My Wealthy Affiliate review (updated for 2021)
I first joined Wealthy Affiliate (WA) back in 2018 because my partner at the time had heard about affiliate marketing, and had signed up to (and paid a crazy amount) for an affiliate training site that strongly appeared to be a pyramid scheme.
After listening to his complaints about having to pay to access each level of training, I decided to look into what he was actually doing.
It didn’t take me long to realise the one he had signed up to was a scam… thankfully he had only lost about $200 – small change compared to what it would have cost if he had accessed all of the so-called training!
My partner was still very keen to keep going, so I started researching other affiliate marketing training sites. What we were really looking for was a program that provided actionable steps, and practical training that wasn’t a giant sales pitch for the training site itself.
I did find one after hours of extensive researching and reading. After reading several reviews (making sure we weren’t getting caught in another scam!) I decided to give Wealthy Affiliate a chance as it offered a completely free starter membership.
Funnily enough, my partner lost interest after just a few months, and I found myself very much intrigued about what was possible through blogging and affiliate marketing.
So now, after three years as a member of Wealthy Affiliate, and with my annual membership due for renewal, I thought it was time to write a review about the positives and negatives of this Affiliate Marketing program, and to seriously consider whether I should remain a member or not.
My Full Disclosure and Honesty Promise
As someone who is not tech-savvy at all, it can be hard to find simple clear instructions or information on the internet whenever you want to learn something.
There is an alarming amount of false information out there, and while it can sometimes be easy to tell which are just up-sells, sometimes they can be very convincing.
I spent a long time researching and comparing reviews before deciding on Wealthy Affiliate, and I want to offer full honesty about the pros and cons of this program. Along with things that I believe can be improved.
This review is going to provide you with my honest and clear account of my experiences within the program, and whether it actually does what it promises – which is providing you with the tools to create a successful online business using affiliate marketing.
With that said, I am an affiliate for Wealthy Affiliate. If you click on any of my affiliate links on this review, like this one, I will get a commission in the event you sign up for a paid membership. I will explain later on in this review what that actually includes.
This review is not meant as a sales pitch, but to provide you with the tools to make an informed decision as to whether Wealthy Affiliate is the right choice for you.
Who am I?
I started blogging as a creative outlet thanks to my partner, who became fed up with me becoming stir-crazy after being stuck between jobs for 3 weeks early in 2018.
You can read a bit more on my About Me page, but what it came down to was that for years I have struggled to find my ‘niche’ or place in the world.
Writing blogs has actually been the longest I have stayed focused on something. Why? Because it allows me to follow my interests and passions.
The internet, good or bad, is with us and is definitely not going anywhere! Instead it is growing at an exponential rate, and so are the opportunities available on it.
Today I have 6 websites, each dedicated to a different interest or ‘niche’ and this is my latest site. Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t start on the path of affiliate marketing to quickly make a lot of money (because contrary to popular belief – affiliate marketing does not create fast money), but instead to build a creative outlet that could be sustainable in the long run. The fact that I can build a side income from it is a bonus!
What does Wealthy Affiliate OFFER?
Wealthy Affiliate is different from most sites in that they offer a genuine community. You aren’t just listening to a voice over a video, but instead interacting with the people on there. This is part of what makes Wealthy Affiliate so successful and strong.
From the two formal training courses (Online Entrepreneur Certification and the Affiliate Bootcamp) to the community uploaded training (both live sessions and pre-recorded), live chat and easy access research. There is a significant amount available for free members and even more for premium members.
As part of the formal training, as you work through each level, you will find tasks to complete.
For example: Level 1 has 10 courses with 27 tasks.
Why did I like this? Because it kept me accountable and provided an actionable task for each step.
Wealthy Affiliate prides itself on its community, and by providing solid support every step of the way.
There are two paths to follow in Wealthy Affiliate:
Path 1: Online Entrepreneur
Path 2: Affiliate Bootcamp
So what is the difference between the two?
Affiliate Bootcamp is a course specifically for promoting Wealthy Affiliate, whereas Online Entrepreneur teaches you how to create a niche blog.
The courses are similar in many ways, things that I had learned in writing my niche blogs became very useful in the Bootcamp course. And I also learned some things on Bootcamp that I went back and added to my other sites.
Because of that, I recommend doing both courses.
Depending on how much time you devote to it, you can easily complete both within a few months. Though I suggest taking your time. Most companies that offer affiliate links, and Google adsense, won’t look at you until your site is at least 3-6 months old or have a significant number of valuable posts. So you might as well take the time to read and properly understand all the information available on Wealthy Affiliate.
What do you get with the FREE Wealthy Affiliate membership option
One of the things that convinced me to try Wealthy Affiliate, is that they have a free membership that does NOT require you to put in a credit card.
There are good and bad points to the free version, and while it gives you a great taste of what is available as part of the program, the amount of access is limited after the first week. However you can create 2 websites that you own and will have constant access to.
You can certainly start a basic blog with the information available in that first week though, there is more than enough for a beginner to get a feel for what can be accomplished.
If you don’t like it though, you can always transfer your domain to another host and continue outside of the Wealthy Affiliate site.
I signed up for the premium version within 4 days of joining as a free member, simply because I found great value for me in the information and services provided.
And that is what makes the free version ideal, it provides you with solid basis to make a decision on whether it suits you or not.
Access to 10 lessons in both the Online entrepreneur Certification and the Affiliate Bootcamp
Access to 2 of the 12 classrooms
Access to 12 free website designs from WordPress
Access to SiteDomains, an all-inclusive domain platform
Virus & Malware protection for your site
Access to the Ultimate Writing Platform, helping you with templates and writing goals
Starter access to Jaaxy – the keyboard, niche & website research tool
In the first 7 days you will have live and instant chat support
These are the course benefits just from completing level 1 of the Online Entrepreneur Course:
What is included in the PREMIUM Membership?
The Premium membership includes absolutely everything Wealthy Affiliate has to offer. It is actually one of the most convincing aspects of it.
Other programs I have come across make you sign up for progressively more expensive ‘levels’ to gain extra access. Wealthy Affiliate only has two levels. Free or Premium (USD$49 per month).
The only other additional fixed costs is for the domains you purchase (hosting is free and built into the site).
There is free/starter access to their research program Jaaxy (you can sign up if you choose to at USD$49 per month) but the free version provides sufficient access for beginners.
Apart from complete access to all the training that is on the site (both formal and community listed), you get to talk to thousands of people who are either beginning their journey or well and truly on their way.
It was a bit of a shock when I first joined to see how many people were actively online and engaging with others, answering questions and providing genuine guidance.
But that follows on with what Wealthy Affiliate promotes: Pay it forward.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to keep up with the constant posts though, you will find hours fly past! But it is worth keeping an eye out for any topics that interest you and get engaged with those. You will get the best value from it that way.
Another benefit of Premium is the one on one coaching. If you sign up using one of my links, you will be able to message me directly for one-on-one coaching and assistance. I believe in the pay it forward approach, and genuinely want to see everyone succeed and will provide any feedback and assistance I can.
Below is just a snapshot comparing the two memberships… the list was too long to fit on this page!
Why Wealthy Affiliate is more about COMMUNITY then it is about blogging
At the risk of repeating myself, the best part of Wealthy Affiliate is that it is a community. I learned so much just from reading other peoples posts, looking at the community training and asking questions. There is nothing like experience, and there is a wealth of it here.
This site provides everything you need to get started, from training, to hosting, content creation, research program and more all for one flat monthly cost. The price for the premium membership has not gone up in 20 years (which incidentally is how long Wealthy Affiliate has been around for).
There are also strict rules regarding SPAM and self-promoting, which I actually like, as otherwise the site would just be people advertising themselves and not learning from each other.
With step by step lessons and actionable tasks that help you build your blog, you are in control of how successful you become. The more time you give it, the more successful you will be.
As an established site with a long history, there is a lot on offer, and you are given the tools to create a blog based around something you are passionate about, and learn how to monetise it.
What I DON’T like about Wealthy Affiliate
One of the things I struggled with is that a lot of members on the site sound like they are in a pep rally, which can get a little overwhelming sometimes! (I’m Australian, no one here is that excited all of the time!) But having said that, sometimes when you are having a bad day, that cheerfulness can be exactly what you need.
I also learned the hard way that everything is in US dollars. It would be ideal if the site actually showed that everything is in US dollars, especially for people who are overseas, so we know to expect a conversion rate.
WA also focuses primarily on beginner training. While there is always something to learn no matter how advanced you are, it would be good for WA to expand and add update all their training modules.
Having said that there has been a huge improvement in the training modules, but a lot of the information is either outdated, or appears to be written by members who are still learning themselves.
There does seem to be a few steps missing that would be fantastic to see in the structured training, but it maybe that it is done deliberately to encourage community engagement and a team learning environment.
It also appears that the training has gone from encouraging people to build their own sites, to actively pushing people to refer WA only.
It seems some people are online all the time, posting on the forum and replying to others. Everyone is ‘ranked’ based on engagement on the site, which is both good and bad. What I have found is that some people become so focused on improving their rank, that their sites suffer for it. But then again, everyone is different and maybe for them the community spirit is what they were really after?
Who SHOULD sign up for Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate is designed to teach beginners in how to create websites around their interests or hobbies, and it does a fantastic job in doing that… and since the starter membership is completely free with no credit card required, it makes sense to at least sign up and see for yourself if it is for you.
Wealthy Affiliate is perfect for beginners up to intermediate (there is always something to learn), who are just starting out or wanting to understand how to create a site and market a product.
But it is not great for people just wanting to make a quick dollar. As much as the site promotes its ability to help people earn thousands of dollars, there is no such thing as average earnings and absolutely no guarantee that you make any commissions (earnings are based completely on your effort).
I have noticed a number of newcomers in the forum who keep asking how to make money quickly. This is the completely wrong approach and not in the spirit of the Wealthy Affiliate community.
Wealthy Affiliate is for people wanting to learn how to build a real, legitimate online business that is sustainable in the long term. Just like a bricks and mortar business, building a successful website takes time and commitment. The upside is you don’t have anywhere near the overheads that a standard business would. The amount you earn is completely dependent on you and your ability to provide honest and valuable information to your readers.
If you are realistic in your expectations and prepared to learn, than Wealthy Affiliate is definitely for you. After all, all the tools you need to get started are here in one place.
What happens when you join Wealthy Affiliate?
As I mentioned earlier, one of the best parts of joining the Wealthy Affiliate community is the support you get. Part of that is that I will be able to help you as a mentor, friend and coach.
If you have any questions you can message me directly. I will of course send you a welcome message, and check in on you from time to time to make sure you are getting the best value possible from this membership.
There are also other benefits, like being able to earn ‘credits’ and making it to their Super Affiliate Conference in Las Vegas, which they hold every year (you need to refer 300 premium clients per year to be eligible).
Is Wealthy Affiliate a SCAM?
Wealthy Affiliate is definitely not a scam, I have been a member long enough to have gone through the site and tested what is possible. This is a genuine community working together to help everyone succeed.
Even though there are times that the amount of advertising on the site can feel slightly overwhelming, the reality is it is easy to ignore when there is so much more to focus on.
No other program lets you sign up to a free trial with no payment details required, and with lifetime access to the site you create, without you needing to pay a premium fee. And also teaches you how to work from home and the comfort of your couch!
Is Wealthy Affiliate a PYRAMID Scheme?
I’ve come across a few articles asking this question, so it raises an interesting point.
What is a pyramid scheme? Otherwise known as MLMs (Multi level marketing companies), they rely on their members essential recruiting people and encouraging the recruits to recruit as well.
Now, Wealthy Affiliate does encourage its members to promote Wealthy Affiliate using a commission structure. This is very open across the platform.
It could be argued that the outdated training and lack of any high-level training (for advanced users) could signal that the owners have stopped investing in the product and are simply happy for its members to promote the platform on their behalf. However as the platform underwent a large scale refurb last year, and the fact that is easy to cancel your membership, negates that argument.
Why am I debating whether to RENEW my membership?
This is a tough one. On one hand the training is outdated and has long stopped being relevant to me, I also rarely participate in the community (this is due to time constraints and not lack of interest). On the other hand I actively use several features which include:
- The ability to register and host up to 50 websites as part of the premium membership (I have 6 personal blog sites)
- Ability to host domains purchased externally on WA (of which I currently host 10 client sites on here)
- The site content publishing tool with templates and word tracking
- The Jaaxy research tool at Enterprise level (not as good as AHREFS but definitely useful)
I have a side business where I provide web design services for small businesses, so the ability to host up to 50 websites on one platform has been a great tool.
When you add the WordPress themes, plugins and Jaaxy research tool it has been very good value for me financially, and that it is without actively promoting Wealthy Affiliate for the sake of commissions.
It could be argued that it is risky to keep everything on one platform, which is true. But that can be said for any platform. To mitigate risk I keep a record of all the WordPress logins, and I purchase my client domains from a different source and ‘point’ the domains to WA for hosting.
To move all the domains to alternative platforms will take time and effort, and I need to consider the cost of the new platforms as well.
I’ve written a lot about Wealthy Affiliate here, but all I can say is that this program is perfect for people who are absolutely brand new to websites, blogging and online marketing.
There is so much information available online, and it is hard to find a clear outline of where to start. Wealthy Affiliate has managed to successfully build a community of people who actively support each other which is great to see.
You can also make great use of their hosting features and additional tools as you move past their initial training.
However if you have experience in blogging and online marketing, then this is not the platform as the training will not be relevant to you at all.