Welcome to my honest Wealthy Affiliate review. This is possibly going to be a controversial one. Even though I am a member of WA who has been there for 2 years and has made money from it, in this totally honest review I am writing about the bad as well as the good. Yes, there are a lot of things I like about Wealthy Affiliate, but there are also some things I am less happy about.
I want to stand out amongst the crowd and be the one person that dares to mention the bad things as well as the good things. This is probably going to be the most honest review of Wealthy Affiliate you are likely to ever read (especially from an existing member)…
Product: Wealthy Affiliate
Owners: Kyle & Carson
Price: $49 per month or $359 per year (free trial available)
My Verdict: Good, but not quite perfect
My Honest Wealthy Affiliate Review
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My History with Wealthy Affiliate
I first joined Wealthy Affiliate way back in 2009. I think I first heard about it from an internet marketer called Travis Sago. I had found out about his Bum Marketing Method and had signed up to his email list.
I had been trying to make money online since 2008, but had not had much success, so I decided to give WA a try. I can’t remember how long I was there for, but it was definitely less than a year. Let’s say about 6 months or so.
Back then, WA was quite different to what it is now. Apart from all the stuff about Pay Per Click marketing, it was all about using free websites to get traffic and backlinks through to your “money site” where you tried to sell people on whatever you were promoting. So this involved creating articles on Squidoo, Ezine Articles, Go Articles, Hub Pages, and many other such websites.
But it never worked for me, so I left later that year. I kept going with internet marketing in various forms for several years afterward, trying various methods and earning little bits of money here and there. But I never really got a huge amount of success, and so eventually quit internet marketing in 2012.
Then in January 2015, I decided to give things another try. I found out Wealthy Affiliate now had a free trial membership, so I signed up to give it a 2nd go. I’ve been a member ever since.
This time at WA I have actually earned money, both from promoting Wealthy Affiliate and from a couple of other niches. I have yet to build it all up into a full-time income, but I am definitely working on it. My best month so far was December 2016, in which I earned over $600. Hopefully, by December 2017, I will have reached double that…
What I Like About Wealthy Affiliate
Excellent Training for Beginners Upwards
If you are totally new to internet marketing and creating websites, Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to start. The training is set out in an easy-to-follow step-by-step manner, with actionable tasks after each lesson so you get to actually start building your business while you are learning.
Websites at WA are built on WordPress, which is the easiest way to build a website. Well, Wealthy Affiliate makes it even easier, as with just a few clicks you can have the basic framework of your website created. Of course, you still need to fill it with great content, but the lessons cover that too.
There are 50 lessons in total, split into 5 courses, and by the time you get to the end of the training you will have an awesome website filled with great content.
Solid Website Hosting
As part of your Wealthy Affiliate membership, you get built-in website hosting. You may think that you can get web hosting cheaper elsewhere, but this is top-of-the-range web hosting.
We all know that hacking and viruses are a real problem on the web, and this is true for websites as well. Thankfully, WA hosting comes with built-in protection for hacking and viruses/malware. I can honestly say that in over two years I have had no hacking or virus problems on any of my websites.
They also do daily backups of your websites, so if you ever make a big mistake with a website or do something stupid, you will almost certainly be able to get it back to how it was.
Awesome Technical Support
On the occasions when I have had a technical problem with a website, I just posted a support ticket and the technical support team have responded within a few minutes. I have also often seen other members post about their positive experiences with the technical support team.
Active, Helpful Community
Often you might have questions that don’t relate to the technical side of your website, but that’s when you can turn to the helpful community of active members. Just post a question to one of the 12 classrooms (click any of them to see an example of the kind of things that get posted in them):
- Getting Started
- WA Affiliate Program
- Keyword, Niche and Market Research
- Everything WordPress
- Authoring & Writing Content
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Engagement & Marketing
- Website Development & Programming
- Local Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Email Marketing
- The Wealthy Affiliate Platform
- Pay Per Click Marketing
You should find that you get replies after a few minutes. Sometimes the people who respond don’t know the exact answers themselves, but usually they are able to point you in the right direction, such as giving you a link to some training that covers the topic.
Weekly Webinars to Stay Up-to-date on the Latest Developments
There is an experienced member of Wealthy Affiliate called Jay. He’s been there since 2007, which was only 2 years after WA first started.
Every Friday, Jay does a live training session lasting at least an hour. Here are some of the topics he has recently covered (click them to take a look):
- The Simplicity of Growing Your Email List
- Adding your HTTPS to Google Webmaster Tools
- Increasing Productivity, Efficiency & Site Scalability
- Planning out a Social Media Schedule
- Taking Advantage of Seasonal Events in any Niche
- Building Landing Pages that Rock!
- Creating Awesome Facebook Ads
What I’ve started doing is writing notes as I watch them, then turning those notes into a blog post on my website. This serves two great purposes simultaneously: it helps the information sink into my own brain and it is helpful information for my readers.
Additional Training Created by Members
After they have been in WA for a few months, members are able to create their own training. This can either be a series of written pages or as a video tutorial. This can be helpful for learning various new things.
Here are some recent trainings created by members (click them to take a look):
- How to Add a Clickable Image to your SideBar
- All You Need to Know about Categories in WordPress
- How To Use The Header and Footer Plugin
- Add Blogroll to Menu When Using a Static Home Page
- How to create Amazon Text Ads
- Create Stunning Blog Posts & Pages With Elementor!
- Get More from Your Menu
Easy-to-use Keyword Tool
Sure, there are other keyword tools out there, but I have always rather liked the simplicity of the Wealthy Affiliate keyword tool. You just type in your search phrase, see what comes out, and then you can see the searches per month and the QSR (Quoted Search Results: this shows you how many other webpages contain the same exact phrase).
SiteComments Tool to Increase Google Rankings
In case you didn’t know, one factor that Google looks at when deciding where to place you in its search results, is the amount of social interaction on your website. This includes discussions within the comments section on your blog posts.
Wealthy Affiliate has a very useful tool called SiteComments. It is a credit-based system where members post comments to each others websites. Each comment you post on someone else’s website earns you 1 credit. You can then spend 2 credits to get a comment on your website.
I have actually noticed an improvement in my Google rankings when I have got comments on my posts using the SiteComments tool. And it’s definitely safer than getting backlinks, that’s for sure!
Many Essential Tools in One Place
One of the best things about Wealthy Affiliate is how it brings many essential tools into one place. Really, this means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Wealthy Affiliate is great because it covers several bases simultaneously.
Sure, it doesn’t contain EVERYTHING you might want to use for your internet marketing. For example, there is no autoresponder service built into WA, so those wanting to break out into email marketing will still need to get that separately. But that’s not essential, it’s just an optional extra once you start to scale your business up.
But it does have the essentials to get you off the ground: step-by-step training, website hosting, keyword tool, weekly live training sessions, additional training created by members, the SiteComments tool, and an active community to discuss things with. So it would be totally possible for someone to build up a profitable business just using Wealthy Affiliate.
What I DON’T Like About Wealthy Affiliate
“Turn Your Passion into a Thriving Online Business”?
These days, Wealthy Affiliate’s approach to affiliate marketing is to advise us to all create websites about our passions or interests, then fill them with great content, add some affiliate links, then end up making money.
This may sound great as an idea, but how well does it actually work in practice?
If someone is encouraged to create a website about whatever they are most passionate or interested in, what if that passion or interest is something not particularly profitable?
It’s great advice if your interest is something like bodybuilding, weight loss, relationship advice, computers, or smartphones because there are lots of related products that people will be ready to buy. But what if your interest is something more obscure, or something without many products associated with it?
Personally, I’ve got some rather obscure interests that I know would not make good business ideas. But then I’ve got some other interests that I think might make good business ideas, such as health and nutrition.
So, people need to be careful not to just jump on their favourite interest and start building a website about it. It might just end up as a hobby website that earns a few dollars here and there, rather than a monster of a business that brings in over $50,000 a year like some members at WA do.
But Wealthy Affiliate wasn’t always like this. Back when I was first a member in 2009, they had something called “NicheQ”. It was filled with in-depth research on known profitable niches such as golf, weight loss, etc. Every member was allowed access to one new niche report per month, and this would give them a head start in making money in a niche that was known to be profitable.
But somewhere along the line, WA decided to abandon that idea in favor of just encouraging people to build websites about whatever they are most interested in.
Don’t get me wrong, this approach will definitely work for some people, but it will also not work for other people. Then there will be a bunch of people somewhere in the middle who will succeed a bit but not as much as they had originally hoped.
But in the eyes of the owners of WA, it probably doesn’t matter. As long as enough people do succeed and stick around, the membership payments will continue to roll in for WA. Those that don’t succeed, they will maybe have stayed for a few months so WA will have still got some money out of them.
And before those unsuccessful members get round to leaving WA, you won’t hear too much negativity from them because…
Negativity Gets Suppressed
Eventually, after you have been at Wealthy Affiliate for a while, you may find a few things that irritate you. This is true of anything in life, no matter how great it is.
But if you post things to WA that are too negative, they will get suppressed. They do this in a very clever way. They hide your negative post from other people, but you can still see it. This way, you may not notice anything has happened because as far as you’re concerned it’s still there. You might just think that people decided to stop posting comments to it because they lost interest.
You might think I am making this up, but I have confirmed this. I have had other members ask me where my post has gone because they cannot see it anymore, even though I still can. So then if I tried to visit the post in an incognito window, it would not show up. I have also spotted this with other members when their posts have mysteriously disappeared.
I totally understand why the owners of Wealthy Affiliate do this. They are protecting their business by not allowing too many negative things to be said about it. I totally get that. But it just means that when you view the WA dashboard and see that it’s mostly filled with positive posts, this may not be an accurate representation of how people feel. There could be loads of unhappy WA members and we might never know.
“Ambassador” is a Meaningless Title
Every member at Wealthy Affiliate gets assigned a rank number. The lower your number, the higher your rank, so the owners Kyle and Carson have ranks of 1 and 2 respectively. Members can increase their WA rank by helping others, by posting to WA, and by generally being active on WA. But the big prize at the top is being given “Ambassador” status once your rank hits 25 or higher.
But what happens when you become an Ambassador? You get the title “Ambassador” next to your name, and that’s it really. Sure, there is a promise of “rewards” for ambassadors, but I’ve yet to see any. I have reached Ambassador myself several times, and have spoken with other Ambassadors, and there doesn’t seem to be any actual reward as such from what I can tell.
Although having this ranking system does encourage members to be active, it can cause people to be active just for the sake of it. Also, new members may look up to Ambassadors, thinking they are good people to get advice from. However, this may not necessarily be the case. I have seen some members shoot up to Ambassador status in just a couple of months just because they were so active on WA, so being labelled an Ambassador is no guarantee that they are an experienced internet marketer.
In fact, the opposite can often be the case because…
The Most Active Members are Often the Least Experienced
Although new members are initially restricted in how much they can post to WA, once they have passed that limit they tend to post quite a lot. This means that many of the posts on the WA dashboard are by relatively inexperienced members who are still somewhat buzzing from the excitement of being part of WA.
The extremely successful members of WA don’t always post very often. Often they are too busy working on their businesses. When they do post, it is usually something extremely valuable and worth paying attention to, though.
Training Created by Members is Sometimes Too Basic
Members are encouraged to create their own training, either as written training or as video tutorials. If you create training and it gets a lot of “Likes” and comments, you earn credits which can eventually be exchanged for money. This encourages members to create training whenever they have some valuable tips or information to share.
While some of this training can be very helpful, there is also a lot of it that is very basic. Some members create training about anything vaguely related to websites or internet marketing, such as how to use Gmail or other basic tasks that most people already know. Even if it’s something that some people don’t know already, it’s often information that can be found elsewhere online for free. It’s not always particularly groundbreaking stuff.
Too Many Personal/Motivational Posts by Members
Many members treat Wealthy Affiliate like Facebook and post a lot of personal updates and lighthearted motivational posts. Some of them will be doing it because they genuinely want to share their lives with other people, which is a shame because WA costs money whereas they could do that on Facebook for free.
Some members will do it because they are trying to increase their WA rank by being as active as possible. This is also a shame because when they eventually reach Ambassador status they will realize it was kind of a meaningless goal to aim for.
The WA Owners Try to Upsell You an Advanced Keyword Tool
Even though Wealthy Affiliate has its own built-in keyword research tool that works just fine, the owners of Wealthy Affiliate also own a separate keyword tool called Jaaxy.
Once you have joined WA as a premium member, they try to get you to sign up to Jaaxy as well, which will cost you extra money each month. They have a sneaky way of doing this. One of the lessons in WA shows you how to promote Jaaxy as an affiliate. This encourages you to try it out for yourself. In fact, I think you can only access the affiliate area of Jaaxy if you are a member yourself.
Sure, Jaaxy is a superior keyword tool compared to the basic keyword tool that comes free as part of your WA membership. It allows you to research more keywords and get the results a lot quicker, as well as save the results in lists.
I just wish Jaaxy was an integral part of Wealthy Affiliate. I would actually pay a few more dollars for my WA membership if it came with Jaaxy as standard.
Okay, that’s enough ranting about the negative things in WA. They are not total deal-breakers for me, but I wanted to be totally honest and share them with you so you are fully aware of what happens at Wealthy Affiliate.
People Who Have Succeeded with Wealthy Affiliate
Despite having just gone on a bit of a rant about a few negative things, I still think WA is worth being a member of. If you are determined to succeed, you can make it happen, and here are some great examples of members who have done just that.
VitaliyG Earns $50,000 Per Year
This guy has been a member of WA since 2007, and in July 2016 he revealed how much he earns just from promoting Wealthy Affiliate:
“Can someone make a full-time income promoting WA? You bet they can!“
This is just from promoting WA, and I’m sure that’s not his only source of revenue. I’m sure he has written before about money he has earned in other niches, but I can’t find it right now. He’s written so many posts on his website there’s too much to look through to find it.
DomW Has 100 Employees Working for Him
Dom has been at Wealthy Affiliate since 2012, and already his online business has expanded so much that he has 100 people working for him:
“I have over 100 employees and freelancers under me – Ask Me Anything“
He won’t reveal what his total profits are (believe me, I’ve asked him), but does show that he spent $67,000 in one year!
But he did once manage to earn $40,000 in one weekend:
“$40,000 In One Weekend“
Imagine earning that much in just one weekend? Some people would be happy for the rest of the year on that!
Steve’s Had 10.5 Million Visitors to His Website
He’s done this just from blogging:
“10.5 Million Visitors Have Visited My Site“
While he doesn’t say how much that has earned him, he has been at WA since 2009 and has been to the annual WA Las Vegas trip. You have to get 300 premium referrals to WA in a year to qualify for their Las Vegas trip, so that gives you an idea of how successful he’s been.
Nathaniell Earned $2,000 Over Christmas from One Website
$2,000 from one website in one month. That’s pretty good, right?
“3 Steps to $2,000 Extra: Christmas 2017“
And this was NOT from referring people to Wealthy Affiliate. How do I know? Because that stats graph is from Amazon Associates.
But Nathaniell has been to the Las Vegas conference several times, so he is definitely very successful at referring people to WA as well as earning money from his other websites. He’s an all-round successful internet marketer who is well worth paying attention to.
Bthiel Earns $5,000 Per Month
This guy is now earning an average of $5,000 per month from his website:
“$5k per mo is possible – Follow the training and you’ll get results“
It took him a while to get to that point, and sure there were frustrations along the way, but it just goes to show that if you stick at it, you can build up a good income.
Saco Earned $14,000 in 3 Months
He doesn’t give details about how he did it or what his niche is, but it’s good to see yet another person earning some decent money online:
“$14,000 in 3 months“
Is Wealthy Affiliate Right for YOU?
It’s not just about whether Wealthy Affiliate is right for you, but also whether you are right for Wealthy Affiliate. WA is not suitable for everyone, but if you are the right person it is a good place to start your internet marketing journey.
Wealthy Affiliate is Right for You if:
- You are a beginner. One thing that Wealthy Affiliate is awesome at is taking any complete beginner and showing them how to build up a great website. So if you have never created a website before, the step-by-step training at WA could be just what you need to get started.
- You have a genuine interest in something potentially profitable (e.g. weight loss, bodybuilding, fitness, relationships, computers, musical instruments…). Not every interest is a profitable business idea. My advice is to list all your interests and try to zoom in on the one that shows the most business potential.
- You are prepared to work at it. Building a successful online business takes work, so you need to be prepared to put the effort in.
- You are going to stick at it long-term. It takes time to build up a profitable website, so you need patience and dedication.
Wealthy Affiliate is NOT Right for You if:
- Your passion or interest is not profitable. As I’ve already said, I don’t believe that every passion or interest can be profitable. If you want to build a website about something that doesn’t have much business potential, my advice is to not bother. You’ll end up building a hobby website that will earn you a few dollars here and there, not a full business. Then you might blame WA for your lack of success when actually it was just a bad choice of niche.
- You are looking for a quick way to earn money. You need to be careful with that, though. If you go looking for a quick way to get rich, there is a high chance you will fall prey to some scams.
- You’re not in this for the long term. Again, if you’re not going to stick at this long enough to make it work, go home, but be prepared to be disappointed with a lot of the other things you will try and then abandon when they don’t succeed quickly enough.
- You don’t want to work. If you want something that’s easy, that you don’t have to work at, don’t bother with WA. But you probably need to rethink your attitude. Success requires work.
On the whole, Wealthy Affiliate is a good place to learn how to build a website, get help from other internet marketers, and stay up to date with the latest training. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, but you’re better off staying away from those anyway.
Sure, it has its bad points, as anything in life does, but it has a lot of good things going for it too. The main thing that will make the biggest difference to your success is YOU. If you have the right attitude and work ethic, you can succeed even without Wealthy Affiliate. If you DON’T have the right attitude and work ethic, you won’t succeed even with Wealthy Affiliate.
The best thing Wealthy Affiliate’s got going for it is that it has all the essential things in one place: training, website hosting, keyword research, an active community. If you are determined to succeed, Wealthy Affiliate will make it more convenient by having all these things in one place.
Ultimately, the best way to know whether it’s right for you is to give it a try. So it’s great that they have the free starter membership so you can do just that!
I hope you found my Wealthy Affiliate review helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, please post them in the comments section below. I will reply as soon as I can.
All the best,