy Affiliate or not.
Are you ready?
You are going to learn things like:
- What is the Wealthy Affiliate?
- Who founded the course
- Why do you see so many “positive” reviews
- How it works (or doesn’t)
- How affiliates are making money from it
- Who it’s good for
- Why I don’t recommend it
What is Wealthy Affiliate All About?
Wealthy Affiliate is an affiliate marketing course that teaches you how to make money online with affiliate marketing with a website. It focuses on teaching you how to build a website that will rank naturally on search engines. You also get trained on “paid traffic” strategies to complement the organic traffic you hope to get from the search engines like Google.
The course is likely the most popular affiliate marketing course in the world boasting 1.4 million members.
The Wealthy Affiliate is also an affiliate program itself, where members are told quite frequently to promote the course as an affiliate.
To get into the specifics, as a member you will have access to the following:
- Training on what niche to choose
- Access to a website builder
- How to create content
- How to get traffic to your website
- Training on paid traffic strategies
- Online tool subscriptions
- Live weekly coaching and online community for support
Who is Wealthy Affiliate For?
Wealthy Affiliate could be for those that have no idea what affiliate marketing is. And, to gain some knowledge on how to make money online with it.
Clearly, it’s for beginners only. If you consider yourself an intermediate affiliate marketer then you’ll find the training of little benefit. And if you’re an experienced affiliate marketer, you will learn nothing new.
Who is Wealthy Affiliate NOT For?
Wealthy Affiliate is not for you if you don’t like writing. The course teaches you how to build a website in WordPress, where you will have to write many articles.
Sure, you can outsource the content to a writer, or use an AI tool like Jasper, so you don’t need to write it yourself. However, that costs money and if you don’t have a budget, it might be difficult.
How Much Money can you Make with The Wealthy Affiliate Program?
There is no answer to this question. How much you make depends on the action you take, just like with any other course.
If you were to sign up for the starter program, which is free, I can guarantee you won’t make ANY money at all. If you become a member, you could make some money and that comes down to you. If you take the advice given, work hard at it, and maybe even run some paid ads, you might make a few bucks.
But like I was saying earlier, if you’re taught old, outdated techniques, do you think you can compete with other affiliate marketers that keep up with what works?
This is why so many students of the Wealthy Affiliate give up after a while.
Wealthy Affiliate Pricing
At first glance, you probably think, hey this isn't a bad deal for $49 bucks a month for the Premium membership.
And I won't even discuss the free Starter program because it will not help you get anywhere fast.
But how is Wealthy Affiliate priced compared to other top-tier affiliate marketing programs?
Well, for just one year, Wealthy Affiliate is going to cost you $497 for the Premium plan or $697 for the Premium Plus plan. And that's if you pay with the yearly option. It works out to be about $100 more for each plan if you pay monthly after a year is up.
That's not cheap! You can get a MUCH better course like The Authority Site System or Affiliate Lab for around the same price, and you only pay once!
So when people say that Wealthy Affiliate is cheap, it's actually not due to the subscription fee. As long as you are a member, you keep paying and paying and it never stops.
There are many reputable courses where you pay once and get free updates for life. Wealthy Affiliate is not one of them.
Does Wealthy Affiliate Offer Refunds?
The Wealthy Affiliate does NOT offer refunds. You can cancel your membership at any time whether it’s monthly or yearly, but whatever you paid – you won’t get refunded.
Is Wealthy Affiliate A Scam?
Wealthy Affiliate is not a scam. You pay for the training, you get the training – simple.
Before you join Wealthy Affiliate you are promised to get training in the form of videos, tools, live coaching calls, and a community to reach out to. You do get all that.
What’s questionable is whether or not what you learn in WA is going to help you make money online or not. If you don’t you can’t really call it a scam because it’s on you.
I can say that you do feel a bit scammed with their crazy-over-the-top constant push to recruit members to sell the program as an affiliate. This does give it a scammy feel because you joined to learn how to create a business, not to sell the thing you just bought!
Who are the Founders of Wealthy Affiliate?
Two Canadian guys by the name of Kyle Louden and Carson Lim are the co-founders of the Wealthy Affiliate.
When they started Wealthy Affiliate in 2005 it was simply just a keyword list site for a monthly fee of $29.99. For this, you would get a list of keywords for a new niche every month complete with ads to run in Google.
Now about their reputation. Most of what you will learn about these guys is the success of their course. Prior to that, they have not proven to have built any mega-successful websites to prove their worth as instructors. They did a good job of spreading the word of WA though. (With the help of the thousands of WA affiliates!)
What Is Inside The Members Area?
Below is a screenshot from the member's area after I joined.
The Wealthy Affiliate has 5 core training modules:
I will now break this down for you so you get an idea of what is included in each section.
1. Online Entrepreneur Certification
There are 5 courses in this section with over 51 lessons. The Online Entrepreneur Certification shows you how you can create an affiliate website or blog in a niche that doesn't have to do with "making money online". This includes sites about pets, fitness, home improvement, and more.
- Level 1: Introduction - Learn the steps on how to start an online business (10 lessons).
- Level 2: Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website - 10 lessons on how to get free, organic traffic from Google and other search engines.
- Level 3: Making Money - Learn the different ways you can make money from your website (10 lessons)
- Level 4: Mastering Social Engagement - How to create a "social" presence with your brand. They discuss the big socials like Facebook, Google + (shutting down Aug 2019) Pinterest & Twitter and how to set these up.
- Level 5: Content Creation - How to create content that engages your readers (10 lessons)
2. Affiliate Bootcamp
The Affiliate Bootcamp is a 7-phase & 70-lesson module dedicated to helping you promote the Wealthy Affiliate.
Here is what's included:
- Phase 1 - Getting Your Business Rolling
- Phase 2 - Content, Keywords, and Conversions
- Phase 3 - Giving Your Site Social Value
- Phase 4 - Get Visual - Get Aesthetic - Get a Brand Through Media
- Phase 5 - Knowing Your Audiences and Catapulting Your Referrals
- Phase 6 - Yahoo, BING, & The Power of PPC
- Phase 7 - How to Scale Profitable PPC Campaigns
The Bootcamp is the reason why you see so many affiliates promoting the Wealthy Affiliate. This is why I find Wealthy Affiliate so controversial because a lot of focus is based on the promotion of the course as an affiliate, rather than learning how to set up a website on other topics.
Here is a screenshot of the member's area inside the Affiliate Bootcamp.
3. Wealthy Affiliate Live Events (Webinars)
The Wealthy Affiliate holds live webinars once a week taught by Jay Neill, the "training chief of Wealthy Affiliate.
Perhaps you can get more value from the live training than what you have seen in the modules above. The latest videos do show the Google Search Console as opposed to Google Webmaster Tools (old version) in the existing training.
I don't know why Wealthy Affiliate does not update their content in their modules - they should.
On the plus side though, at least you'll get up-to-date information with the live webinars. You can also interact with other members at the bottom of each replay. All live webinars are recorded for viewing later if you can't attend the live webinar.
4. Wealthy Affiliate Community
There's a lot of focus on the "community" aspect in WA. Members are encouraged to write posts on the platform, help others and engage with members.
This could be either positive or a negative depending on how you look at it. Your #1 goal to join is to make money and build a future for yourself, not to join some social community to chat with others. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I feel that a lot of people will get distracted with their focus by what other members are saying.
For example, if you start a site on a certain niche, and then someone gives away a niche (which doesn't happen often though) on the WA platform that is making a lot of money, you might end up dropping everything you are doing and start something different.
If you join Wealthy Affiliate (I don't think you should) - don't get too comfy with other members if you really want to succeed. Not saying they can't help, but everyone is there for themselves at the end of the day.
5. Site Rubix
Site Rubix is a platform created by the Wealthy Affiliate where members can create and host their websites.
It makes it easy for members to buy a domain, set up a website, and get it hosted - all within the WA platform.
Sounds good right? Well, not really.
If you decide to leave Wealthy Affiliate, guess what happens to your site - it will get removed. Sure, you can probably download all the files and set it up on a different host, but what if something breaks?
It might cost you a tiny bit more if you host outside of WA, but you'll have a lot more control of your website. Plus, reliability will likely be better when you're dealing with a hosting company rather than relying on Wealthy Affiliate's servers.
Jaaxy - Wealthy Affiliate's Proprietary Keyword Research Tool
I've been doing affiliate marketing for more than a decade now and of all the keyword research tools I've used, none of them were Jaaxy. I'd never even heard of it until I joined Wealthy Affiliate.
What is a Jaaxy anyway? Jaaxy is a keyword research tool built by Wealthy Affiliate.
Is Jaaxy any good? I decided to put it to the test.
Arguably the best keyword research tool out there is Ahrefs. So I did a comparison between Jaaxy and Ahrefs.
But first, what data does Jaaxy provide? It provides the keyword, the average volume for that keyword, traffic, and competition difficulty.
This was helpful back in 2010 but not nowadays. Now you need a LOT more info on what keywords to target.
Compared to Ahrefs, Ahrefs shows you things like keyword difficulty, search volume, global volume by country, traffic potential, organic traffic the #1 page gets for your target keyword, what pages are ranking for your keyword, including metrics like referring domains, a matching terms report and more.
That's a mouthful! And that's not all.
I used the same seed keywords for each and ran 10 separate tests. For each keyword, Jaaxy only provided 30 keywords max for each seed keyword. With Ahrefs, some seed keywords generated 5000+ keywords and more.
That's a massive disparity.
Judgment - Jaaxy is no match for Ahrefs but does give you some idea of what keywords to target. The problem here is that without enough data, you could be targeting the wrong keywords. Jaaxy doesn't tell you what pages are ranking for those keywords so you have to check manually.
If you join WA, don't bother using Jaaxy. Use a tool like Ahrefs.
Why are so Many Wealthy Affiliate Reviews Positive?
I think you know why by now. There are so many Wealthy Affiliate reviews online because of the huge push within the course to promote the course for a commission.
Some members are only making money promoting the Wealthy Affiliate and doing nothing else. That's their only form of online business.
If the course is worth the investment, then there's no problem with that. However, based on the training I have seen, I don't see how you're going to be successful unless you incorporate strategies taught outside this course. That's the hard truth. These reviews you've read are self-serving and biased.
Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories
With so many members, (1.5 million) you'd expect there to be a ton of success stories.
There would be no point to post a success story of making money promoting the course - I'm sure we can all agree on that one.
However, are people making money with Wealthy Affiliate other than promoting the course?
Here's an example of one success story but if you'll notice he made his money making videos, not from WA training.
Obviously, I can't list all the success stories here and some are quite positive. The message that I want to give is that I was expecting a LOT more considering how many members there are in the course.
If you run into problems or have a question, support is easy to get a hold of. WA claims to have the "most helpful community in the world."
I found that support was pretty good and that it was easy to get a question answered. There was a time though when I asked a technical question and I got two different answers. So it's best to do your own research if you get conflicting advice.
Pros and Cons of the Wealthy Affiliate
I can tell you that the cons massively outweigh the pros in a very big way. Let's jump in:
- It teaches you the basics of affiliate marketing
- You get access free access to Jaaxy, the keyword research tool
- Web hosting is included (but I don't suggest using it as I mentioned above)
- A very active community for support (but be weary of who you talk to!)
- Outdated training - some are from 2013!
- SEO training is practically non-existent. WA thinks you can rank without backlinks even for competitive keywords (not true!)
- Most people prefer training with video, the content is largely text-based
- The trainers and creators don't have the credibility in proving they themselves have created successful websites, so how can they teach you?
- Cult-like behavior - WA continuously encourages members to just sell WA as an affiliate when the focus should be building a business
- The claims WA makes regarding your success are way out there and false. It's borderline unethical in my opinion
- Does not teach you about FTC disclosure guidelines
- Confusing dashboard, everything seems cluttered
- It's expensive due to monthly or yearly dues - it can really add up.
- If you quit the course, you lose your hosting and your website.
- Does not teach email marketing
- Does not teach YouTube SEO, snippet SEO or external linking
7 Things I Don’t Like About Wealthy Affiliate
Some of these may overlap with the cons that I mentioned above, but I feel this is necessary to include and expand upon.
Here are several things that stood out like a sore thumb that I just didn’t like:
1. Wealthy Affiliate is Badly Outdated
When I was going through the Premium Training I couldn’t help to notice how outdated some of the content was.
For example, in the Phase 5 module, there’s a video from 2013 that shows you how to respond to comments on your website. There’s another one that shows you how to create videos in a video uploaded in 2013. Things have changed greatly since then guys! Anyway, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want a hope in hell you will do well on Youtube.
They also talk about strategies using Google Plus. Google Plus was shut down on April 2, 2019!
Anyway, don’t take my word for it that Wealthy Affiliate is outdated. Look at what members are saying:
2. Wealthy Affiliate Has an MLM Feel
MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing. A company that uses MLM does so by encouraging its members to promote and sell their products and services and to bring new recruits into the business.
For example, think of Amway. You get recruited to sell their products and usually, your first “victims” are your family.
So is WA an MLM? Not exactly, but it does have an MLM feel to it.
This is because you are expected to recruit other members to subscribe to the course. It’s not subtle either. They REALLY push it through the entire course.
Carson and Kyle would not have a business if they didn’t have members. Sure, they want to keep existing ones but they also need to keep growing. They do this by getting existing members to recruit others. If you stay a member, you get double the commissions as well.
So WA isn’t exactly a traditional MLM, but it does have an element of this business type.
3. The SEO Advice is Terrible
Wealthy Affiliate does not believe in OFF PAGE SEO. Off-page SEO is where you do things outside of your site to help you rank.
This includes getting high-quality, relative backlinks from trusted sites in a similar niche. They honestly believe you can rank with just good content and great on-page SEO only. 😛
I’ll bet a lot of people are thinking – “great, I don’t need to learn SEO to rank in Google. Awesome!”
Fabulous content and flawless on-page SEO are very important. You might even rank on page one for a low competition, longtail keyword. However, you will never get to page one for a competitive keyword without any backlinks.
That’s how you get ranked – great on-page SEO and also a strong backlink profile. Think of these as votes from other sites saying – “hey, this article is really good, you should check it out.”
Wealthy Affiliate thinks you can rank anything without backlinks which just isn’t true.
4. The Structure of the Course is Disorganized
One of the most glaring annoyances I found was in lesson 46. In this lesson, you are told how to properly “architect” your article.
A worthwhile lesson BEFORE you start writing anything right?
Well, it turns out you were already told many lessons ago to write around 20 articles or so, without being told HOW to write them. So, now you’re being told at lesson 46!
I really had to scratch my head at that one. I can imagine the frustration from someone new, after jumping in and writing a bunch of articles then seeing this…
It also goes beyond writing content. A student can be left very confused because of the contradictions made.
For example, you are told at parts throughout the course that using Google Ads is good, only to be told later they are bad. The same goes for social media. One lesson says you should sign up for certain social media accounts only to be told later that you should be more selective.
I hope they get this mess sorted so as not to confuse people.
5. Needlessly Tells You To Take Time Off
Another annoyance I found was how throughout the course you are often told to just “relax and take a break” or just “do what you want”.
In one case you are told to take 10 days off. In those 10 days your rival affiliate marketer might get out something before you, so why would you want to relax and take a break for 10 days?
Sure, you need to take some time off from Wealthy Affiliate training and your business, but if you just abandon your business for 10 days, you’ll feel the consequences.
See for yourself:
6. Too Much Self Promotion
After you’ve completed the Premium Training, you’re probably all excited to get your website going in the niche you have picked.
You’ll then be hit with a module dedicated entirely to promoting Wealthy Affiliate dubbed the “Affiliate Bootcamp.” The Affiliate Bootcamp is a 7 phase & 70 lessons module showing you the creation and setup of a business niche related to the promotion of Wealthy Affiliate.
So what do you do? Abandon your hopes and dreams of selling doggie treats and just making money online by promoting the course?
To be fair, you can use the strategies taught here with any niche, but it was designed for the promotion of the course.
I think it’s perfectly ok to offer members of any course, software, or product a lucrative affiliate program to promote what you just bought. However, it should be done subtly. The fact that it’s ground into your soul for the whole course and even has a dedicated module… seems a little shady to me.
Carson and Kyle need those memberships rolling in I tell ya… They probably aren’t making any money outside Wealthy Affiliate is my guess.
7. Wealthy Affiliate Has Misleading and Deceptive Claims
If you’re the non-skeptical type, you might be easily influenced to sign up for the Wealthy Affiliate based on the claims below. They make it seem like you can’t possibly fail (they actually promise this) and that you will see success with their course.
Look, this stuff isn’t easy and the ones that make it did so because they were trained well and did the grind every day.
I’m just bothered by the hype just to get you to join the course. It also doesn’t help when you have an army of affiliates telling you how great the course is.
Anyway, here are the top ones:
Deceptive Claim #1: Wealthy Affiliate “promises” you will not fail.
They said they have never seen someone fail that hasn’t quit. Ok does that mean if you make a few bucks here and there that it’s not a failure?
I think most people would consider it a failure if they are not making the equivalent or more than what their current or last job paid.
There is no evidence to support those people who don’t quit are making this kind of money. So clearly this is misleading and deceptive. And for those that did quit, WHY did they quit?
Deceptive Claim #2: Wealthy Affiliate Members Have the Highest Success Rate…
They also say that Wealthy Affiliate members have the highest success rate compared to other make money online platforms.
How can they possibly know this? They would need to interview every single member of the hundreds of available affiliate marketing courses out there to determine this.
And here’s the thing. Most affiliates that are doing well, won’t tell you! They don’t want any attention on themselves and just lurk in the shadows collecting money secretly. Trust me I know a lil somethin-somethin about this lol 😉
Deceptive Claim #3: You Can Build a Website in 30 Seconds
Sure, using their website builder you can build an empty shell of a website in 30 seconds, but is it usable? NO.
You won’t have anything in place, such as the creation of content, important pages, SEO, and speed optimizations. An empty shell is NOT a website.
I think most people would scratch their heads at this one. A fully functioning website cannot be built in 30 seconds. Period.
Deceptive Claim #4: Industry leaders in the Website Development Space
So now Wealthy Affiliate is not only the most popular affiliate marketing course but apparently, they claim to also be an industry leader in website development?
I hardly believe that their proprietary hosting platform “Siterubix” can compare to other well-known and reputable hosting companies. They make the claim but have no testing to prove that their platform outperforms others.
I just find it annoying to make claims without backing anything up.
Deceptive Claim #5: Your Website will rank Better if Hosted with Wealthy Affiliate
This is absolutely untrue. A website does not rank better because of the platform it’s on. However, especially with Google’s new Core Web Vitals requirement, if you are on a shitty host, then you might take a hit with rankings.
This doesn’t mean that you will get better rankings and more success on WA’s platform. It’s false and misleading. There is nothing magical about WA’s hosting that makes your site rank better than other decent hosts.
Are There Better Alternatives to the Wealthy Affiliate?
You'll be happy to know that there are alternative affiliate marketing courses to choose from. The ones I suggest have been fully vetted by me as I'm a member as well.
I've spent at this point $21,293.50 in courses over the years and I've gotten good at spotting good courses from bad ones.
#1 - Affiliate Lab
The Affiliate Lab by Matt Diggity teaches everything Wealthy Affiliate does not and teaches everything WA does - but much better.
For example, with Affiliate Lab you will learn on and off-page SEO - you won't get that with Wealthy Affiliate. You'll also learn how to do email marketing, understand topical authority, how to flip your site for huge profit, how to overcome penalties, how to write AI content without getting penalized, do niche & keyword research, and more.
Most of this is NOT taught in the Wealthy Affiliate. Plus, Affiliate Lab has a MUCH better reputation than Wealthy Affiliate with proven results.
#2 - The Authority Site System
The Authority Site System by the guys at Authority Hacker is similar to Affiliate Lab in many respects and also crushes Wealthy Affiliate.
Like Affiliate Lab, you will learn the proper way to do SEO, email marketing, proper keyword research, help in choosing a niche, and a complete case study on how to build a website from scratch.
The guys at Authority Hacker also have a reputation for building profitable websites and then flipping them for massive paydays. The creators of Wealthy Affiliate have never accomplished this.
#3 - Savage Affiliates
Savage Affiliates teaches EVERYTHING you need to know about affiliate marketing to succeed without ever telling you to just promote the course. There's no fluff, just detailed instructions with almost 200 videos of solid, over-the-shoulder training.
This is the best way to learn, unlike WA where you have to read a lot. People learn faster and absorb more information with video training.
You will learn:
- Full niche research & training
- Clickbank, Amazon & other network affiliate training
- On & Off-page SEO training (Unlike Wealthy Affiliate)
- Paid traffic training
- Free traffic training
- Sales funnel training
- Email marketing
- How to build Authority Sites that will bring in passive income in your sleep & year after year
Again, a lot of this training is non-existent in Wealthy Affiliate and just after 3 months of Wealthy Affiliate payments, the full price of Savage Affiliates would be paid for.
All three alternatives to Wealthy Affiliate do not have recurring payments. You pay once, and never again. Updates are free, and they are updated frequently.
Final Thoughts on My Wealthy Affiliate Review
This was a VERY long and intense review and if you made it this far, congratulations.
As you know by now, I do NOT recommend Wealthy Affiliate.
It just doesn't cut it and I've outlined the reasons why. I would go with any of my three suggestions above, or you can also check out my article titled - best affiliate marketing courses for 2023.
Spoiler alert - Wealthy Affiliate didn't make the cut. 😉
Affiliate marketing is a real business and many people including myself make a full-time income from it. But the best thing is FREEDOM.
So ask yourself - What would it feel like to earn an extra $1000 a month to your income?
What about $5000 or maybe $10,000 or more? How much better would your life be? After reading this Wealthy Affiliate review, do you think the Wealthy Affiliate will still help, despite all the positive reviews from other WA affiliate recruitees? NOPE!
Perhaps you have debts you want to erase forever or your mortgage is dragging you down and would like to pay it off much sooner. Maybe you want to pay off your car. Perhaps you want to buy a house. Whatever your reason is, you're only going to do this by learning this stuff first and then taking action.
That's why I stand with my course recommendations and never recommend crap. The three affiliate marketing courses I recommend here are courses that I went through and applied the training myself.
I'm no newbie either but I would not have as much success as I do without this training. The strategies were real eye-openers when at the time I thought I knew everything. Boy was I wrong.
I don't push every course out there (like a lot do) or trash to my readers. I only recommend the ones that are damn well worth it and that have a great reputation.
The rest is up to you!
Here’s My Video Review of the Wealthy Affiliate
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wealthy Affiliate a pyramid scheme?
The Wealthy Affiliate is not a pyramid scheme per se, however, it does encourage its members to promote the course online to make commissions through sales from their unique affiliate link. So it kinda feels like a pyramid scheme but it's not.
Is the Wealthy Affiliate good for beginners?
Yes, the course is marketed towards beginners and has a lot of training so you won't feel lost. The training is very basic so it is easy to understand.
Is the Wealthy Affiliate the best affiliate marketing course available?
No, the Wealthy Affiliate is definitely not the best affiliate marketing course available. There are better alternatives and please see my review for what my suggestions are and why.
Can you really make money with Wealthy Affiliate?
You can make money with Wealthy Affiliate by either promoting the course or by creating your own blog. There is no guarantee you can make money with the training but some of the content is decent so there's still a chance.
Is Wealthy Affiliate Outdated?
Yes, it's badly outdated. There is still content from 2013 on the site. The course needs a serious update and many videos need to be re-shot and updated with the latest strategies. This outdated advice could lead to a lot of problems if not corrected.
I Want to Hear From You!
Do you have any experience with the Wealthy Affiliate? Please comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!
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