I'm writing this blog post on
June 15, 2020, at 8:50PM on a Monday night Tuesday Sept 8, 2020. I just read an encouraging success story from Wealthy Affiliate member @szeeman who posted about earning $512 in 3 days. The exact quote from his blog post was,
So if you feel discouraged, frustrated etc. right now, do not despair. Hang in there. Great success is about to come your way!
This was posted earlier
today this year. Unfortunately, tomorrow now someone will come along and say they need a more recent example of Wealthy Affiliate success stories.
I'm a big fan of Wealthy Affiliate, and they consistently rank as my #1 rated product for new and intermediate affiliate bloggers. This year I read a couple of high-ranking reviews of Wealthy Affiliate whose main complaint about Wealthy Affiliate is that it's “outdated”. This seems to be a compelling critique, because I've fielded a number of questions from people asking if it's true.
Rather than rewrite my response over and over again, I wanted to publish this article as a central resource to send. I'm going to cover what I think they mean by “outdated”, and why I don't think they are correct in using that word.
Is Wealthy Affiliate outdated? No, it's not. But here's what they mean.
1. No Recent Success Stores
Tracking recent success stories is a pain in the ass. In 2017 I decided to start tracking all of the money-making posts I saw in Wealthy Affiliate, as a way to create a central resource I could show new members that the training worked. Look, it's proof! In fact, I was careful not to include any content related to promoting Wealthy Affiliate, because I didn't want anyone to think that the only people making money were the ones promoting MMO (make money online) products.
2017 passed, so I started a new list for 2018. Then another for 2019.
I like sending these blog posts to new WA members as proof the training works. However, now that we're more than half way into 2020, these stories are starting to look a bit dated.
I guess 2017-2019 don't count. Does that mean Wealthy Affiliate doesn't work any more? No, not really. It just means that it's exhausting trying to keep up with constantly trying to defend the training and show this exact member earned this exact amount of money, and here's screenshots, and here's their website, and here's their niche, etc etc.
So I started posting some of my own income reports. $1,000 per day. $90k per year from a everyday affiliate products. Adding $1500 to my monthly income from $1 recurring commissions. Then more screenshots. Amazing stories right?
I grew a VPN site to over $10k/month back in 2012. Now I own a niche website that raked in $25k in December 2019. I suppose they want screenshots of those achievements as well. It's pretty much impossible to keep up with people's expectations of what “success” looks like, and what amount of documentation is required to prove its validity.
Perhaps you can see my point. No matter how much I remind people that Wealthy Affiliate works. No matter how much I track and update. It's always “outdated” because there aren't million dollar success stories rolling through the members area every week.
My question to these people is – are your other programs doing the same? Are they posting weekly success stories? Are they showing members earnings and celebrating small successes? Probably not. I'd be willing to be they have between 3 to 5 main success stories highlighted on their main landing/sales page, and maybe you see some big ones a couple times a year if you are a member of their Facebook group. That's about it.
Let's compare apples to apples, right?
The trap that's easy to fall into is that when you're transparent about successes and failures, people love to criticize the failures.
2. The Training Is Outdated
Wealthy affiliate training is based on timeless techniques, not trends. The idea that Wealthy Affiliate training is outdated is basically rooted in two ideas. One, that the videos are old, and two, that the techniques are old.
Let's dispel the myth that the techniques are old right now.
A successful affiliate business that can provide you and your family reliable income for years and decades is not built on tricks or trends.
Here's a list of outdated trends I've seen come and go in my 10 years as an affiliate marketer.
- keyword stuffing
- tag stuffing
- link wheels
- keyword percentage targets
- article spinning
- article syndication
- ezine publishing
- public blog networks
- content curation plugins
- web 2.0 properties
- private blog networks
- comment links
- guest posting
To be perfectly honest, Wealthy Affiliate did teach some of these things in the past, but they quickly figured out that the methods meant to bend the rules wouldn't last. They've since shifted very much to building an online brand based around creating quality content. In other words, a more holistic approach. It's been this way for many years (at least 5), and I've never looked back. This is the way forward.
Trends come and go, but people looking for quality information online is not something which will change. Quality content is the way forward.
But…But…But… what about backlinking?!??!
If I could pinpoint one thing which really irks people, it would be that fact that Wealthy Affiliate doesn't teach any backlinking. How on Earth [clutches pearls] could you build a blog without any backlinks? That's how you get ranked!
Needing backlinks to gain rank and traffic isn't the whole truth. Yes, building backlinks can help you rank for high competition phrases. However, you can also rank really, really well without any backlinks at all. Plus, time spent building links is time not spent producing content.
On top of that, Wealthy Affiliate isn't the only training center or celebrity figure in the MMO world who's ditching the whole link building thing and pressing forward with awesome content. Jon Dykstra doesn't do it, and he earns $40k+ per month from his niche sites.
The guys from Income School don't build links either. Their main strategy is to create quality content which attracts links. Those guys have over 100,000 subscribers on their YouTube channels and sell a successful online course for $450 + $199 recurring yearly fees.
I'm not saying that building backlinks doesn't work. What I am saying is that 1) there are also many courses out there which teach people how to build successful websites without ever sending out a stupid link-begging email, and that 2) Google is actively working out how to prevent people from acquiring self-votes for themselves by building links to their own websites. Eventually Google is going to figure it out, just like they figured out how to identify PBNs a few years back.
So the fact that Wealthy Affiliate doesn't teach link building doesn't make them “outdated”.
Here's another great example of a “trend”, which is finally starting to get debunked by the pros: Broken Link Building! Broken link building just one of those tactics that get passed around because it sounds great and is a clear, concise piece of advice, and makes you feel like you're doing something important. But does it really work? Is it really a way to scale a business? Here's what the guys at Authority Hacker have to say.
Outdated training Videos? It depends on how you look at it.
Some people will point out that some of the the training videos inside Wealthy Affiliate are dated from as far back as 2015 and forward. Is this “outdated”, yeah, I guess you could say that. Yes, some of the videos are old and could be updated.
That's not the whole story though.
For one, the videos which are from the past are still relevant. When you long into WordPress, as I've done for 10 years now, everything is still in the same place. Menu on the left. Blog post options on the right. SEO below the writing area. You install plugins in the same way. You install themes the same way. The media uploader works the same. You can schedule posts, preview posts, change permalinks…all the same way as before.
It's been 95% the same for 10 years. There's not that much to update.
What about Gutenberg? Here's a great example of the problem with updates. So now there's the Gutenberg update for WordPress, which means that the more “modern” version of the WordPress editor uses “blocks”. The details of how that works doesn't matter, but basically, the interface looks a little different. On top of that, you have the choice to use the Gutenberg update or the Classic editor.
So, now, it would be the responsibility of Wealthy Affiliate to update all 120+ lessons dealing with WordPress blogs, and since Gutenberg is new, the actual graphic interface updates to something a little different every couple of months.
You can see how updating everything to “look” perfect can be a bit much, month after month, year after year.
That being said, there is some room for critique here. Some things could be outdated more frequently than they are, for example there was a Google+ training which was still around for more than a year after they went defunct. That's a good example of something being outdated, which should have been updated within a couple weeks.
However, it doesn't make the whole system outdated. It's one element which should be fixed, and the rest still holds up. There's a difference.
What's FRESH Inside Wealthy Affiliate?
Alright, so even if you don't buy my arguments above, I still think that Wealthy Affiliate does a great job of delivering fresh content consistently.
Weekly Live Webinars (with live Q&A)
Every single week there's a live webinar hosted by an SEO, affiliate marketing, and online business professional on a wide variety of topics. The webinars cover a variety of topics all related to online business. Affiliate links, Google analytics, email marketing, Pinterest ad campaigns, CSS… the list goes on. Anything and everything. It's very newbie focused usually, but there are some intermediate topics.
Point being, the webinars are broadcast live, so that's about as fresh and updated as you can get.
24/7 Live Chat
You also have access to 24/7 live chat with other members. The owners even stop by weekly to chat and offer assistance. This is a great way to get instant help on anything.
Again. Fresh as it gets. You can talk to other members who are running their businesses just like you and fix problems on the fly.
Wealthy Affiliate Member Blogs & Questions
There's also a blogging system within Wealthy Affiliate, where members can post about their businesses. Members post about successes, failures, questions, problems, inspiration, and whatever else. For example, Dylan just posted about his $0-$3,000 per month business he created in less than six months! That was just posted this morning (9/7/2020).
To me, this is fresh, new, updated. If you're reading this a week later, I guess it's old news? (You can see how this gets exhausting)
Updates For 2021
In November 2020, Wealthy Affiliate got a massive facelift and introduce a new level of membership called Premium+. That means along with the design refresh, Premium+ members will now have access to a larger hosting package and daily “classes” on a wide variety of topics. As mentioned throughout this post, Wealthy Affiliate is constantly improving, changing, growing, and becoming better.
Classes is really cool because you can learn a variety of skills from “local” experts within Wealthy Affiliate. Classes are set up in “series” so you can do a deep dive on a topic. For example, I'm doing four video on the topic of generating unlimited writing ideas for your website. Other members are doing deep dives on how to start/grow/market a YouTube channel, or even sell physical products on your website. Kyle's doing some classes as well, such as how to write effective copy online.
More changes coming as well, but I can't really spill the beans at this point, but I just wanted to give some context for how Wealthy Affiliate improves in small interations, instead of massive launches like “2.0” and “3.0” like most products do.
Wealthy Affiliate is a community of members working together to help each other be successful. Could some of the videos be refreshed?. Absolutely! I'd love to see that. Wealthy Affiliate is not a perfect training center. I've reviewed many great affiliate courses, and each one has their own advantages and disadvantages. There's one single “best course” for everyone.
Wealthy Affiliate does make updates. Frequently. When you look at the big picture, and compare it to what else is available, there's no better place to start your first affiliate website than Wealthy Affiliate.
The old saying is, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
In my opinion, based on 10 years experience in affiliate marketing, based on building and operating multiple six-figure affiliate blogs, based on sinking tens of thousands of dollars into all kinds of different online courses, and based on 8 years mentoring people who are starting their own affiliate blogs, Wealthy Affiliate is the best place for new, or struggling affiliate marketers to get their first successful affiliate business off the ground and earning money.