Is Wealthy Affiliate really free? I know people say it is, but is it really?
Well… As you can see from the title of this review, it isn't really… But it kinda is.
I know, I know… This doesn't make sense, but throughout the short post you will understand what I am saying. In a nutshell, what I mean by this is that Yes, there is the free Starter membership inside Wealthy Affiliate, but this isn't going to do you much good all on its own. While it is technically possible to make money with this, you more than likely won't.
But anyways, I will go into detail on all of this so that you have a better idea of what you're getting into. I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate for several years now, so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this and I'm not going to sugarcoat it.
What Exactly Is Wealthy Affiliate?
The first order of business is to talk about what exactly Wealthy Affiliate is. You might already be well aware of this, but those who aren't here you go:
Wealthy Affiliate can best be summed up as an online affiliate marketing training platform. However, this is not your typical affiliate marketing training program. I call it a "platform" because there is more than just training, similar to Solo Build It. Wealthy Affiliate also provides the necessary tools to make money with affiliate marketing, such as free websites and hosting (these are actually free).
Basically, Wealthy Affiliate is like an "all-in-one" type of deal. While there are lots of other online marketing tools you can go out and buy separately, Wealthy Affiliate provides all the necessities.
Why Everyone Says It Is Free
There is a good research you hopped on Google, Yahoo, or Bing to do some research on this after coming across Wealthy Affiliate being promoted as "my free recommendation", "100% free training", "get started for free", and so on.
I'm even guilty of this. When I first started out promoting WA I definitely wasn't the most honest person online and was just looking to make some quick money. However… Things have changed over the years and a lot of what I see in online marketing is pretty disgusting.
There are a lot of people out there promoting Wealthy Affiliate and not all of them do so in a very honest way. While it is technically true that you can "get started for free", many of the people promoting Wealthy Affiliate leave out a lot of important details… Details that most people wish they knew beforehand… Details that I will be sharing with you here.
A Look at The Free Starter Membership
WA has to memberships, their free Starter Membership and the Premium Membership that you have to pay for.
Just about everyone starts out with the free Starter Membership because it provides the beginning of the training at WA. There isn't really any point in paying for the Premium Membership early on, because you are going to have to go through the beginning training regardless.
What You Get
As a free Starter Member you get the following…
- Access to course 1 of Online Entrepreneur Certification
- Access to phase 1 of Affiliate Bootcamp
- 2 free websites + hosting
- Use of the website builder
- Access to Jaaxy (the keyword research tool)
Sounds pretty good right? Yeah… That's because it is pretty good. With this membership get access to the first course of the Online Entrepreneur Certification as well as phase 1 of Affiliate Boot camp, you get to free websites and hosting, use of the website builder, and limited access to Jaaxy which is the keyword research tool.
However… Can you actually make money with all that you are provided in the free Starter Membership? This is the big question that needs to be answered.
If the answer is yes, then claims that Wealthy Affiliate is free would be the honest truth with nothing left out. However, if you can't make money with this free membership is then calling WA free is a bit misleading… Because only part of it is free and the part that is going to make you money you have to pay for.
The Big Question: Will You Be Able to Make Money With It?
So will you be able to make money with the free membership? Unfortunately based on what I have seen over the years and based on my own experience, it would be highly unlikely that you make any money while you are a free Starter Member. If you want to make money with affiliate marketing then it you more than likely are going to have to upgrade to the Premium Membership which will unlock a lot more training, support, and use of the tools.
Some of the more notable reasons why you will likely not make any money as a free member include the following…
*NOTE: As a free Starter Member you will get access to some Premium features for the first seven days. But after that your account will be downgraded so that you get the bare minimum.
1) You only get .SiteRubix websites
One of the reasons you will likely not make any money as a free member is that, as a free member, you will only get access to .SiteRubix websites at WA. The two free websites that you get are these .SiteRubix sites. This is nice and all, because it allows you to get started for free without purchasing your own domain, but this will greatly hinder your ability to make money.
What are .SiteRubix websites exactly? They are what you call "subdomains". They are not independent personally and domains. They are basically domains that are part of a main domain. So .SiteRubix is the main domain, and your site would be the subdomain.
For example, your website would appear as yourwebsite.siterubix.com, with your domain in front of the main domain.
Why is this a problem besides looking weird? Well… There is talk in the online marketing world that subdomains do not rank as well as main domains, but I don't really know how true this is.
The main problem with subdomains is that you will not be able to get accepted to many different affiliate programs and you also might be able to make money with advertising services such as Google AdSense. The reason for this is that affiliate programs and Google AdSense will want you to have your own domain. When you have a subdomain you don't actually own it and you are not in full control of it. This is at least what I understand to be the reason for many places requiring urine domain.
2) Limited training
Another major reason why you will likely not make any money with the free training is because the training is very limited. You will enjoy access to the entire level 1 of the training, which is awesome, but this will give you much more than a foundation.
The entire Online Entrepreneur Certification course is 5 levels, each consisting of 10 lessons. You get access to the first 10 lessons, but the other 40 lessons you do not. Only getting access to 1/5 of the training is obviously going to greatly hinder your chances of success.
And this is just with the core training… The Online Entrepreneur Certification training. You also will be limited on the Affiliate Bootcamp training and you will not get access to the weekly live training and more.
The training gives you all the basics, such as understanding the process of making money, choosing a niche, building your website, studying up that website creating some content, getting the menus set up, and basics of keyword research… But you don't learn how to best incorporate affiliate links, write effective content that converts, how to really connect with your audience, increasing conversions, and a lot of other intermediate and advanced stuff.
You just learned the basics.
Below you can see the 10 different lessons included in level 1 of the training…
If you are completely new to this and would go through the entire first level of the training and then decide that you can take it from there… And not upgrade… You will likely veer off the path and make a wrong turn at some point, which will just lead to a lot of wasted time.
This beginners training is great and all, but this isn't even close to all that Wealthy Affiliate has to offer. In fact, beginner stuff like this can pretty easily be found elsewhere online for free… Very easily actually.
3) Limited use of tools
As a free member you will also have limited use of the tools available at WA.
For example you will only be able to get to use the keyword research tool, Jaaxy, with limited access. You will only be able to perform 30 keyword searches with it which is a nice little trial, but doesn't provide you with much ability to really do research and find some good targeted keywords.
Now if you are completely new to this all then you may not know exactly what keyword research is, or how important it is, but you should know that it is extremely important. Keyword research is how you target specific keywords and rank high in the search engines. Without it will be spinning your wheels posting in the same place. You can write the best content in the world, but if you aren't targeting good keywords then it is probably going to better to have not written it at all.
So a good keyword research tool is absolutely necessary when it comes to this business model.. And 30 free searches just isn't going to be enough moving forward, although it does give you a good feel for things and a good start without any risk.
You will also not be able to purchase your own domain and host it there, which as I discussed above is pretty important.
4) Limited community support
Another limiting factor is how I see free member you will not be able to receive the abundance of community support that Premium Members have available to them.
Getting support from like-minded members that are going through the same thing you are going through, or have already been through what you are going through, is something that should not be overlooked. When I first got started I received a good deal of help from the community and I don't know if I would have made it without them.
As a free Starter Member you will not have the ability to send people private messages. This rate they are really cuts back on your chances of getting the support you need.
In addition to that, you only be able to get access to the beginner level of the training course and because of this you will only be able to participate in the discussions that follow those beginner lessons. At the end of each lesson there is a discussion area, or common area, in which people often ask questions and get help. Of course you will not be able to do this for any of the more advanced training because you do not have access to that.
*You will also not have the tech support that you will likely need somewhere down the road… When you encounter some technical problem with your website, which you are bound to sooner or later.
Think of It as a Test-drive
The best way to think of the free membership is as a test drive. While it is unlikely that anyone will make money as a free member, it is still better than nothing. Wealthy Affiliate is not obligated to give away a free membership.
This free membership allows you to test out the system risk-free. You have absolutely no money invested when you join and you can get through the beginning stages to see if it is something you think you would like and want to move forward with. If it just isn't for you, then no harm done… You can quit without having lost any money. And if it is something you want to continue with… Then you can become a Premium Member to move forward.
The only thing is going to cost you is time. Of course you have to sacrifice a little bit of time to test it out, and you could say that time is money, but at least it is free when it comes to money directly.
With the free membership you will be able to really get to know the process and how everything works. As I discussed above already, with the training that you are provided with you will be guided through the steps of choosing a niche, building a website, creating some first content, doing some keyword research and so on. Although this training is very basic and for beginners, you will at least learn the basics of things to get a good idea of this business and will thus have a better idea of whether or not this is something you want to continue with.
The "Not Free" Part of It
So now I want to talk about the "not free" part of it… The Premium Membership and what all you get with it. Becoming a Premium Member it definitely has its advantages. There isn't any guarantee that you will be successful and start making good money as an affiliate marketer after becoming a Premium Member, but it gives you such an advantage over the Starter Members that it isn't even close.
Premium Member Benefits
There are many benefits when you are premium. All of the problems with the Starter Membership I discussed above, that will greatly hinder your chances of making money, are no longer problems as a Premium Member. You will be able to use your own domain, you will get full access to all the training, you will have more tools at your disposal, and you will get all the support you need.
Obviously, you get access to all of the core training… All of the Online Entrepreneur Certification training. This includes the other 4 levels shown below…
In addition to that you also get access to the live weekly trend classes that go on every Friday. These are on various aspects of online marketing and you can always get some helpful tips. It is also nice they can ask questions in real time on these live webinars which can be a big help.
But it doesn't end there.
You will also get access to all 12 of the training classrooms that cover everything from website development & programming, to social engagement and marketing, to email marketing, video marketing, PPC and more. This classrooms are filled with training… Much of which has been created by members of the community, many of them which you could call "experts".
As a Premium Member you will get much more access to Jaaxy, the keyword research tool I talked about.
As you already know, this is incredibly important. If you do not have a keyword research told and you are trying to make money online as you are taught at Wealthy Affiliate, you simply will not succeed… There's no way around this. Keyword research tools allow you to analyze keywords and find ones that are good… So that you can rank high in the search engines and drive free traffic to your website… Which of course you will need to make money.
There is still the ability to upgrade to a higher membership inside Jaaxy, but this is not necessary. You absolutely have enough of what you need to make money with the access to get to Jaaxy as a Premium Member.
There are multiple ways that you will be able to receive support.
You will have 24/7 tech support at your side through what they call SiteSupport. I have used this support tens of times over the past years and have never had a problem. As I stated earlier… YOU WILL run into tech problems somewhere down the road and you will likely need tech support when these problems arrive.
You will also be able to send private messages to people directly, which is how I communicate with a lot of people at WA. And if there is a specific question you want to ask the community, and possibly get many answers, you can do that as well.
Something that I didn't mention earlier, which you don't get access to as a free member, is the live chat. This is something that can be incredibly helpful for beginners because you can hop on the chat and receive help within a matter of seconds. It doesn't really matter what time of the day you hop on there, the live chat is usually pretty lively and you can usually expect to get help very fast.
And of course since you have access to all the training, you will also be able to participate in the discussions below each training lesson.
Free But Not Free
So as you can see… Wealthy Affiliate is only partly free and the free part will likely not make you any money.
If I, with my years of experience in this business, decided to join again as a free Starter Member then I absolutely could make money with what is provided… The free .SiteRubix websites, limited use of the keyword research tool, and the limited training… But that is only because I already have a lot of experience under my belt. I am already part of affiliate programs so I would not have to apply to new ones and a personally owned domain would not be entirely necessary; although the keyword research tool would still be limited, I would already know what I am doing to make the most out of my 30 free searches; and of course I would already have a lot of experience in know a lot more having already went through training.
But if I could go back in time to when I just started, I can pretty much guarantee that I would never have been successful had I not upgraded to Premium. The free Starter Membership gives you a lot of great free stuff and allows you to test out the system, but it does not provide you with that extra push to keep you on track and hope you get to where you need to be.
So next time you see someone claiming that Wealthy Affiliate is "my 100% free training" or something along those lines, don't fall for that crap. These people are just trying to make money a little more easily and unfortunately in the world of online marketing somewhat deceptive tactics like this have become commonplace.
Anyways… I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it cleared the air on a few things, allowing you to walk away with a better understanding of what exactly you are getting as a free member and what you can expect. If you like that, share, if not you don't have to.
Also, leave any questions or comments down below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂