If you’re reading this, you have most likely heard of Wealthy Affiliate (WA), and you are exploring whether this is something worth your time and money.
For those who have not heard of Wealthy Affiliate, a simple explanation is that it is basically a platform for affiliate marketers where you can not only learn how to start an online business, but also be equipped with the right tools such as hosting and keyword research software, and altogether with the support and encouragement of a very active community.
In my Wealthy Affiliate review below, I hope to provide my perspective on the pros and cons together with my rationale on why it will not be for everyone to join.
I’ve decided to cover the main negatives of Wealthy Affiliate first in order for you to quickly filter and decide if it’s worth your while to continue learning more about the platform.
Use the overview below to jump straight to any point that you are most interested in:
Overview for Quick Navigation
- Aggressive Criticism of Other Programs by WA Members
- Training is Geared More Towards Beginners and Newbies
- Takes a Long Time Before You Can Start To Make Money
- A Lot of Hard Work Involved
- May Be Overwhelming At First
- Less Focused on Other Online Marketing Methods
- Zero Upselling
- No Big Lofty Promises or Bold Claims
- Extremely Helpful and Positive Community
- Very Beginner Friendly
- Stress-free Tech and Website Setup
- Affordable and Cost-effective
- No Limit To Trial Period
- What you will get from the free version of Wealthy Affiliate
- What you will get from the premium version of Wealthy Affiliate
- Comparison Table
What is Wealthy Affiliate?
Founded by Kyle Loudon & Carson Lim in September 2005 in Canada, Wealthy Affiliate is an online platform and community of Internet and affiliate marketers.
From a simple keyword list membership site when they started, Wealthy Affiliate has evolved over the years to provide more comprehensive tools and services such as an integrated website builder to help affiliate marketers succeed.
Boasting one of the most active and helpful online communities in the affiliate marketing niche, Wealthy Affiliate has become an extremely unique platform on the Internet.
From the custom-built website, well-designed UI/UX (User Interface / User Experience) and advanced functionality, the planning and resources invested into Wealthy Affiliate is definitely no small amount and intended for the long run.
You can take a look at what the user dashboard looks like as a premium member below:
Nevertheless, even with all the benefits and value that Wealthy Affiliate provides, it is not perfect for everyone who wish to build a sustainable online business for the various reasons which I’ll cover below.
The Negatives of Wealthy Affiliate
Inevitably, every product or service will have its pros, cons and fair share of criticisms, depending as well on how closely it matches what you are looking for.
What’s most important is for you to find out if a particular product or service is best suited for your needs.
Within the following negative points, I have also listed out the types of people who would or would not be most suitable to join Wealthy Affiliate.
1. Aggressive Criticism of Other Programs by WA Members
If you have been an online or affiliate marketer for some time, you would definitely have come across a number of review/scam sites for a wide range of online products.
One main criticism of Wealthy Affiliate and its members is that there are some who criticise other marketers’ programs only to praise WA which they are advocating for.
Unfortunately as well, it is indeed true that the number of scams and get-rich-quick schemes out there on the internet are far greater than the number of legitimate products and services.
To be fair to Wealthy Affiliate and the founders Kyle and Carson, they do not advocate giving fake/negative reviews but rather reviews that are honest and truthful.
My consideration is that more thought and caution should be emphasised here by the founders in their Affiliate Bootcamp training series to reduce this negative perception of Wealthy Affiliate.
At the same time though, bear in mind that they ultimately have no control over what members do, say or write on their websites.
Let’s face it, the affiliate world and money-making niche is a very competitive and sometimes cut-throat niche after all – nothing is perfect and there will always be people out to make a quick buck at another person’s expense…
Which makes it even more important for you to discern what are the right moves, and what are the traps and pitfalls to avoid.
2. Training is Geared More Towards Beginners And Newbies
The initial step-by-step guide is really geared more towards complete beginners and newbies who have no prior knowledge of marketing or WordPress.
If you already know what your direction is and/or you are familiar with creating your own niche websites, finding keywords to optimise for, and doing Search Engine Optimisation, then the initial starter guides will not be as useful to you.
For affiliate marketers at the intermediate stage where you are already generating a small consistent income stream, there will arguably still be some benefits in treating the courses as a form of revision to cover any blind spots you may not know you have.
Admittedly, it is very difficult to create a one-size-fits-all approach, and to do so may actually defeat the purpose in enabling success for any and all members.
3. Takes a Long Time Before You Can Start To Make Money
If you’re a beginner and extremely impatient to make money as fast as possible, then Wealthy Affiliate will not be suitable for you.
There are other methods available out there that can help you with your goals, such as utilising solo ads to drive traffic to a landing page heavily optimised for conversion.
One caveat is that the faster you want results, the more upfront capital you will have to invest (most of the time in paid traffic sources).
As a very rough gauge, if you can devote 2-3 hours a day consistently, then you can be looking at approximately 6 months before you start seeing some significant results.
If you’re doing this as a side hustle while working a full-time job, it may even take you 2 to 3 years before your returns can be justified.
You will have to be focused and diligent in learning and applying the various concepts.
Whether you find success can be determined by the number of hours you put in at the end of the day.
The methods taught by Wealthy Affiliate will require much time and effort because you will see results, similar to making an investment.
Are you willing to make an investment into learning and picking up new skills, from SEO to building websites, and knowing that it can take time for your investment to mature?
If you are looking at something with an investment with a shorter maturity period, Wealthy Affiliate may not be for you.
4. A lot of hard work involved
Related to the previous point about the long time it takes, a lot of hard work will also be involved.
But what method or program doesn’t involve hard work anyway?
As a beginner, you will have to go through all the training and step-by-step guide, and you can rest assured that this is only the first step of many hundreds more to come.
What else needs to be done?
You will need to deepen your understanding of how things work and competency in terms of applying the knowledge you’ve learnt.
At the same time, a huge amount of work is needed for you to create content on a regular and consistent basis for your site.
If you’re considering leveraging on social media, add social media management and additional content creation to your mix too.
If you’re not disciplined enough to do all the above, or if you’re looking for shortcuts to make passive income online, then Wealthy Affiliate will not be for you.
You have to be prepared to do the work and get your hands dirty.
5. May be overwhelming at first
When you first enter the Wealthy Affiliate dashboard, you may be overwhelmed by the content, icons and different tabs and navigation panels on the platform.
At least I was.
It took me some time – approximately 1 to 2 hours – to just get the hang of where everything is and to know what to click to get to what you want.
There is also a huge amount of training content on the site as other WA members will also upload their own training and make it available for the free starter members too.
With so much content, learning points and lessons, it is easy to get information overload and not know how or where to start – and worse, to get discouraged before you even start.
If you feel overwhelmed, my advice will be to ignore or set aside any interesting nugget of knowledge you find and simply focus on clearing the tutorials and lessons step by step.
6. Less focused on other online marketing methods
The majority of the training provided by Wealthy Affiliate focus on Search Engine Optimisation and in creating niche sites.
While this set of skills is indeed very versatile and flexible, there are nevertheless plenty of other methods and approaches available online.
Some of the methods and approaches that are covered to lesser detail include:
- creating membership and subscription sites
- solo ads
- e-commerce and dropshipping
- affiliate marketing using Clickbank
- making money on other platforms like Fiverr and Udemy
If you lean more towards one of the other methods above, then Wealthy Affiliate may not be the best match for you.
However, if you’ve not yet decided on the path that your online marketing journey will take, do continue reading to find out more about the positives of Wealthy Affiliate and why it may be a good place for you to start your journey.
The Positives of Wealthy Affiliate
Wealthy Affiliate has plenty of positives that you will be very hard-pressed to find a similar platform that is as well-designed in the affiliate marketing niche online.
To start, let me explain a little about what I look out for in a service or product.
What I first look for in determining whether something is a scam (or not) is to try and understand the intentions of their creators.
Is this a “Get Rich Quick” scheme where the only ones who seem to get rich are the owners and top affiliates? (Case in point: My Online Business Empire, or “MOBE” as it is more commonly known, which was busted by the FTC as a $125 million “fraudulent business education” scam)
What are the other members who have already joined like? Do the testimonials seem forced or authentic? Are the video testimonials bought from freelancers on Fiverr?
Are the intentions of the owners genuine and do these intentions then translate into actions and their business model?
These questions and answering them will lay the foundation for my analysis before I consider the more practical aspects in terms of benefits and value.
1. Zero Upselling
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like being sold and re-sold to all the time.
For many other online products, upsells like “joining the inner circle” or becoming a “platinum member” usually seem like a gimmick that is used to squeeze as much dollars as possible.
Well sure, you can do so if your intention is to network and learn from these elites by “buying in” to this exclusive group at the price of several thousand dollars.
To be very clear though, upsells in general are quite a valid and essential revenue model used by many businesses both online and offline and I’m not against it completely.
The problem and unfortunate reality is that there are many scams and shady products in the online marketing world (probably in the ratio of 9:1) that leverage on false advertising, unkept promises and superficial products or services in preying on people.
Hence, the clarity of Wealthy Affiliate’s structure was one major thing that resonated with me as they only have two tiers of membership – the Starter Free Trial and the Premium Membership at $49/mth.
No more, no less.
No subsequent email follow-up telling you about the exclusive and once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn directly from the founders.
Indeed, I am pretty sure the founders of Wealthy Affiliate could have made tons more money by having a different pricing and membership system, but I’m glad they didn’t.
The fact that they’ve kept a flat structure since they started for over 10 years speaks volumes to me about the platform’s honesty, sincerity and transparency – values that are in short supply online.
2. No Big Lofty Promises or Bold Claims
Pushing peoples’ hot buttons and appealing to their wants and desires also seemed to have become a new art form in the digital age.
It is easy to come across online ads and videos showing excess wealth and pandering to people’s greed.
There are numerous online ‘experts’ flaunting their new Lamborghinis or beach mansions on YouTube, promising that you too can have the same millionaire dream lifestyle as them….
….if you only sign up for their $2,999 course.
Others will share “well-kept secrets” they’ve discovered to making passive income online within 3 months if you only register for their limited-time and limited-seats workshop.
You get the idea.
The reality after you pay for these courses and secrets is that most people fail, the only difference being that you are a few thousand dollars poorer now.
I’m more of a believer of working hard and smart within ethical boundaries to achieve your success rather than taking a morally dubious or questionable shortcut.
If you tell me that to find success online, I will have to learn these skills, follow these steps, and do some actual work – that is way more believable than a “secret blueprint to making a passive income of $1000/month in 6 months”.
Hence, what I like about Wealthy Affiliate is that they make it clear that the responsibility of making yourself a success is ultimately on your own shoulders.
At the same time, they pave the way clear in front of you so that all you have to do is to keep moving forward.
The training is structured and designed to be done in a step-by-step manner to equip you with the required knowledge while encouraging your progress with tasks to be completed before you continue moving forward.
3. Extremely Helpful and Positive Community
For most beginners and novices, starting on your affiliate marketing journey will be a difficult and lonely one filled with uncertainties.
There are so many things to learn, yet the more you learn, the more you realise how much you don’t know.
And if you happen to get stuck on something, you can only pray that your solutions will be found on Google.
So wouldn’t it be great if you can count on the support and encouragement of others who are either walking the same path or have advanced much further than you have?
Indeed, one of the first things that struck me about Wealthy Affiliate is the sense of a dynamic, helpful and friendly community.
This includes the experienced affiliates who are already successful yet continue to help answer questions raised by beginners and new members.
Don’t take my word for it but instead create a free account and find out for yourself how fast your questions can get answered by the community.
It is rare to find another community of affiliate marketers of a similar quality, openness and transparency – emphasis on the latter two especially.
Another point I like is the level of care that Kyle and Carson take in managing the quality of the community.
This is evident to me in their decision to restrict membership access to selected countries.
Countries such as India, Bangladesh and Egypt are not supported by Wealthy Affiliate for the free membership because of the increased likelihood of scammers and fraudsters.
Granted, not everyone in these countries are bad; if you’re one of the good ones and really interested to join and contribute to the community, you can consider signing up straight for a premium membership in order to bypass the restrictions or use a VPN (for those in Nigeria who are banned completely).
4. Very Beginner Friendly
If you have ever taken a Coursera or Udemy course, then e-learning by yourself will come quite naturally to you.
If you have not, do not worry.
There is a step-by-step guide for complete beginners that guides you from just getting started to choosing your niche, starting your first website, getting traffic and so on.
Of course, for the more experienced ones reading this, what you can do is to take it as a kind of refresher course to learn things from their perspective.
To save time, I suggest watching the videos at either 1.5x or 2x speed (you got to be focused and not get distracted by anything else though).
There are many factors that will determine whether you fail and succeed, and where most people tend to trip and fall usually involve either technology or content creation.
This brings me to my next point in which Wealthy Affiliate can help you overcome the technological roadblock to success.
5. Stress-free Tech and Website Setup
This has to be one of the most important and valuable benefits of being a Wealthy Affiliate premium member.
Wealthy Affiliate provides many essential elements that a website needs through the SiteRubix hosting platform through the WA user dashboard.
For example, these include:
- Free SSL certificates
- Speed Optimisation (hosted on Amazon)
- Website space: 30GB
- Bandwidth (500k traffic/mth)
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Site backups
- Unlimited email accounts
- 24/7 Support
- Image Optimisation (comes as a plugin when you install a WP site on their platform, a common mistake that beginners will make is to forget to reduce their image sizes)
For a beginner, having this integration allows you the peace of mind to not worry about the technical aspects of building a website.
It enables you to focus on creating content, traffic generation, and growing your website.
A brief screenshot of what this looks like on Wealthy Affiliate:
If you are a developer and designer yourself, this point will not be as important as you will know how to set up your own sites and configurations.
Being a developer/designer myself, this also makes me familiar with knowing how difficult and time-consuming it can be to navigate each one of those points (and by extension how valuable it is in terms of hours/effort saved).
This can range from choosing the right host, knowing how to secure a WordPress website to prevent it from being hacked to setting up your domain-specific email accounts.
If you have some experience with online marketing and have set up your own websites in the past, you will know that these costs can quickly add up.
An email account using Google Business Suite comes at $5/mth while good hosting can easily cost $10/mth, and that is if you even know which hosts to avoid.
[Side Tip: avoid site5 and other hosting providers owned by Endurance International Group (EIG). If you choose not to use Wealthy Affiliate’s hosting, I will recommend using 1) SiteGround and 2) Bluehost instead. For the tech savvy, you can consider using a DigitalOcean and Serverpilot combination for WordPress installations.]
In all, I am quite impressed with these tech considerations and support that Wealthy Affiliate has provided through their integration.
Another plus point is that the learning and training, the community and interactions, as well as the management and growth of your websites can all be at the same place.
6. Affordable and Cost-effective
For all the training, tools and resources that are being provided by Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll be surprised to find out that their pricing is very reasonable at only $49/mth.
To put it from another perspective, that comes down to just $1.60/day which is about the same as a cup of coffee every day for 30 days at most places.
Don’t forget about your savings as well from not having to purchase the essential things that almost every affiliate needs to start – hosting for your website, SSL, CDN, emails etc (easily at least $20/mth for everything combined).
Not to mention that there will also be a reputable keyword research software provided called Jaaxy Lite, which is between the free Jaaxy version and the Pro version ($49/mth).
The Jaaxy Lite version, valued at $19/mth, is also exclusive only to Wealthy Affiliate premium members and bundled inside the WA monthly membership fee.
Back to my first positive about no upsells, I really like that everything is transparent and after getting what I pay for, there’s no other product/service waiting behind the scenes.
So you do the math and weigh your costs and benefits.
If you’re still unsure about what to expect, rest assured there’s no need to compel yourself to jump headfirst into Wealthy Affiliate.
You can consider signing up for a free account on Wealthy Affiliate which brings me to my next point.
7. No Limit To Trial Period
This is another great point which I like where you can be a free member for as long as you are comfortable for.
If you are still a free member after completing the training lessons, there are still many resources available that you can learn from.
These would be the videos, blogs, training and lessons that have been created by other premium members, and they usually cover a wider range of topics than the basic training.
This comes with a caveat that it is up to the creators to decide if their content will be available to the free starter members, which quite a number do.
One great tip for you here as well is to follow the top 200 ranked members on Wealthy Affiliate where you will be able to learn from some of the best affiliates on the platform.
Once you are more comfortable with the Wealthy Affiliate platform, you can then sign up for the premium membership with a special price of $19 for the first month.
4. Overall Summary
Now that you’ve gotten a complete picture about Wealthy Affiliate, it is time for you to think about whether this will be suitable for you.
It is alright if you find that Wealthy Affiliate is not a good match for your plans, ultimately this review is to guide you to making the best decision for yourself.
Who will benefit the least from Wealthy Affiliate
Those who need money urgently – if you are desperate to earn money in a quick amount of time or need financial help, Wealthy Affiliate may not be the best choice for you at the moment as this will you make you rich fast.
It can very easily take months to years before you see the fruits of your labor, and this is after putting in consistent hard work day in and day out.
Wealthy Affiliate is geared more towards laying a solid foundation for your affiliate journey and setting you up for a sustainable and long-term online business online.
Those who are not sociable – it’s okay if you want to lurk on the internet but to do so on Wealthy Affiliate will greatly diminish the amount of benefits you can gain, and give.
The community and social aspect plays a very big role on Wealthy Affiliate where people contribute and help one another as much as they can.
While not mandatory, it will be essential for you to set up your profile, ask questions, support others and basically participate in various ways to get the full benefit of Wealthy Affiliate.
This will ultimately foster a more positive and conducive environment where everyone can thrive together.
Those who are not able to commit – if your work or other commitments take up most of your time everyday, or if you are simply unable to motivate yourself to put in the work needed, then there may no point for you in joining Wealthy Affiliate.
Make no mistake, there will definitely be a lot of work involved as I have mentioned.
In particular, after you’ve learnt the basics and set up your website, you will have to be prepared to write a lot – or to practice writing if you feel your language skills are not up to par.
On average, it can take hours to do your research and days to write content, meaning you will almost have to become a full-time writer to find success.
Hence, this approach and Wealthy Affiliate will not be for everyone.
Who will benefit the most from Wealthy Affiliate
Those who are serious about setting up an online business – you know that this will be a long and arduous journey with uncertain rewards yet you still choose to continue.
Kudos to you for your fighting spirit.
If you’re able to set realistic expectations and put in the work needed for your business for 6 months, then I have no doubt Wealthy Affiliate will be a great choice for you.
Those who are beginners and looking for a guide – there are numerous methods out there and you can easily be overwhelmed in not knowing where to start or how to start.
At the same time, don’t forget that there are many unscrupulous people and programs out there who are just waiting to sell you a thousand dollar course promising secrets and almost instant success.
You can rest assured that the free version of Wealthy Affiliate will be a good place to start before you decide to commit your hard-earned dollars to any program.
Feel free to ask questions and be active in the community to maximise your learning and growth.
The foundational skills you will learn in SEO and Website building will be applicable in almost every other affiliate method out there.
Those who look for high quality and cost-effectiveness – with almost all the tools you need and 24/7 IT support, the Wealthy Affiliate platform will cover most of your needs at an affordable cost without compromising on quality.
You don’t want to have multiple accounts with different service providers or do research to find out which service providers are good or bad (believe me, this can suck a lot of your time).
You understand that for the cost of the premium Wealthy Affiliate membership similar to one cup of coffee every day, you’re getting almost unparalleled value that you will not be able to find elsewhere.
5. Benefits of Being a Member
If you want to get a better idea of what you will get when you sign up, just refer below to see a list of benefits and a comparison table at the end.
In a nutshell, the free membership is more of a teaser for you to familiarise yourself with the platform and community with limited access to some features.
The premium membership entitles you to everything that Wealthy Affiliate provides with no further upsells.
What you get from the free version of Wealthy Affiliate
- Live Help – First 7 Days (Limited access)
- Beginner Training Course (Limited access)
- Affiliate Bootcamp Training – Phase 1 Only (Limited access)
- Jaxxy Free Keyword Research Tool – 30 Searches (Limited)
- Training Classrooms (2 Classrooms)
- Browsing community features (Unlimited)
- Affiliate Program
- 2 Websites
- Website Backup
What you get from the premium version of Wealthy Affiliate
- Live Help – Unlimited
- Private Messaging – Unlimited
- Beginner Training Course – Full Access
- Personal Affiliate Blog
- Affiliate Bootcamp Training – All Phases (7)
- Live Video Classes and Private Access to Webinars
- Jaxxy Lite Keyword Research Tool – Unlimited Searches
- Training Classrooms (All 12 Classrooms)
- Affiliate Program – 2x Higher Payout
- Lessons taught by other Premium Members
- Mentoring from Wealthy Affiliate Founders
- 50 Websites
- 24/7/365 Website Support
- Full Website Benefits (SSL/Security/Feedback/Comments/Analysis)
6. Final Thoughts
Joining the Wealthy Affiliate platform is like making an investment in yourself to acquire the knowledge, skills and tools required to build an online business.
Your journey will undoubtedly be tough but most importantly, you will not be alone as you will have me and the other Wealthy Affiliate members in the community to support, guide and encourage you further.
Remember that nothing worth doing is ever easy.
If you have the right attitude to diligently learn, practice, and do, you will eventually “graduate” with the right skillsets and a functioning system that can help you make money online as you sleep.
Wouldn’t that be so much better compared to getting a piece of paper or graduation certificate?