Back in 2016 I’d been looking for a way to make a bit of extra money to supplement my day job.
I had a six-month old baby and an autistic two-year old that required a lot of attention so I needed something that would work around the weird hours that I had available.
I tried all sorts of systems and programs but most of them seemed to be get-rich-quick schemes that were pretty obviously just money making scams for their creators. Thankfully, I never paid for any of them because I’m very cautious about such things.
Some systems required some very underhanded tactics to try to get my potential customers to part with their cash and although I understand that psychology is used extensively in marketing, some methods just felt wrong.
Many of the systems I looked at suggested that I should try to get as much money out of my target audience as I could, regardless of whether they could afford it. That didn’t sit well with me.
I hated the systems that used a relentless flood of marketing to try to get my customers to buy more products they didn’t need beyond their initial purchase. It’s called up-selling and it’s a practice I absolutely detest online.
Some programs seemed quite interesting but required shocking financial investment to get going and I just didn’t have that kind of money. I needed something affordable that matched my own sense of ethics.
That was when I bumped into Wealthy Affiliate. I’ve been a member ever since.
Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one package that teaches how to become an affiliate marketer, even with no previous experience or understanding of the subject.
The training guides members through creating a website on the platform, writing content for it, signing up for affiliate programs and optimizing the content to attract traffic from Google. WordPress website and email hosting is included as part of the platform.
Wealthy Affiliate membership also includes access to an excellent keyword tool called Jaaxy, essential for finding the words people use when searching for the content you’ll be writing for your website.
In the review that follows, I will explore in detail the features that are available in Wealthy Affiliate.
Most of the features that I’ll be describing are only available to Premium members but there is also a FREE Starter membership available that enables you to try out all the Premium features for seven days. You can sign-up for that without paying anything and you don’t need to provide any credit card details either.
I’m an active member in the Wealthy Affiliate community so this review will be relative positive but at the end of the review I will also explain some negatives that I’ve experienced as I believe in being open and honest in all my reviews.
Before I continue, it’s probably a good idea if I tell you what affiliate marketing is!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is when you make money by promoting other people’s products.
Affiliate marketers will create high-quality content that contains links for the reader to buy the product that identify the affiliate marketer’s account. When the visitors click on those links and makes a purchase, the affiliate is paid a commission by the merchant selling the items.
An affiliate will usually operate within a specific ‘niche’. This just means the types of product that you’re interested in promoting. Some example niches might be, “Weight-loss for students”, “Dog beds for large dogs”, and “Luxury watches for ladies”.
The key to being a successful affiliate marketer is to create content that is genuinely helpful to the potential customer. That way, they receive honest information about something they would like to buy and are more likely to click on your affiliate link to make that purchase.
Wealthy Affiliate teaches you everything you need to know about creating that content so that you can help people and in turn, receive commission when they choose to buy through your affiliate links.
What does Wealthy Affiliate offer?
As part of your premium membership, Wealthy Affiliate offers five areas to help you to achieve affiliate marketing success. You can click on each of these items to jump to my detailed description of each one:
- Extensive Training (to sell items in your own niche and to promote Wealthy Affiliate as an affiliate)
- Hosting for up to 50 WordPress websites (25 on their own dedicated domain)
- Weekly live training events to further your learning
- An excellent SEO keyword research tool
- Live Chat, available 24/7 to enable you to get help from other members if you get stuck
Wealthy Affiliate Training
The available training falls into three categories:
- Online Entrepreneur Certification (how to create a successful affiliate website in your own chosen niche)
- Bootcamp Training (how to create a successful affiliate website promoting Wealthy Affiliate)
- Member-created Training (training created by WA members on every conceivable subject, related to online marketing)
What’s in the Online Entrepreneur Certification?
The certification course, as it’s called contains five courses, totaling fifty lessons in total. Each lesson is text based, often with embedded videos to teach you about concepts within the lesson. The video quality is excellent and to the point and, assuming you’re not familiar with the lesson content, well worth watching
One of the big pluses about each lesson is that they include actions that you are encouraged to complete. The actions aren’t time-wasting practice tasks though. They actually result in you building the website that will make you money as you progress through the course. Please bear this in mind if you do the lessons as that will help you to understand why so many of the lessons ask you to write a new content post. 🙂
The five levels of classes introduce different areas of affiliate marketing for you to master. As shown in the image here, they are:
- Getting Started (Setting up your website)
- Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website (all about writing content and keywords)
- Making Money (introducing affiliate programs)
- Mastering Social Engagement (all about using social media to increase your traffic)
- Achieving Maximum Success Through Content Creation
The first level (Getting Started) is available to all members (Free or Premium) but the remainder of the training requires you to register as a Premium member. Besides the training, there are so many other benefits to being a Premium member, that I’ll explain below.
What’s In the Affiliate Bootcamp Training?
The Affiliate Bootcamp training is focused purely on creating a website intended to promote Wealthy Affiliate as a product.
Initially it may appear that the content is similar to the certification course mentioned above but as you move further into the lessons, you will start to notice more detail in certain areas. This makes the Bootcamp course worth doing, even if you don’t want to promote Wealthy Affiliate. The principles taught can be applied to your own niche products. In some ways, you might think of the Bootcamp Training as a more advanced form of training but that could just be my perception of it.
There are seven levels to the Bootcamp Training, offering a total of seventy lessons in total. The fact that there’s twenty more lessons than the certification course must mean something. 🙂
Here’s the subjects of each of the seven modules:
- Getting Your Business Rolling
- Content, Keywords, and Conversions
- Giving Your Site Social Value
- Get Visual, Get Aesthetic, Get a Brand Through Media
- Knowing Your Audiences & Catapulting Your Referals
- Bing, Yahoo & The Power of PPC
- How to Scale Successful PPC Campaigns
Some members never create a website in their own niche, instead profiting purely from introducing new members to Wealthy Affiliate. I can’t say I blame them. It’s one of the best affiliate training program that I’ve ever encountered as the training is really easy to follow, it doesn’t expect you to make ridiculous investments beyond your monthly membership fee and the commissions are surprisingly high.
There’s also a bonus.
Successfully introduce 300 new members in a single year and you get an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to meet the site owners and the other super-affiliates.
The third stream of training is member-created content called ‘classrooms’. Each class is either text-based, paged tutorials, or videos that have been uploaded and will usually focus on one specific task or subject.
Some member-created content is excellent and well worth your time seeking out and watching as it expands on the core training and includes information that would otherwise be hard to find.
Here are some best pieces of training that I’ve particularly enjoyed (if you click on these links you’ll need to sign up for a FREE account but you don’t need to provide any payment or card details):
Because much of the training involves building your website and adding your content, it makes sense that Wealthy Affiliate would provide that hosting for you. They do so on a platform that they call SiteRubix.
They offer almost instant set-up of new websites (up to your maximum – see below) and that includes email hosting on the domain too. For the techno-wary, that means that you can create a website on a domain such as “finedogbeds.com” and you can also set up email accounts to send and receive email such as: “firstname.lastname@example.org”
How long does it take to set up a new website?
It takes less than ten minutes to set up a new website, with a theme selected that you can literally start writing content for. This is really helpful when you’re doing the training so you don’t need to waste valuable time learning how to create a website account, install WordPress, install a theme and so on.
How many websites can you have?
You can host up to 25 websites with a dedicated domain (e.g. mywonderfulshoes.com) and a further 25 websites that use a subdomain of the siterubix.com domain (e.g. mywonderfulshoes.siterubix.com).
What about free members?
Free members are allowed two websites as siterubix.com subdomains.
I’m a professional web-developer and I have to say that so far, I’ve been very impressed with the hosting offered. You get SSL certificates for free, site optimization as standard and the platform is monitored and protected from hacking attempts. Applying the SSL option is as simple as clicking a switch.
The website-hosting alone is worth the $49.99 / month membership fee.
Weekly Live Training
Wealthy Affiliate has an in-house training specialist that offers a weekly training event on a Saturday. The topics vary but will always be beneficial to your affiliate marketing efforts and the presentation is excellent.
Here are some of my favorite recent webinars. I’ve linked to them so that you can read the details but the actual video is only available to Premium members. I’ve included them so you can see the sort of training that’s constantly being added to the platform at no extra charge:
- The SEO Benefits of Typography
- 7 SEO Strategies to Explode Your Rankings in 2018
- 7 Brilliant Traffic Strategies You Must Know in 2018
- Using the New Google Search Console
- Coming Up With Niche Ideas / Idea Generation
The Keyword Research Tool
A Premium membership includes access to a keyword research tool called Jaaxy which has been incredibly helpful when I’ve been researching what website post ideas might be of interest to people.
Jaaxy enables you to enter keywords and see how many people have created content for those keywords and it also enables you to brainstorm ideas for new post subjects too.
The idea of Jaaxy is that you don’t write something that’s going to get lost in hundreds or thousands of similar articles on the Internet. By finding out what questions people are asking about your blog’s subject (by the keywords they’re searching for) you can write content to match those keywords. As a result, your page will be more likely to rank on the first pages of Google when they’re searching for those answers.
Because Jaaxy is an independent tool, you can actually use Jaaxy without being a WA member.
They offer a free membership that offers you 30 keywords searches, access to the website analyser, keyword competition data tool and more without joining Wealthy Affiliate. They also offer further subscription memberships that offer more (or unlimited) searches and a wider range of tools to help you to fine tune your site’s SEO.
Understanding a Jaaxy Keyword Search
In the image above, as an example, I searched for “Leather seat covers”. As you can see, a keyword can actually be made up of multiple words. The keyword, as I searched for it, gets 3323 searches a month.
Out of those searches, if I can appear at the top of Google’s results, I’ll get 565 visitors to my website per month.
A QSR of 190 indicates that there are 190 other websites competing for those same keywords.
The KQI indicates that the quality of the keywords isn’t great but ‘Normal’. That’s Jaaxy’s polite way of saying, “don’t bother”.
Finally, the SEO score for that keyword is 79. That isn’t great either. We want an SEO value as close to 100 as possible.
“Custom leather seat covers” looks much more promising with 38 potential visitors a month, only 45 competing websites, a QSR rating of ‘Great’ and an SEO score of 97. With such ideal scores as these, I would look to write an article about custom leather seat covers.
How much does Wealthy Affiliate cost?
When you sign-up as a Starter member, you can access the first level of website training and try out the perks of being a Premium member for seven days.
Once the trial week is over, you can continue your Starter membership without the Premium features or you can become a Premium member and pay a reduced price of $19 for your first month.
From your second month onward, it’s a recurring subscription at $49/month. Should you choose to pay annually, you can get a much cheaper monthly rate, paying only $359 for the full year. That works out at just over $29 / month.
These prices might seem quite pricey at first, until you realize what you’re getting for that single payment a month.
In my opinion, the subscription cost is worth it just for quality hosting and email accounts for up to 25 websites!
Features included in the membership subscription
They offer the hosting for your websites, the training, an active supportive community and continual and relevant new training every week.
Please note: On the table below, it shows that a Premium member can have 50 Websites. This is actually 25 websites that use your own domain names (e.g. https://www.mydomain.com) and 25 subdomains of the SiteRubix domain (e.g. http://mydomain.siterubix.com).
Are there any additional charges?
You can, if you wish, register your domain names within Wealthy Affiliate (it’s currently $13.99 for a .com domain for a year).
You don’t have to. You can register your domains with any domain name company and point it at the hosting that Wealthy Affiliate offers but if you don’t have the technical skills, the control panel within Wealthy Affiliate makes this a very simple process.
Email subscription services are not included so if you wanted to try email marketing (this is not an expected part of the training, incidentally), you will need to find a suitable third party provider such as Aweber or Mailchimp to send out your marketing emails.
Can I cancel my membership?
You’re free to cancel your membership at any time and enjoy access up until the end of the subscription time you’ve prepaid for. So, if you opted for a monthly membership, you can continue to use WA until the end of your billing period for that month and if you opted for an annual membership, you would still be able to use your account until the end of your annual billing period.
Can I get a refund if I cancel?
Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t offer refunds for any remaining time on your subscription. If you’re at all unsure about subscribing, choose a monthly plan until you are. It’s much cheaper to buy an annual subscription but you cannot cancel half-way through and expect a refund for the remaining six months.
What support does Wealthy Affiliate offer?
When learning something new like affiliate marketing, it can easily feel overwhelming. The fear that you’ll do something wrong can often prevent you from progressing until eventually you give up.
The good news is that Wealthy Affiliate offers support via discussion groups and for immediate assistance, the Live Chat interface. There are always supportive and helpful members in Live Chat that are willing to help out and explain things.
If you get stuck with a technical issue, there’s also the Site Support interface. You can post questions to the site support team and I’ve found they’re pretty responsive. I’ve had problems taken care of within a few hours although on one occasion it took a couple of days. I didn’t mind the latter because it was taken care of.
Kyle, one of the site owners is very good at getting involved too. You will often see him in Live Chat, answering people’s questions and providing motivation. Unlike many programs I’ve tried, it’s refreshing to have the owners be so hands-on in their own community. ,
Finally, if you strike up a relationship with some more advanced members, you can contact them privately using the Private Message facility. At the very least, you should be able to talk to your sponsor. I have a very active relationship with all the members that I’ve referred.
What’s the Wealthy Affiliate community like?
The Wealthy Affiliate community is awesome.
Learning new skills is challenging and it’s essential that you can do it with people that are in the same boat as you while still being able to ask more experienced members for their advice. That’s exactly what you get at Wealthy Affiliate.
The community is exceptionally supportive, giving helpful advice and encouragement to everyone at every step of their journey. Kyle & Carson (the site owners) have encouraged a pay-it-forward philosophy in the membership so everyone is always happy to help others.
I have yet to see any sense of back-stabbing or competitive behavior and I’ve been a member since 2016.
It’s such a nice place to be that it almost feels like home when I’m online.
Are there any bad points?
At the start of this article, I promised you that I’d explain some downsides of the Wealthy Affiliate program as I believe in providing an honest a balanced opinion of the WA program.
It’s probably become clear if you’ve read the rest of this post that I think very highly of the Wealthy Affiliate program. I’ve been paying for it since 2016 so that in itself suggests how I feel about Wealthy Affiliate! 🙂
Having said that, I don’t want you to go in blind, if you choose to subscribe. Here’s some things that I wish had been made clearer to me when I joined:
Success is not instant
If you follow the training, you will find success. There are many, many success stories that have been written by WA members but they’ve all had to work consistently for at least three months before they’ve started to see a return on their efforts. If you join Wealthy Affiliate expecting to make hundreds in the first month, you will be very disappointed.
Members that have been working on their sites for over a year have been reporting four or five figure returns but this is totally dependent upon what niche you select, what affiliate program you associate with and how hard you work on your website content. Again, don’t worry about how to create the content as you are taught step-by-step how to do that.
Success requires work
The training at WA is excellent but no matter how much training you take, if you don’t create the content, your website isn’t going to rank with Google and you’re not going to get the traffic you need to generate an income. When I first joined, I wasn’t very focused on the training or on building my niche website and so, nothing happened for a while.
You will be taught to write website posts to help people make buying decisions and you’ll need to write these regularly if you want to succeed. They can’t be trivial posts either. You’ll be taught how to write posts of around 1,000 words so that Google takes you seriously and starts to send traffic your way.
Sometimes there are bad apples in the barrel
As with any community, there will always be members that join Wealthy Affiliate that have a bit of an attitude problem. They might act as if everyone is in competition, they might expect help but never give any in return or in very, very rare occasions they simply be horrible people.
Although these people do crop up from time to time, they are soon taken care of by the site owners. They’ve worked hard to create an amazing community of helpful, friendly people and they work just as hard to keep it that way.
If you ever experience members like that, don’t be afraid to report them or send Kyle a private message with a screenshot of their behavior. They’ll soon be banned or at least gagged! 🙂
If you choose to cancel, there are no refunds
When you subscribe to Wealthy Affiliate, you should consider your membership payment as spent. If you paid for an annual membership and cancel half-way through the year, you won’t receive a refund for the remaining six months (but you will still have access as a member for them).
As a monthly member, you cannot cancel halfway through the month and expect to be refunded for the remaining two weeks.
Wealthy Affiliate is open about this policy in their terms and conditions though.
This has been a very long article so thank you for reading!
I love Wealthy Affiliate. It’s become a second home for me as I’ve been working on the training, building my websites and helping others as they work on theirs.
The community is made up of a wide range of people from all walks of life, all nations and all ages (even over 70).
The training has helped countless people to create profitable websites and in many cases, other businesses outside of Wealthy Affiliate with their new-found knowledge.
There is absolutely no reason at all that you cannot find success building your own online business if you follow the training and apply the action points as you go along. There are far too many success stories to deny, written by Wealthy Affiliate members for other affiliate members (in other words they didn’t write them to recruit new members).
If you join with the knowledge that it takes a few months of regular work on your niche website to build a profitable business then you will succeed.