Wealthy Affiliate Review: Scam or Your Path to Passive Glory?
OK, this is going to be a long one, so let’s cut to the chase. We’re going through the famous Wealthy Affiliate program and see if all the positive reviews are true. There are some courses I recommend near the end in case WA turns out not to be what you expected.
A bit of background
Wealthy Affiliates come from Kyle and Carson. They released the site back in 2005, so they aren’t newcomers. They reached success through affiliate marketing, and they wanted to extend it while helping others, hence this course.
At the beginning, Wealthy Affiliate was just a list of keywords for new niches every month and ads you can run on Google. It costed $30.
With time, they realized some features could improve the site.
There wasn’t any community aspect for communication, which extended to a lack of direct mentoring and support. Other than providing keywords, members were left to their own devices regarding research, and newer affiliates were building inefficient sites and could learn more about design, hosting, etc.
That’s what started the Wealthy Affiliate everyone knows and seems to love. It’s a community-based website with all solutions necessary for affiliates.
Right now, Wealthy Affiliate now offers hosting, a WordPress-like platform, live classes every week, training modules, domain sales, and even the old keyword/research tool.
They’ve basically created a complete hub for affiliate marketers with all the solutions they need. Pretty smart if you ask me: that means everyone can just pay for their services instead of going anywhere else.
Reviewing Wealthy Affiliate
Let’s dive into the content. You a free membership with training, so it’s a good idea to check it out. I won’t spend too much time there, but let me give you a quick rundown before moving to the meat of the program.
It comes with 10 lessons, and the first one is a 90-minute walkthrough of the website and how you can use it. They also tell you the things you can expect from it. There’s also a nice illustration of the 4 steps to success, which is actually pretty accurate, but don’t fall for its simplicity.
The next lesson goes into how affiliates make money, with a breakdown of the business model for newbies. The 3rd lesson goes into niches, basically explaining why they’re important and how to tackle them.
The 4th lesson goes into website building. Here, they go for a push on their own hosting platform to get you to subscribe for the included hosting. However, note that you can also join their siterubix domain for free and host your website as a subdomain; that’s not the best idea, and it can wreck your branding, so study your options. Bluehost is quite nice.
The 5th lesson talks about configuring your WordPress, by assuming you already have a website. It explains plugins and deleting your default sections. It’s one of the most basic lessons.
They use the 6th lessons to introduce the All In One SEO plugin to get your website in good shape. Another option you can use is Yoast, which is my favorite. This lesson takes a hit because they tell you to make captivating titles, but they fail to tell you that you should always use your keywords in your title. Keep that in mind.
The 7th lesson teaches you more basic stuff: creating your About page and privacy policies, but it’s a good explanation. The 8th lessons continues it by teaching you how to set up your menu with WordPress.
The second-to-last lesson is an intro to what keywords are and how to choose them. They mention Jaaxy, a keyword research tool. You get Jaaxy Lite for free if you subscribe to Wealthy Affiliates.
The last “lesson” is just them telling you that the free training ended. Continuing will cost you the premium membership, but they offer you a discount for the first month if you made it in a week; you can pay $19 before going into the $49 monthly.
Now, let’s go into the paid stuff.
It starts off with domains, and it tells you to get your domain if you used the siterubix site for a subdomain.
As an important note, don’t go into this expecting to learn more about niches. It skips it completely, assuming you already know your niche from the free training, so have it ready before heading into this section.
The 2nd level has 10 lessons, and you must mark each one as completed before you go to the next one.
They start off with the basics: picking your own domain and brand, importing your site from siterubix, publishing your first post after picking your target keyword, and setting up an email. It then goes into a bit more depth with how to exploit keywords within your article and how to add images related to your topic.
It also goes into easy keywords that you can use and how to use a real persona for your blogs to generate trust.
The last 2 lessons are mostly filler: a mindset video on productivity and another one telling you write a post on the WA community blog. It’s your first exposition to the community aspect, which I think is quite cool.
The 3rd level is mostly an explanation of how driving traffic and your website earns you money.
It explains the business model and how people make money from it, finding good affiliate programs, adding your links, Amazon Associates, how to use product reviews (we’re breaking the 4th wall here), how to use Google Adsense and testing your products with it, and how to use Google Analytics.
There’s a good tip here as well: your website’s goal is education. You need to provide real value for your readers before throwing your affiliate links near the end if you want to have a lasting business.
This moves you into the social media side of affiliate marketing and increasing your brand’s presence. The go over the most important social sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (RIP, buddy), and Pinterest.
You’ll learn how to make your posts engaging, how to use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ (rubbing salt on the wound again) correctly, and how to make your social media do your marketing.
There are 2 “lessons” going back to the WA community. One tells you to write a post on the WA blog again, which is really smart since it helps the rank higher, but it can also net you a commission if someone joins through your link. The other one is another invitation to engage with your peers and become and Ambassador for earning points.
It’s a decent section on social media, and it goes through some good details like overuse.
Content is the backbone of any affiliate marketing. This module starts out with how content correlates with your SEO ranking.
While that’s true, content isn’t the only element affecting your SEO. I’ve seen amazing content being completely ignored in favor of sites with mediocre content (still good grammar, though) with good SEO put into them. Don’t think you can rely solely on your content; there’s more to SEO than that.
You learn how to get your Google’s Webmaster Tools running and insight into it (note this is the old version of Google’s Search Console, so it might be time for an update here); they claim it’s how you can ensure your SEO rank, but it’s really just a push instead of a guarantee. There’s a really good lesson on how readability is more important than just overusing your keywords, so props to that one.
The last lesson is a breakdown of how much traffic you can get. It says it’s realistic, but that’s a stretch. They just generalize based on weird claims, and there are many factors relevant to how much traffic you get. For instance, if your niche has a lot of competition, your content won’t do much against the authority sites filled with backlinks.
The claims are pretty absurd, and it’s not because they’re not achievable. Let me elaborate.
This training has focused solely on making good content so far. Has it done a good job at it? Sure, the insight is good. However, they completely ignore other SEO aspects that your competition WILL use.
As is, the numbers they’re telling you are achievable, but NOT with the training they’ve provided so far.
Anyways, the rest is how to structure your writing as a funnel for conversions, using call-to-action links on the comments, and some basic Bing setup.
The 3rd level closes with how you should plan your posts. They basically tell you that you want to have clear goals in terms of the amount of articles you’ll write in X time and what will be your main keywords.
There’s a final lesson on content outsourcing, but that’s something you shouldn’t worry about
The Affiliate Bootcamp
The last module marks the end of the basic training and the beginning of the more advanced bootcamp with 2 more modules and 20 more lessons, this time divided in Phases instead of Levels.
Half of this phase tells you how you can make money by promoting the program and how staying with your premium subscription means double commissions.
It feels like too much self-promotion, and it kind of obscures the fact that there’s some good tips to pick up. There’s content on how to research your keywords, plugins, and how to create posts. Yes, is just an extension of the free training, but it does offer more detail.
Another issue is the lack of practical content. The theory is good, and you can’t really put things into practice efficiently without the theory. On the other hand, you can’t really put your theory into making money without seeing how it’s applied in practice. That’s why I enjoy case studies in even the worst courses.
There’s a lesson on SEO, but it just confirms what I’ve been telling you: they only rely in on-page SEO and content.
Again, on-page and content is important, but it isn’t as SEO-relevant as your backlinks, PBN’s and the more intricate aspects of the craft. This section was important since it makes your content easier and more enjoyable to read for your audience, but it goes to waste if you can’t get any audience to begin with!
You know what’s funny? They don’t rely solely on content themselves. That’s why they keep inviting you to write blog posts on their sites and promote them: that’s part of what really matters for SEO.
Why wouldn’t they teach you the things they know are useful and even use themselves?
Luckily, there’s a saving lesson in this phase that goes into how you write reviews for different products. It explains how to structure your page, how to title your review, and the topics you should cover. It’s quite similar to what I (and most relevant reviewers online) do on our sites.
However, the last module goes back on why you should stay as a premium member to earn commissions from promoting the course.
This section goes into how to create content that’s readable and gets you conversion. It’s a nice opening module, and a very important one as well.
It then goes into how to use your affiliate links properly. They recommend you use a plugin named “prettylink” (I do so too), why you should promote WA, and how you can include all links into your content.
The 3rd lesson hammers down on the “not overusing keywords” again, which I can always appreciate. It basically tells you to write for your audience instead of Google. The following lesson kind of builds on it by telling you how you should structure a review; I’d recommend you use it as advice instead of rules since you want to set yourself apart from the rest.
There’s a 5th lesson just telling you how to back up your website in case something awry occurs, and the one after that goes into how to add your menus and set up your sidebars.
The 7th lesson is one that surprised me: how to use internal links. Finally, there’s an actually-SEO-relevant lesson, so make sure you pay attention here. Using internal links is paramount, and they do a decent job at explaining how you can do it.
The last lesson covers bonuses: why and how you can add them to your offers. However, this is a delicate strategy; you shouldn’t do it every time or for every product. You can hurt some products’ sales by adding bonuses, and I’ve seen people offering products with over 10 bonuses, which is definitely what you want to avoid.
At the end of this phase, it seems they want to be nice by telling you to take a break before continuing. Sure, take a break, but don’t take 10 days like they tell you; never get used to doing nothing.
This phase covers merging your social presence and your website to have everything connected. It’s a nice module sans a couple of lessons; you’ll see.
It starts off with a couple of lessons on how to add your social buttons on your site and how to turn your social presence into a more brand-friendly look; the next lesson builds on it by how to improve your social content and engagement. The social side of things closes with a lesson on social waste and productivity, which I found quite interesting.
I’ll be honest, I skipped through the last 2 lessons after a few minutes.
The first one is just how you can take advantage of the affiliate program from Jaaxy. It has almost nothing to do with the module, but since they seem to be partnered with Jaaxy as an official Wealthy Affiliate tool, they included it. I guess you can get some money out of it, but they could’ve included it in another module or as a bonus.
The last lesson is mostly the same but with Wealthy Affiliates. They tell you how to leverage your sidebar by placing your affiliate link to the course on the side bar of EVERY page you have in your site.
Visuals and branding
The next module is all about esthetics, and it starts by giving you an introduction to how you should design your website.
The next lesson goes into how to get images, mainly from Pinterest. The following lesson branches from it into “leveraging video”. They basically just tell you how you can promote WA on your site by including a training video from them (yes, they’re really pushy if you haven’t noticed). I guess you can apply the same knowledge with a video of your own, but there’s little here on how to actually use video.
One more thing: if you take this course, feel free to skim or take a break every time you see “leveraging” in one of the lessons’ names. Most of the time, it’s just an indicator saying “hey, I’ll tell you to promote something for me here”.
The next module teaches you how you can create your logos and images. This is a task you don’t have to do if you don’t know how to. They don’t mention it, so beginners might not know, but you can go into freelance marketplaces like Upwork and have them done without killing your budget.
The next lesson is called, and I’m not joking, “Creating an Effective Jaaxy Review”. Look, I get it; students can make money from promoting Jaaxy. However, at least they can try not to make it look as if they own part of the platform or are trying to squeeze as much affiliate money out of their students as possible.
The 6th lesson is about creating and setting up your Pinterest profile, 4 modules after their intro to Pinterest for some reason.
The last module is where you actually learn how to create videos. Still, it’s limited information, and they (again) recommend you create a video to promote the program. You can learn more for free and without someone pushing their products down your throat.
At least, the phase closes with a nice video on how to understand your customers’ perspective and relating it to improving your business.
Audiences and referrals
The phase opens up with a lesson on how to create content to sell your affiliate products without it looking like a sales pitch, pretty good content.
The next video is about how you can respond to your comments. It’s kind of unnecessary as long as you can keep the same tone and feel you have in your articles.
The 3rd lesson in this phase is also the 3rd lesson overall about creating videos for your website. As a funny coincidence, it’s also the 3rd lesson about creating videos that’s shallow and missing a lot of content. It goes into how to draw inspiration for your videos.
The next lesson is about how to create YouTube videos. While it does provide more insight than the rest, it’s a video from 2013. Do you want perspective? PewDiePie was still growing towards the 1st most subscribed channel that year.
Yeah, you’re definitely better off looking elsewhere for how to create a good video on YouTube for promoting your links.
You have a lesson with a link to a discussion from other members talking about what troubles they found and their success writing reviews. It’s not really good value, but it’s an entertaining discussion.
The following lesson is about giving you even more ways to promote WA by using a code for a custom sign-up you can use on your site. Isn’t that considerate? The next class is how to automate your follow-ups for the people you’ve referred to WA. Yes, you read that correctly.
The last class is how to create video sign-up pages… For promoting Wealthy Affiliates.
The module closes by giving you some homework: creating 6 reviews and 3 videos while using as many keywords as you can (without overdoing it). It’s nice that they remind you to practice, but don’t do it only when they tell you.
This is one of the heaviest modules in terms of WA promotion. I’d say it’s the worst offender, in fact. However, there are two key takeaways from this section: you can apply the same strategies to other products, and you should understand why there are so many positive reviews for the course.
PPC through Yahoo and Bing
PPC means Pay Per Click, and while it’s a legitimate marketing techniques, they skip Google Ads, one of the most important approaches to this strategy.
Please, ask me why they do that.
They do it because “it’s too difficult”. I’ll never get tired of hearing that, especially because it’s a very intuitive platform. It’s not Facebook Ads, but it’s something even some of the words courses I’ve reviewed have at least a basic module giving an overview of the platform. And in all fairness, an overview of the basics is all you need.
Instead, they go into Yahoo and Bing for your PPC. They cover how to set up your account, campaigns, ads groups, tracking your ads, and a lot more.
It’s actually a really good module on those two platforms, but it’s still baffling how they’re not including Google Ads.
Do you want to ask me again why they skipped it?
Increasing your WA income with PPC
I’ll give you a minute to cringe at that title. This module was actually added later, back in 2017, to finally include Google Adwords. Yes, Google Adwords, not Ads. Sure, Adwords is now Google Ads, but I’m trying to make you see how outdated this module is.
It’s pretty much the same content from the previous section but focused on Google, and today, everything’s changed, but there are free resources even from Google itself on how to do it.
Despite the looks, the foundations are mostly the same. You learn about creating ads groups, campaigns, using keywords, comparing products, campaign relevancy, direct links to your offers, keeping things profitable, writing posts for PPC, and how to ensure your campaigns are long-term.
This is also the lackluster ending to the entire bootcamp. As you can see, it’s a combination of good content, interesting insight, outdated content, lack of depth in a lot of lessons, and please promote Wealthy Affiliates for us.
Still, you can apply the same strategies to other products, but again, you get a glimpse of why a mostly average training program received so many positive reviews.
There are weekly live streams for members, and they’re far better than the training, which isn’t really a good thing. For example, I watched a live video covering some Google stuff, and they showed Google’s Search Console.
Why do I mention that? Well, if you remember, the modules talk about Google’s Webmaster Tools, which is the old version. They either forgot about that or simply don’t care.
The live events thus work more as “damage control” than actual value. You’ll mostly use them to make up for the outdated content on their course instead of adding to your knowledge. All webinars are recorded as well, so don’t be afraid of missing them.
You can also interact with the other members in this section.
There’s a strong community focus in Wealthy Affiliates, as members are always encouraged to publish posts on the blog, interact with others, and help each other.
This definitely can be a positive aspect, but if you can use it correctly. Remember that your objective here is to make money and make a living, not joining a forum to talk with other people. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, and I quite enjoyed interacting with others and seeing their opinions, but it can be distracting if you can’t organize your priorities.
Let me give you an example: you found your niche and are starting out your site when someone gives away another niche that’s selling a lot. Wouldn’t you feel tempted to leave your site and go towards that?
Now, don’t expect that to happen, but it illustrates my point: your business shouldn’t be ignored in favor of what the community is saying.
Remember: they’re your competition at the end of the day, so don’t give away too much, both attention and time.
So, is it a scam?
Now, Wealthy Affiliates isn’t a scam. They wouldn’t have such a big community otherwise, and while their self-promotion is just too much for me, it’s an opportunity to put their teachings to the test and make a bit of money for yourself.
They should dedicate a single module to that purpose, so we could just skip it if we’re not interested. However, it’s definitely not a scam; it’s just another course with a particularly heavy affiliate program.
The reason behind the positive reviews
I’ve been mentioned this during the whole review, so you might already know: there’s an enormous push for you to promote the course and earn commissions from it. Some of the students are actually using WA as the backbone of their affiliate marketing.
I don’t really have a problem with courses and other products using affiliate links for promoting themselves. Shopify and ClickFunnels do it, and they’re amazing platforms I use (or have used) for my business. However, there has to be a good product behind the promotion.
Wealthy Affiliates might have been a good course when it was released and maybe until a few years ago, but the training is really outdated and missing a lot of content that’s relevant today. You won’t find success just with this knowledge.
Should you buy it?
If you know nothing about the business module and how to tackle it, then there are some things you can learn from it. The first training is free, and with $19 for the first month, you can at least get a taste and see if you like it.
However, the training is really outdated. I’m not talking just about the tools and content that needs update; the fundamentals are still covered, and you can somehow apply them now and them.
There have been a lot of changes, which have pushed marketers to come up with new approaches and tactics, none of which are covered here.
So it’s a good introduction, but you’ll definitely have to look elsewhere to complement it. If you’re OK with that, go for it, but read my recommendations first.’
What’s wrong with it?
Besides what I just said, the main issue is the focus. Remember what I said about them saying on-page SEO was enough? Let me tell you why that’s wrong.
AHREFS is a great tool for checking websites’ backlinks. If you’re serious about doing this, you want to save up a bit to pay for it.
If you already chose a niche and a product, Google your keywords and see the results that you get. Run the websites you see on the first page through AHREFS and check out the amount of backlinks. Then, do the same for the next pages and compare them.
I bet it’s the first time you hear about AHREFS or how you have to match these. You won’t hear more in this course.
That’s one of the most important parts of SEO, and they skip it. Check out the content on the first pages and then the latter ones. I can bet anything you’ll find more valuable content on the 3rd page than in some of the results of the 1st page, and that’s because someone forgot about what was important.
This is a good choice if you don’t really care about running SEO and just want to build an affiliate website to market with PPC. The first month is just $19 and you have a free training level before you decide if it’s not the course for you.
However, you’ll definitely want to look for more resources after you’ve finished if you’re serious about being successful with your site, so take a look at my 2 main alternatives before you go for it.
I hope you found this review useful and if you have any questions, please comment down below. I’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Once again, thanks for reading my Wealthy Affiliate Review and I wish you the best of luck.