This review is the culmination of my personal experience of being a member of Wealthy Affiliate (WA) for almost four years. But don’t expect it to be totally favorable. There are some things about WA that I don’t particularly like or agree with.
As always, I’m going to be completely honest and transparent in this Wealthy Affiliate review.
So what exactly is Wealthy Affiliate? It’s an online learning platform that gives its members comprehensive training in affiliate marketing and building out a WordPress website. And it provides the necessary tools needed to become successful online. But they’re not going to do the work for you. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme nor is it suited for everyone. Please read the rest of this comprehensive review before you make any decisions.
OK, short and sweet:
Name: Wealthy Affiliate
Company Name: Niche Marketing Inc.
Founders: Kyle Loudoun & Carson Lim
Affiliate Marketing Training: ★★★★☆
WordPress Training: ★★★★☆
Affiliate Program: ★★★★★
Research Tools: ★★★★☆
WordPress Hosting: ★★★☆☆
Technical Support: ★★★★☆
Live/Recorded Webinars: ★★★★☆
Website Builder ★★★★★
Domain Name Registration ★★★★★
Site Content ★☆☆☆☆
Success Stories ★★★★☆
Price Starter Member (free), Premium Membership ($49/month or $359/year)
My Overall Rating ★★★★☆
Wealthy Affiliate Training, a Style to Suit Everyone
Whether you prefer to read, look at pictures or watch videos you’ll find plenty of training to suit your style.
The core course comprises 50 lessons utilizing walk-through videos plus the written word and still images. The first 10 lessons are included in the starter member (free) package. You’ll be encouraged to choose a niche, build a website and write informative and engaging content.
The lessons are step-by-step with tasks to do for each lesson. As you progress through the course you realize that each lesson builds on your existing knowledge that you learned from the previous classes. My advice here is to take your time with the lessons to make sure you fully absorb the new knowledge and put it into practice. People who rush through or jump about in their learning can quickly become overwhelmed.
There’s always a space for comments under each class so you can read other people’s questions and the answers they’ve been given. And if your question hasn’t been covered thoroughly then just leave a comment. Because the community is so active you’re sure to get a quick response. There’s also Live Chat where old and new members hang out, make friends and help each other.
If your questions are not easily resolved then, as a premium member, you can get private access to the founders, Kyle and Carson.
When you’ve been a member for a while and you see a question from someone who is less knowledgeable than you’ve become you can answer other people’s questions. I find helping other people is such a rewarding experience.
If you want to choose promoting Wealthy Affiliate as your niche there’s another 70 lessons to teach you how to do just that. Again, the first 10 lessons in this course are included in the free starter member package. More on the affiliate program a bit later.
Promoting Wealthy Affiliate is not the main thrust of the platform. The core training is to teach you how to become a successful affiliate marketer for many products and services in any niche of your choosing.
Apart from the ‘official’ lessons, there are heaps and heaps of tutorials and videos created by the members. I feel it’s only fair to warn you that the member contributions vary in quality and even in accuracy. WA provides a showcase for budding trainers to share their work and get feedback. So take everything produced by the members with a grain of salt.
This is how I got my start with teaching online. Even though I’ve been an instructor for many years I discovered that teaching online is very different.
First I created some written tutorials which were well received by the members. Then I experimented with video. Video turned out to be much more fun than written tutorials so they’ve been my main focus ever since. Thanks to the feedback and encouragement I got from the WA members I’ve gone on to publish videos and courses on YouTube and Udemy.
Then there’s the weekly Live Video Webinars
These are mainly on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Each webinar lasts around an hour and there’s a question and answer section at the end. If you miss the live class then you can catch up with the recorded version. There’s heaps of recorded classes in the archives. The live video classes and recordings are exclusive to premium members.
I find the live classes take way too long and I may get interruptions at home so I wait until the recordings are available. Then I can use the pause button.
But it’s not all about affiliate marketing. It’s also about building a WordPress website; writing interesting, engaging, informative content; and making that website attractive to visitors.
You’ll learn how to build a brand new website in a matter of minutes. Yes, I know, they say 30 seconds. But by the time you look at some of the available themes and choose a name for your website, it’s going to take a little bit longer. Let’s keep it real.
Building a website is the start of your journey. You need a website host, technical support, community support and encouragement. All of these are included in the premium membership. Starter members get a taste of some of the premium features during the first 7 days.
Can a Free Starter Member Make Money Online?
Theoretically yes. As a starter member, you get 2 websites as siterubix subdomains e.g. name.siterubix.com And you get 2 classrooms of 10 lessons each. So if you already know what you’re doing you can make money. But if you’re inexperienced you really need the extra classes that only premium members can access.
Wealthy Affiliate has a generous affiliate program whereby you can earn revenue by referring people to WA. This is recurring income. For each premium member you refer you can earn $23.50 per month or $175 per year for as long as they stay a premium member. 2 premium member referrals can just about cover your own membership fees.
Free starter members earn half the amount that premium members enjoy. Yes, you can earn money as a starter member.
Super affiliates who attract 300 new premium members during the year get an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas. They get to hang out with Kyle, Carson and each other on an all-paid private conference. And yes, they cover the cost of your flight from anywhere in the world.
Wealthy Affiliate started life as a keyword list back in 2005. Keywords have always been an integral part of the business and Kyle and Carson created a separate business called Jaaxy which is a keyword research tool. They have recently added a Lite version of Jaaxy which is included in the premium membership package. If keyword research is your thing then you’ll love Jaaxy.
Starter members get 30 free searches using Jaaxy. Premium members get unlimited searches.
Hosting and Technical Support
What can I say? As a website veteran, I find the hosting at WA to be below my expectations. But then I have very high expectations.
Any hosting service is going to have some complaints and WA is no exception. The difference is that because the WA community is encouraged to be vocal almost every complaint about the hosting is aired in public. So maybe I’m being hyper-critical here.
Complaints range from slow loading sites, being off-line for lengthy periods, to expired SSL certificates. Some of the complaints are justified and some are due to the inexperience of the newbie website owner rather than the hosting.
Most of the time technical issues are resolved quickly, often within minutes. There’s more praise for the technical support than there is complaints.
Don’t rely on Wealthy Affiliate’s backups
WA boast about doing daily backups of all the websites. And yes, they do do regular incremental backups. So today’s backup overwrites yesterday’s backup. And they don’t keep historical backups. If you don’t notice that you’ve wrecked your own website then the backup Site Support has may be of the broken site. There’s no way to revert to what your site was like 2 days ago. Unless you do your own backups.
But that’s OK. I never rely on anyone else to take care of my business as well as I do. I’ve created a training video within WA so you can learn how to do your own website backups. Your business is too important to leave to chance.
Other Features Exclusive to Wealthy Affiliate hosting
Login to your website from within the Wealthy Affiliate platform. It’s quick and easy and totally unnecessary. Website owners can use website.com/wp-admin to log in outside of the WA platform.
Site Health is a sort of progress bar to let you know when you need to make a bit more of an effort with building out your website.
There’s other stuff you can manage from within Site Manager such as SSL (https), Site Speed (caching) and Site Protect (spam blocker).
The famous “build a website in 30 seconds”.
You can find and register domain names without leaving the platform. The registration includes privacy which other domain name registrars charge a lot extra for. Some domain name registrars include privacy for the first year and even discount the registration but they charge much more for 2nd and subsequent years. Renewal of the domain names at WA is locked in at the original price. I have all my domain names registered at WA because the renewals are cheaper there than anywhere else that I’ve found.
A relatively new concept which still has a lot of teething problems. Personally, I prefer to use the regular WordPress editor. It will be interesting to see how this fits in when the much-anticipated WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg is released.
The best part about Site Content is the built-in image library of over 1,000,000 free and free to use images gleaned from a number of sources around the internet. Even though I don’t use Site Content as an editor I can take advantage of the free images.
Members can give and receive comments from each other on their individual website posts using a 2:1 exchange system. For people who are short on time comments can also be purchased. Comments are intended to be published under the post. Only websites which are hosted at WA can receive comments through this system.
Not to be confused with Site Comments, which it frequently is. Feedback is when you tell another member what you think of their entire website. It covers things like layout, design, site navigation (menus). All the things you’d like to know about your website but don’t want to publish. Site Feedback credits can be used to purchase Site Comments.
WA has a very active community which has attracted around 1,000,000 members over the years. I’m not sure how many members are currently active but I’m sure there are many thousands with some being a lot more active than others.
There’s a search box at the top of every page where you can type in a few keywords and find related training, blogs and questions. You can also use the search box to find other members by using the @ symbol if you know their username.
If you can’t find the information you seek then you can ask a question. Most questions asked of the community get answered very quickly.
Of course, not all answers you receive from the community will be correct or best practice. We are just ordinary people who are trying to help to the best of our ability.
During the first 7 days of the starter membership you’ll be able to pop into Live Chat to make friends, ask questions, hang out and have a bit of fun. Live Chat is unlimited for premium members.
Wealthy Affiliate is a Spam Free Zone
No promotions of any kind are permitted within the platform. This is not negotiable and is strictly enforced. There are plenty of places to promote whatever you’re selling but the WA community is not one of them.
It’s a Wrap
Well, that just about wraps up my review of Wealthy Affiliate. It’s not perfect, nothing is. But it is, without question, the best there is. I plan on staying a member for the foreseeable future and I would like you to join me.
To find out more just take a free test drive with my compliments.
Please join in the conversation in the comments section below. If you’re a former or current member of WA then I’d love to hear from you too.