IMy Wealthy Affiliate review will mainly focus on two vital elements for beginners to build a work-from-home business and make it successful all the way. (1) Is it the right one? And (2) does it provide the right environment?
It takes a very specific technique to build a compelling website and monetize it without relying on paid advertising services. It also takes a winning website the right hosting environment - the speed, usability, and security.
This membership site extensively covers both areas, but because it has "everything" and the volume of training is insane, it can be hard for newbies to make the most of it without feeling overwhelmed. Having said that, the platform is resourceful that the members can focus on without worrying about certain technical aspects.
Wealthy Affiliate Review Summary
Affiliate marketing / Content marketing
Kyle Loudoun and Carson Lim
$49 per month or $359 per year
What Is Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate (WA) is about "making money online" by using one of the most economical ways. If you are new to all this, have already signed up with WA for free but don't even know what you're supposed to do, then I'll very briefly explain what it's all about.
- It's about blogging. You start your own blog on a specific theme.
- The theme ("niche") can be anything you like about. Your hobby, something you love, something you know a lot about. You share your knowledge and passion with your readers.
- On your blog, you recommend related products to your readers.
- Each time your reader buys your recommended product, you'll receive a commission.
This is the rough idea of it. You'll gradually work it out as you go along, but there are a lot more. Wealthy Affiliate provides online business opportunities, WordPress-exclusive web hosting, advanced keyword tool (Jaaxy), training, webinars, live chat, and a big user community.
So this is about enjoying writing while making affiliate commissions, and it's NOT about;
Why Should You Choose Wealthy Affiliate?
The latest statistics explain why affiliate marketing is the best way for ordinary people like you and me to make money online.
- 81% of brands leverage affiliate marketing.
- Every year in the US, the affiliate marketing spending constantly increases, and is expected to increase in the coming years.
- 55% of affiliates are working from home.
The statistics also show that;
- The top 4 success methods are SEO, social media, blogging and email.
- WordPress runs 33.9% of the entire internet, and 60.7% of website builder (CMS) market.
Wealthy Affiliate provides WordPress, and teaches how to make money from blogging, SEO, the latest social media marketing and email strategy. Means it's equipped with all the essentials.
The platform is made WordPress ready for everybody. So when you sign up, you can start building your website literally within minutes. It provides hundreds of training videos, thousands of text tutorials, questions & answers, and thousands of active members help each other on its community forums.
It also allows you to write blogs within your profile, which will then be indexed by search engines. It means any blogs written within WA site are visible to anyone, and good quality content will be ranked high in Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.
Whether you are entirely new to website creation, or you already have your business online but wish to expand your knowledge, it does give you an opportunity to reach your ultimate goal - to make money online successfully. Does that make sense so far?
Site Owners & the Background
Wealthy Affiliate was co-founded by two Canadian guys, Kyle and Carson back in 2005.
What we love about them is that they are REAL. They actively interact with us and help us.
Kyle has personally given me some marketing advice numerous times. I went on live chat to ask other members a quick question the other day, and it was Kyle himself who pointed me in the right direction. Kyle is an SEO/marketing expert who gives us pieces of training, tips & advice.
While Carson is a techie guy who manages all the platform developing and the site security aspects. He's helped me with my site building issues, and as far as I'm concerned he never sleeps. Wow, thank you so much but isn't it like 4am over there?
We are actually privileged by the fact that the owners are always hands-on, and that's probably the reason why WA keeps at the top of online business training platforms in the world.
Free Web Hosting and WordPress
For free members, WA allows you to create one website and have them hosted for absolutely free. Premium members ($49 per month) can create up to 10 websites, and the price includes web hosting for all your sites.
WordPress is pre-installed in the WA server, SiteRubix. There are thousands of website themes (designs) to choose from. With plenty of step-by-step instructions as well as tips & tricks to use WordPress, even a complete WordPress beginner won't need to worry.
And actually, this is makes WA stand out from some other all-in-one "make money online" platforms. Most of the others use their own in-house website builder, means you'll have to learn how to use it first. And when you leave the membership, your site will be gone, not transferrable.
Whereas WA, you'll get to learn how to build a WordPress site, which will mean a lot. For some reason if you didn't like the membership and left, you could take your website with you and have it hosted elsewhere, and not only that. Your website building skill "using WordPress" could be added to your resumé. In fact, some WA members have learned to build websites here, and sell them for a living.
What I like about the WA (SiteRubix) web hosting service is the strong site security monitoring system. How do I know it's so secure and 'which system' is being used specifically? I don't know, I've no idea. But we're continuously being assured that the database is monitored and the file system is protected from viruses & malware, also from hacking & intrusion (See "The Most Secure Web Hosting Provider")
If you go elsewhere (i.e. have your sites hosted by another company), you'll be expected to have a lot more responsibility to protect your own site. You should back up your contents daily, and you need to have anti-spam comments plugin installed and monitor yourself. You don't need any of that with SiteRubix.
Spam/ virus / hacking incident is really, the last thing you want when running a website. Free from all that if you're with Wealthy Affiliate, that's an immense advantage.
Free SSL Certificate
SSL certificate (meaning https://) is set as a default on all of your websites for free. It means https:// instead of http//, your visitors' personal data is kept secure and encrypted, protected from hacking or malware being installed.
It's 2020 and still many other web hosting services offer SSL certificate as an additional extra and charge a lot for it. Whilst it's entirely free with WA, you don't have to think about it.
Domain Registration Service
WA aims to have its platform "all in one essentials", and the domain service is an optional one of them.
As a free member you are supplied with a subdomain prefix ending ".siterubix.com", and you cannot use your own domain. I'll explain it later.
When you become a premium member, you can either buy your domain elsewhere (Namecheap.com and Godaddy.com are two of the most popular domain name providers, cost around $10 per year). Come back to your WA web hosting and link your domain, which is dead easy.
But if you use Wealthy Affiliate's domain name service, you don't have to worry about linking. It will cost you $13.99 per year including whois (privacy) protection >>Click Here. A few dollars more than Namecheap but the good news is this price is locked in - once you pay this year, there'll never be future price increase.
Keyword Tool (Jaaxy)
Previously Jaaxy was a premium service only, now free access is granted to all the premium WA members. This is one of THE most beneficial features that the members can enjoy.
The keyword tool is integrated with WA platform, so you can open your websites, receive training, communicate with others etc, and also do an extensive keyword search from one dashboard.
Affiliate Program Search
As the name suggests - this feature allows you to find affiliate programs, which is extremely useful for you if you just joined and have no idea what kind of companies are looking for affiliates. The search can be;
- Filtered by available countries, payment preference (PayPal, Wire transfer, Check, etc), commission rate (amount or percentage), or by user rating.
- Sorted by program name, affiliate network, user rating, commission rate (amount or %), network fee required or not, or auto approval.
Once you find a good affiliate program, you can save your own link there, so that you don't have to go back to the company's site every time you use it.
The companies include from big brands to individual product sellers from ClickBank. If you're not sure (how to use it, or whether you should join a particular program or not), you can always ask us a question via community question, via direct message or on live chat.
Free Membership vs. Premium Membership
The chart below compares what you can receive between as a free member and as a premium member. You can continue to be a "Starter" member after 7 days and receive training (but not live help or 1-on-1 coaching), whilst the premium membership gives you a lot more advantages.
First 7 days
Website security package
Beginner training course
Personal affiliate blog
Affiliate bootcamp training
All 7 phases
Live video classes
Keyword research tool
2 x higher payout
Earn while you learn
First 7 days
Private access to owners
24/7, 365 website support
Website feedback platform
Website comment platform
Those ready to earn
Premium Membership $49 per month - is it worth it?
In my opinion it definitely is, especially if you're looking to make a living with your online business.
If you were to run your own website(s), decent web-hosting service would cost you $50-$300 per year, that'd be per site. Plus your domain name $12-14 per year per site. This would not include any training or tips & tricks on SEO, web trafficking and any other trends that any entrepreneurs should be constantly updated with.
With its "University" level of training and all your website running costs, I think $49 per month is a bargain. There are tens of thousands of premium active members. Many of us make a living online or at least make enough commission income to cover the premium subscription fee. Meaning the members all agree it is worth the money.
Discount Schemes (Pay 6/12 Months In Advance)
You can pay a reduced rate for your membership fee by paying in advance;
- Pay 6 months in advance ($234) and get 20% off ($39 per month, save $60), or
- Pay 12 months in advance ($359) and get 39% off ($29.92 per month, save $229).
Either of the two options is worth considering. You can start paying monthly, and whenever you feel confident that this is the way for you to make money online, you can pay for the next 6 or 12 months all at once. In fact that's exactly what I did. I paid for my first month's premium fee, and within that month I knew WA was right for me, meaning it's a good deal, and decided to "go annual".
Wealthy Affiliate offers further discounts. If you become a premium member within the first 7 days you'll receive a 61% discount on first month's membership (=$19).
This excludes the first 7 days of free trial. It means if you decide to go premium after the first day, you'll still enjoy the remaining 6 days for free but have full access. And the $19 will be calculated pro-rata. 19 x 30 x 1/36 = $15.83...something like that. Good, isn't it.
Also as mentioned earlier, if you pay yearly (pay $359 for 12 months in one go), that works out $30 per month, further 39% discount.
Free (Starter) Membership - Is THAT Worth It?
Is it worth staying as a free member indefinitely? Obviously there are quite a few premium benefits that you cannot receive, as shown in the comparison chart earlier. But if you want to take things slowly, you can do that. The choice is yours.
The "first month $19" bonus is equivalent to about 18 days free, so after the first 7 days free trial, carry on staying free for further 3 weeks before you start to pay the full membership of $49, and that will be the same thing.
As a free member, you have to use a Siterubix subdomain. But that's ok while you're staying free, keep building your site, continue to publish blog posts. And then, whenever you decided to go premium, purchase a desired domain name and transfer all the contents from Siterubix to your domain. The transfer won't take a few minutes, it's very easy...do you see what I mean?
Create Up To 10 Websites
This is very good. You don't necessarily have to have 10 websites, but if you want to test something - new format, new WordPress theme, installing a plugin that you're not sure about - you can create a test website whenever you want. And if you don't like it, delete the entire site whenever you want too.
Jay Neill is the Training chief, who provides absolutely invaluable webinar every week. It's a live webinar that you can join and ask questions to Jay real time.
Sadly to this date, I've never been able to join live because of the time difference, but I make sure to watch the recording (available from the following day). Jay's webinars are packed full of tips, tricks, and advice as an expert include;
...and many more. Remember, the essential webinar is on broadcast each and every week.
Just to be clear, already there are Online Entrepreneur Certification Course and Affiliate Bootcamp, both created by Kyle, containing text and video tutorials. The Bootcamp has absolutely everything you need to learn about affiliate marketing. Jay's weekly webinar is provided on top of that, as the latest and hottest tips, with no extra cost.
Site Comment & Site Feedback
One thing that I'm excited to tell you about in this Wealthy Affiliate review is the Site Comment feature that the members are truly privileged to use. Getting visitors to your newly built website is hard, imagine getting anyone to leave a comment - the odds are astronomical. WA members can visit other members' sites and leave a comment. You can't just randomly do this; you'll have to read the post carefully and leave an original, quality comment. The website owner has the right to approve or disapprove the comment they received.
Having a number of quality comments in your web post will increase the chance of higher ranking in search engines, so this is one of the most useful features that WA membership offers.
Site Feedback is another feature where the members can visit other member's sites and give their feedback. The feedback can be in general, about layout, about content, etc.
Definitely useful for those who have built a website for the first time. But in all honesty, the feedback you receive can be a hit and miss. You're lucky if you receive constructive criticism from an expert member. Most of the time you receive a low-quality "feedback" saying "Wow, your site is awesome, I love everything about it..." Unlike the Site Comment feature, you cannot approve or reject. So you could end up judging the contributor's opinion rather than making a decision to improve your site based on their feedbacks.
Become a Certified Commenter!
If you leave 50+ quality comments per month, you'll be given a "certified commenter" badge and be eligible to get paid by leaving comments. There are certain criteria to clear - check the detail from here.
This will give you a chance to get paid within a month of commencing your internet business. Your WA premium membership fee can be covered. It's a fantastic opportunity for those who are short of cash to receive all the training and benefits effectively at no costs!
What You Can Do To Be Successful Using Wealthy Affiliate
A lot of membership sites give you only limited access during the free trial period. But it's not the case with WA. There are some limited access areas such as the Course Level 2 onwards, but there are so many other contents to read. What you can do before you decide to go Premium can be;
- Create your profile on WA - you can edit it any time at a later date.
- "Getting Started" - follow the Level 1 course, lessons 1-10, consisting text and video tutorials.
- As you follow the course steps, your niche idea (what kind of products you'd like to promote) should begin to shape up. If you don't come up with an idea, we can personally give you some advice too.
- Once your niche is decided, start building your first website. It's all built-in, and you can publish your posts straight, publish them privately (not visible to anyone else) or just save as draft.
- Read other members' blogs and advice, or take a look at their websites.
- Post your questions and interact with other members.
How far you want to try is up to you, but hopefully by then, you'll see the benefits from the WA membership.
Where To Go First
When signed up with Wealthy Affiliate and you are in your dashboard for the first time, it's up to you if you want to take your time to explore all the features. But if you feel overwhelmed by it - many new members often will - I suggest that you just start taking the training lessons. (1) Click "Training" in the left-hand menu, then (2) Getting Started.
I also recommend you to follow as many other members and follow back whoever followed you. In this way, you can access to useful tips and advice, also get to know what others are up to; hear their success stories, struggles, scam alerts, all of which you can add your comment to (only if you want to!)
Membership Ranking And Ambassadorship
WA has a member ranking system, and your profile is ranked as soon as you join in. As you make engagements by writing blogs for the community, asking questions, replying to other questions and on live chat, your ranking goes up. The ranking system is a highly motivational factor, especially for new members. If you're in the top 25 of the ranking, you'll be given a Wealthy Affiliate Ambassador title.
...which means very little, as far as your online success is concerned. Because the ranking position does not get you any money, you see? Ambassadors don't necessarily give you technical advice but some of them only create a "buzz" by writing lots of blogs. The more blogs are written, the bigger the WA site itself will become, i.e. Wealthy Affiliate is forever-growing and continuously boosting its profile.
Don't "Drift Away" - Focus On Making Money Online
As a part of this Wealthy Affiliate review, my "advice" is to focus on learning and to make use of the platform to build your own business... Sounds like stating the obvious, right?
It does have an amazing community. Trust me, you'll be so welcomed and will receive an extraordinary level of support. It's a spam-free, bitching free forum space where you're constantly motivated. But it's also a fact that some members use the space to socialize.
There are all sorts of people from all over the world. Some are rich, they don't have to work. Some are there purely to enjoy the camaraderie, and maybe to learn a little bit about the internet world. It's fine with them. But some are hugely distracted - I see regular members moan that they haven't earned money, and haven't even finished Wealthy Affiliate University course. They don't know how Google Analytics work (which is clearly explained in the training course).
You see how your goal - "make money online" - can be swayed and drifted by belonging to this fabulous, genuinely helpful community. So I'd like to say, always stay focused if you want to survive in the internet marketing world. Learn as much as you can and get your online income sorted first. Then return the favor by helping new members whenever you can. I believe that's what Kyle and Carson want you to do, too!
Wealthy Affiliate Referral Program
You receive a commission upon referring WA to others - receive $0.50 when your referral creates their profile, and when they become a premium member you'll receive $23.50 monthly recurring commission as long as they maintain their membership.
How Is It 'Cheaper'?
Talking about the premium membership pricing again.
If you're looking to start content marketing (blogging to make money), you need (1) to have your website hosted, and (2) a premium keyword tool.
(1) There are some cheap and fairly reliable web hosting companies, claiming to charge you as low as $2.95 per month. Try signing up with them and go straight to the payment screen - $2.95 is based on the 3-year contract, only for 1 website, and it doesn't include site security cover and backup cover. Anyway you'd have to pay for 3 years in advance, you don't want to do that.
You want flexibility and ability to create more than one site, transfer contents from one site to another in case you change your mind or mess up in the future (believe me, you will.) Then the cheapest option will be around $8-10 per month. Or more. But let's say $8 per month. You'd have to pay 12 months in advance.
- Web hosting 12 months x $8 = $96
- Site security 12 months x $2 = $24
- Full site backup 12 months x $3 = $36
(2) Plus, a keyword tool. The cheapest and reliable tool is LongTail Pro (which I recommend) is $25 per month, if you pay 12 month in advance.
- LongTail Pro for 12 months = $297
- Total: $453.
Now Wealthy Affiliate will cost you $359 per 12 months including web hosting with full security cover, full site backup, premium keyword tool, and allows you to freely create up to 50 websites. You see what I mean by 'cheaper' because it literally is. And this is only a part of its services. Training, webinars and community support are all-inclusive.
The Negatives: Wealthy Affiliate Complaints
There are a couple of complaints that are typically made by some of the existing members and/or non-members.
(1) Everyone Else Is A "Scammer"
Many online "scambusters" are WA members or its graduates. We are trained to write fair & unbiased product reviews online. If a product or a scheme is in MMO (make money online) niche, we are taught to compare it to WA itself, because it's the place we know the best. Naturally that's the best way to promote something as an affiliate.
Many (especially new) WA members are so happy with the help & support they receive, they tend to rate other MMO products lower than WA - whatever they review, nothing seems as thorough as Wealthy Affiliate by all means.
Another thing is, newbie members tend to see the Wealthy Affiliate method (=content writing) the only legitimate way to make money online. As a result they tend to call every other MLM or any aggressive network marketing a "scam".
...which can lead others to believe that the members may be specifically instructed to label every other product a scam and only promote WA. That's not the case, that's never the case.
(2) Site Support Incompetence
I wanted to be honest with you in this Wealthy Affiliate review and, this, sadly I cannot disagree. I'm only hoping it to improve.
Site support is very quick to respond. If the issue is simple & straightforward, they'll fix it for you very quickly. But when a problem is a little more technical, or the same problem occurs multiple times over a period of time, they only give you a quick solution and never explain in detail or try to get to the bottom of the problem.
For example one of my sites has a loading speed problem - not the actual website speed but it's the WP-Admin (WordPress editor) that slows down intermittently. I have explained everything to the Site Support - what I think is causing the problem. Unfortunately every time, all I receive is a one-sentenced robotic answer, "Ray, can to try logging in again?" So I log in, and the speed is normal. I have complained about it but have received no solution.
So if there's a simple technical problem, the support desk will be fabulous. Even if anything catastrophic happens to your site, they can restore it for you. But if there's something a little more complicated, you won't receive a sustainable solution. That I think is a problem right now.
Two Types of Affiliate Marketing Methods
There are two types of affiliate marketing methods (roughly) - content marketing method and sales funnel method.
Wealthy Affiliate teaches the former method, content marketing. Affiliates are not sellers. We are here to genuinely help others by writing unbiased product reviews, so that users can get the most beneficial, value-for-money products. As an affiliate, you don't sell. You make recommendations. WA also teaches extensive SEO technique, so your websites drive organic traffic and stay close to the top of search engines. The advantages will be;
- The organic traffic allows you to earn passive income in years to come.
- The organic traffic won't cost you a penny.
- By constantly making recommendations, you'll gain trust from users over time.
The disadvantages may be;
- It will take time to build a trust relationship with users.
- Be too honest by pointing out too many negatives, and you're missing opportunities to earn commissions.
Whereas many other affiliate marketing training courses teach the sales funnel method. So you learn 'buyers' psychology' from the marketer's point of view. How you can get people to click to buy, how to keep them in and the upselling technique. The advantages are;
- Sales-focused, means you tend to make a lot more commissions in a short period.
- You primarily use paid advertisements and traffic services, so you don't have to learn SEO technique.
The disadvantages may be;
- You don't earn passive income - you only make commissions while your ads are running (unless you're selling a subscription-based service).
- You need to monitor your spending to make sure you're making profits.
There's no right or wrong in between these two methods, as far as affiliate marketing is concerned. But because WA's ethos is to be a 'helpful, honest and unbiased' reviewer, many WA members tend to deny the sales funnel method just because a product has upsells (upselling is the way to make money!) or because you have to spend money on ads (spend money to make more money!)
Having said all that, I keep my websites for 4+ years to show my honesty and keep my sanity, that's why I prefer to stick with the Wealthy Affiliate method.
Wealthy Affiliate Pros and Cons
My Wealthy Affiliate Review: Conclusion
I love the fact that Kyle and Carson are constantly on board improving the site and, anything negative that the members feel about is raised, considered and answered. If the site technical support is a little more hands-on help, it's near perfect in my opinion.
It's up to you to decide - if you'd like to make your affiliate marketing business a success, join free, create your own stunning website, go through the training and see if this one is for you - free to join, there's nothing to lose.
Are you already a member of Wealthy Affiliate? Or you have been in the past but no longer? What's been your experience, please leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Thanks!