Thanks for stopping by to check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review.
So you want to make money online and you're curious if Wealthy Affiliate can show you how. You may be a parent with bills piling up, a student with debt, or you may have health issues that make working difficult. Maybe you're just sick of your job and desperate for something different.
I get it, I've been there too.
Was Wealthy Affiliate the answer to all my problems?
No, definitely not all my problems. But it helped me solve some...
You may have also noticed there are not many negative reviews. That's what I noticed too. It was October of 2016 when I sat down to look for a way to make money online and found Wealthy Affiliate.
Frustrated, I had hit a personal "wall" so to speak and I needed a change. I landed on a review just like this one. Confused about what Wealthy Affiliate was and fully expecting it to be another scam, little did I know nearly three years later I'd be sitting here at home earning a full-time income online. But here I am...
Let me be clear though, it wasn't quick and easy.
Wealthy Affiliate is certainly not perfect and it's not for everyone. If you're reading this review because you want more freedom and independence in your life, Wealthy Affiliate may be what you're looking for. Maybe, maybe not...
Once I go over what Wealthy Affiliate is and how it works though, I'll explain some of the things you're going to like (such as the updates and improvements for 2020 which in my opinion are game changers).
I'll also go over some things you won't like (Wealthy Affiliate requires real effort. It's not a push-button "system" that funnels cash into your bank account. If that's what you're looking for, this is not it)...
... which brings us to an important question (and one of the most common questions I get) about Wealthy Affiliate. Are there any hidden costs?"
No, there are no hidden costs. Wealthy Affiliate is not a "sales funnel" type system with high-ticket products on the back end. It's a comprehensive training platform and community with built in tools that include content creation and keyword research software as well as advanced web hosting and domain registration.
What does all of that mean? Well... I'll explain all of that in this review and why it matters to you.
But to be clear. Wealthy Affiliate's pricing is straightforward and upfront. They also have a free membership for those who are just getting started. What you see is what you get (no hidden costs), so I'll start this review with pricing below.
Please note, this review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain as well as my personal experience as a member (two-and-half years and counting). Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealth Affiliate is an online training platform founded in 2005 by friends Kyle and Carson, and has since become an industry leading educational system.
Wealthy Affiliate Co-Founders Carson and Kyle
What they've created is most importantly an online community of 1.4 million members who started out like you with a dream of earning an income from home and escaping the rat race. I get it, I was there too.
Wealthy Affiliate does this with extensive training and things like point-and-click web hosting that makes it easy for people of all skill levels to get started.
They also give you cutting-edge tools to build a unique online business that stands out from the copy-cats and attracts the highest quality traffic there is... free search engine traffic.
In addition to some other significant advantages (which I'll discuss below), Wealthy Affiliate is also unique with it's built-in social network and 24/7 live members chat so you never feel like you're doing this on your own.
If you've tried to make money online before, or even if you're just getting started, I'm sure you know it's not as easy as some people say it is.
The techie stuff is a piece of cake at Wealthy Affiliate, but where most people struggle when it comes to making money online is getting traffic.
How do you break through the noise and get noticed online?
That's the key, because traffic equals money and the free starter membership shows you step-by-step how to get it without spending a dime on ads or other forms of paid traffic.
And, the reason I can make that claim is because it's the exact strategy I use. It's the reason you found this review and it's also the reason that last year, this site generated 757,128 pageviews (screenshot below).
I'm not showing you that to brag. I can't even take credit for it... I'm definitely not a guru or anything like that... I just followed the same step by step strategy that Wealthy Affiliate teaches. And if you want to make money online, traffic is what you need.
In August alone there were over 100,000 visitors.
So, how did I acquire more than three-quarters of a million pageviews last year?
Like I said, it wasn't me. I mean, of course I had do the work... but I just followed Wealthy Affiliate's training.
So, getting into all the juicy specifics, here's what you can expect from my review—I’ve broken it into two parts...
Part 1 - An overview covering all the important details.
Part 2 - An in-depth extensive look inside and breakdown of each feature.
Wealthy Affiliate Review - Part 1 (Overview)
In this Wealthy Affiliates review I'll talk about the good, the bad... share a few success stories, and near the end, answer some frequently asked questions.
I'll also cover the strategies that Wealthy Affiliate teaches so you'll know exactly what you'll be learning, and how you can make money online.
UPDATE: Please stick with me for a moment, just a few updates to mention.
- First, this is a long review. It has evolved and grown over the last couple years and is now the longest, and one of the most comprehensive Wealthy Affiliate reviews online. I'm not saying it's the best (there are many great reviews), but it's been written with plenty of breaks and headlines and I've added a quick navigation guide (above)... so feel free to skim through and jump to a topic as needed.
- The second thing I'll mention quickly are a couple recent Wealthy Affiliate updates... These are big!
In 2018, Wealthy Affiliate implemented their most significant update since 2005... a complete overhaul of their platform. You can check it out for free so I'll resist the temptation to go over every detail and make this review even longer than it already is.
The other MAJOR update is that Kyle and Carson (Wealthy Affiliate's owners) have integrated their premier keyword tool Jaaxy into the Wealthy Affiliate platform.
What's a keyword tool?
A keyword tool is your secret weapon. It peels back the top layer of the web so you can see what people are actually searching for. It's like swinging a baseball bat and knowing exactly where the ball is going to be. It's not just an advantage. It's a necessity.
Without a keyword tool you're swinging with a blindfold on.
And now that it's integrated it into the Wealthy Affiliate platform, it has saved many members (myself included) hundreds of dollars per year (you now have access to it for free as a premium WA member).
These upgrades are at ZERO cost to members.
This year so far Wealthy Affiliate has integrated their own affiliate marketplace/platform where online marketers and companies with affiliate programs can connect (screenshot below).
- Finally... Due to a flood of misinformed comments on social media and forums, I want to deal with this question up front... "is Wealthy Affiliate a scam?".
Is Wealthy Affiliate a Scam?
It's not a simple "Yes or No" answer. Some of those who are calling Wealthy Affiliate a scam have a legitimate point.
Wealthy Affiliate is not a scam... but (yes, there is a "but"), the way in which some people promote it can make it seem like one. Wealthy Affiliate has never claimed to be a get rich quick system, but some people have suggested (without using those exact words) that it could be.
Also, some have been accused of calling legit programs scams so they can sell Wealthy Affiliate instead. In some rare instances, that's true, but Wealthy Affiliate does NOT endorse that tactic.
The truth is however, that 90+ percent of those programs are scams and the vast majority of those reviews are honest. When you've been in this industry for a few years you get tired of seeing people throw hundreds (even thousands) of dollars away on endless upsells, multi-level memberships, and paid traffic schemes.
As someone who has gone down that road before, it's my opinion that a real argument can be made that those "half-legit" programs are scams. Some people might disagree, and that's fine.
So yes, it's true. Wealthy Affiliate has some bad actors. But, most members don't even promote Wealthy Affiliate (they're in an entirely different niche), and most who do are sincerely trying to prevent people from falling into the credit card funnel trap
My goal with this review is to separate fact from fiction so you can decide the best online business path for you.
If Wealthy Affiliate doesn't sound like it's for you, you can also earn money doing surveys on sites like surveyjunkie.com. Another site that pays you to do things online is Swagbucks, and in addition to surveys you can make some money doing things like searching the web, watching videos and visiting websites.
Of course, with these sites you won't be able to retire on a beach with an umbrella drink, but if you've never made money online they can be a good stepping stone to something bigger later on.
Another option, if a full-time income is you want... is to start an online business.
You may be at home because of health issues, kids to look after... or maybe you just hate your day job and need a change.
An online business that generates passive income may be what you want, and in that case, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Free Membership - A Quick Overview
Those of us who are a little older (although not much...) remember when there was no internet. We've only had the consumer web for about 20 years.
Taking advantage of its opportunities however, is difficult if you don't know how. That's where Wealthy Affiliate comes in.
As an educational system, it teaches you how to build a completely independent business online...
There's a lot of information on the Wealthy Affiliate homepage, but the most significant detail in my opinion comes when you scroll down. Below the sign-up section, a little further down the page you find...
There are a lot of reasons Wealthy Affiliate has become the "go-to" platform for so many bloggers... and one of those is that it's truly a free membership. No credit card is required to join.
There are so many scams out there... and two of the things I look for when researching scams are the size of the community (are people sticking around?) and can I join for free? Wealthy Affiliate checks both of those boxes.
They are also NOT a "sales funnel" that offers you a free membership and then hits you with expensive options and barriers once you're in. The most expensive option they have is shared up-front (and mentioned above) at $49/month... but you still get a ton of value with the free membership, including...
You also get access to entrepreneurs who have have been members for 5 to 10 years or more... some since the beginning (way back in 2005)... as well as 1-on-1 help and support from me.
That's the free version of Wealthy Affiliate, or starter membership.
You can check it out in person... but if you'd rather learn more first, stick around because as mentioned, this is one of the most comprehensive reviews of Wealthy Affiliate you will find online.
I'm going to take you inside the premium membership as well and show you what they teach.
Also, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below.
WA Success Stories
Let's get the most imporant question out of the way; Does Wealthy Affiliate work? I'll share some success stories of a few wealthy affiliates.
Obviously, there are never any guarantees to success. One of my favorite things about Wealthy Affiliate is that they never make such a promise. It takes time and effort, and your success is dependent on you.
Having said that, here are just few examples of Wealthy Affliate members who have succeeded.
Another one of my favorite success stories is that of Alex Sol. You can read about him at his blog Extra Paycheck.
Testimonials: Read more reviews HERE
"I Never Expected To Build a Million Dollar Company"
Of all the Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories, Dom Wells has one of the best. I don't want to give the impression that Wealthy Affiliate is turning out instant millionaires, because it's not that simple.
But... it can be done. You can read Dom's success story HERE.
How Does Wealthy Affiliate Work?
I was trying to come up with a good way to explain how Wealthy Affiliate works, so here's a quick example.
I'll use someone named Katie...
Katie is earning $3000 - $6000 of passive income each month. She does this with something called affiliate marketing. I'll explain affiliate marketing in more detail below, but if you're not familiar with it... affiliate marketing is a way for you to earn commissions from companies like Amazon, Apple, Starbucks and even Home Depot, just to name a few.
These are just examples of the thousands of companies that have affiliate programs (that are simple to sign up for and join).
There are different ways to do this... but in Katie's example, she has achieved this by building six relatively small (and very simple to build) websites that each earn on average $500 - $1000 per month, providing her with that passive income (between $3000 and $6000 every month).
She does NOT pay for online traffic or advertising.
Katie's Strategy Using Wealthy Affiliate
Katie's strategy started with a single website about a topic that she was interested in... in this example... Herbal Tea.
You can choose anything you want (it's recommended to choose something you have experience in, or are interested in learning).
With Wealthy Affiliate's step-by-step tutorials, you are shown (in an over the shoulder style) how to choose your niche, set-up and build your website (with just a few clicks), and most importantly... how to get traffic and make money.
By choosing herbal tea as her niche, Katie's approach was to leverage Google and Bing by creating a website that talked about specific teas, what their benefits are, how they tasted, best ways to make tea, etc...
And of course... she shares where her readers can buy tea (along with tea pots, steepers, strainers, and other related products).
NOTE: Katie's Herbal Tea website illustrates an important difference between what Wealthy Affiliate teaches vs. what some other programs teach.
Wealthy Affiliate has their own affiliate program (meaning you can promote Wealthy Affiliate)... BUT the focus is on finding YOUR OWN niche and creating YOUR OWN business (completely independent of Wealthy Affiliate).
Katie does NOT get paid by Wealthy Affiliate, and her business is NOT dependent on Wealthy Affiliate.
If this were an MLM or a "self-promoting" online business... she would be bound to that single program, company, and line of products.
Instead, Katie has a business that is 100% her own, completely independent of any single company, product, program or person. She has also diversified into several different niches, products and vendors so she is never dependent on just one.
Another significant advantage, is that Katie is NOT competing with every other Wealthy Affiliate member (like members of "done-for-you" systems do)
Each niche is unique to her.
Keep It Simple - Build One, Rinse and Repeat
Katie started her business doing something she enjoyed which allowed her to earn a profit from her passion.
With her first website established and earning income, Katie started a new website in another niche and followed the same process.
Her second website made money sooner because she knew how to do it.
And, she used some of her earnings from her first website to outsource some tasks and speed up the process.
With her portfolio of six websites, she is comfortably earning a passive income while enjoying a life she loves.
Do You Need Multiple Websites?
No, you don't need to follow the same strategy.
Some people choose to build a single large site that provides all of their income.
There are also those who take what they learn from Wealthy Affiliate and sell their skills as a service. For example... if you can build a website and earn money... you can freelance and people will pay for your abilities.
Whichever strategy you choose... Wealthy Affiliate can get you there.
To learn this process in detail and work with me personally (for those who sign up through one of my links), you can join by clicking [HERE]
- Simply fill out your name, email and create a password.
- This will take you inside the back-office, and you'll be prompted to set-up your profile (as simple as setting one up with Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You do NOT have to share personal information.
- You can start building your business right away, check out the community and ask questions. If I haven't already welcomed you personally, go to my profile page and I'll be happy to help you and answer any questions you have.
Training For Long-Term Success
Don't get caught up in the hype of overnight success.
What's important here, is that Wealthy Affiliate's method of earning a living online is NOT the "latest and greatest shiny new toy".
It's a sustainable strategy that people have been using for 15 - 20 years to earn an honest living online.
Many new tactics, gimmicks and funnels have come and gone...
Wealthy Affiliate might not be FLASHY with fast cars and luxury mansions. It's better...
Because it's REAL.
There have been people who have built dozens of profitable websites, each earning passive income year after year. These range from websites like The Modest Man to TreadmillReviews.com and here (at Wealthy Affiliate) you can learn how to build a home-business that stands the test of time.
Having said that... it requires work.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, Wealthy Affiliate may not be for you. If you're just looking for some extra pocket money, you can also online surveys with sites like Survey Junkie. Swag Bucks is another site that will pay you for doing surveys, as well as things you may be doing online anyway like watching videos, visiting websites and searching the web.
They don't provide the earning potential that online business does, but as a first step to making money online they can be helpful.
If you're at home because of a medical issue though, or you have children to take care of... a full-time income online might be what you want. In that case, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Wealthy Affiliate's Pros and Cons
Warren Buffet once said, "it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."
Similarly, you can do a dozen things right, but screw up just one and you can absolutely ruin everthing. So, to get right into it, I want to go over Wealthy Affiliate's pros and cons. And, while they are far from perfect, they've done a good job of staying true to their original vision and not screwing it up.
- There are no endless upsells, no spam, and joining does NOT put you into a sales funnel.
- $0.00 starter membership. No credit card and no commitment…find out if building an online business is even for you (before you pay).
- Simple to follow step-by-step instructions.
- Two FREE WordPress websites with the free starter membership. (I’m not sure there’s another place on the web you can get two FREE websites with single-click installation)
- The community. As mentioned earlier, the Wealthy Affiliate community is unmatched in the industry.
- One on one help from the owners Kyle and Carson.
- Work at your own pace.
- Everything you need (such as website hosting and a keyword research tool) are included in the premium membership. No need to use multiple programs.
- Safe and spam-free environment.
- It will require some effort on your part. (It's not necessarily difficult, but it's also not a done-for-you type system). Because they are an educational program that teaches how to build a business in any niche YOU choose, there is no way for them to provide "ready-made" websites, funnels or links for you to go out and promote. (But you will learn how to create those things yourself). If you're looking for something easier, you may prefer a work-at-home job rather than an online business.
- Until you get used to it, the user interface can be a bit overwhelming and difficult to navigate (Just my opinion).
- There is lot of material to get through. If you were hoping to learn everything over a weekend, it's not possible with Wealthy Affiliate.
- Need to manage the "social media" aspect of the community. The community is one of the things that separates Wealthy Affiliate from other programs, but if you're not careful, it can become a significant time waster.
- Starter members only get 7 days of the LIVE support.
Why Wealthy Affiliate?
I built my first blog a few years ago because it seemed clear to me that our economic future was more uncertain than ever. While friends and family saw it as a simple hobby and couldn't care less at the time, I've noticed a big change. People are now worried about their own futures and asking me questions about what they can do.
There is a flood of people now turning to the web to start an online business.
The good news is, you're looking into it now. If there was ever a time to get in and establish yourself online, today is the day.
The bad news is, it's about to get more competitive... but, while comparing Wealthy Affiliate's training model to many others, it occurred to me why they have a significant advantage.
Most (not all) online money-making programs today use an MLM type "recruiting" process (once you're in, your goal is to get someone else in and so on)...
Wealthy Affiliate is built on the premise that there are millions of untapped niches out there with relatively few competitors...
One reason they've been around since 2005 and are only getting stronger is because most Wealthy Affiliates are NOT all competing with each other and selling the same product (unless they've landed in a similar niche).
And because Wealthy Affiliate members are not all competing directly with one another, they are more willing to share their stories and help you.
In my experience, I've have noticed they may be protective about the niche(s) they are in (I get that, I am too... nobody wants more competition)... especially when that competition has the same knowledge and training you have.
However, when it comes to actual strategies, technical help, and general support... they are exceptionally helpful because they're not giving away their best stuff to hundreds of direct competitors.
That makes Wealthy Affiliate (and your online business) far more sustainable in the long run, and this is extremely important... you've arrived at the right time to get in and establish yourself ahead of your competition.
Summary of Why Wealthy Affiliate Is My Top Recommendation
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it. But, I remember when I first joined, I thought maybe, the entire community was fake. That all of the members were made-up avatars, and the comments were being written by a team of people in a room somewhere.
It’s funny when I think of it now, but my suspicions ran deep. As I said earlier, I was certain that every make money online program out there was a scam.
But, before I get deep into the details, if you’re just scanning this review to learn whether you should give Wealthy Affiliate a try, here’s a quick summary of the reasons I recommend it.
Click on an item below for more details...
No Credit Card Required to Join
To be honest, this is the reason I originally joined. My expectations were not high, but joining was no different than signing up for a free Facebook account, so I had nothing to lose. It was a no-brainer since the other programs I was considering all had a fee to get started. Even if Wealthy Affiliate turned out to be a scam (it didn't), I could still try one of the others later.
I already had a website when I joined Wealthy Affiliate, but a new one would be a fresh start. I never did build their free website though, since I upgraded to the premium account once I saw what they had to offer.
Massive Community and Support
The support I received from the community, and the one-on-one help I got from Kyle in the beginning was a game changer for me. Having had some experience already I started with some pre-conceived ideas (and habits) that were holding me back. I was finally meeting people who were doing what I had spent years trying to do on my own.
It Works For An Introvert
This reason may be a little different than most. But, one problem I've noticed with some other programs is that those who succeed are comfortable with public speaking, with being on video and podcasts, and doing outreach to others.
I'm not saying that Wealthy Affiliate is "only" good for introverts... but it's methods don't rely on making sales videos, or doing webinars, or aggressively going after relationships with high level marketers. All of those things are fantastic additions to your business, but they are not required skills here. You can work well within your comfort zone if you choose, and ease into the other stuff (if you want) as your confidence grows.
They Have An All-In-One Platform
Everything you need, from web-hosting and training, to marketing research tools and one-on-one help is all under one roof.
Notice I didn’t say it was “easy”. There is work involved here, but from a simple one-click website installation to over the shoulder type training… everything is made simple and it’s organized in a way that takes you from knowing nothing about digital marketing, to starting an online business, and then taking it into the advanced stages.
Wealthy Affiliate Is An Education Product
I had been sold on hype before, and get-rich-quick promises. Most of the Make-Money-Online programs out there offer a very narrow, sales funnel type training that's really just a “one-trick-pony”. The truth is that most of what other programs teach is just a small slice of what running an online business is. Having tried and tested dozens of programs, Wealthy Affiliate is by far the most comprehensive online marketing education I’ve found (and I’ve searched). There may be one or two out there, but complete training like this is definitely rare.
No Hype - No Promises - No Ridiculous Claims
This is another reason why Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 recommendation. The reason most people fail at making money online is because they’re not told the dirty secret that most make-money-online programs and systems won’t tell you. It takes time, and it requires work. Some may say their program requires effort, and yet, at the same time they tell you that all you need is to plug into their “proven” system. It’s this preconceived idea that you can purchase a "done-for-you" package that contributes to the frustration people have when they hit a wall.
Every other make-money-online program (and I mean “every” other program) out there has an upsell sequence. Even my other top recommendations will hit you with an upsell once you purchase the initial product. That doesn’t mean they are bad programs, it’s just marketing (like putting chocolate bars in the checkout aisle). Wealthy Affiliate, however, has made the choice to be different and not do this.
For free member’s there is a discount offered to upgrade to the premium membership, but it is not pushed on you. More importantly however, if you become a premium member, you won’t have to purchase anything else. You have access to everything, and there are NO additional “VIP Packages”, “Black or Gold Membership Options”, “Topper-Uppers”, or “One-time Offers” to buy.
$49/month gets you everything, and you’re on the same level as every other Premium member.
Spam Free Environment
Members who try to promote their own products are quickly warned, it’s not allowed. If they keep doing it, they will be banned. Wealthy Affiliate is a place where entrepreneurs come to learn, to communicate with other online marketers, and to teach and help out other members as well. It’s not a "marketplace", and a lot of effort goes into making it a safe and comfortable environment for people to hang out and learn. Not being able to promote your own products inside may be a disadvantage or deal-breaker for some, but for most of us it's a nice break from the constant "try this or try that" posts and emails.
Constantly Improving (without increasing the price)
There has been one price increase in recent years. From $47/month to $49/month. The main reason for this adjustment was to distance themselves from other make-money-online programs that stick to the x7 type pricing ($37, $67, $97, etc.)
There have been consistent improvements to the platform, the training, and most recently FREE SSL was added to the WA website hosting. SSL is a secure encryption for your website (“http” to “https”) that not only makes you and your readers more safe online, but it improves your rankings in Google and increases trust among your visitors.
Wealthy Affiliate recently brought their premium keyword tool Jaaxy into the Wealthy Affiliate platform and offers free (with a premium Wealthy Affiliate membership) to a Lite Jaaxy account which has saved many members hundreds of dollars a year.
And, in April of 2018 Wealthy Affiliate had it's biggest update with complete overhaul of the platform. It's a new modern design that is more efficient to navigate, allows for further expansion and overall a much better experience. Again... there was no price increase for this.
Focuses on Free Traffic Training
Unlike most other programs, Wealthy Affiliate's training is focused on gaining free, targeted traffic. The reason so many other programs don’t tell you exactly what they teach (or what you'll be doing to earn money), is because the only way their "proven systems" work is if you pay hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to pay for advertising which drives traffic back to their program.
Wealthy Affiliate tells you exactly what they teach (and what you will be doing) and provided the the fundamental step-by-step training for free.
Wealthy Affiliate Review - Part 2 (In-Depth)
I said this review was comprehensive, and this is where we get into specifics.
If you are detail oriented, I'm going to open the book on Wealthy Affiliate and pick it apart.
I am a member, but this is an honest and unbiased review. Wealthy Affiliate can't guarantee your success, and despite knowing first hand the potential you have here, I don't mind telling you that it has it's flaws.
Let's face it, people have their bullshit detectors on high alert these days and you probably have some doubts about Wealthy Affiliate. I can say in all honesty, I know exactly how you feel. Before I found WA, I had searched, started a couple blogs, and tried other programs, only to become more frustrated.
I was certain the only way people were making money online was by scamming others. So my automatic response was to expect the same from Wealthy Affiliate.
Kyle and Carson, understand that people feel this way, which is why they open the doors to everyone for free.
The $0.00 starter account is a nice gesture. But, in my opinion, the real key to their success is that the free membership does NOT require a credit card.
It's hard to say how much that decision has led to their success, but one thing is certain... the only way that strategy works is if the product you're selling is good.
Kyle and Carson are not asking you for your trust up front (like a lot of other systems that charge at the door). They are only asking that you give them the chance to earn it.
I'll be brutally honest though, and unlike most Wealthy Affiliate reviews, I'm going to tell you that the free starter membership is not going to be enough to build your online empire. I don't think so anyway.
The premium membership is $49/month, and what you're getting for your money is absolutely worth it (as I'll explain why in this review), but the free starter membership is limited.
What the starter membership is good for however, is the opportunity to try this online business thing out. Not just Wealthy Affiliate, but to get a taste of what running an online business is like in general, and see if it's for you.
If you've ever wondered how other people are making money online and creating that work from home lifestyle with more freedom and independence, that's what the free starter membership is for, and that's why I recommend it. But, in my opinion it will only take you so far.
What Will I Be Doing at Wealthy Affiliate?
The heart and soul of what Wealthy Affiliate teaches is building websites within a niche (defined by Wikipedia as, "the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused"), and getting good rankings and traffic through search engines.
The niche you choose is entirely up to you. This has already been discussed, but I'll get into the process with more detail here.
Choosing your own niche is extremely important, because the common make-money-online systems are similar to MLM's in that your primary method of earning money is to go out and promote the same program you just joined. Not only can this quickly lead to saturation... but every new person you bring in becomes your competitor.
This is what I meant when I said at the beginning, they teach you the skills you need to build your business "independently" of Wealthy Affiliate. In much the same way a university teaches you the skills to pursue a profession on your own, Wealthy Affiliate teaches you to create your own business in any niche, outside of (and independently) of Wealthy Affiliate.
To put it another way, the purpose of a university is not to teach you how to go out and recruit more students to join the university, who then learn themselves how to get more people to join the university and so on...
Wealthy Affiliate does have an affiliate program if you want to promote them, but that is not what their certification courses focus on. By teaching you the skills to market in any niche, not only do they avoid the saturation problem, but this encourages members to share their experiences and help one another because you are not direct competitors.
But building a website is complicated right? Not at all. It might sound intimidating if you haven't done it before, and years ago it might have been. But today, if you can point and click a mouse, building a website is far easier than you may realize.
This site, Gig Hustlers, was set-up at Wealthy Affiliate. I don’t know how to "code", and I don't have any particular interest in computers. I wouldn’t even call myself tech savvy. I have a persistence to figure things out and I’m not afraid to break things 😀 , but I’m certainly no expert with computers or software.
Make Money With Your Website Through Affiliate Marketing
Search engines bring "targeted" traffic which is critical because that's the audience required to make money through affiliate commissions.
What are affiliate commissions? I'll get to those in just a moment.
Before earning commissions, it's all about putting your website out there so people can learn more about the products you recommend (and they searched for information about). These products are whatever you choose to promote, in any niche you can imagine.
By providing a value and a service that gives them the information they are looking for. You’re not out there hitting them with Ads, or blasting them with emails (although there is a place for advertising and email marketing later in your entrepreneurial journey if you choose).
How Do I Get Paid? - Affiliate Commissions
Let’s say you create a website about vinyl records and turntables. If someone visiting your site purchases something you recommend (a turntable from Best Buy or Amazon for example) you are paid a commission on the sale of that product. But that's not all.
If they decide to buy additional items (to save shipping costs for example) you receive a commission on those products as well.
All you've done is start a website that talks about something that interests you. You're not carrying any inventory, and you're not involved in the sales process.
There are thousands of companies with affiliate programs you can join and start earning commissions from, and there are millions of products you can promote.
Affiliate marketing is a commission based system of recommending and providing valuable information about products (from any niche or industry you are interested in). If someone purchases the product through your affiliate link, you are paid a percentage for that referral.
If you’ve ever read a tutorial or product review on the internet and went on to purchase that product online, there's a good chance you did so by going through an affiliate link (don't worry though, you did not pay more for the product. There are no additional costs to the consumer, commissions are paid by the product supplier).
Is Wealthy Affiliate What You're Looking For?
Despite being a member, there are some things I don’t necessarily like about Wealthy Affiliate, and I’ll get into those below. However, overall, the experience has been a positive one.
As I mentioned above, before finding Wealthy Affiliate I was frustrated with all the scams out there. I was also frustrated with my life at the time, so scam, or no scam... I was willing to dig through them all to find something legit. Fortunately, I eventually found Wealthy Affiliate and things have never been the same since.
The main reason for that, is because there are no aggressive upsells, downsells, sidesells, etc. with Wealthy Affiliate and no "next level" memberships. I became a premium member almost right away and with that I had all the resources I needed. Typically, these types of programs have another level (or two or three) to which keeps success is just over the horizon.
Like I was then, you're probably asking the same question now, "Is Wealthy Affiliate what I'm looking for?"
It depends on what you really want, and if you're willing to put in the effort to achieve it. To succeed at affiliate marketing requires more than just know-how.
Wealthy Affiliate cuts through all the BS and confusion. Making money online is difficult enough as it is, the last thing you need is to feel like you're not getting all the information and training you need unless you pay more. With Wealthy Affiliate I simply went through the certification courses, step-by-step, and applied what I learned without any pressure to spend additional money on my business. Everything I needed was already there.
Some of those other programs have some good training, but for me at that time, Wealthy Affiliate's one-membership-for-everything approach was what I needed.
I won’t bore you with my entire story, but I can assure you… if you’ve come here because you need a change and you’re tired of giving your best hours to a job you don’t like, I know exactly how you feel.
I’ll get more into my personal story below if you’re interested, but you came here to learn about Wealthy Affiliate, so I’ll get on with it 😀
You can try Wealthy Affiliate for free by clicking the button below, or continue reading if you want to learn more.
Do You Need To Pay For Traffic at Wealthy Affiliate?
It's no secret that to earn money online you're going to need an audience. There are many ways to get web traffic, which can be classified into two types. Paid traffic, and free traffic.
One of the biggest advantages Wealthy Affiliate has over other programs, is that free traffic is at the core of their training. Most other systems depend on paid traffic sources. Wealthy Affiliate does not.
There is place for paid traffic (and Wealthy Affiliate teaches that too), but only after getting the fundamentals down and building a solid foundation.
Free traffic takes more time, but it’s a long-term investment that will pay dividends for years.
Paid traffic on the other hand is like feeding fuel into a race car. It comes at you like a missile… but as soon as you run out of fuel (or money in this case) it comes to an immediate stop.
This is a significant problem because traffic is only half the battle. Converting your traffic into sales is the real challenge... which requires testing, building relationships, learning about your audience, and trying new things...
This takes time, and when you're paying for traffic, you don't have much time. Most people run out of budget before they figure it out.
Free traffic on the other hand, is not only a valuable skill to learn, but it buys you all the time you need. You can test and try new things as often as you wish and not worry about burning through your savings, or piling up debt.
Most make-money-online programs only focus on paid methods of generating traffic (because free traffic is more complicated to teach, and takes more time)... Wealthy Affiliate makes it the cornerstone strategy of your business because it's a smarter long-term approach.
What Really Matters - Will Wealthy Affiliate Help You Reach Your Goals?
Once you get past the community, Wealthy Affiliate is one of the most reputable, and well-respected training programs you can find. There's a reason it’s referred to as Wealthy Affiliate University.
Because it provides a complete online education, and the depth of training is almost overwhelming.
To be honest though, the training is probably NOT the reason you're reading this review. I'll talk more about what is taught in a moment, maybe more than any other Wealthy Affiliate review you can find on the web. But ultimately, the important question you have... is whether or not Wealthy Affiliate will help you reach your goals?
Most people don't even care about making money online. What you probably want is freedom from your job, more independence, and time to do what you want to do.
If you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle for example, wouldn't exercise in the morning be better than an ugly commute. Would you rather practice meditation in the afternoon, or deal with the headache from a job you hate.
Or spending your most valuable resource... time... with the ones you love.
Not answering to someone else, and not living by some arbitrary schedule that society (or your industry) has set.
As I write this, the sun is just coming up in the distance and I can hear the birds chirping outside. Since I was a kid, spending a few weeks every summer at camp near Lake Erie in Ontario... this has been my favorite time of day. Unfortunately, I've let decades slip by without appreciating those moments. Not because I couldn't get up early and watch the sunrise, but because my mind was occupied by the day I had ahead of me (in a career I hated).
Why is it that getting paid to do something, somehow justifies the unhappiness it brings into our lives?
Anyway, whatever reason you have for wanting to make your living from a laptop, the question is... will Wealthy Affiliate show you how?
The answer is absolutely yes!
For now, if you're a nuts and bolts type person... we'll talk about the technical mumbo-jumbo. 😀
Wealthy Affiliate Web Hosting
Website Hosting, Daily Backups, Site Security, SSL, Keyword Research, Link Tracking etc.
I call Wealthy Affiliate a “platform” because it’s so much more than just a website with member’s area and some tutorials.
You don't have to shop around at Wealthy Affiliate and piece together mulitple tools that you'll need to build your business. You know, purchase a domain here, get web-hosting there, add on expensive security features, buy a keyword research tool, and so on... It's all here in one place.
Wealthy Affiliate is its own world-class web hosting platform, with daily back-ups and site security.
Premium members get managed hosting for 10 websites. In addition, they offer free one-click SSL (Secure website encryption) as well, which is becoming more important to stay safe online, and it's also crucial to maximize your search engine rankings.
If you’re not familiar with SSL (and didn’t read my quick summary above), it’s the difference between a website with the prefix http and one with https. It provides an added layer of encryption to protect you and your audience, which also increases trust.
Also, built into the Wealthy Affiliate platform are keyword research and link tracking tools. Everything you need to build your online business is housed under one roof, which means they all function together seamlessly. Full support and training are all in one place as well, with one single membership rate, and you won't have to mess with separate accounts and compatibility issues.
These are things you won’t find in 99.9% of the programs out there. Even ones that cost significantly more.
There are a few others that have these tools available, but you will have to pay extra to access them.
Who Is Wealthy Affiliate For?
Wealthy Affiliate is for anyone who wants to earn a part-time or full-time income online. That’s just about everyone I know.
Most will never try, but whenever someone asks me what I do (and how I earn money) they respond with, “I wish I could do that.”
“You can do it”, I tell them, but I rarely get more than a shoulder shrug and “hmmph”.
Even crazier is that when I tell them (even show them) the potential, their eyes glaze over as they become visibly uncomfortable about the conversation.
The reality is, while the benefits of building an online business are good for anyone (who isn't already independently wealthy), affiliate marketing is not. It takes work and there's no way around that. But everything worth doing takes time and energy, and (in my opinion) the benefits outweigh the effort.
Time is going to pass anyway. Whatever it is you are doing now, or are thinking of doing, is going to take effort... the benefits of building an online business however are pretty hard to beat.
Wealthy Affiliate is good for,
- People who want to take charge of their financial future and not live at the whim of others.
- Individuals who are afraid of losing their job (or have lost their job).
- College and University students.
- Business owners looking to build, or increase their online presence.
- Stay-at-home and/or single parents.
- People who just want to supplement their income.
- Those who want to (or need to) re-locate (to be closer to family for example).
- Individuals who are physically unable to work, or deal with the aches and pains of an uncomfortable work environment.
Really… Wealthy Affiliate is for anyone who is not already independently wealthy and wants to more freedom and control of their life… which is most people.
Is Wealthy Affiliate For YOU?
Although Wealthy Affiliate can benefit just about everyone... whether it's for you is a different question.
It can absolutely change your life, but it requires an honest effort. Myself, and so many others are proof of the impact it can have, but one thing is certain...
It won't happen overnight. It might not even happen in the first few months. It's a process, and you inch closer towards it everyday.
When I started I didn't care if it took me 5 years. I knew I didn't want to be doing what I was doing (working a job) in 5 years... so striving for something that could provide the lifestyle I wanted was an easy decision for me.
And, what legitimate business doesn't require time and effort?
The good news is that Wealthy Affiliate will walk you through every step of the process and with their massive community of home-based entrepreneurs, you will never feel alone.
So much is said about making stacks of money online, but for many people… even $500 of passive income every month can transform their lives and take a big load off their shoulders.
In that context, Wealthy Affiliate is for just about everyone. I’ve worked with people from single parents to lawyers, and even business owners who want to build a life that frees them from their daily grind.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the most common way to make money online, and the best way to start an online business.
- You don't need to purchase or carry inventory.
- It does not require product creation or a "clever" problem solving idea to get started.
- There are no customer complaints, returns or warranty issues to deal with.
- You don't have to invoice, ship or receive anything.
- Little to no start-up cost. (With Wealthy Affiliate’s free starter membership you can start your own affiliate marketing business with $0.00. As mentioned earlier, the free membership is probably not enough to make you rich, but it takes you far enough to learn the fundamentals and see if affiliate marketing is for you).
- The products and industry you choose to market in are endless. Amazon alone is estimated to have 235 million different products available for you to market. And there are tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of companies that have their own affiliate programs. From Home Depot and Microsoft, to firms that offer online legal services and companies that sell video games.
- Passive income. I’m not sure there is a better benefit to affiliate marketing than this. A passive income means living wherever you want, working from wherever you want, and taking vacations whenever (and for as long) as you want. You make your own schedule and most importantly, as passive income comes in you can use your time to work on the next stage of your business instead of spinning your wheels at job exchanging time for money (1:1).
Negative Wealthy Affiliate Reviews and Complaints
So, I’ve talked a lot about the positives of Wealthy Affiliate and why I recommend it. If all of those things are true, why are there negative Wealthy Affiliate reviews and complaints?
To be honest, if you’ve already done some research on Wealthy Affiliate you have probably found that negative comments, complaints, and reviews are hard to find.
It’s understandable to get some however. With 1.4 million members, someone is going to be happy.
There are a few reasons why some might have complaints.
First, Wealthy Affiliate is not an immediate path to riches. If you’ve got money and an appetite for risk... a paid advertising system with a “done-for-you” sales funnel can potentially get your there faster.
The problem is, we're talking about a lot of money. Thousands of dollars with no guarantee of success.
Wealthy Affiliate takes a much more conservative approach and focuses on developing free traffic though search engines. This doesn’t happen overnight. Some people get frustrated and just give up, never finding success or making money online. Therefore, they claim that Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t work.
Myself, and others are proof that it works, but I can also tell you, it absolutely won’t happen overnight. And that's frustrating for some people.
A second reason is that they’ve never actually tried Wealthy Affiliate. They’ve heard some things from others and just repeated the same talking points.
A third reason, is that there are some Wealthy Affiliate members (they are rare) that are dishonest, or just overly aggressive in their marketing, and have given WA a bad name because it appears (on the surface anyway) that the methods they are using to market their products is what Wealthy Affiliate teaches.
These are few reasons for the negative Wealthy Affiliate reviews out there. Having said that, it doesn’t cost you a single dime to check it out for yourself and to see if their criticisms and complaints are legitimate.
Wealthy Affiliate Strategy (4-Steps to Making Money Online)
Yes, there is a ton of training available at Wealthy Affiliate, there are tools, support and a community… but despite all that, I don’t want to give the false impression that all of this is complicated.
Simplicity is important to Kyle and Carson, and creating a system that makes online marketing accessible to everyone is the vision they had when they founded Wealthy Affiliate.
The basic process is ultimately a simple 4-step process
1. Choose An Interest
This is the best step, because maybe, for the first time ever you will have the opportunity to earn an income by doing, researching and writing about something you already love to do. There are an endless number of niche's you can go into. If you’re into sports, you can build an online business that talks about sporting goods, training programs, and even recommend travel packages to events.
Maybe you’d like to start a travel blog, or a website that includes style, design and fashion. I’ve worked with people in the industrial tool niche, solar energy niche, health and wellness, and even one considering a website about Lego. Whatever your passion, you can find your angle and make money from it.
You can also choose something purely for profit if you choose, although it can be difficult to keep up with something you’re not interested in.
2. Build A Website
Building a website is much easier than it sounds. In fact, you can watch Kyle build one in 30 seconds. This is the exact process I’ve used to build all of my websites since joining Wealthy Affiliate. My older sites were relatively simple once I figured it all out, but nothing as easy as this.
3. Attract Visitors
Here is where it starts to get fun (and I won’t lie… a little frustrating at times too). Wealthy Affiliate takes a very easy approach to getting ranked in the search engines and bringing in targeted visitors. This is where I had most of my doubts, but following Kyle’s process and talking to him one-on-one I just did what he taught, and in time I started seeing my articles showing up in Google and Bing.
This process (known as SEO, or search engine optimization) can become extremely complicated if you let it. Kyle (and Jay… who does all the live training) use a straight forward checklist approach. Next, it's simply a rinse and repeat process.
4. Earn Revenue
Okay, I said step #1 is the best step because you can make money by following your passion. Maybe I was wrong, because earning money is pretty good too. 😀
This is unlike any job you’ve ever had, because there is no ceiling to how much you can earn. In fact, for most people, it’s hard to wrap their head around that concept if they’ve never experienced it before.
YOU are the only limiting factor, but once you earn that first dollar the sirens will going off and an entirely new world of possibilities will open up.
So that’s the simple 4-step process. Of course, within those 4 steps there are new concepts and skills you will need to learn.
In the following section of this review I’m going to peel back the curtain and get into the finer details of what Wealthy Affiliate Teaches.
What Does Wealthy Affiliate Teach? (A Complete Look Inside)
I hesitated to reveal this much about what Wealthy Affiliate teaches (something should be left for Premium Members 😀 ), but I decided to do it anyway. I promised a complete review, so let’s go inside the member's area where you'd normally need to sign-up.
You can find pages and pages of Wealthy Affiliate reviews out there, but this is a little different.
I’m confident that Wealthy Affiliate is among the best online marketing training programs out there, and I’d go as far to say it IS the best.
But before you make any decision (or take my word for it) I want to really show you what’s inside so you can compare it to other programs if you choose.
This is a complete walk through focused specifically on WA's training.
By the end of this part of my review, you’ll have a complete picture of Wealthy Affiliate's training. And, if you've been on the fence about whether or not to join, or wondering if they are in fact legitimate, this should provide you with the information you need to decide.
The training can be broken down into the following sections, and I'll provide the lesson outline of each as we go along.
Training and Support Sections
- The Certification Courses - 5 courses (49 lessons)
- The classroom sections (from how money is made online and building a website to advanced SEO and Social Media training) - 13 classrooms (hundreds of videos and tutorials)
- Members training, search, Q&A
- Live Chat - 24/7
- Live Training - (hundreds of hours)
The certification courses are the bread and butter of Wealthy Affiliate's training. In an "over the shoulder", step-by-step process you will learn exactly how to set up an online business. From learning how money is made online to establishing your website... from writing articles that turn readers into customers to growing your business with social media networks... and a lot more.
The certification courses with lessons are structured as follows,
This is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the path that gets you started. As we continue you'll begin to see why Wealthy Affiliate has hundreds of thousands of members and is so well regarded.
Wealthy Affiliate "Classrooms"
You have 13 Wealthy Affiliate Classrooms in the Premium members area. These are areas that organize and categorize the various courses and training modules.
You will find an extensive library of Tutorials, Q&A, and Videos. This is a screenshot of the Wealthy Affiliate WordPress Classroom. As you can see there are 16,749 Questions and Answers, 60 Tutorials and 94 Videos. This is just one of 13 broad topics.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a reason it’s often referred to as Wealthy Affiliate University. It’s a comprehensive education and you will learn all you need to know about building an online business as you make your way through the "Classrooms".
These Classrooms are organized to teach you how to build a strong foundation, something many programs neglect.
A Strong foundation?
Let's first talk about what a strong foundation is NOT.
Many programs teach affiliate marketing through email campaigns, and some teach it strictly through social media.
Both of these methods will further your success and compliment your business, but they DO NOT provide a strong foundation on their own.
An email campaign involves reaching out to your audience through various channels like Facebook and Youtube as examples. The goal is to get your readers onto a Landing (or Squeeze) page where you offer what is called a lead magnet, a free gift such as an in exchange for an email address.
Usually (but not always) there is good value in these free offers (I’m usually happy with the ones I sign up for).
This is how you build your email list, which is helpful for your long-term strategy. The problem with this strategy however is that without a strong foundation, you’re dependent on social media platforms and paid advertising to not only get started, but to continue building your email list.
For many people this is a non-starter because paid Ads can be a quick path to either going broke, or getting into severe debt. Most people don’t have the money to begin with and I’ve tested some programs that recommend you sell things like household items, your car, and even re-mortgaging your home just to get the ball rolling.
This type of behaviour is absolutely insane. Even the best online marketers lose money with Ads that don’t perform as well as they expected. The difference is, they go in already knowing this. And they have the money, the experience, and the resources to keep testing and adjusting those campaigns until they eventually become profitable. Someone new to online marketing should not be borrowing or remortgaging their house to fine-tune a sales campaign.
Don't Build Your Business On Rented Property?
There’s another problem with this type of marketing, which is that you don't own the platform you’re building your business on.
It might not sound like a big deal now... but imagine building a 6 or 7 figure business on YouTube for example, and having them change the rules... or kill your page entirely which has happened to some online entrepreneurs.
YouTube is continuously tinkering with their suggested video algorithms. Recent complaints by some popular YouTubers are that their videos are no longer showing up in their subscriber's feeds anymore.
According to a June 2016 statement, Facebook also announced they'd be making changes to people's newsfeeds.
Relying on other people’s networks to build your business is not a good a long-term strategy. Your brand should be built on your own platform. Your own website. And this is why Wealthy Affiliate is my number one recommendation.
In the physical world, this would be the difference between building your business on a property you own, vs. a property you rent.
For a durable business and strong foundation that will provide you with an income for many years to come, it’s critical that you OWN the digital property (the website) that you’re building your business on.
Social media, paying for advertising, and building an email list are all critical tools that will help you drive traffic to your website and grow your business, but they should not be confused with being a business in and of themselves.
Every top online marketer has their own websites and receives thousands of visitors every day. It makes perfect sense to emulate their success and strategies. Wealthy Affiliate believes strongly in teaching you how to build that type of solid foundation from the start.
Getting Started (Classroom 1)
In the Getting Started classroom you will find 13 Videos, 11 Tutorials and more than 21,000 Questions and Answers. The Certification Courses that I mentioned above are also categorized here.
You will also find Member Training in these classrooms as well, which I'll come back to in a moment.
In addition to Getting Started, there are 12 more "classrooms". While each of these have unique training content, there is overlap between some of the courses and videos. For example, a lot of the material in classroom 4 (Everything WordPress), also applies to classroom 8 (Website Development). Here are the 13 Topics covered in this section of the training.
Premium members... once they've reached a certain point, can create their own training on topics they have particular knowledge in. No single person is a master of everything, but with Wealthy Affiliate's member training you have access to the deep well of knowledge shared by experts.
Here are just a couple examples of member training.