Having been a member of Wealthy Affiliate for almost two years now I finally felt like I could speak on its behalf. So, here is my Wealthy Affiliate review and I will use this website as a live case study so you can follow along to see how much money I’m making.
What Is Wealthy Affiliate?
In a nutshell, Wealthy Affiliate is an online community that teaches you how to build out websites. As your websites begin to gain traffic you can then start to make money with them.
Obviously, that is a gross oversimplification of how you make money online.
Not only do they have two sets of training programs, but there is also a social aspect to the community.
Let’s get into the details shall we?
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Wikipedia defines affiliate marketing as:
“Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
What the hell does that mean?
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Let’s start from the beginning.
People who might be interested in a product will search for it on the internet, usually with Google.
“Best dog food”
“Wealthy Affiliate review” 😜
From there Google shows them relevant websites that will try to answer the question of what they’re looking for.
They may click on one of these websites and read what the writer has to say about that particular product.
The website authors will include a link of where to find the product that they are reviewing. And if the searcher likes what they had to say they will probably click on it.
This is called an affiliate link.
When the user clicks through that link, a cookie will be stored on the browser letting the company that sells the product know that the user came from that particular website.
That website owner will then get credit for the sale.
You can find affiliate programs for almost any product. And the commission rates will range from just a couple percentage points up to 80% sometimes.
The challenging part about affiliate marketing is getting your articles on your website to rank on the first page of Google.
Because they serve over 60% of the searches online every day.
Who Is It For?
If you are considering affiliate marketing to try to make some extra money on the side or even potentially full-time income, you have to kind of enjoy writing or at least not mind it.
Content is King as they say.
Google is trying to serve their customers the best content with the most comprehensive answers.
So if your website looks really good but doesn’t have much content on it, it is not going to rank.
This is why the writing aspect is so heavily involved.
You also need to be patient.
To prevent people from scamming their rankings, Google implements a Sandbox time period.
This is kind of like a filter for new websites that can last anywhere from three to six months which will prevent your site from truly ranking where it deserves to be ranked until Google trusts your site.
However, after six months you should start seeing some traffic and by the one-year mark you should be good to go.
You also need to have the right expectations.
This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
But if you are willing to put in the work you can build a solid passive income stream that will continue to grow as long as you continue to work on it.
Affiliate marketing is not for people who are lazy.
You probably need to commit at least 10 hours a week, you will get out of it what you put into it. Just like with anything in life.
What Can You Do Inside?
Now that you have a basic understanding of affiliate marketing, I’m going to show you the inside of Wealthy Affiliate.
When you first login it looks a little busy but it is fairly easy to navigate.
You may have seen this comparison chart on another Wealthy Affiliate review before, and while it looks really awesome, I’m going to give you the rundown on a few of these line items.
Certification VS. Bootcamp
They have to training courses one called certification and the other is the affiliate bootcamp.
They are both pretty much the same except the boot camp is geared towards promoting Wealthy Affiliate.
I would highly recommend doing the certification course over the boot camp if you are just starting out and I will tell you why I just a little bit.
The certification course has five sections with 10 lessons in each section.
It will go to even more detail about how you make money online and give you step-by-step instructions along with videos for every part of the process.
From choosing your niche to writing your first article.
It’ll even teach you keyword research, Advanced marketing and how to integrate your social media to improve your online business.
All I can really say is they provide all the tools that you need to get started from nothing to making your first dollar.
From there you will just need to continue to grind way to try to scale your business.
If you decide to go to boot camp route they also get into using paid advertising on Google to help scale your business as well.
Okay this one is a little misleading. You are allowed to host 25 branded websites and 25 websites that end in siterubix.com.
The ones that end with siterubix.com won’t cost you anything but let’s be honest, they probably won’t rank for anything significant either.
Depending on how much time you have, it is very hard to use all 50 slots for websites. In the beginning, when you’re first starting out, just keeping up with one will consume all of your time.
And technically I am hosting five now but like I said I don’t do any work on the first two sites.
Basically what I’m saying is, if for some reason you are productive enough to get a portfolio 10 sites, than your monthly cost would only be less than $3 ($350/year / 12 months / 10 sites = ~$2.91).
Live Video Classes
Every Friday evening they host a live video webinar.
There are hosted by the live video training codes Jay and he is pretty awesome.
The topics vary from week to week and he’s very thorough in explaining the techniques and how to implement them with your own site.
Even after I had been inside Wealthy Affiliate for over a year, I went back and watched his old videos and I all almost always take away at least one idea that I can use for my websites.
This feature is actually legit. Before I moved all of my sites over I would get a ton of spam comments and fake traffic that would skew my analytics.
Which wasn’t really a big deal but it did require my time to delete the comments and create filters in analytics to block the traffic.
Once I moved all of my sites over to Wealthy Affiliate, all of that stop completely.
Jaaxy For Keyword Research
Jaaxy is Kyle and Carson’s ( Founders of WA) own keyword research software and is now included with a premium membership. When I first joined it wasn’t included as part of the membership and you had to pay $19 a month for it.
They recommended Jaaxy in the training but didn’t necessarily make it clear that they also owned it. I was a little annoyed when I found this out. But I only paid for it for about 2 months.
It’s decent when you’re first starting out and gives you most of the information you need.
However, I prefer using another software called Long Tail Pro. I personally feel like it gives you better information on the other websites that are already ranking and how competitive it might be to rank for that particular keyword.
Jaaxy gives you some of this information but you have to click to a different screen where Long Tail Pro will give you a keyword competitiveness score that makes it easy to quickly do keyword research.
They will teach you to go after long tail keywords that are less competitive but also have a lot less search volume in the beginning.
However, I would recommend going after some the bigger keywords that are a little more competitive if you are planning with sticking to it for a while.
It feels good to rank on the first page for your first time but if you are ranking for a bunch of keywords that only get 30-40 searches per month your traffic is going to take a while to get anywhere.
You can sign up for a 7-Day free trial with Long Tail Pro and do enough keyword research and that week to keep you going for a month or two before you’re ready to pay for it.
If you sign up for Wealthy Affiliate through my link I can help you out with this process.
Asking For Help
The community is great and most of the time when you write a question in the search bar someone else has already asked it.
You can usually see many answers from the community.
In the odd chance that no one has asked you a question yet then you can post it to the community and after a little while you should start seeing some answers.
There were several times when my sites were not hosted on Wealthy Affiliate that I tried to install a plug-in and the site completely broke.
Still, within my first couple months I wasted way too many hours fixing these issues or trying to get Bluehost support to help.
However, they got to the point where they told me ”you need a programmer”.
But I had not made any money yet, so how can I afford that?
I got through most of the issues, but once I moved over all my sites to Wealthy Affiliate anytime I have had a problem I just create a support ticket.
9 times out of 10 it is resolved within 10 or 20 minutes.
However, 10 times out of 10 they have completely resolved the situation and it is included in your package so you don’t have to pay up for a programmer.
The problem is, you can read so many things online about how to improve the speed of your website or improve the functionality.
But Wealthy Affiliate does a lot of things behind the scene that you really don’t need all those plugins for your site to work awesome here.
Once I finally understood that I haven’t had to create a support ticket and several months now.
While hosting seems expensive when you’re first starting out especially if you only have one website it really is pretty good compared to what I saw Bluehost.
When I moved my websites over the page speed scores from Google jump 30% instantly. You can test any website’s page speed here
Without getting too technical, WA made some magical things happen on their servers A few months ago which really improved Everyone’s website performance.
Now all of my sites run in the low-90s on Google’s test (out of 100), Where they used to run in the 70s.
1 on 1 Coaching
Wealthy Affiliate is big on sharing information and helping the next person out. So, this is where the affiliate link comes into play.
If you join through my link our accounts will always be connected and I’ll get notifications when you pass certain milestones or when you ask questions it will alert me right away so I can answer them for you.
There are also a few things that I like to share with my referrals that I wish I had known as I was building out my website, especially my biggest complaint about WA that I will be sharing in a little bit.
So not only will you get access to the whole community but you will get extra coaching from me 😜.
What They Won’t Teach You
There is one major aspect of growing your websites that Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t talk about. That is something called link building.
Basically, when another website links to yours, Google counts it as a vote towards your website’s popularity.
So, the more backlinks you have, usually the higher your website can rank assuming that your content is good.
However, you can’t just get links from any website, they need to be from trusted Authority websites.
A few years ago you could buy thousands of backlinks for this a few dollars and game the system sort to speak.
However, after several algorithm updates from Google those sites are heavily penalized and won’t rank at all if Google suspects you’re buying links.
Constantly looking to build upon what I was learning about at WA, I was reading other people’s blogs on how to grow the websites.
One thing that I consistently kept reading about were backlinks.
Google has even said that the top 3 ranking factors are your content, links and something called rankbrain .
Who knows what RankBrain is???
So, your content needs to be better than all of the current competition that is ranking for the keyword you chose to write about. Whether that be longer or more in depth or easier to understand is up to you.
Now, you don’t need backlinks to rank and you will get some naturally as your website starts to grow.
In fact, I didn’t really worry about this for the first 9 or 10 months that I was working on my websites.
However, I did land a guest post from a large Authority website in my niche about 6 months into my third website and right after my rankings really started climbing.
But on my latest site I started building links almost right away and as you can see from my income reports it made almost $300 in the 6 month, whereas my other site took over 12 months to have that kind of income in one month.
So, it is up to you to decide whether you want to worry about building links.
Types of Link Building
In August 2017, my main money making site was stalling out in terms of growth and since I had been reading so much about link building I came across a case study from a company that offered a class.
After reading a few other case studies I was sold and I signed up for it.
It was pretty intense and there was a lot of work but what I got out of it were systems on how to build links by guest posting, creating infographics, and doing top list posts.
Link building is not easy and most people are too lazy to do it. That’s why if you can make it work for you, you can break out past your competitors.
Brian Dean’s guide is a great place to start. In fact, he even says you should spend 80% of your time promoting your site and 20% of your time creating content.
He gets almost 200,000 visitors a month to his website and only has about 30 posts on it!
He is ranking for some highly competitive keywords and the only way he did that (besides creating the best content) was by getting other websites to link back to his.
If you sign up through my link I can also share some things I learned in the class that I paid for.
My Number One Complaint
In the beginning of the training, it’ll tell you can make money with any niche. And while that is certainly true, some niches are just more competitive than others.
You also have to think about buyers intent when thinking about which direction you should go with your website. Which they talk about but not until after you’ve already picked out a niche.
So my complaint is: I wish they would have spent more time teaching you how to pick a profitable niche.
And I get why they don’t, everything can be so overwhelming in the beginning because it is all brand new.
If I could do it all over again these are the things I would think about before choosing a niche:
- Keywords – is there enough traffic for the topic you selected? I would look for 5 to 10 keywords that got over a thousand searches per month for your cornerstone content while also having dozens of other keywords that have a few hundred searches per month. This should give you enough keyword ideas to get started.
- Competition – using Long Tail Pro I would plug in some keyword ideas to one, see how much traffic there is but also to see what the competition is like. This was the mistake I made my second website that had high paying affiliate programs. There weren’t many keywords relating to my particular niche and the competition was very high.
- Buyer’s Intent – I would recommend choosing some sort of product oriented niche for your first website even if it is not your passion. Because at least you know people will be searching for reviews and looking to buy something. The very first website I created did not have any kind of buyers intent and it was purely informational. The only kind of money I would make is from AdSense which would require a ton of traffic to be successful. You can look at Amazon’s top sellers pages and Google trends to find up and coming niches
For my latest site that is not even a year old I did all these things and I still messed up…
I found a niche that had higher search volume (than my third site and main focus at the time), the same competition and it was product related so I know people are going to be buying it.
But what I didn’t think about was the commission structure from Amazon.
My top earning site was in the 6 to 8% commission range while this new site was in the 3 to 4% range 😡.
So I have to sell twice as much on Amazon to get the same commissions!
As soon as I realize this I was disappointed. However, I’m still excited about the potential of this website because of how quickly it is earning money compared to the last one.
I know this can all seem a little bit overwhelming if you are completely new to this but it is well worth the time to think about these four things before deciding on a niche.
Again, I can help with this if you become my referral.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money
This is the million dollar question. And all anyone can say is, it depends. I know you don’t want to hear that but there are so many factors that will determine your site’s learning ability.
- Your niche – is it competitive? Are people looking to buy? Are you reviewing $5 products or $50 products?
- Your content – Your content has to be on point. If you think your content is great but people are only spending 30 seconds on your website then you have a problem. You need to try to get your average session time over 2 minutes.
- Are you building links – Like I said, for low competition niches you may not need to do this but in general the more links that your website has the higher it can rank and faster you can earn money.
- Conversion optimization – This is a little more advanced but you need to think about where your website users are looking at on your website. Are you asking them to click on your links? Are you drawing enough attention to the affiliate links?
For my own personal case study:
All I can do is share with you my progress. If you spend some time thinking about your niche you can probably make money with your first website. But you might not make decent money until your second or third site like mine.
There will be times when you ask yourself, “is Wealthy Affiliate worth it?”
I was OK with this because my line of thought has always been “even if it take me 4-5 years to start making enough money to go full time, isn’t that worth it?”
My third site is now my biggest earner but it took 6 months to start seeing consistent sales.
And when I say consistent sales I mean I made $7 that month!
By the 10th, 11th and 12th month I was around the $200 mark and then in the 14th month with the help of Black Friday I had a $1,400 month!
Now, my fourth site made almost $300 in it’s 6th month and I attribute most of that to the link building that I did when I started it as well as just having more knowledge about building websites in general.
Some people see more success than that and I would encourage you to read this case study here as well. This guy was able to break $4,000 in his fourth month and over $40,000 in the 11th month.
Of course, this is a rare success story but hey, anything can happen!
Wealthy Affiliate Is Not A Scam
There are a lot of scams on the internet that talk about getting rich quick and they’re very expensive. Usually if something sounds too good to be true it is not.
I’m not going to lie, when I first signed up for Wealthy Affiliate I was nervous that I would be wasting money. But as soon as I dove into the training I realized that this is a legit community.
And now if you’ve seen any of my income reports you can see that I all my websites are hosted there and they made almost $4,000 in sales last year with over half of that coming in the last 2 months of the year. Needless to say I’m super excited to see what this year is going to look like!
The biggest thing for me was the free trial. During the free trial that you will get access to most of the premium features for the first 7 days but even after the trial if you created a free website you still own that and get to work on it.
So, like I said earlier, if you’re thinking about jumping into affiliate marketing, Wealthy Affiliate is a low-risk way to start that has high potential. To be very upfront however, if you are lazy or you don’t like to write then you need to be looking at something else.
But if you don’t mind putting in the work and you can have a little patience for the next 6 to 12 months, you can start seeing your sales grow.
I will be waiting for you on the inside.