Wealthy Affiliate Review 2021: Read This Before You Buy

 Last Updated on November 3 2021 by Drew Mann

Hey, Drew here. Welcome to my Wealthy Affiliate review, fresh and updated for 2021. If you’re trying to find out whether it’s worth it or a scam, then this unbiased review is what you’re looking for.

I’m actually writing this intro last because I just finished researching and writing everything about the Wealthy Affiliate. This includes the training itself, what people are saying in the forums, other affiliate marketers I know personally and all the juicy stuff I’ve found on Youtube. 

So strap in for the ride to see if you should join Wealthy Affiliate. It’s going to be a long one. No pun intended!

What are you going to learn?

  • What is the Wealthy Affiliate?
  • Who founded the course
  • Why 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

Why Should You Trust my Affiliate Marketing Reviews?

This isn’t my first time at the rodeo. In fact, affiliate marketing was one of the things that have allowed me to become financially independent. Because of it, I work where I want, when I want and HOW I want. 

I got into the affiliate marketing game in the early 2010s. I failed a whole hell of a lot let me tell you. It’s only after many attempts and following through on the training that I received that I was able to make a go of this. I bought a lot of courses and soon was able to notice the scammers from the legit course creators. 

I even started my own agency when I learned how to do SEO, which is a vital component of affiliate marketing.

So now that you know I can decipher a trash course from something that is legit, I hope now you can see why you can trust me. I’d say I’m a pretty successful affiliate marketer. You’re in good hands! 😀

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is where you promote a product that is not your own. If someone buys that product from your unique link, you will get a commission.

You get that link from a vendor or a marketplace, such as Clickbank, for example. The link is unique to you, so when someone makes a purchase the vendor knows who the sale came from.

The payout varies. It is normally a percentage of the sale. It can be anywhere from 2% to 50% or more, depending on the vendor.

You can do affiliate marketing anywhere you can post a link. The most common places to post a link are:

  • Blogs / Websites
  • Social Media posts (paid or unpaid)
  • Email Marketing

To visualize the process, here’s how it works:

What is the Wealthy Affiliate?

The 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 the 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

Why I can’t recommend Wealthy Affiliate for The Majority of People

Do you remember that commercial where this geeky-looking guy goes to buy some caulking to do repairs on his house? While at the register, a professional contractor shows him that he’s got the wrong product. He then points him to a better tool for the job called “Mono.”

The geek then shows up at the register with “Mono” in his hand, with a proud look on his face like he’s just like the pro that showed him the way.

I look at Wealthy Affiliate training in the same light. You’re at the checkout wondering if you are making the right choice. Wouldn’t you like to have a pro tell you that you have other better options?

I’ve done affiliate marketing for over 10 years now so I think I can be that guy to tell you what you’re up against.

WA has some value for beginners that is for sure. If you have never done any affiliate marketing in the past, then you are going to learn the basics and even get access to some decent tools to get you started.

HOWEVER,

The affiliate marketing landscape has changed. WA is outdated AF. A lot of the tactics that they teach are no longer relevant. Things that you should be doing to succeed, such as link-building, are not even taught in this course. If you don’t do that – you will go nowhere. Not to mention that WA pressures their students in almost EVERY module to promote the course. It feels like a cult.

I’ll keep this review balanced and also point out the positives. The idea here is to give you the information you won’t hear from an affiliate of WA.

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. Originally 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 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.

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 to start your own affiliate marketing online business.

Besides Kyle and Carson, Jay Neill is the head trainer at Wealthy Affiliate and has been there since 2007.

How Much Money can you Make with the Wealthy Affiliate Program?

If that was the case I wouldn’t have canceled my membership! 😁

In all seriousness, 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, 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 and just focus on promoting the course instead. More on this later.

How much does the Wealthy Affiliate Cost?

The Wealthy Affiliate Costs $0 for the starter program and $49 a month ($19 for your first month) or $359 per year. They also have a Premium Plus version for $99 a month.

Here’s what you get with the free starter plan:

  • Basic training access
  • Access to the WA community for 7 days
  • 1 basic website included
  • Keyword tool (30 free searches)
  • Ability to promote WA with their affiliate program

The starter program includes 10 free lessons on what affiliate marketing is, how to choose a niche, keywords, and an introduction to WordPress. It shows you their “4 step roadmap to success” with one fundamental flaw which starts with step 2 – building a website for free.

The Free Website is a Waste of Time

You are given access to get a free website you can build on “Siterubix” which I’ve never heard of before.

So, checking into this further, when I signed up for the free plan it turns out that “Siterubix” is owned by Wealthy Affiliate. Please, if you sign up for the free plan, do not bother with this unless you just want to “practice” creating a site.

Your site will look something like this – yoursitename.siterubix.com. So, it’s essentially a subdomain of Siterubix. It’s nothing special because you can get a free site on wordpress.com (not wordpress.org which allows you to have your own domain without WordPress anywhere in the URL.

The problem with this is your site is NEVER going to rank in Google with Siterubix. It could rank for something very obscure, but chances are NO ONE is searching for that anyway, so why bother!

Take a look at what some members are saying about it right from a post on WA.

Even Kyle, one of the founders of WA advises that you should have your own website. So here’s a question for you – wouldn’t you want to start off the right way? Avoid SiteRubix and register your own domain with your own hosting account. It’s not expensive either!

Here’s What you get with the Premium Plan – $49/month:

  • Premium training with live webinars
  • Messaging system – communicate with other members
  • Access to the online community
  • 50 websites
  • Ability to connect with coaches & support
  • Higher affiliate commissions (when promoting WA)

With the Premium Plan you’re taught how to create a site in wordpress with your own domain. There’s a LOT more to the Premium plan which i’ll discuss in the review so stay tuned.

Here’s What you get with the Premium PLUS Plan – $99/month:

You get everything in the premium training plus these additional features:

  • Jaaxy Enterprise – WA’s keyword research tool with more features than the standard
  • Ability to host more sites – up to 50
  • 200+ “expert” level live training with Q& A
  • A higher level of support – 24/7 live help, private messaging, etc

For most, the Premium Plus plan isn’t going to be worth it, especially at double the price. Not many people will need to host 50 sites and I am not sure why there should be an “expert” level training which is not included in the Premium version. This seems unfair to premium members that have been around a long time.

What is the WA Refund Policy?

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.

When you cancel you’ll get an email from Carson that looks like this:

So as you can see, your membership will be canceled at the end of your billing date.

But there is one more thing you need to be aware of. If you sign up to WA from an affiliate link from one of the members, they are going to know who you are.

In fact, they will send you an email after you join the premium training and tell you what a great choice you’ve made and how he or she is there to help.

Talk about feeling guilty if you cancel!

And in case if you’re wondering, when I canceled, my “sponsor” was not happy I left. He wanted to know why and asked if there was anything he could do to get me back in. It wasn’t exactly harassment, but it just felt weird.

If you are going to be joining Wealthy Affiliate, do it from the homepage and make sure your cookies are cleared so you won’t be joining under someone. Unless of course, you want the attention and the humiliation after you quit 😂

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, forget-about-it!

It’s also for those that are willing to start a website, get content created, and wait quite a few months before they see any results. In other words, you need to have patience when it comes to ranking websites in Google.

Beginners may get some benefits from WA by learning how to create a website with WordPress, how to find keywords, pick a niche, and help from the community.

I do caution you though, even as a beginner there are other alternatives. I would rather have you started on the right foot without being clouded with something I find sub-par.

I got your back – more on this later.

Who is Wealthy Affiliate NOT For?

You can probably guess already if you read above. If you’re an intermediate or advanced in affiliate marketing, you’ll probably have several draw-dropping experiences while going through the material. You might be thinking – “Did I actually pay for this!” 😆

It’s also NOT for people that have little patience.

Look, whether it’s WA or some other course that teaches you how to go after organic, free traffic in Google and other search engines – if you don’t have the patience, then it’s not for you.

So in other words, if you’re looking to make money quickly, it’s not going to happen with Wealthy Affiliate.

Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam or Legit Course?

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!

Wealthy Affiliate Negatives and Complaints

You may have read a Wealthy Affiliate review that speaks favorably about the course. They might even throw in a couple of negatives just to make their review seem legit.

Chances are this review was made by a Wealthy Affiliate member promoting the course.

So what about the legitimate concerns with WA? Is there an unbiased review that gives the facts? Well, let’s run through them, shall we?

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:

Is Wealthy Affiliate an MLM?

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.

Is Wealthy Affiliate a Pyramid Scheme?

I can’t say that Wealthy Affiliate is anything like a Pyramid scheme. But, it makes me wonder why people are asking this question.

A pyramid scheme is a sketchy business practice top-level members attempt to recruit others. The members pay a fee to those that enrolled them. This process continues over and over as money flows up the chain to the top.

So, no, Wealthy Affiliate is NOT a pyramid scheme of any sort. We can lay that to rest.

The SEO Advice is Terrible

There is an SEO section and it became very clear to me. Wealthy Affiliate does not believe in backlinking, including guest posts, 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!”

Fabulous content and flawless on-page SEO (how you set up your site) do 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.

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 pages 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. In short, you aren’t going to make money online with affiliate marketing without a backlink strategy.

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.

Just do What you Want…and Take a Break

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:

An Entire Module Built to Promote Wealthy Affiliate

After you’ve completed the Premium Training, you’re probably all excited to get your website going in the niche you have picked.

But,

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.

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:

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?

2. Wealthy Affiliate Members Have the Highest Success Rate…

What?!?

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 😉

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.

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.

5.Your Website will rank Better if Hosted with Wealthy Affiliate

This is absolute BULL. 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.

How is Wealthy Affiliate’s Reputation?

From the standpoint of someone promoting the Wealthy Affiliate as an affiliate, they are obviously going to give the course a thumbs up. After all, they want you to buy the course from their link so they get a commission.

There’s nothing wrong with that if they are promoting something that is worth the money. I am not saying Wealthy Affiliate is terrible, but there are too many positive reviews out there from members peddling the course.

You aren’t going to say anything bad about the course if you want to get commissions from their affiliate program, right?

So we now know that the course is just fabulous from the affiliates. But what is everyone else saying about it?

According to Trust Pilot, there are quite a few positive reviews:

But what’s interesting here is that most of the “reviewers” only have one review on their profile. And you guessed it, it’s just for the Wealthy Affiliate.

Now to be fair they can’t pop their affiliate link in there so it comes across as unbiased. But I can’t help think that maybe people are being coerced into leaving a positive Trust Pilot review? I’m not saying this is fact but WA is monitoring this because they are replying to comment made. They are very much aware of their presence on Trust Pilot.

Here’s a more honest review of the course from an actual member found on Quora:

Now obviously we can’t base WA’s reputation on what you’ve seen with the above two images, but one thing is clear. You are going to get much more honesty from someone that is not posting a link to promote the course.

What About Reviews from Non-Affiliates?

For those that have been in the affiliate marketing arena for a long time, myself included, it’s difficult to consciously promote Wealthy Affiliate as a number one choice. For those in the know, there are much better programs out there. This even goes for beginners.

When I joined Wealthy Affiliate I did so for the sole purpose of evaluating the program. I wanted to see if the hype was real and maybe learn a thing or two. I felt cheated, to be honest. There was nothing there that I didn’t know already.

About the Trainers

Kyle Louden and Jay Neill are the primary trainers in Wealthy Affiliate. Carson is mostly absent from the program so it’s really just down to these two guys.

In my opinion, I think the measure of a trainer is based on his/her own successes. I believe you would agree that if asked to be trained by someone that is extremely successful or by someone that has some good skills but not much experience, you’re going to go with the former.

Kyle Louden

Kyle is the main guy when it comes to training. You will hear from him all throughout the course.

He’s actually pretty good when it comes to training as he speaks slowly (enough) and with an easy-to-understand voice. He doesn’t complicate things too much with tech jargon so it really makes newbies feel at ease.

To get a feel for his style, here’s one of his training videos on how to create menus:

Kyle reveals some of his websites in the course and I think by now he wishes he didn’t. For those that don’t have tools like Ahrefs, they might think he’s got some great sites there. But when you peel back the curtains and take an in-depth look, it paints a very bleak picture.

This is one of his sites, waystoavoidscamsonline.com. It was registered back on Nov 14, 2012, quite some time ago.

Apart from the fact that it hasn’t been updated since 2018, it’s doing terribly when I run it through Ahrefs.

Pay close attention to the 2 red circles I made. He’s getting an average of 5 visitors a month and a traffic value of ZERO dollars.

At one point his site wasn’t doing too bad but something bad happened in mid-2017 and his site’s traffic tanked. What was going on there? Was his site hit with an algorithmic penalty? It’s still indexed in Google but not ranking well with just 106 organic keywords. None of these are on page one which is why he’s not getting any traffic.

This site has a lot of potential but something happened along the way. It’s definitely not a good case study nor should it be mentioned in the course.

Now ask yourself, would you want to learn from a guy that has a site like this?

There are other examples, and they aren’t any better.

Let’s take a look at his other site – howtolosebellyfattoday.com

This one is even worse with 0 traffic and 0 traffic value.

If we look at the whois.com info below, we can see that it hasn’t expired (yet) and that it looks to be hosted by the Wealthy Affiliate based on the hosting domain ns1.mywahosting.com – I’m assuming that’s the nameservers for Siterubix.

It’s not a new site as it was registered back in 2013. Normally a site this old and if done correctly should have a pretty good ranking in Google – but it’s not.

Here’s what it currently looks like:

What you see is the most current post, way back in 2015. That’s before Trump took office. And it was also the time when Justin Trudeau was first elected the Prime Minister of Canada. He was asked why he selected his cabinet members to have a 50/50 mix of men and women. You might remember his famous response – “Because it’s 2015” 🤣

To be fair, it’s possible these sites may have been making him some money because it did have traffic at some point.

I am guessing that Kyle doesn’t care if his affiliate sites crash and burn because he’s making enough money from membership sales of the Wealthy Affiliate.

I would not be surprised if his sites get “de-mentioned” in WA at some point. I think it’s in his best interest to do so.

Jay Neill

Jay Neill is another trainer inside Wealthy Affiliate. He is responsible for hosting the weekly live training inside course. He dubs himself a well-known “affiliate consultant” since 2006.

Jay is also the creator of his website affiliateresources.com. Let’s take a close look at the affiliate site of this affiliate consultant. It must be good right?

We can immediately see that his site does much better than the 2 examples I gave you earlier from Kyle. Not bad.

But why is this?

Essentially, this site has been created with the end goal of getting you to join Wealthy Affiliate. So a lot of work was put into it since 2010 when it was first registered. Jay likely makes most of his affiliate commission by selling Wealthy Affiliate memberships, so of course, he won’t let this site die. It’s his bread and butter, besides what he gets paid for being a trainer at Wealthy Affiliate.

Most of the articles will have a link to some “free training”.

Free training is great right? Well sure it is, but the end goal is to get you to sign up to Wealthy Affiliate.

If you visit the site, you’ll see a pop-up like this on the bottom right corner:

If you fill it out, this is what you’ll see next:

See what it says in the black box?

Before you even get the “free training” you’re already being asked to join Wealthy Affiliate.

When you check your inbox you’ll have to confirm your subscription and then you’ll get the training.

The “free training” goes directly to the Wealthy Affiliate website to a video by Jay called the “$10K per month Affiliate Playbook”. Here you get some very basic training and then you’ll be pitched to join Wealthy Affiliate. The free training is just basic stuff telling you about affiliate marketing, how you make money online, selecting a niche, buying a domain name, get hosting, etc.

But…

What really bothered me here was Jay’s “reality check” on how much it would typically cost you to set up a website per year. He said it will cost you $839.98 a year. This is NOT true.

Here’s a screenshot from the very training that he is directing you to:

Now, let’s break down the reality here.

For a Domain name, I suggest getting it from Namecheap.com. You can get a .com for around $10-$15 which INCLUDES domain privacy. You don’t need to pay $50 for privacy protection. I am not sure where he even gets that number.

For Web Hosting, you can find a decent host for around $5 a month. Most companies will offer a discounted rate on your first year. Once your site gets traction, you can get a better host. A really good one can cost you as little as $10 a month.

As for SSL certificates, he says this will cost you $199 a year. Most hosts these days include free SSL. Or, you can simply register for a free account at Cloudflare (a CDN) and get a free SSL installed for the life of the site.

I also don’t know why he threw in “average WordPress training” for $149.99 because there are tons of free resources on Youtube on how to learn WordPress.

In reality…

A decent host will cost you $35 for the first year + your domain name including privacy protection at around 10-15 dollars. So you can start a website for around $50 NOT for $839.98 a year.

I just see this as scare tactics and he’s targeting people that are not “in the know”. This is all just a ploy to get you to sign up with Wealthy Affiliate to take advantage of their free hosting – which I would personally stay away from. If you cancel your membership – say goodbye to your site. And that’s only one reason.

Jay’s $100 dollar a day Site

Let’s take a look at one of his sites he claims to be making $100 a day – footballsnackhelmets.com.

So, let’s do some math here. I checked on Amazon.com which is where Jay is sending traffic to get affiliate commissions on these things. The average price is about $75 USD.

In case you didn’t know, Amazon dropped commission payouts for affiliates and this item pays out just 3%, not the 8% that Jay says.

So his commission for 1 helmet is $2.16.

In order to make $100 a day, he would have to sell approximately 46 helmets a day. He would need a hell of a lot more than 46 visits to his site every day to make this kind of money because only a small percentage will actually buy.

What do the stats say?

According to Ahrefs, his site gets about 120 visits per month.

That’s 4 visitors per day if we average it out.

How is it possible that this site can make $100 day? At best, with a 25% conversion rate based on 4 visits a day (which is high) he’s only going to make $2.16 a day – not $100!

So let me ask you this. If you can’t believe the hype (now you have proof) that this site makes $100 a day – how are you going to believe anything else?

Jay seems like a nice guy, but his focus is to get you to sign up for Wealthy Affiliate training. But to claim his site makes $100 a day isn’t just deceptive – it’s not true. Maybe at one point, it did – like during the Superbowl when these things first came out. But every day like he says? BS! 🤭

So if you join WA, you might want to fact-check some of the things he says. Just in case.

What’s in Wealthy Affiliate Training?

Despite all you’re seen so far, (it’s been a lot) Wealthy Affiliate does actually teach you affiliate marketing. It is segmented into 3 options, depending on what you choose. The Starter program is the free training offered, the Premium training includes the core training plus the Affiliate Bootcamp. Then there’s the higher-priced Premium Plus training.

Wealthy Affiliate Starter – Free Training

There are 10 free lessons as a Starter Member of the free membership

Let’s break down these lessons:

  • Lesson 1 – just an overview of the platform and what to expect
  • Lesson 2 – discusses how you will earn money and also breaks down the affiliate marketing model for the noobs.
  • Lesson 3 – talks about niches. You’ll understand the importance of choosing a niche and how to go about it.
  • Lesson 4 – how to build your own website for free using a sub-domain of Siterubix.com (don’t do this please!)
  • Lesson 5 – how to configure Wordpress
  • Lesson 6 – how to install “All in One SEO” plugin
  • Lesson 7 – how to set up important pages – about me, privacy policy, etc.
  • Lesson 8 – how to customize menus
  • Lesson 9 – how to choose keywords
  • Lesson 10 – Nothing to learn here, just end of training (not sure why this is a lesson)

What I like about the Free Training

As I mentioned before, this is basic training and if you know nothing about affiliate marketing, then it is certainly going to be a good crash course on it. It hammers down the basics like showing you how WordPress works, a good overview of affiliate marketing, and some basic training on keywords and niches.

Beginners will benefit, but keep in mind this is very basic stuff.

What I Don’t like about the Free Training

The worst part is teaching you how to set up your free site on their own platform – Siterubix.com as a subdomain. So this would look like yoursite.siterubix.com. The problem here is that you are never going to rank in Google with this.

The next problem is that if you do decide to jump into Premium, you are told to migrate everything over to a regular domain like yoursite.com without the Siterubix extension. The problem here is that you would have wasted all that time and effort on the subdomain, where you could have just started with your own “yoursite.com” domain. It’s like you are starting over from scratch.

Google will see your site as a new site, and if you’re not careful, you could get penalized with duplicate content. That is something someone new should NOT have to worry about. In conclusion, don’t take the advice in the free starter program to put your site on WA’s Siterubix. You need your own domain.

Wealthy Affiliate Premium Training

If you decided to take the plunge and join Wealthy Affiliate for the paid training, you’ll get access to the premium membership. This is part of the “Online Entrepreneur Certification.”

Here’s the nice custom message I got after joining. YES, that’s my feet in the profile pic taken from my condo’s pool in Bangkok. Deal with it! haha 😁

The premium training consists of 5 different levels with a total of 50 different lessons.

I won’t lie, there’s a lot to go through and it’s going to take some time to get through everything. If you want any chance to make money online, you’ll need Premium because the starter program just doesn’t cut it.

Here’s what the Premium training consists of:

  • Building Your Website – learn about branding, keywords, setting up a domain, setting up your email account, how to build trust with your website, etc.
  • Making Money – how to add affiliate links, find affiliate programs, leverage product reviews, installing Google Analytics and analyzing data.
  • Master Social Engagement – How to use sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus (even though it was shut down, c’mon man!
  • Content Creation – Teaches you how to write content for your blog posts, how to get indexed, setting up Webmaster Tools, breakdown of traffic potential.

There’s a lot of outdated training in WA Premium. However, there is still some decent information that you can learn as a premium member. Some things don’t change with affiliate marketing like getting branding right, finding keywords, build trust etc. All that is highlighted in Premium training.

What I Like About Wealthy Affiliate Premium:

There’s a few things that I did like, such as:

  • Covers a good variety of topics for new affiliate marketers
  • Videos are easy to follow and understand
  • Decent social media training
  • Not too over-the-top technical – easy for beginners to digest

What I Don’t Like About Wealthy Affiliate Premium:

Some of the things I didn’t like were:

  • Some training is just glossed over and not detailed enough
  • Misleading claims like setting up Google Webmaster Tools will help your site rank
  • A lot of theory was taught. Practical advice like a case study would be beneficial here
  • Unrealistic claims of traffic potential

I do have to comment on the last part about the traffic claims, it was quite outrageous.

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.

Here’s a screenshot of these misleading claims:

Now, these numbers are possible if you do things right. With what they teach in the Premium Training with NO SEO backlinking strategy – forgetaboutit!

Internet Marketers Dream Research Platform – Jaaxy

With your membership to Premium, you get free access to WA’s proprietary tool, Jaaxy. I have NEVER heard of this tool before – anywhere outside of Wealthy Affiliate.

It’s dubbed “internet marketers dream research platform” so it must be awesome – just like Ahrefs, right?

Well, not exactly.

Here I did a search for “dog collars” using Jaaxy and this is what came up:

So for each of these keywords that came up, it gives you the average search amount, traffic, QSR, KQI & SEO.

To measure keyword competition, you are only going to focus on QSR, KQI and SEO.

QSR is the Quoted Search Results. This is basically the amount of pages that Google is currently ranking for that keyword.

KQI is Keyword Quality Indicator. This is a Jaaxy metric that determines the quality of a keyword. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

Here is the problem:

QSR is a useless metric because even if you had just 10 pages ranking for that keyword but they are all on high authority sites, then you’ll never get on the first page for that term. On the flipside, if there’s 100 pages in QSR but they all suck, then you might have a chance ranking – if you do it right.

So you are essentially blind here. You won’t fully understand what your chances are of ranking for that keyword with the data presented in Jaaxy.

I don’t want to make this a Jaaxy review, so I’ll keep it at that. From this alone, I would not suggest using it for your keyword research.

Wealthy Affiliate Premium Plus Training

The Premium Plus training will cost you twice as much as the regular “Premium Traning at $99 a month.

Sorry but crackers are not included 🤣

Is the Premium Plus training just a cash grab or is it worth the extra cost? First of all, if you are a beginner, this training is not suggested. It’s likely geared towards Premium members or new members that have an intermediate to advanced skillset with affiliate marketing.

In my opinion, Wealthy Affiliate Premium Plus is gimmicky and not worth the extra 50 dollars a month.

Jaaxy Enterprise

I haven’t mentioned Jaaxy yet, which is a tool Wealthy Affiliate created for keyword research. There are much better keyword tools out there (I will get into this later).

With Premium Plus, you get the enterprise version of Jaaxy which includes Site Rank tracking, better search results, and instant QSR. QSR is short form for “Quoted Search Results”. It just shows how many websites are competing for a particular keyword.

Additional Websites

Most people won’t have a need for 50 websites, and with Premium Plus you get bumped to be able to host 50 of them. First of all, you should never host all your sites with one host. Hosting 50 of them is madness. And, if you cancel your membership with WA, you will lose all your sites. 🤔

The highlight would be the 200+ “expert” classes you will get each year. The Premium members just get 52 classes a year. This is still with Jay Neill, so you’re getting the same trainer, just more of him.

I think one live class every Friday is enough. I can’t justify spending 2x to add a couple more classes a week.

Additional Support

If you subscribe to Premium Plus, your support is prioritized over regular members. I suppose if you are desperate to solve a problem this could be a big help. But I think for most people they won’t need it.

Do I Recommend Wealthy Affiliate Premium Plus?

I don’t if you are looking for twice the value compared to the regular, Premium version. Premium Plus doesn’t offer anything new. All it does is build on the Premium training by adding more hosted websites, ramping up the hosting, a better version of Jaaxy, and additional live training and Q&A.

There’s nothing new here at all. Everything is already available in the regular training, just not as much. So yes, for most people it’s not needed. Perhaps some can benefit from the 200+ live training sessions, but for the most part, I wouldn’t bother.

What does Wealthy Affiliate Fail to Teach?

When I went through the training I was left a little bewildered. A lot that should be taught wasn’t. To be fair, some of it was in the live training and Q&A. However, I could not uncover in the core training the important things that a new and even intermediate affiliate marketer needs to know!

Here’s what I could not find:

  • SEO – building backlinks to rank
  • Nofollow links
  • Email Marketing
  • Featured Snippets
  • Instagram
  • Youtube SEO
  • Schema Markup
  • Affiliate Disclosures
  • Outsourcing content
  • How to update old content
  • Google Adsense
  • WordPress page builders
  • Video Affiliate Marketing
  • Citing sources

All of these are important when it comes to your blog/website in affiliate marketing and without it, you aren’t going to do very well. That’s just the reality here folks.

Wealthy Affiliate Community and Support

Is Wealthy Affiliate Support Adequate?

I can’t say anything bad about Wealthy Affiliate support because it’s actually quite good. It’s quite fast and easy to use.

What I like is you can contact Carson, Kyle, and even Jay through a private, direct messaging system.

There’s also generic support which you can use if you don’t need to contact Carson, Kyle, or Jay directly.

This type of support is only for technical issues with your website. If it’s technical and related to your website, you’d then click yes and then fill out the form. Responses generally take up to 24 hours. If you have questions on something like keyword research, you won’t get an answer here. You’d have to go through the community for that.

Feedback from site support is generally positive as you can see from this one particular member:

How is the Wealthy Affiliate Community?

The Wealthy Affiliate community is probably the biggest community of affiliate marketers in one place that I know of. That’s for paid members of course. It’s 800,00 strong with members from 195 countries.

Wealthy Affiliate claims that response times are generally 1.8 minutes and is active 24/7.

It is pretty impressive and my experience with the community was overall positive. People genuinely do want to see others succeed and it shows in the interactions.

There is a Dark Side to the Wealthy Affiliate Community

When I originally signed up (back in 2019) I got a bunch of comments on my profile. These appeared to be general members, not administrative staff. I found this quite strange. Or, were they generally happy to see me join?

Strangely enough, I saw some of the same people welcoming others after joining in other profiles.

So, why is this?

Well, I found out it wasn’t because they were genuinely happy to see me. There is a point system where you earn points by welcoming people to the community. 🤔

That’s like somebody only liking you because you’ve got something they want. Know anyone like that?

Doesn’t this violate WA’s anti-spam policy?

It seems like spam to me. Although it is encouraged?

I found out you can get points by simply responding to posts and asking questions. You also get points by blogging.

All this does is incentivize people to spam everywhere they can to get on the Wealthy Affiliate leaderboard within the community. Sure, some responses might seem genuine. But for those that want the attention, they are just going to clutter the community with pointless interactions.

Wealthy Affiliate Community Becoming Like Facebook

This one member summed up the community perfectly, where it started to feel like Facebook. Some people are just posting random stuff, totally unrelated to affiliate marketing.

She even quoted one member saying that it’s becoming like some sort of popularity contest.

So if there is a disadvantage of having a huge and active community, this is it. People posting useless daily life stuff not related to making money online isn’t going to help you.

Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories

Are there any successful students within Wealthy Affiliate? WA claims there are. And they also have the “proof”.

Yes, I have found some success stories. However, they all seem to be a few years old and haven’t seen many recent success stories. Could this be because the tactics WA teaches is outdated and worked back then only? This could very well be the case.

For the ones I did find, they are stories like this which were considered success stories:

  • $28 commission in one day with an Amazon sale
  • $140 in 2 weeks
  • $20 commission on an Amazon sale
  • I made a $1000 sale

I suppose to someone new making their first dollar is the best thing that can happen to them. For me, I’ll never forget that moment. It’s pretty special.

However, the success stories aren’t that impressive. I have seen some that have made more money than that but there wasn’t really much proof to back it up.

I’ve also found that most people that are making money do it mostly from promoting Wealthy Affiliate. Here’s an interesting story of a guy that claimed to make 100K in 2018. It turns out most of that money came from promoting Wealthy Affiliate.

I couldn’t find a follow-up to that so my guess is that it didn’t happen. More power to him though for recruiting a lot of Wealthy Affiliate members.

Why so many Positive Wealthy Affiliate Reviews Online?

There are a ton of positive reviews of Wealthy Affiliate and they all have one thing in common. They are all Wealthy Affiliate Affiliates that push the course hard.

Sure, they will throw in a couple of negatives to make it look legit, but overall you’ll see plastered on their site things like “my #1 recommendation” or “Get the best training here” etc.

These folks are incentivized to promote Wealthy Affiliate for a few reasons.

  1. There’s an entire module on promoting Wealthy Affiliate (Affiliate Bootcamp)
  2. As a paying member, you get double the commissions
  3. Some people don’t know what niche to pick so they just promote Wealthy Affiliate
  4. They are influenced by other members of the community to do it

Deceptive Tactics

I saw this one “Wealthy Affiliate Review” where I had a bit of a chuckle. The guy pumped up WA talking about how it helps people achieve success and “turns your dreams into reality.”

He then posts a screenshot of his Wealthy Affiliate earnings (from promoting the course) and then literally says – SO YOU KNOW IT’S REAL…

So turning your dreams into reality means promoting Wealthy Affiliate? So the Wealthy Affiliate is real because you can make real commissions by promoting the course. And, here’s the proof. Riiiiiight…

Wealthy Affiliate Pros and Cons

Surprisingly, Wealthy Affiliate has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • If you are very new and just want some basic training with access to basic tools and an active community, then perhaps Wealthy Affiliate is for you.
  • If you’ve never done affiliate marketing before, the course will help you get your feet wet.
  • Web hosting and some basic tools are included, so there’s no additional expense.
  • WA teaches White Hat techniques only with no pbn’s or Black Hat stuff. This is a good thing because newbies would easily destroy their new site using Black Hat strategies.

Cons:

  • Outdated training – some of the strategies could hurt you in 2021 and beyond.
  • Too much emphasis on recruiting members to market WA as an affiliate
  • No training on backlinking (SEO)
  • If you cancel, you will lose your site if hosted with WA
  • The community can get toxic with unrelated posts
  • Monthly fee – many good courses offer just a one-time fee with free updates

The pros and cons may seem balanced here in terms of numbers. But, the cons are quite heavy in terms of impact. You need to be aware of them.

My Final Verdict – Is Wealthy Affiliate Worth Joining and can you Make Money With it?

Should you join? Can you make money with Wealthy Affiliate?

If you read this entire review, congrats. You have your answer. If you skipped to the bottom without reading, then the answer actually a yes and a no. And quite possibly a maybe…

Let me explain.

Wealthy Affiliate can be a good option for someone just starting out because the basic affiliate marketing training is not bad. You ARE going to learn something. If you like to be part of a community and talk to like-minded entrepreneurs, WA has the biggest of all. However just don’t expect to be taught up-to-date and advanced level training.

About making money…

Sure, you could make some money, but definitely not baller money. The outdated techniques could really end up harming your website in the long run. However, there is some decent training in the course so it’s not all bad. From what I have seen, members seem to make most of their money promoting the course and nothing else. In my opinion, this is not a reason to join Wealthy Affiliate. You can promote it as a non-member as well.

Is There an Alternative to Wealthy Affiliate?

You bet there is.

Sure, there’s a ton of affiliate marketing courses out there and I’ve bought and reviewed most of them. You can check out my best affiliate marketing course list for my picks.

In my opinion, The Authority Site System is your best option.

Wealthy Affiliate tries to recruit you to sell memberships and shows you how to make a small niche site.

The Authority Site System (TASS for short) shows you how to create a site where you become the “authority” in your niche. You will learn how to find money-making niches, do “proper” keyword research, how to build your site in WordPress step-by-step from scratch and scale it to the moon. You could even sell it for 6 figures or more, making a big pay-day.

Imagine getting results like this:

TASS comes from the guys at Authority Hacker. These guys walk the walk and have even sold one of their sites for 7 figures. The course was recently revamped to version 3 and is completely new.

What’s the Difference Between Wealthy Affiliate and The Authority Site System?

With TASS, you are going to learn in detail, step by step, everything you need to build an authority site. You will learn how to pick a niche, keyword research, how to build a site in WordPress step by step, SEO and more.

You even get to follow along with their case study where they build out a site right in front of you from scratch.

These guys know how to rank a site. Their approach is much more precise than Wealthy Affiliate, using tactics for 2021 and beyond. Nothing is outdated. They don’t push you to sell the course either like WA does.

The biggest difference here is that The Authority Site System teaches you SEO, unlike Wealthy Affiliate. You are going to learn all about white-hat links, HARO links, and more. While this may not make sense now, all is explained in the course.

So there you have it. My full analysis of Wealthy Affiliate and probably the best alternative you can get right now.

Drew Mann

5 thoughts on “Wealthy Affiliate Review 2021: Read This Before You Buy”

  1. Hi Barry, your story is all too familiar as I have been in a similar situation and countless others as well. The best advice I can give anyone is that if you are in a situation where you need to make money fast – forget doing affiliate marketing. At least for now. This business takes time to build and you’re going to come across many obstacles. It’s only going to frustrate you and that is just going to make things worse. You need an income as you are growing your business. The best candidates are ones that are employed or at least have a sizable savings and minimal expenses and can afford to invest into their business. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on it either once you understand how it all works. So having a full time job is not going to affect you at all. If you can dedicate at least 14 hours a week, you can make it happen. I’m not here to BS anyone and tell you that with the right training you’re guaranteed to make money because the reality is – the training doesn’t make you money, you do. It’s all about your dedication and a little luck comes into play also. This is why it is not a business for most people because some need instant results or set a time line like 2 months or something to be successful. That is absolutely setting yourself up for failure. Having said that, some people can find success rather quick. There’s no crystal ball here to know when and how someone will reach success. I think this is why most people think the only way to make money is by getting a job. You have an entrepreneur spirit which is great, so you already think differently than 98% of the public. That will help you move forward but you also have to be very realistic and accept the fact that this can take some time to build. Hope that all makes sense.

    Reply
  2. Hi John, I had the exact same experience you had when joining Wealthy Affiliate. Soon after sign up I got many emails from the “sponsor” or guy I bought it from. When I decided enough was enough and completed my review which took me almost a week to do, I cancelled. I was pretty appalled with the course and how dated and basic the material is – just as you said. Also touting the self promotion of WA was just everywhere. WA has a MLM feel to it and I feel bad for anyone new that subscribes to it. Anyway, no need to get into details because it’s all in my review. Thank you for your feedback though and along with my review I do hope others read your comment. When you’re ready, you can read my Savage Affiliates review and make a decision then. And yes I encourage questions from my readers as I’m always happy to help out. Cheers.

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