As a decade-long member of Wealthy Affiliate, and as someone who’s personally invested $10,000’s purchasing “how to make money” style products online, and as someone who has consistently earned six figures with affiliate websites for the past decade, I can confidently say that this is the best Wealthy Affiliate review you can read online right now.
I’ve got a lot to say about them, and I’ve got a lot to say about how to make money with an affiliate blog. This has literally been my life for past 12 years.
With this review, I hope to accomplish three things.
First, I want to give you an honest look inside Wealthy Affiliate, without all the noise. We’ll look at what they offer, and how it benefits you.
Second, I want you to be inspired to actually take action and start your affiliate website. Making money with affiliate marketing is a lot easier than you think. It takes a lot of work, but it’s not rocket science.
Third I want you to decide if Wealthy Affiliate is the right roadmap for you. Wealthy Affiliate isn’t for everyone, and I’ll offer some alternative affiliate learning options within my review.
This is kind of an “ultimate guide” style post with an exhaustive amount of information on the page. It’ll take a good 30 minutes to read, so strap in. If you don’t have the time, you can sign up for a free Starter Membership and start the training today. A Premium Membership costs just $49/month, which is less than a daily Starbucks habit.
(seriously. $5 per day x 30 days is $150/month for coffee)
The affiliate training center and hosting platform known as Wealthy Affiliate is one of the most popular learn-to-earn companies online. You pay a monthly fee, and they teach you how to make money online. What’s unique about Wealthy Affiliate is that this is not a “fancy, new, shiny object”. Unlike a lot of other stuff you see out there, these guys have been around for over 15 years. They have a track record. That’s a crazy amount of time in this business, because most products don’t last long before they simply disappear.
As a member of their Premium membership for more than ten freakin’ years, I know a lot about how their system works, how to navigate the community, and how to be successful online.
Got any questions? Leave a comment at the bottom!
The Core Concepts Of Wealthy Affiliate (WA)
The main thing you’ll learn inside the Wealthy Affiliate community is how to build a blog-style website and earn money from affiliate commissions. What does that mean exactly?
It means that you’ll build a small website that anyone in the world can read, and your core task as a business owner will be to publish articles related to the topic of your site. The VALUE you create for people will be the content that you publish on your blog.
Pretty simple, right? Remember, Of course, there are many more details you’ll be required to learn in order to actually make money from the your website, but that’s pretty much the main idea of what you’ll be doing.
Wait – so there’s no “super secret method” to learn?
What’s very surprising to a lot of people is that Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t teach some kind of “secret”. In fact, it’s common knowledge, and here’s the basic strategy in 3 steps:
Build A Website > Write Articles > Add Affiliate Links.
If it’s so easy, then why isn’t everybody successful?
The real struggle most people face is unrelated to the difficulty of actually doing the work of building a successful affiliate website. Most people are not successful in this space simply because they have low self esteem and quit early (a lot of people fail because they are lazy and don’t do the work, but I’ll assume you’re not one of those people).
The fact is, reading something is different from doing something. You’re probably going to get confused a bit, and you’re also going to have to keep doing the work even when you don’t see results right away. Somewhere down the line, 3…6…even 12 months without seeing a sale can be extremely demotivating. Trust me. I’ve been there (believe it or not, I started out just like you).
The big deal about Wealthy Affiliate is that they are an active community who wants to see you succeed. It’s full of knowledgable, successful, and enthusiastic affiliates who will help you get your business started and earning money. This is not just some Facebook group full of spam. The true POWER behind a Wealthy Affiliate membership is the amazing support community they’ve curated for fifteen years.
You can post any questions you have about the training have them answered in minutes. Instead of struggling alone as you build your first online business, you get proven training AND personalized help every step of the way.
First Question: What Should You Make Your Website About?
What to make your website about is one of the biggest questions everyone has when they get started. Before I built my first website, I was definitely very confused since I felt like I had nothing special to offer. I struggled with “imposter syndrome” for a while, so I understand how you feel. I hope to show you that actually, in fact, you have a lot to offer. You don’t have to be a “certified expert” to make money from your blog. You just need to do good research and write down your opinions.
An important part of this process is finding a good topic for you to research and write about.
Wealthy Affiliate will cover this in the training, and the great news is that you will have NOT be funneled into any specific topic. You get to decide the topic of your website, and we can help you figure out a good one based on your personality. I’ve built sites on many topics over the years, including horse care, computer privacy software, edible gold (that’s a real thing!), and even sprinklers.
Just real quick though, because this is such a big that gets people stuck, I wanted to mention to important things before you read any further.
ONE: Any website can make money. You’ll be making money by promoting products from your favorite companies like Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, The NFL, and thousands other smaller ones you haven’t heard of (yet). What to promote on your website is part of the research process, which is covered in the training.
Even for a website like, “My Favorite Super Cars”, which is obviously not going to sell Dodge Vipers or McLarens online, you can still find related things to advertise. For example, maybe you could promote Porsche car covers for Honda Civics, Ferrari watches, or supercar RC cars.
TWO: You absolutely, do not have to promote Wealthy Affiliate to make money. Some reviewers have criticized this training program saying that you can only make money if you promote Wealthy Affiliate.
This is far from the truth. You can see that myself and other affiliates are earning tons of money outside of the “how to make money online” industry.
You never ever have to promote WA, or recommend it to a family member, or recruit anyone into a team. In fact, I 100% recommend you stay away from the “how to make money online” industry unless you have a true interest in helping others make money online (like I do).
Teaching Style At Wealthy Affiliate
The lessons inside WA are in both written and video format. There are five training modules (detailed below), each with a different main topic they cover.
Within each of the 5 levels of training, there are 10 lessons. In each of the ten lessons, there are several tasks to complete. When you complete at task, you can tick the box for that task. When all boxes are ticked, you can move onto the next lesson.
Of course, if you want to skip a lesson, you can do that, but I don’t recommend it! You can also view the lessons as many times as you want. I’ve done the training several times myself!
Within each of the lessons, you’ll be able to read about the main concepts of what you need to learn. Then, Kyle will show you with a video what needs to be done (or with screenshots).
A good example of this, is in Level 2, Lesson 1 of the training. In the screenshot below, you can see that Kyle has written some content about why it’s important to own your own domain name. Then, there’s a video showing you how to buy a domain name (com/org/net), and how to connect the domain to the free website you were working on previously. (That’s right – you can test out WA for free, using a free website, then you can move your work to a .com after you upgrade your account).
On the bottom of each lesson and video, there will be an open discussion where you can ask questions, or just see what other people are asking. This is a great way to connect with new members!
In many cases, you’ll even see questions that you, yourself, can answer, even if you’re a total newbie! Helping each other by asking and answering questions is part of the amazing vibe of this incredible community. Everyone is happy to lend a helping hand to a newbie, because we’ve all be there (believe it or not!).
There are new questions happening every minute, since there are thousands of members engaging in the training. As my referral, I get a notification when you ask something, so I log in every day to answer your questions and review what other people are saying (so you always get the right info).
This mix of written and video lessons, with community Q&A, and personalized help (from me), is why Wealthy Affiliate produces so many success stories.
Free Stuff At Wealthy Affiliate
At its core, Wealthy Affiliate is a training center.
However, on top of training, WA includes lots of stuff included with your membership that will help your business success.
- Managed WordPress Optimized Hosting (10 Websites): $100-$250+/month value
- Free “SiteSpeed” upgrade for super fast loading websites
- Free SSL Certificate: $60/year value
- Free Spam Filter: $5/month value
- Free Enhanced Website Security: $300/year value
- Free Email Addresses: $10/year/address value
- Free Keyword Tool: $50/month value
- Free Image Optimization: $9/month value
If you’re not familiar with those things, they basically work to make your website run fast and efficiently so you can grow your online business without any roadblocks. Some folks look at the $49/month membership fee and think they can’t afford it. Well, as you can see, it’s gonna be more expensive to get all these individual things outside of Wealthy Affiliate, so can you afford not to?
I created special section of this review just to tell you about Wealthy Affiliate webinars because I think they are one of the most interesting aspects of the membership. Normally, webinars are just a way to sell you more crap. They’ll bait you with an amazing claim, rope you in for 60 minutes, then try to sell you something at the end.
The great thing about WA webinars is that they are not selling you anything. Never have. Never will. Wealthy Affiliate weekly webinars are about practical education! Past webinar topics include:
- how to install SSL on your website
- 2019 SEO checklist
- beginner WordPress customization
- advanced WordPress tactics
- competition research
- keyword research
- ranking in Bing
- produce, record, upload, and embed YouTube videos
- tracking conversion in Google Analytics
- how to build a website framework
- how to write an SEO article
Plus, as a member, you get access to all previous webinar trainings. There are hundreds of them, each 1-hour long, so there’s more than you could ever finish. Webinars are done live on Fridays, but you can always catch the recording later. If you do attend live, you can ask questions doing the Q&A session at the end of each hour.
The weekly webinars cover a range of beginner to advanced topics. Plus, the live nature of the events means that Jay (the guy running the show), can cover relevant topics too. The internet marketing industry moves at a fast pace, and if something is new is going to benefit or hurt your business, you’ll hear about it in the webinar!
Step By Step Affiliate Lessons
There are five levels to the training, and each level contains 10 lessons. Within each lesson, there are 3-4 tasks to complete. Here’s the step by step breakdown of what Wealthy Affiliate teaches.
Level 1: Getting Started
The first level of lessons are available for free to everyone with a free Starter account. In these lessons, you’ll learn the core concepts of how affiliate marketing works, plus you’ll pick a topic for your business and even build a free website.
- Getting Rolling
- Understanding How to Make Money Online
- Choose a Niche
- Building Your OWN Niche Website
- Setting Up Your Website
- Getting Your Site Ready for Search Engines
- Creating Your Initial Website Content
- Creating Custom Menus on Your Website
- Understanding Keywords, The Start of Your Content
- Congratulations and Your Next Steps
Level 2: Building Your Website
Level 2 is for Premium members only. In these lessons, you’ll purchase a .com domain name and redirect (1-click) your free site to the new domain name. Then you’ll learn how to do keyword research and create search engine optimized (SEO) articles. Being able to rank articles in Google is the bread and butter of my business!
- Your Own Domain, Your Brand.
- Move On Over, My Brand Has Arrived
- Creating Keyword Rich Content
- Setting Up A Domain Specific Email Account
- The Traffic Breakdown
- Making Use of Visuals
- Understanding the Low Hanging Fruit
- Making face as a real person
- Amplifying Your Productivity
- Boosting Your WA Ranks!
Level 3: Making Money
In Level 3 of your training (Premium only), you’ll search for affiliate programs relevant to your niche and get your first affiliate links. After you write a product review and add your affiliate links, you’ll learn how Google Adsense works, and see how display ads revenue compares to affiliate revenue.
- Understanding the MONEY in Online Business
- Understanding Affiliate Programs & Networks
- Relevant Affiliate Programs are Everywhere
- Adding Affiliate Links to Your Pages
- Instant Access to a MILLION products
- Leveraging Product Reviews
- Getting Paid for Ads on Your Site
- Earning Pennies OR Dollars?
- A Brilliant Way to Track & Understand Your Traffic
- With Help Comes Financial Success
Level 4: Social Media
For Level 4 (Premium) of your training, you’ll dig into social media. Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are the focus, but you don’t have to build social profiles on every single platform. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of social media and don’t do much of it for any of my websites. Some people love it and make it the focus of their traffic.
- What Does Social Engagement Mean to Your Business
- Making Your Website a Place to Engage
- Using Facebook the Right Way
- Pinterest & the Visual Social Hemisphere
- Incorporating a Sound Tweeting Campaign
- [Currently Being Updated]
- The Benefit of Being Social at WA
- Make Your Campaigns Social Branding Animals
- Using the Wealthy Affiliate Social Community
- You Cannot Be a Master of Everything
Level 5: Content Creation
In the last level of training (Premium), you’re going to learn how to “level up” your content. Publishing high quality content frequently is the core of how to attract people to your website. The lessons show you how to write an excellent article, engage with your audience with intent, then track and analyze your traffic.
- Content is YOUR Business
- Setting Up Google Webmaster Tools
- Improving Indexing Times and Speeds
- People need to read your content
- A Year is a Short Period of Time, Yet BIG for Business
- Writing Within a Devised Plan Architecture
- Writing Your Content With Conversion Intent
- Injecting Comments with Intent
- Bing and Yahoo, They Are Still the 33%
- Articulating a PLAN for the months and year ahead
5 Ways To Get Help With Your Business
The #1 reason to join Wealthy Affiliate is the support community. There’s simply no other product or service out there that offers this kind of support, let alone this level of support at this cost. A normal hour-long session with a guru would cost $300-$500, but you can talk to successful entrepreneurs in WA for just $49/month!
Complete newbies will get the most benefit out of the help channels in Wealthy Affiliate. Intermediate affiliate marketers will (with websites that already earn money), will get the most benefit from forging relationships with other affiliate marketers to exchange strategies, get feedback, and set new goals.
Wealthy Affiliate Live Chat runs 24/7, and gets you access to affiliate marketers from around the world. If you need an instant fix, or have a burning question that won’t let you move on to the next lesson, pop in Live Chat and see who can help out.
I hang out a couple times per week just to see what’s new and who needs help, but some members hang out daily just waiting for your questions!
If you don’t have time to for a 1-on-1 session in Live Chat, you can post your question to a topic-focused classroom. There are 23 of them, including:
- Getting Started
- Authoring & Writing Content
- Search Engine Optimization
- Website Development & Programming
- Local Marketing
- WA Affiliate Program
- Everything WordPress
- The Wealthy Affiliate Platform
- Social Engagement & Marketing
- Keyword, Niche and Market Research
- Video Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Pay Per Click Marketing
Classrooms are awesome because you can drop a question, then come back the next day to multiple answers from different members. It’s like crowdsourcing answers to your questions, and the discussion can go from there. Engage with members over a couple of days as more and more people chime in with ideas, or even follow-up questions.
If you need to ask something, there are probably 100 other people who are stuck on the same thing!
As you work through the training, issues will pop up. It happens to everyone! Maybe something isn’t clear, or your results don’t look exactly like the video. Just post your question directly below the lesson, and another member, myself, or even the main trainer Kyle will respond.
Within the community you can also post full blogs posts on an internal blogging system. This content should strictly be about your online business, the WA platform, or something related to making money online. These blogs are not meant to advertise your website, and are just another method of communication with the community.
Some people do tutorials, or share the story of how they made their first sale. Other members might post an annual update on their income stats, or progress they made with their affiliate business.
The WA blogs are also a great way to reach out for help. You can post about anything frustrating about the training, or a mistake you made on your site and how you fixed it. Hundreds of members can respond, offering advice and tips.
PMs are a way to reach out to other members in a 1-on-1 setting. If you don’t want to ask something publicly, or need the help of a specific person, you can send them a private message. I respond to PMs from all my referrals daily, so if you end up joining through my affiliate links, I’ll be your 1-on-1 coach for as long as you’re a member. I’ve been affiliate blogging full time for 8 years now, so I can help with literally any problem you run into.
How Long Will It Take To Earn Money?
Everyone’s timeline is different, so it’s really impossible to say how long it will take for you to start earning money from your website. I’ve seen people (with my own eyes), generate six figures in less than six months. They are the exception to the rule, but it has happened before.
On the other end of the scale, I’ve seen folks that are members for many years and still don’t earn more than a few hundred bucks per month. These folks are also a unique case, in that they are still working on their website, but not very seriously, and don’t see good results because of it.
What we want to shoot for is the middle: someone who is dedicating consistent time and effort to their site over a long period of time. For the folks in the middle…for someone dedicating 1-3 hours each day to their business and a few more hours on the weekend, here’s what you can expect:
- 1 Month: Website set up, first articles published, understand basic overview of how to run their business
- 3 Months: Getting first signs of organic traffic, 10-50 visits per day
- 6 Months: Getting consistent traffic, first affiliate sales ($0-$20)
- 12 Months: Traffic growing each month, making consistent sales ($100-$500/month)
- 24 Months: Focusing on making big traffic moves (1k-2k-month), optimizing affiliate pages ($1,000+ per month)
This is just a general timeline, and honestly, by the 24 month mark, anything is possible. For myself, I was earning about $12k/month by the 18-month mark. After I had some issues with Google, and dropped back down to $6k/month. Ten years later, I’m pulling in over $20,000/month from affiliate commissions.
Just talking about my personal goals, I really want to crack that $50k/month mark. Wow. Wouldn’t that be nice. Check back on me in 2-3 years. I’m gonna get there!
As you can see from above, it’s important to start with small goals, and work your way up. As you grow your site, and improve as a business owner and affiliate marketer, your goals will change. My first “success post” inside Wealthy Affiliate was just to say that my website was live. That tiny step was what set in motion my entire business for the next decade.
Nowadays, $100 commission isn’t really that exciting to me. I’m hungry for those ten-grand moves in income. I’m looking at things on a larger scale.
Don’t be discouraged if you are not earning a full time income in the next few months. Stick around long enough, keep putting in the time, and you will see results like these members!
The Myth Of Overnight Success Stories
One of the phrases I constantly repeat to my referrals is that your first website doesn’t have to be a home run. Wealthy Affiliate success stories are rarely made overnight. In fact, my first website was a total turd! I made a free website about horse hair care products, but I don’t even own a horse! Then I tried a video game website. I made one sale, then gave up. There are many more than these 5 websites I created that failed, some I don’t even remember at this point.
Even my first successful websites were pretty garbage. That’s why I just let them expire after a while. Yup. They earned a couple thousand dollars per year, for many years, but eventually I stopped working on them because I was busy with more successful projects.
Your first website might be a stinker, and that’s OK.
What Happens When I Finish The Lessons?
When you finish the lesson at Wealthy Affiliate, chances are that you will NOT have an income generating website. In fact, I’d bet on it.
Well, then, what’s the point of doing the training?
You have to repeat the tasks over and over again the tasks from the lessons. This is not a “one and done” deal. You don’t just publish one article and have it rank. Like any business, you have competition, and you have to be diligent in providing value on your website so people want to read it.
Your #1 task moving forward after you finish the lessons is going to be to find ideas to write about, then publish articles on those topics.
In the meantime, you can keep yourself busy with the various other member-created training modules and weekly webinar topics. For example, you could install a pricing chart plugin and create product comparison pages. You could maybe start email marketing, and collect email addresses then send out a newsletter.
You could also get your site registered with Bing Webmaster tools, and start targeting Bing traffic, or even launching a Bing PPC campaign. There are many other possibilities of what to do with your website, and you have those training modules available to you in the Wealthy Affiliate community.
Each business owner has a different idea of what type of website and what type of business they want to create. As you grow your site, you’ll also find ideas from other websites you want to emulate, and you can research how to that’ done. Wealthy Affiliate has a ton of resources, but there are also lots of great blogs and YouTube channels you can follow to get more ideas of how to run your affiliate website.
How Much Money Does Wealthy Affiliate Cost?
My personal favorite thing about starting an affiliate website is that it’s very cheap. Not only is creating your business inexpensive, but any mistakes you make are not likely to cost you much money either.
Since most of you will be working from a laptop or computer you already have, in a home where you already pay rent/mortgage, your cost of running the site won’t add much to your lifestyle spending.
You build the website (free). You research topics (free). You write the articles (free).
Running an affiliate website on a shoestring budget means that you only have to pay for hosting. In this case, hosting is included in your Wealthy Affiliate membership. That means, altogether, the cost of running your business is $49/month + $14/year for a domain name.
Total cost: $50/month
Beyond that fifty bucks, all costs are optional. There are too many optional costs to list here. Some people run their business lean, others like spend money to supercharge their growth. Outsourcing content is the top thing I spend money on these days.
If you have the cash, the two things I recommend you purchase are 1) Premium WordPress theme ($100 one-time fee), and a keyword research tool ($19/month). Once you start making money, you can decide how to spend money to grow your business faster, but to start, you just gotta worry about paying that fifty bucks a month and you can run a six-figure online business.
Pretty good deal, right?
What Happens If I Quit?
I want to see you succeed with your website. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and you may need to take a break. Or maybe you realize this style of online marketing just isn’t for you. That’s totally OK. You can quit your Wealthy Affiliate membership at any point. There’s no contract, and we won’t hold you hostage.
If you are just done with everything, you can just log into your account settings, click the cancel button, and leave. Done!
If you want to keep working on your affiliate website, but don’t want to be a WA member any more, first, you’ll have to line up a new hosting service for your websites! Wealthy Affiliate will not host your website for free, but they will give you a 30-day grace period to move your site.
Prices range from $5 – $60/month for a single website, and about $50-$250 for multiple websites on a managed WordPress hosting service.
Also, you retain all rights to your domain and your content. Everything you created is yours to keep, including any commissions or revenue streams you earn. WA is just a training platform. They do not own anything you created!
If you need to stop for just a month or two, you’ll need to decide whether your website is important to keep online or not. Wealthy Affiliate actually keeps a backup of your website for six months, so if you need to cancel, then come back, you can do that too! Just remember that your website will go down after 30 days, even if you plan to come back.
I’ve been a member for many years, and plan to continue to be a member for a long time (I like the weekly webinars, and have many smart friends there). When you restart your membership down the road, you can just PM me and let me know you are back in action. Your account will be exactly how you left it!
How To Pay For My Membership
Some folks reading my Wealthy Affiliate review will say to themselves, “Wow, that sounds great, but I don’t have the money.”
The cost of Wealthy Affiliate is $49/month. If your monthly budget cannot swing an extra fifty bucks, there’s always a solution. Even though they don’t want to hear it, most people can find that money somewhere. Eat out less. Stop your TV subscriptions. Snack less. Have a garage sale. Cancel Amazon Prime. Downgrade your data plan.
Starbucks is $5 for a cup of coffee. Cut out just one Starbucks trip per week and that’s already $20 extra.
Fast food is about $10 per meal. Restaurants are even more expensive. Cut out one meal per month, and that’s an extra $10 (at least).
Netflix is $10/month too. Now you’re at $40. All you have to do is find another ten bucks somewhere in your life (either making money or saving money), and there’s your membership fee. You cut out one trip to Starbucks, one trip to McDonalds, and sacrificed one entertainment channel. It wasn’t that hard.
If you literally do not have an extra fifty bucks to matter how hard you look, then you just have to work more. You can take on some side gigs on the weekends, or even start doing jobs online. Plus, there’s plenty of virtual assistant gigs available on websites like UpWork.com.
Additionally, you can make serious bank online writing articles. I regularly pay $50-$100 for a single article. Even if you make only $10 for 1000 words of content (an extremely low-paying job), all you have to write is 5 articles per month, and that can pay for your membership.
If you really want to join Wealthy Affiliate, you can find a way to pay for it. If you can’t find a way to pay for it, maybe you don’t want it that bad. That’s fine, but be honest with yourself!
Price Comparison & Value Breakdown
It’s going to cost you some money to start a business, no matter what type of biz you try to start. Here’s a breakdown of a couple types of businesses, and the costs involved. Keep in mind, most brick and mortar businesses require getting a loan, and will usually cost you over $100,000 to start.
- Average Cost To Start A “Micro Business”: $3,000 – $5,000 (Business News Daily)
- Average Cost To Start A Restaurant: $275,000 – $425,000 (Restaurant Engine)
- Average Cost To Start An Ecommerce Store: $50/month + $140-$3000 For Inventory (Sumo.com)
How does an affiliate website compare? As you might have guessed, it’s the cheapest of them all. With just a hosting account alone, you can actually make a profitable affiliate website for about $10/month. Crazy, right?
If you do sign up for Wealthy Affiliate training, you’ll be paying $49/month or $495/year. That’s about a dollar a day to run your business which could be earning $10,000 per month or more. The risk/reward ratio is pretty amazing. Spending a dollar a day to learn how to earn six figures is a great deal!
OK, but there are many products that teach you how to create affiliate websites. Why not buy those instead?
There are absolutely some awesome products out there which can also teach you how to make money online from affiliate websites. Two popular ones right now are RankXL and Income School Project 24.
RankXL costs $599 up front. There are no videos. The only support is in the Facebook group.
Income School’s Project 24 costs $449 for the first year, then $199 per year after that. There’s no monthly option, no free trial, and no discounts available.
Both of these products are very good, and worth your money, but look at the price comparison! Plus, consider that Wealthy Affiliate offers a free 7-day trial, and the first month is only $19. Very low risk!
Even if you aren’t completely sure you want to follow through with what WA teaches, at the very least, you can try out a month for $19. Seriously. You can’t take a twenty dollar risk to start a business?
Alternatives To Wealthy Affiliate
Wealthy Affiliate isn’t the only product out there claiming to help you make money online. In fact, there are hundreds out there. How do they compare to Wealthy Affiliate? Well, after trying hundreds of them over the course of ten years, I can confidently say that 99% of them are junk.
How can I be so confident?
First off – that’s my personal opinion after actually trying hundreds of them myself (at least going through the training). More importantly however, I’ve witnessed, with my own eyes, that 99% of these products stop operation after just 1-2 years. Poof! Gone! Remember, I’ve been around this space for 12 years now, so I’ve seen it happen a lot. The fact that Wealthy Affiliate is still around and has thousands of active members is unlike any other company out there. It’s simply unheard of.
There’s really one one other product I recommend. Some people just don’t click with the Wealthy Affiliate training system and community. Wealthy Affiliate is more for everyday people who want to start their first online business and want the personalized help offered inside the community. If you’re more analytical and data-driven, then you’ll likely prefer the Authority Site System.
The Authority Site System
At $997 for The Authority Site System, it’s certainly a bigger up-front commitment, but the product definitely worth the cost IMO. It’s legit. The gist of what they teach is to build a couple of core “skyscraper” articles, which are basically ultimate guides to whatever your niche site is about. You build backlinks to those large, top-notch quality pages, then use a variety of techniques to build backlinks to those pages. To grow your content base, you’ll also write some more informational articles based on keywords, as well as product reviews.
This system is way more heavily involved in niche research than Wealthy Affiliate. In fact, over 65% of the course is just getting your website set up (including niche research, which is 40% of the course).
For more analytical minds, this would be an appropriate product. However, for newbies who want to just jump in and get started, I think you might get overwhelmed with the amount of research involved in picking a niche. As an experienced marketer, I definitely learned a lot about niche and competition research here, but I’m still the type of person who likes to learn as I do, rather than study study study to “learn”.
The Facebook group for TASS is in much better shape than Authority SEO (above). There are actually discussions going on! Also, their email support system is fast, accurate, and friendly. There are a lot more resources for direct help than with Authority SEO, but Wealthy Affiliate still has more avenues for help. Way more.
Unfortunately, their main focus of creating “authority” is to build backlinks. They encourage you to create good content, but really the focus building links for business growth. Lots of prominent affiliate would say that this is the correct thing to teach, and in the world of link building these guys teach some great, white hat methods. Link building isn’t for me, but these guys teach it well. For now, here’s my review of The Authority Site System, and I’ll get that full comparison up some time before the end of the decade.
To be honest, I haven’t tried the Income School course myself, but I do follow their YouTube channel, so I have a pretty good idea of what they teach, and feel confident recommending them. They teach stuff very similar to my own philosophy about building affiliate blogs, in that the focus is on long term growth and stability achieved by creating value for readers. No SEO tricks. No supercharger methods that will hurt you down the road. Simple blog building about a topic you enjoy.
The price of the course is $449 for a year of membership, then $249 each year after that. No hosting included, so that will be an extra cost you have to account for.
I can’t speak to what their members community is like, but I see tons of positive comments on their YouTube videos, so I assume it’s decent. I don’t know if it’s a Facebook group, forum, or custom membership site. I highly doubt it’s as advanced as Wealthy Affiliate, but I’m just guessing.
One More Cup of Coffee Free Course
I used to have a few more products listed here as alternatives to a Wealthy Affiliate membership, but they have since gone offline and are no longer available. This is pretty typical of “make money” style products, since owners typically are looking for the exit door soon after product launch. It’s about making money, not about helping people. Wealthy Affiliate being around for 15 years in this industry really is unique.
There are some newer products out there which are supposedly good, but I cannot guarantee how long they’ll be around. 1 year? 2 years? Honestly, I would being doing you a disservice to recommend something like that. The Authority Site System I listed above has been around for many years and seem to be doing well, so I’m happy to continue recommending them, but other than than, there’s not much else out there right now. Everyone else is focused on trash like TikTok and crypto.
Instead, I would like to recommend my own free course, available to you right here on my website. No email signup required. No cost at all.
It’s all the stuff I learned from Wealthy Affiliate with my own twist. I don’t hold back any secrets other than the exact niches that I’m in. There’s everything you need to know in written and video form, so the only cost you would need to pay for is hosting and a domain. Once you see that basic hosting will cost $15/month (with no technical or affiliate support), suddenly a $49/month Wealthy Affiliate membership doesn’t seem so unreasonable, but whatever, you can make your own choice.
Of course, the main downside of my course is that it doesn’t come with any coaching at all. The info is there, but you have to read it, take action, and troubleshoot things yourself.
I think it’s a pretty awesome course. It’s 12 years of pro information distilled in 3 levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and tons of video content with conversational insights into how I run my successful websites. Check it out if you can’t afford Wealthy Affiliate or The Authority Site System right now.
What About The 1-on-1 Coaching?
In this review of Wealthy Affiliate I’ve mentioned the phrase “coaching” a few times, and you’ll also see it within the members area once you join. I just want to clarify what the coaching includes, because that word can mean a lot of different things.
The 1-on-1 coaching I offer is through the WA system means that you’ll get personalized help with your questions and a guaranteed response via Private Message from myself. You’ll be able to send me a message about your business and get a response. I will personally help you by explaining something you don’t understand, or sending you a link with the appropriate training.
I’ll even review your website and offer suggestions from time to time.
Coaching does not mean that I’m going to drag you along and force you to be successful. I will not log into your website and install plugins for you. I will not do the keyword research for you. I will not call you on the phone and motivate you to write an article. You need to do the work.
One complaint I receive from time to time is that some folks expect a weekly phone call coaching session. There are some other programs out there that offer coaching sessions like this, but they often cost $100+ per hour. The free ones are basically just sales calls trying to sell you into a private mentorship for $10,000-$25,000.
Doing a weekly phone call with people is just not economical for my commission of $20 per month that I earn from being an affiliate of Wealthy Affiliate.
Aside from the cost/value relationship, actually, coaching calls are kind of a waste of time for everyone involved. I’ve done the phone and Skype thing before. Most people just wanted to chit-chat and ask me personal questions. Plus, I can’t give effective tutorials over the phone. Coaching calls suck. They are mostly for motivation, and I’m not a motivational coach. I’m an affiliate coach.
That means you get to basically email me whenever you want about your business and I will provide you with answers, resources, and advice about how to grow your affiliate blog. This is only available to my referrals. I’d love to coach everyone, but I just don’t have the time. If you join Wealthy Affiliate with the links on this page, you’ll be automatically signed up as my referral, and I’ll be your coach. If you use someone else’s links, they’ll be your coach instead.
Everyone gets a coach inside Wealthy Affiliate, so if you’ve read this far, now you can think about who you want to be your coach. My qualifications include 12 years in the industry, 10 years coaching experience, and three websites that have achieved $10,000+ per month in affiliate income!
Premium Plus Membership Upgrade
After more than a decade of perfecting their Premium Membership, Wealthy Affiliate has finally introduced Premium Plus, for hardcore business builders. What do I mean by “hardcore”. Basically, more stuff available for people who actually plan to use it.
- more hosting
- more keyword research
- more support
- more training
You get more spots for hosting websites, and more traffic capabilities. You get more keyword research searches, and more data available. You get priority support from tech support as well.
Most importantly however, where the main value of Premium Plus is (in my opinion), is that you get more training. You get an additional 1 hour of life training every single weekday (M-F) from experts across multiple domains.
Instead of just “affiliate blogging” training, you also learn about growing a YouTube channel, growing an Instagram and TikTok account, making money, branding strategies, image editing, creating an monetizing a podcast, creating and selling your own products, and many other topics.
It’s literally more training than anybody could ever consume, directly from people involved in different types of online businesses.
I’ve said many times before, but building one website can be a full time job. The blogging part of affiliate marketing is just one aspect of building an online business, and it’s entirely possible to build a full time media company with text articles, audio podcasts, social media accounts, and a video channel as a single person (outsourcing help, of course).
If you want to do more than just a blog, upgrading to Premium Plus is the answer.
Investing In Yourself (Mindset)
Lots of people want to start an online business these days, but they don’t want to make the commitment it takes to actually be successful. I get weekly messages from people saying that they want to give Wealthy Affiliate a try, but only if they can do it for free, and then they’ll start paying after they earn money.
If it doesn’t work within a couple weeks, they want to bail.
Starting a business from scratch is hard. Starting a business from scratch without having any formal education is even harder. Make no mistake: earning money online with your affiliate blog is going to be an uphill battle, and only the most persistent will survive.
But what’s your alternative? Just go about your normal life and not make any changes? Keep doing what you’re doing and give up before you start?
In my opinion, the main reason people fail online is because they do not make a proper investment in themselves. They don’t want to invest the money. They don’t want to invest the time.
Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t pay a few hundred bucks to change your life?
Is your time so precious that you can’t devote a single year of it to attempting to make a positive change?
I like to draw analogies between starting an online business and other things people do. One of the best comparisons is going to the gym to lose weight.
Let’s pretend you’re a personal trainer, and a client walks in and says they want to lose weight. You say that you have a 1-year weight loss plan you can customize to their needs, and you’ll help them along the way.
Then the client says that they want to work out for free until they start losing weight, and they will only pay for the membership if you can guarantee their results. Outside of those conditions, they don’t really have the time or money to commit to meeting their goals.
Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?
That’s how a lot of folks come at this “start an online business” thing. They want guarantees before they even try.
The fact is, you’re going to have to take on some risks if you want to change your life. In the grand scheme of things, the monthly membership fee is a very low risk price. Even if you prepay your yearly membership, one year and a few hundred dollars is a freakin’ low cost investment to improve your life.
I get it. You’re probably skeptical about everything you just read. Is affiliate marketing legit? Is Wealthy Affiliate a scam? Am I smart enough to do this? Those are the same questions I asked myself in 2010.
Here was my thought process at the time, and how I think about a lot of investment risks I make:
I looked at my entire life from start to finish. When I’m 80, will I miss a few hundred dollars and a single year? My answer is: not really. it’s worth the risk of total loss for the potential of long term success. If you can understand that position, my question to you is, what have you got to lose? Join up.
Doing a little work every day, and make at least some baby steps towards reaching your goal of starting a profitable, successful online business.
Each month you can look back at everything you accomplished. Recalibrate. Make new goals. If it’s not for you, then you can try something else. But isn’t it worth at least trying?
Invest money and time into yourself, and you will see results.