Hi all, Drew here again with another post and this time i'd like to welcome you to my Wealthy Affiliate Review.
The Wealthy Affiliate is free to join, but soon after you do you'll be (somewhat) pressured to continue with their paid membership. They do entice you with a discount so your first month is just $19, so I joined to see what they offer above their free training so you guys don't have to. Or maybe you will, we will see after this review if it's something I can recommend or not.
A little History of the Wealthy Affiliate's Beginnings
Two guys by the name of Kyle and Carson are the co-founders of the Wealthy Affiliate. Originaly they started this site in 2005 (a quick whois search will verify this) so they have been around for a while.
They had become successful in affiliate marketing and wanted to build on this success by starting a service to help other affiliate marketers.
When they started Wealthy Affiliate it was simply just a keyword list site for a montly 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.
However, after a while they realized their site was lacking a few key things:
- There was no way for members to communicate with each other
- People weren't building efficient sites
- People could not do the proper research independently
- People wanted to have personal support and mentoring
- People wanted to learn how to host sites, wanted more training, etc.
So from this, the Wealthy Affiliate has become what it is today - a place to learn, build and communicate with other members and the co-owners.
Some of the things you will find on the Wealthy Affiliate's Platform is:
- Their own platform for hosting
- A content management platform (like wordpress maybe?)
- Weekly live classes and training modules (over 100)
- Proprietary keyword & research platform
- They sell domains, have platforms for feedback & engagement.
So it looks like what they have created here is basically a community of affiliate marketers where you don't need to go anywhere else for support, training, tools, hosting and even domain buying. Hmm...
My Wealthy Affiliate Review and Experience as a New Member
I'm not going to spend too much time on the free membership content because it's something you can see for yourself. However since you're here, i'll give you a quick as I can rundown of what's included for the price of free.
Once you're in, you get the typical welcome stuff, asked to create your profile mumbo jumbo say hello to members, etc., etc.
There are 10 free lessons that you can take right away in Level 1.. In the first one they tell you how you are going to create success you'll need to watch a half hour long video walkthru of the platform. I had to skim through this because it was kinda painful lol. Anyway, they do tell you what you can expect and here's an illustration of their 4-step roadmap to success.
Sounds easy right? Sure the concept is simple and they are spot on, this is exactly the process to success in affiliate marketing. There's a lot in between though, and it does take some work. The ones that stick to it win.
The second lesson discusses how you will earn money and also breaks down the affiliate marketing model for the noobs.
The third lesson talks about niches. You'll understand the importance of choosing a niche and how to go about it.
The fourth lesson talks about building your own website. Here they push their own platform builder so that they hope you stick around and get their hosting which i believe is included in the monthly fee.
You can also get free hosting as a free member on their .siterubix domain and just register a subdomain so it would be something like "mydogisbest.siterubix.com. Please do not do this. You need to own your own domain and i'd suggest a host like bluehost instead.
The fifth lesson tells you how to configure wordpress - assuming your site has been built already. Things like adding and activation plugins and deleting the default posts and pages are shown. Keep in mind this is really basic, basic stuff.
In the sixth lesson they tell you how to get your site ready for the search engines by installing a plugin known as "All in One SEO." I personally prefer Yoast but this one is fine too.
One area of concern is they tell you to make your title "captivating." Although yes it should be, more importantly your keywords need to be mixed in your title somehow for ranking effect. This is not mentioned here, hoping it's covered in the paid training at least.
In lesson eight you will learn how to set up and customize your menu's within wordpress.
In lesson nine, you get an introduction to keywords and how to pick them. They also tout Jaaxy, an online keyword tool that you'll get free with your subscription to the Wealthy Affiliate - Jaazy Lite that is.
Lesson 10 isn't exactly a lesson even though its marked that way. Here is where they tell you that the training ends for the free portion.
If you want to continue, you have to subscribe as a premium member. In case you don't know, your first month is $19 (if you make it during the 7 day window) and $49 thereafter each month.
So this is where i get my full subscription so you can see what you get...***drumroll***
I'm a full member - yay! See I even setup my profile pic. No pic better than your feet resting by the pool at your condo in Bangkok.
Ok so now that I am an official paid member, I will be presented with the next level. This is part of the "Online Entrepreneur Certification."
Level 2 - Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website
The premium training jumps right into domains and telling you that you need your own hosted domain if you opted for a sub-domain on siterubix.com.
Also, the the premium training also assumes you have already picked your niche and set up your site. So far there is no further training on picking a niche - looks like the free training for that is all you'll get. You NEED to be prepared with your niche selection at the very least here before moving forward with training.
Since there is so much, I am going to condense this as much as possible.
It looks like level 2 has 10 different lessons. You need to "mark complete" before moving on.
The sections of this module are as follows:
- Branding - picking your domain/brand
- Branding/Domain - moving your site over from subrubix.
- Keywords - Choosing a target keyword, writing your article, publish your post
- Setting up your email account
- Traffic - creating a keyword rich article.
- Making use of visuals - adding relevant images
- Understanding low hanging fruit - how to identify and use these keywords to your advantage
- Trust - using a 'real' person as writer of content & blog - not just admin.
- Productivity - this is a mindset section all about working smarter.
- Boost your Wealthy Affiliate ranks. This section encourages you to write a blog post in the WA community about your progress so far. There seems to be a lot of "community" focus in this course where you can help others, others help you and you get "ambassador" points. I suppose for some people they'd like this but I can see this being a time waster.
Anyway, I "finished" level 2 and this is what popped up:
Looks like i'm movin' on up. Ok, onward to Level 3!
Level 3 - making money!
This section is about showing you the different ways where you can make money via traffic with your website.
You will learn:
- How affiliate marketing works
- How to find the right affiliate programs (niche relevant, etc.)
- How to add links to your affiliate pages
- Using Amazon Associates
- How to leverage product reviews
- Make money with paid ads on your site using Google Adsense
- Testing affiliate offers vrs Google Adsense
- Installing Google Analytics and analyzing data.
The module concludes with telling you that the main purpose of your website is to educate and help your readers. This is actually true because if you don't offer any value and throw up affiliate links randomly, your readers are going to figure you out eventually that you are just in it for me money. Don't be one of those guys or girls or however you identify as 😛
Level 4 - Mastering social engagement
This module talks about including 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.
In this module:
- Learn how to make your site engaging by allowing comments (watch for spam) and sharing posts on your social media accounts.
- Using Facebook properly
- How to use Pinterest
- How to effectively use Twitter
- Using Google+ - note* - as of this writing it's shutting down in Aug. 2019
- Creating a blog post within Wealthy Affiliate (this effectively helps them rank for more keywords and content for free (genius :P) but in all fairness this could result in a WA commission if someone signs up if the link is clicked.
- Social Branding - making your socials work for you.
- Engage at WA - Engage with members on the platform and how to join the ambassador program.
The module wraps up with how to use social engagement properly. It addresses overuse, why you should use it and quality discussions as well. Overall a pretty decent module on how to use socials.
Level 5 - Content Creation
No doubt content creation is important, this is pretty clear with Google's Panda update that penalizes sites with poor content & content ripped off from other sites.
This module starts off though making a direct correlation with content and Google rankings. Sure, great content helps, but this is not the only thing that gets you ranked over time. I've done a lot of testing and have seen sites with great content go nowhere, where a site with crap content (still gramatically correct - just thin content) get ranked because of SEO that was done to them. This includes backlinking with the right anchors and links. "Content is King" is BS in my opinion.
Anyway, I digress. Let's get on with what's in this module.
- You'll learn how to set up Google Webmaster Tools (now search console - outdated info)
- Improving Indexing Times and Speeds - setting up your sitemap, having a webmaster tools account (again, this is now called Google Search Console) - note- things things will help your site get indexed but not necessarily help you rank in Google which they claim here.
- Reading your content - focus here is not on keywords but making your article readable. Remember articles back in 2010 that had the same keywords over and over? Don't do that!
- Realistic breakdown of your traffic potential - This was anything but realistic! They are just generalizing here how much traffic you'll get based on what? The claims are a bit bizarre. For example if you're in a super competitive niche your "content rich" site is going to be dessimated by a ton of authority sites all with thousands of backlinks - all on page 1 of Google. These numbers they claim are never going to happen in this scenario and even in a lower competition niche. It's all hypothetical based on nothing really. So I was a bit shocked with the claims here. Content only is not going to get you on page 1 of Google unless there's hardly any competition which is unlikely if you're promoting something with an affiliate link. Others are doing the same.
Now I am not saying this isn't achieveable, but the chances of this happening on a site that is new and with the training so far in this course is a longshot.
- Writing structure of your site with conversion intent - how to create call to action on your site.
- Adding call to action links in your comments section
- Setting up Bing webmaster tools & submitting sitemap.
The last section in this module talks about planning ahead in regards to your posts. They want you to set clear goals as to how many articles you will write in a given timeframe and creating a keyword list to write around. I suppose this is a good thing if you like to stick to your goals as it will keep you going.
There's also a section on outsourcing your content. I prefer to write my own but have outsourced content in the past on some of my other affiliate sites. You will know when you are ready to outsource content.
At this point I have finished all the modules in the "Online Entrepreneur Certification" which consisted of 5 courses and 50 lessons.
Next, is the Affiliate Bootcamp, which consists of 7 courses and 70 lessons
This is a 7 phase & 70 lessons module showing you the creation and setup of a business niche related to the promotion of Wealthy Affiliate.
Phase 1 - Getting your business rolling
I got up to lesson 5 and from the beginning of this module all that was discussed was how you can promote Wealthy Affiliate as an affiliate and rake in the big bucks. If you stay on as a premium member then you make double the commissions.
To be fair, there is some information that would apply to a different offer and there's a section on how to do keyword research, create posts, setup plugins etc. If you read from the beginning though, this was already covered in the free training. They go into a little more detail there though.
There's also a lot of theory and hypothetical projections in this section rather than practical examples. Too much theory and wishful thinking is a waste of time to me. I'd rather see some case studies with real life examples.
There is an SEO section and it became very clear to me. Wealthy Affiliate does not believe in backlinking, including PBN's, etc. 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!"
I'll say it again. Fabulous content and flawless on-page SEO (how you set up your site) does not get you ranked. You'll get indexed, but it's very unlikely you'll be able to beat your competitors that have a solid backlink profile.
They do redeem themselves though with their section on how to write a review for a product or service. They break down the page structure, title of the review and what you should include in the review. It's similar to what I do here on my site.
The module finishes off with them doubling down on becoming a premium member. They do promote heavily that you should promote the Wealthy Affiliate and tease you with the double commissions if you stay on as a member.
Phase 2 - Content, Keywords and Conversions
This section breaks down as follows:
- Creating readable content that converts - making your content appear to be pretty and readable - very important.
- Properly using affiliate links - how to setup links and use the 'prettylink' plugin (I use it myself) more talk about WA offer and how to include links for all products.
- Understanding keywords - Discussed the importance of not doing "keyword stuffing" and making your article read for your audience, not Google.
- Creating reviews/targeted keywords - Here they tell you the proper structure of writing a review and i wouldn't do this with every review because it will start to look robotic. Do your own thing because if you do what everyone else does you'll never stand out of the crowd.
- Backing up your website
- Enhancing Your Website Experience - adding drop down menus and organizing your sidebar
- Building MORE Content Through Internal Links - Well, at least WA believes in internal linking, i'd be floored if they told you not to do this too. So yes, internal linking IS important - make sure you do it and make sure you do it right. They give a decent explanation on how to do this.
- Bonuses - Bonuses are ok to add and they give a pretty good explanation here on how and why to add bonuses. It's not for every product though, and in some cases it can 'cheapen' what you are promoting. Use this tactic wisely. If the product is no good, you should not promote it. I've seen reviewers recommend every product under the sun that comes out along with 10+ bonuses. Some even had 30+ bonuses. Pathetic!
At the end of this module they want you to take a 10 day break. As an entrepreneur I don't suggest this and question why they want you to. Take breaks of course, but 10 days doing nothing? Come on!
Phase 3 - Giving Your Site Social value
Here's a breakdown of what you will learn in this module:
- Adding social buttons to your website
- Making your social accounts brand friendly
- How to make your social content engagement friendly
- Social waste vs. productivity
- How to add Google Analytics to your site
- Leveraging the Jaaxy affiliate program (kinda mismatched for this module but they like to push Jaaxy - it's apparently an official tool for Wealthy Affiliate)
- Leveraging your sidebar - another push to promote wealthy affiliate by telling you to put a link to WA on every page of your site in the sidebar.
Phase 4 - Get Visual - Get Aesthetic - Get a Brand Through Media
Here is what is being taught in this module:
- Website design introduction - covers the design of various aspects of your website
- Images - This section discusses Pinterest and why you should utilize it for images.
- Leveraging Video - They tell you how to promote WA again by using one of their many training videos on your site. Kinda lame. I suppose if you swap that out with your own video then it would apply but limited info here on video production & best practices.
- Creating Logos and Images - They provide you with some free tools to create your logo.There is no mention of Fiverr or Upwork which is two of the places to get logos done that I recommend.
- Creating an Effective Jaaxy Review - another push to promote Jaaxy. I wonder if WA owns Jaaxy or a part of it.
- More Pinterest Stuff - Setting up your Pinterest acount & board.
- Creating Your Own Videos - Ok well here they tell you how to create videos but the info is limited and again mentions making a video promoting Wealthy Affiliate.. I provide more information in my blog post "How to Make Money Online With Affiliate Marketing For Beginners" - where you'll probably learn more - and for free. Just scroll down to the Youtube section in the article. You will need software like Camtasia (what I use) or others and some are free.
The module rounds up with a lesson on the customer perspective and how it can relate to your business. Think - putting yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer.
Phase 5 - Knowing Your Audiences and Catapulting Your Referrals
Breaking down this section and what learn learn:
- Creating content with intent - How to write content that doesn't appear to be a salespage but with intent to sell something and appear natural.
- Comments - There's a video from 2013 that shows you how to respond to comments on your website
- Creating Videos - this is the 3rd time so far I have seen video creation in a module. There's a video talking about where to get inspiration from to create videos but again, it's a little lacklustre with details.
- Youtube - Discusses 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.
- Reviews - Here they link to a section where people (other members) talk about their troubles and successes when creating reviews. Helpful I guess.
- The Ultimate Referral tool - Once again they are giving you more ways to promote Wealthy Affiliate as an affiliate by giving you the code to a custom sign up page right from your site. How convenient.
- Follow-Ups - More WA promotion. This time it gives you some tools to automate follow ups with the people you refer to Wealthy Affiliate.
- Create Custom Video Sign-up Pages - More promotion tactics to promote WA.
This module ends telling you to spend the next 6 weeks creating 6 new review pages all keyword rich. Followed by adding 3 keyword rich videos on Youtube.
There was a lot of Wealthy Affiliate promotion in this section, probably the most I have seen. By now you are getting a general idea of what WA is about. Granted you can use the same techniques to promote something else, it's just annoying after a while to see the perpetual invitation to promote WA.
Phase 6 - YaHOO, BING, & The Power of PPC
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click in case you didn't know. Notice that Google is omitted from the title? That's because they don't cover Google Adwords. Why? They say it's too difficult. I'm a bit speechless. Google ads is not hard to work with I just think they didn't want to do a module on it because it updates a lot?
Anyway, if you want to learn PPC in Wealthy Affiliate you're going to have to stick with Bing or Yahoo and not the biggest search engine in the world.
Anyway, if I haven't lost you yet, this is what you'll learn about Bing and Yahoo PPC:
- Setting up your account
- Setting up your campaign
- Creating review ad groups
- Conversion tracking
There's more to this module but it's all about Bing & Yahoo PPC. They cover it all if you're just thinking about using these platforms and not Google.
Phase 7 - Blasting Your Wealthy Affiliate Earnings With PPC
Did you think the WA promotion of WA was over yet? Nope.
So the training here was created on March 8, 2017, two years ago. They finally decied to get Google Ads in. Google Adwords changes a lot and they just recently had an update. Note - Google Adwords is now known as Google Ads, this is not been updated on the site yet.
The outdated training tells you to set up an account and conversion tracking. It's very different now but you can find free resources online on how to do this.
As I mentioned, it's going to look different when you log into your Google Ads account compared to the training but it's fundamentally the same. Here's what you will learn:
- Creating ad Groups
- Creating campaigns
- Choosing keywords
- Creating product comparison tables (for reviews)
- Ensuring your campaign's relevancy
- Direct linking (to affiliate offer - I don't recommend as conversions are low this way)
- Discussion of numbers - ensuring your campaigns are profitable.
- Writing your landing pages (your posts) with PPC in mind
- Creating long-term scalable campaigns.
This not only marks the end of this module but also all 7 phases of the Wealthy Affiliate Bootcamp.
You have probably noticed they want you to promote the course and this is present in almost every module. You could substitute WA with another offer and still take advantage of the training but for some I think this might be a bit of a turn off and seem self-serving for WA.
Anyway, here's a snapshot of what you'll see once the Bootcamp training is complete:
Wealthy Affiliate Live Events
WA holds live webinars once a week. 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 WA does not update their content - they should. On the plus side, at least you'll get up-to-date information here. You can also interract 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.
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 a positive or a negative depending 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 (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 the Wealthy Affiliate - 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.
Is the Wealthy Affiliate a Scam?
No, it's not a scam. If it was they wouldn't have so many members. I just don't like the push for self promotion so much. It's a little too much at times and they should only dedicate one module to this.
Should you buy the wealthy affiliate course?
Ok, so now that I finally completed my review of the Wealthy Affiliate (whew!!) here is what I think.
If you are a complete newbie, you don't know much about affiliate marketing, how to create a website etc., then you might get something out of it. You can join for just $19 in your first month then decide for yourself after.
The content at times is dated, but it still applies today for the most part - unless something changes.
Cons of the Wealthy Affiliate
Unless something has changed, WA believes you can rank your website in Google without ANY backlinks and just good on-page SEO.
This is simply not true and i'll prove it to you right now.
You will need a tool like AHREFS where you can check the backlink profile of any site. You can get a $7 trial for 7 days.
Next, pick a niche with an affiliate offer. More than one offer per niche is best.
Type in Google a keyword that someone may look for to match your affiliate offer. For example if it's about dog training, Google "How to train my doberman" or something like that.
Make note of all the websites on the first page of Google. Enter these in AHREFS. I can guarantee you they all have a healthy number of backlinks.
Then go to page 2, 3 and beyond and compare. I don't care how great the content is, if no sites (good, relative sites btw) aren't linking to the site in question, it's not going to rank. Period.
If you don't care about SEO and want to learn how to build an affiliate site and maybe do some PPC, then sure, go ahead and grab the Wealthy Affiliate. It's only $19 for the first month and $49 each month after so it does give you some time to try it out and you can cancel anytime.
If you grab it through a link on my page here (yes I get a small commission at no expense to you) and after 3 months your site is not ranking anywhere, i'll personally take a look at it and give you my feedback, along with analyzing your competition - for free.
Alternative to Wealthy Affiliate?
Oh, yes there is.
This affiliate marketing course here is my #1 choice today. It's inexpensive and the training is up-to-date and superb. There's also NO monthly fees, just a one-time fee and you'll get all the updates too.
The tactics taught in the course have even helped me with my own affiliate sites so obviously I can feel good about giving it a thumbs up.
I think it will be clear to you which one you prefer. You can always contact me if you would like more info or just comment below.
If you made it this far, congratulations. This was a very long review that took me a week to do! Please like & share if you got some value today.
Wealthy Affiliate Rating
Not for everyone, please review my ending comments.