A brief recap for new readers:
Like you, I am skeptical about affiliate marketing (for readers in the UK, I am also sceptical), but I know of people who are doing it successfully. Real people, not just the people who frequently pop up trying to sell it to me on the interwebz.
I am wondering where to start, and have done a bit of research. I have now decided to give Wealthy Affiliate a go and see what happens there.
(I’m also going to be telling you the real reason I signed up for Wealthy Affiliate Premium membership, and why you should too, so keep reading…)*
*this is one of those teasers intended to entice you to keep reading all the way to the end, when the big sales pitch comes. I’ve encountered a lot of these.
Build Your Own Website
This sounds a bit unlikely, but it seems if I sign up for the free Starter plan on Wealthy Affiliate, I can actually build a website, on WordPress, with full instructions and a fairly easy-to-use set of tools, publish it into the world and have it hosted forever without having to pay anything.
Of course Wealthy Affiliate can’t possibly make any money out of this. The idea is to introduce me to the platform, make me feel at home, and get me to upgrade to the paid-for plan. But if I chose to resist this pressure I can stay on the Starter plan indefinitely. I don’t get access to the full training, but I get to be part of the community, and all the support that comes with that (see below).
While the free sites do function perfectly well, I will be lumbered with a somewhat clumsy domain name.
If you are just starting out as a Starter member, you will be building a website on the .siterubix.com domain, which is a completely free website. You can build and host up to 2 FREE websites as a Starter.
So my site will be something like www.bestmargaritamakers.siterubix.com
What? Best Margarita Makers?
Well, that is one idea for a website. It’s all about finding your niche.
Lesson 3 of the Wealthy Affiliate Online Entrepreneur Certificate is all about working out what you want to spend your time building a website about. *Top tip*: it is best if it is something you are actively interested in.
My interest in margaritas in passive rather than active. If I’m offered one I’m delighted to accept it, but I rarely seek them out. My interest in machines that will help me make margaritas is even less. Though it is possibly a lucrative affiliate marketing niche to get into, it is not a good fit for me. I’m not going to follow the margarita maker route, that’s yours for the taking. I’ll have to think of something different.
(Note to self – write a whole post about Niches to link to here.)
Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! Welcome Aboard!
But I’m in danger of going too much into the detail of Wealthy Affiliate training, which is not what you are here for. You want to know about the experience. The most interesting and disconcerting thing that happens when I join is that lots of people welcome me, and tell me what a great place it is, and how they are sure I will do well here. I suddenly have lots of people enthusiastic for my success.
I seem to have joined a club. Or possibly a religion. You’re in the right place they tell me. As an English person I greet this positivity somewhat warily, but to be frank it is nice to feel accepted. Everyone here seems to be very convinced that if we all do the work, success will inevitably follow. If you check out the WA website you’ll see a constant stream of communications between folk striving for affiliate marketing success. That’s all real.
I joined WA through a link from Nathaneill’s site (read about that here), and therefore he is my personal coach at WA. I can ask him questions when I’m stuck. He sends me emails to check on my progress. Yes, these emails are automatically generated, but when I reply to them he personally gets back to me. If I become a Premium member he’ll get $23.50 of my $49 monthly fee, every month for as long as I remain a member. I think entitles me to an occassional emails.
Who are these guys?
Wealthy Affiliate was founded 14 years ago in British Columbia by Kyle Loudoun and Carson Lim. Kyle is the marketing brain, Carson the design architect. Way back then, most people (OK, me) did not even know that affiliate marketing was a thing, let alone that it was already a multi-million dollar industry. Kyle and Carson saw the train rolling along the track and jumped right into the locomotive.
Kyle is very much involved in the day-to-day activities of Wealthy Affiliate, offering training, sending encouragement, and available to answer questions. I get the impression that Wealthy Affiliate is not, for him, simply a money-making machine, designed to provide a passive income for life. The longer I hang around here the more I come to feel that Wealthy Affiliate is Kyle’s life.
There are now three other members of the senior team and it claims to be the largest Internet Marketing community in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people from 195 countries, and 32,000+ community interactions per day. So lots of people involved here, how is it working out for them?
Is the money flowing in?
For the founders certainly, but for all the thousands of members? Well, I get the feeling this is much like any other enterprise in this capitalist world. A few people are making a mint, a good number of others are doing OK, and there are many who are struggling. It would be a fine subject for a case study. Everyone has access to the same training, why do the outcomes vary? I’m told again and again that I must do the work and the rewards will follow. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Is it a get-rich-at-all scheme, for me? I shall see.
I sign up for premium
I start the free version, come up with a niche that I think might work for me, and follow the website set-up training. It takes a wee bit longer than 30 seconds to get my site to exist, but is pretty easy. I’m getting regular reminders that if I want the Premium membership I have only seven days to take advantage of the discounted rate for the first month ($19 instead of $49), and the timer is ticking. If I do this it will be my first investment of money in affiliate marketing, so in a way it is a big step. On the other hand it is only around 15 of our UK pounds, so if it goes pair-shaped I can bail out with minimal loss.
The Real Reason I Signed Up for Premium Membership
Honestly? I couldn’t bear to have a website ending with .siterubix.com. For decades, I have owned the .net domain of my own name (some Canadian impostor has the .com). If I’m to set up a money-making website I want a proper name. (Sorry if this isn’t the big sell you were anticipating!)
This post is really not how I should write a review. WA provides a structure for reviewers to follow, and this isn’t it. I’ll talk about that in a future post, and let you know how I’m getting on with the training!
You can sign up to Wealthy Affiliate here (only if you want to.)
If you already are a member, please let me know in the comments if and why you joined.