Wealthy Affiliate is one of the most popular ways to learn affiliate marketing online, if not the most popular. They have been around since 2005 creating success stories of folks starting out with zero knowledge, and ending up on the other side with a successful online business.
What's even weirder, is that they are also one of the most inexpensive options out there. Clocking in at just $359/year for training, hosting, and coaching, it's basically a dollar a day to run your entire business. In fact, from 2012 to 2015, I was running a full-on six-figure affiliate business for that price (I've since gotten a bit spendy trying to grow my own business to six figures a month).
In an industry full of hype and false promises, how exactly does Wealthy Affiliate work? The good news is that because they are a legit site, it's pretty easy to explain how everything works under the hood. There's no real secret sauce to hold back. The main attraction of joining Wealthy Affiliate is getting the simple training modules and support when you need it.
I've covered how affiliate marketing works 1000 times already on my own website, and also done a full review of the community. In this article, I'm going to cover how the training system and community work together to help you achieve your financial and business goals.
Table of Contents
- How Does Wealthy Affiliate Work?
- Creating Your Free Starter Account
- Starting Your Affiliate Lessons
- Upgrading To The Premium Membership
- Navigating The Support System
- SiteContent For Establishing Good Writing Habits
- Wealthy Affiliate Blog
- Wealthy Affiliate Rank
- Live Events
- Account Settings
- Canceling Your Account
- So How Does Wealthy Affiliate Actually Help Me Make Money?
How Does Wealthy Affiliate Work?
Creating Your Free Starter Account
The first step to getting started is to create a free STARTER account. The Starter account is totally free, and you don't even have to give them your CC details. Create a username, and you can start training ASAP. With this type of account you can build two free websites using their subdomain SiteRubix. That means your free websites will look like mywebsites.siterubix.com.
There are other free website creators out there, but many put restrictions on how you can use the domains, or like Wix, they may even place ads on your site while you use the free account. SiteRubix doesn't do any of that, so you can make your free affiliate website about whatever you want.
The goal of the training is to eventually move to a .com domain name, but for now, the freebie domain will do just fine. They can rank and earn, and it's been proven before.
You'll work on this SiteRubix site until you are ready to upgrade to Premium. If you decide not to upgrade, you can export your XML file from the site then import it to your own WordPress website at another host.
A Starter account has access to some Premium features for 7 days:
- Live Chat with the community members
- Q&A on the affiliate training modules
- Starter Classroom access for posting any questions
- Communication with your personal affiliate coach
- Access to Level 1 training (10 Lessons) to build your site and publish your first content
Other Premium features remain locked during this period, including:
Weekly webinar viewing
- Live training session recordings
- Managed hosting for 25 websites
- Ability to upload your own plugins to your site
- Full access to 10,000+ WordPress themes
- Access to all other classrooms and training modules
After the 7 day period, if you do not upgrade, your Starter account basically loses all ability to communicate, but you can still work on your website. Wealthy Affiliate welcomes enthusiastic, committed entrepreneurs with open arms, but if you can't spend a dollar a day to learn how to build a business, I'm guessing you aren't that serious. You can still work on your free site, the main features of the community are locked for Premium members only.
Starting Your Affiliate Lessons
The main attraction at Wealthy Affiliate is the core training modules. There are 5 levels, with 10 lessons each, and multiple tasks per each lesson.
I highly recommend doing the courses in order, and checking off each task as you go. You may have some experience with affiliate marketing already, but since the training here is unique among other affiliate programs I've ever seen, I think it's important to do all the tasks. Even if you just skim 🙂
You can work through the first 10 lessons all on the Starter account. Even if your 7-day period has expired, these lessons will be available to you. You also have access to what's called Affiliate Bootcamp, which is a separate training course aimed at starting a website in the make money online niche, which is very popular. Personally, I do not recommend doing this training straight away, and instead focus the main courses.
Upgrading To The Premium Membership
By now, you'll have chosen a niche, built a website, and even published your first articles. Pretty cool, right? In 10 lessons you have the basic framework of a six-figure affiliate website built, and you haven't paid a dime yet.
Of course, your website will absolutely NOT be earning money yet. This is just the beginning. The Starter membership is designed to show you what's possible. Also, I'm sure it helps to see that WA is a thriving community full of people who want to help you succeed with your business. We are not competitive, since everyone is doing their own niche.
At the end of Lesson 10 in Level 1 of your training, you're given the option to upgrade your account. The cost of membership is $49/month. Add the $14/year cost for a domain name, and that's everything you'll need to run your business. Everything else is optional.
You'll also be offered a discount on your first month of membership. If you take advantage of the discounted price, you pay just $19 for the first month of membership.
With your Premium membership, there's a lot of stuff included. In fact, it's a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first time building an affiliate website. You might not know what everything is, but here's the list with a basic explanation:
WordPress Optimized Hosting: Put up to 25 websites on your account. This type of hosting was created to make your website run faster.
Managed Hosting: When your site goes down or there's a tech issue, someone can fix it for you
All 50 Training Modules: Includes building the site, publishing articles, getting traffic, connecting and growing social media accounts, search engine optimization, and learning writing skills for the web.
Weekly LIVE Webinars: Watch a professional SEO and online marketer teach relevant topics each week. Topics vary from SEO, to web design, Google changes, writing strategies, ranking strategies, and they even do a quarterly “hot seat” with a live review of member websites.
SiteFeedback and SiteComments: Sign up for peer reviews of your website so you can fix mistakes and make progress faster with SiteFeedback. Spark engagement and increase rankings with SiteComments where you can request comments on your articles
Private Messaging: Connect with other community members via PM for questions, comments, and collaboration
Extended 1-on-1 Coaching: Connect with your Premium coach (the person who referred you to WA), for help with your business when you need it. I'm a great coach BTW! I log in every day to read my messages and respond.
SiteSupport is the name for the managed hosting team. These are employees of Wealthy Affiliate, and their support is focused on hosting issues only. If your site is down, or a theme crashed, you can't log in – those are the types of things SiteSupport can fix. They cannot answer questions about how to write an article, how to make a link, sign up for affiliate programs, or how to run your business.
Though it's a ticket support system, I find it to be superior that most “live chat” and phone systems run by popular hosting companies like Hostgator. This way they can fix the problem in the background, without you having to wait on the line. They typically respond within an hour or two, which is quite fast. It's pretty amazing considering the hosting is included with your membership price.
Live Chat, Classrooms, Private Messages, Training Modules
All of these other support systems are targeted at helping you grow your business. Depending on how you want to ask your question, you can opt for any one of these paths. They all offer their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, live chat is great for getting instant answers, but if you don't have experts in chat, you may not get the help you need.
Classrooms are great because you can crowdsource your answer to multiple people, and your coach will see the question too, but if you don't have a lot of followers in the community, you might not get a lot of attention to the question.
Private Messages are perfect for in-depth answers targeted at specific people, but some people take a long time to answer PMs because they are busy with their own sites.
You can also ask questions directly on training modules. As you can see, support and help is a main feature of the Wealthy Affiliate community.
Classrooms are basically like segmented forums where you can ask questions. So if you have a question about email marketing, you go the Email Marketing Classroom, or if you want to ask something about ranking in Google you can ask in the Search Engine Optimization Classroom. You can also access training modules related to each topic within the Classroom area.
SiteContent For Establishing Good Writing Habits
SiteContent is the writing platform inside Wealthy Affiliate. As you build your website, you'll be writing a lot of articles to publish to your website. You can do this inside WordPress directly, or you can use SiteContent.
The main advantage of using SiteContent is that it makes tracking and organizing your articles a lot easier. It also “gamifies” your writing efforts, making it more fun to write and publish, rather than just slog through it. Track word count, articles published, create and share templates, and best of all: Set goals.
It's been proven over and over again that setting goals leads to higher achievement. I've been doing this for almost 10 years, so I have a habit of writing. In fact, I feel weird when I don't write articles for a few days. I established that habit of writing over many years since it wasn't a natural feature of my personality.
For newbies to the affiliate game, I think SiteContent is a really useful tool for setting and achieving goals related to publishing content.
If I were to name one thing that contributed to my success as an affiliate marketer, it was the fact that I publish a lot of content. That meant I was practicing writing, but also I was just putting out a lot of words onto the internet so Google had more chances to rank me for stuff. Writing consistent gets results.
The main downside to SiteContent is that you cannot edit an article once published. You must go into WordPress to edit an article. There are also many settings you cannot change, like the Category, featured image, tags, and any custom plugin/design settings you have on your theme.
You can buy and manage your domains through SiteDomains, and that includes email addresses, DNS settings, and other domain settings. Wealthy Affiliate is a domain registrar as well as a host. Domain registration is pretty straightforward, and since you'll be hosting your website here, you don't need to change your DNS, and you can have your website live instantly.
Domains are cheaper at Wealthy Affiliate too. $13.99 for a .com, and flat rate pricing means you won't get gouged with high priced renewal fees. Plus, they don't try to upsell you to buy stupid domain extensions like .blog, .biz, or .fun. What a waste of money! Stick with the main three: .com/.org/.net
Unfortunately, you currently cannot register country-specific domains here, or popular TLDs like .info or .co which seem to be gaining popularity lately. Still, since WA is aimed at newbies, it's best to just stick with what works and go with the main three.
You won't need to access this area very much, so it's not super important to understand what's going on with SiteDomains.
Wealthy Affiliate Blog
The Wealthy Affiliate blog confuses some people. “Blog” can mean a lot of things, including: website, article, or a list of recently published content. In this case, your WA blog is an internal blogging system where you can publish content inside the WA community.
This is not to be confused with your website blog, which is used to publish content about your niche.
Your WA blog is meant to be a communication tool. It's for writing content for other WA members to read. When you publish content to your WA blog, people who follow you receive a notification (if they have their notifications turned on).
The topics you can write about inside WA are restricted to being related to online business in some way. For example, you could write about your first article that got ranked in Google, or how it's going trying to grow your Twitter account. You could inspire people with a success story, or just talk about frustrations with not having time to write articles because the kids are home for the summer.
It would not be appropriate to publish something about how to lose weight, or how to build a baby crib. That content belongs on your niche website. It's not relevant to the community.
You do not have to publish anything to your WA blog if you don't want to. It's only for people who want to participate in the social aspects of the WA community.
Wealthy Affiliate Rank
Speaking about social activities in Wealthy Affiliate, there's an internal “ranking” system for members. Its sole purpose is to show the level of activity of members, and is meant to be fun.
One of the main complaints I hear about the community is that the ranking system is distracting. From time to time a members get overly competitive and try to game the system by producing low-quality content in the community like short blog posts or useless training modules (members can create their own training if they want).
The truth is, your rank in WA doesn't affect your earnings at all. There are literally zero benefits to having a high rank, other than to see that you are helpful and active in the community.
Live events are freakin' awesome, so definitely get familiar with this section of the website. Each Friday, you'll see a banner appear at the top of your dashboard to let you know there will be a live webinar starting soon. These webinars are meant to educate, not sell! Jay covers a lot of topics. As I'm writing this now, they're doing a webinar about website typography, i.e. the text fonts on your website. He generally covers things in a very newbie-friendly way.
Topics include super basic stuff like how to add plugins to your site, to more complicated things like how to access FTP, or how to make a child theme.
I've covered a lot about the fun stuff inside Wealthy Affiliate, but what I wanted this article to be was an explanation of how to navigate the platform. Part of how Wealthy Affiliate works is to be able to tweak your account settings to customize your experience. Click your profile to find the Account Settings area.
Inside your Account settings, you can tweak your billing details, notification settings, and a few other dashboard options.
Because there is such a strong social aspect to the community, you can choose to opt in to receiving email notifications about the goings-on inside the members area. You can get an email each time someone responds to comments, or someone follows you, or if you get a new PM.
I receive hundreds of notifications each day, and log in multiple times per day, so I have everything turned off, but you can pick and choose your notifications. I recommend Private Messages and Comments On Items I Created (Good for getting answers to questions) at a minimum!
Canceling Your Account
Wealthy Affiliate won't hold you hostage, and you can cancel any time. You'll have access to the community until the end of your month/year billing cycle. Once your membership expires, you'll have an additional 30 days to move your website to another host. Since your website was built on WordPress, you have unlimited options of where to take your business.
You can get a cheap host for $10/month on shared hosting, or you can get a managed host similar to Wealthy Affiliate for $30-$100+ per month depending on how many websites you have.
What I like about the canceling process at Wealthy Affiliate is that they give you a snapshot of what you've accomplished so far. Building a business can be frustrating at times, so I think this helps with managing “rage quitters”. No judgement. I almost did it back in 2010 when I started my account.
Luckily I didn't do that because now my sites are doing very well. Yikes. How different my life would be if I hadn't discovered WA.
So How Does Wealthy Affiliate Actually Help Me Make Money?
In this article I covered how the training at Wealthy Affiliate affiliate works, as well as how their membership area works. How does all this help you make money online?
First, they are going to teach you a legitimate way to build an affiliate website. Their method works. I've built multiple successful websites based on what they teach, so there's no doubt in mind you can make money if you follow the steps outlined in the Online Entrepreneur Certification course.
On top of just having effective training, they also have a strong community to help you work out any problems you run into along the way. Building a business is never easy. Building a business with zero previous experience is harder. Even with awesome training, some things just aren't going to click the first time around.
That's where the helpful individuals inside the members area come in hand. Forge friendships and help each other achieve your financial and business.
The combination of effective training and a newbie-friendly, positive community is why people end up renewing their membership for years and years. It's not uncommon for people to stay 2-3 years, and as they add more helpful resources, decade-long memberships are starting to rack up. I've been a member for nine years, and I know of a couple of folks who've been there for over 10.