Updated 18 March 2020
In this review of Wealthy Affiliate’s Online Entrepreneur Certification, I will be examining in depth the various component parts of this extensive training program so that you can make an informed decision on whether the program would be the best way for you to gain entry into the exciting, and potentially very lucrative, field of Affiliate Marketing.
To learn more about affiliate marketing see my article Affiliate Marketing for Retirees.
To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate see my Wealthy Affiliate Review for Retirees.
What is Wealthy Affiliate’s Online Entrepreneur Certification?
The Online Entrepreneur Certification (OEC) is an online training program in affiliate marketing. It consists of a series of text and video lessons that progressively take you through the entire process of becoming an affiliate marketer, from getting started, through choosing a niche, building your website, creating content, attracting traffic (to your website) and, ultimately, monetizing your website.
To participate in the program you need to become a member of Wealthy Affiliate. Free membership is available but this only allows the member to complete Level 1 (of 5) of the program. Even though this would take you through choosing a niche and creating your website you would ultimately need to become a paid (Premium) member not only because of the wealth of information contained in Levels 2-5 of the OEC but because of the many other benefits that Premium membership has over Free.
Who is it For?
The OEC is designed primarily for complete beginners in the field of affiliate marketing, even those with little or no technical experience with the internet. If you have a computer and an internet connection you can start this program.
Having said that, the program would provide a great audit for more experienced marketers.
The OEC will help you to get set up in any niche of your choosing but if you specifically want to be an affiliate of, and then promote, Wealthy Affiliate itself then you would elect to do Wealthy Affiliate’ alternate training program, called Bootcamp, and which is also included in the monthly Wealthy Affiliate membership. Many members start with the OEC, get their niche website established and then do the Bootcamp program.
Brief Details and Price
Name: Online Entrepreneur Certification
What’s included: 50, task-based, lessons (membership fee also includes web hosting and research tools).
Price: $49.00 per month or $495.00 for a year.
Owner: Kyle Loudon and Carson Kim
Overall Rating (out of 10): 9.5
Review of Wealthy Affiliate’s Online Entrepreneur Certification
The OEC is divided into five Levels and each Level has ten lessons. Each lesson contains certain tasks that the student has to complete before moving on to the next lesson.
The program is entirely self-paced and you are encouraged to take your time and ensure that you fully understand one lesson before starting the next. The program follows a progressive, step-by-step, format, so you definitely need to complete the lessons in sequence and not jump around.
Depending on the amount of time you can commit each day, the entire program could be completed in as little as a week, although several weeks to a couple of months seems to be closer to the norm. It took Colette and me three weeks to complete and we felt we finished with a really good understanding of the material.
Okay, let’s take a closer look!
Level 1, Getting Started
- 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
- Next Steps
The main thrust of Level 1 is to get you comfortable with the concept of online marketing, and established with the fundamental tools you will need to become a successful affiliate marketer, including a niche and a functioning website that is search engine ready, is easy to navigate and has some essential content.
The detail of getting set up to earn money is covered in later lessons but here you will learn the basic process of making money through affiliate marketing (Lesson 2).
Probably the most important decision you will ever make as an affiliate marketer is in deciding on your niche. This is what your website will be about and so will also determine the products you will be promoting on your website in order to make money.
Many people getting started with affiliate marketing choose a niche in an area in which they already have a particular interest (and hence knowledge) while others start with a clean slate. Lesson 3 (Choose a niche) is geared towards the latter and offers extensive advice and guidance on how to make this very important decision correctly.
Actually building your first website can be both scary and exciting. Lesson 4 (Building Your Own Niche Website) guides you through this process in an easy to follow, step-by-step, process. To see just how easy it is, read my article, How do I Build My Own Website?
After your website has been created, you will need to take some ‘administrative’ steps to ensure it is functioning correctly and is ready to be found by the major search engines; Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Lesson 5 (Setting up Your Website) explains how to get into the “back office” of your website, in order to make a few adjustments, and Lesson 6 (Getting Your Site Ready for Search Engines) explains the very important concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the settings that need to be made in order to achieve this.
It is critical that visitors to your website can find their way around it with ease, otherwise, they will surely leave very quickly. You achieve this through the correct use and placement of menus and Lesson 8 (Creating Custom Menus) explains clearly how to do this.
Most people are going to find your website as a result of making a search in one of the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) and the words they type in when making that search are known as ‘keywords’. If you can find popular keywords that are relevant to your niche and then include them in the posts you write on your website, you have a much better chance of your posts showing up in search results and hence attracting more visitors to your site. Lesson 9 (Understanding Keywords) teaches you the importance of keywords, how to find them, and how to use them to maximum effect.
Level 2, Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website
- 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
The goal of affiliate marketing is that people purchase the products you are promoting on your website so, one of the most critical parts of the whole process is getting people (traffic) to your website in the first place. Level 2 teaches you how to do this effectively.
Lessons 1 (Your Own Domain, Your Brand) and 2 (Move on Over My Brand Has Arrived) explain the importance of creating your own brand so that you can distinguish yourself from your competitors. For an online business, a critical component of the branding process is the domain name, i.e your website address. In level 1 you had the option to get started with a ‘free’ website where you did not need to purchase a domain name. Now that you understand the importance of branding you will most likely now want to change that and so you will also learn how to purchase your own domain (your .com) and then move everything on your existing website to that new domain. Another important aspect of branding is to have an email address that is linked to your domain (e.g. mine is “support@createretirementincomeonline”) and you will learn how to create such an address in Lesson 4 (Setting up a Domain Specific Email Account).
Traffic is going to be drawn to your website because of the content (posts and pages) you place there. In Lessons 3 (Creating Keyword Rich Content) and 5 (The Traffic Breakdown) you learn how to write keyword-rich content that people can easily find when searching for information on the web and then in Lesson 6 (Making Use of Visuals) how to make that content more visually appealing through the inclusion of appropriate images.
When you make a search on Google you will see the results listed over, typically, multiple pages. The order that the results are listed in is not random but the result of Google’s ranking system, which is, by the way, extremely complex. Your goal should be for every post you write to get ranked (i.e. appear) on the first page of results and as close to the top of that first page as possible. However, and especially in the more popular niches, there is a huge amount of competition for the more commonly used keywords. As you write more and more and gain authority within the search engines, you will be better placed to compete for those more popular keywords but at the beginning, you are better off using less popular keywords, that have less competition and, as a result, you have a better chance of your posts ranking highly. This is the principle of the ‘low hanging fruit’ and which is explained in Lesson 7 (Understanding the Low Hanging Fruit). It’s a bit like being a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond.
So, now you have people starting to visit your website. The more times they return, and the longer they stay on each visit, is going to be noticed by the search engines and will help greatly with your ranking. But how do get them to do this? Having a website that is attractive and easy to navigate is one good way and having lots of well written and helpful articles is another. However, the most important thing you can do to get visitors coming back, time after time, to your site is to build TRUST. Lesson 8 (Making Face as a Real Person) explains one very easy way to achieve this.
Lesson 9 explains ways to increase your productivity and Lesson 10 (Boosting Your WA Ranks) talks a little bit about the membership community at Wealthy Affiliate.
Level 3, Making Money
- Understanding the Money in Online Business
- Understanding Affiliate Programs and Networks
- Relevant Affiliate Programs are Everywhere
- Adding Affiliate Links to 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 and Understand Your Traffic
- With Help Comes Financial Success
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty of actually making money as an affiliate marketer.
To kick-off, Lesson 1 (Understanding the Money in Online Business) explains the online purchasing process from the perspective of the purchaser. When you understand this, you will be much better placed to meet your customer’s needs and make a sale.
Lesson 2 (Understanding Affiliate Programs and Networks) explains, in greater detail, how affiliate marketing actually works. You will learn that one critical component of the affiliate marketing process is to find merchants who actually sell the products you plan to promote on your website and who have a program (affiliate program) in place that will allow you to receive a commission when a visitor to your website subsequently purchases one of those products from that merchant. Lesson 3 (Relevant Affiliate Programs are Everywhere) explains the different types of affiliate programs that are available and how to find them.
Once you have found, and signed up with, a suitable affiliate program, you will need to ensure that the merchant is made aware of your involvement each time a visitor to your website makes a purchase. This is achieved through the use of ‘affiliate links’ and Lesson 4 (Adding Affiliate Links to Pages) explains how you get these and get them onto your website.
By far the largest affiliate program in the world is offered by Amazon and so Lesson 5 (Instant Access to a million Products) is devoted to how to join their program and then obtain and install affiliate links for the products you want to promote.
The posts you write for your website can take many forms but one of the most popular among affiliate marketers is the product review. Lesson 6 (Leveraging Product Reviews) explains how good, honest, product reviews can not only help you sell the products you are promoting but also, and very importantly, help you build trust in your readers.
Affiliate programs are not the only way you can make money from your website and Lessons 7 (Getting Paid for Ads on Your Site) and 8 (Earning Pennies or Dollars) explains one available option (paid ads) and the pros and cons thereof.
When your website starts to get regular traffic you will need to start tracking that traffic in order to get insight into your visitors. This will then allow you to determine what is working well with your website and marketing efforts and what is not working so well. Lesson 9 (A Brilliant Way to Track and Understand Your Traffic) explains how to use (for free) Google Analytics for this purpose.
Level 4, Mastering Social Engagement
- What does Social Engagement Mean for Your Business?
- Making Your Website a Place to Engage
- Using Facebook the Right Way
- Pinterest and the Visual Social Hemisphere
- Incorporating a Sound Tweeting Campaign
- Google Plus or Minus?
- The Benefit of Being Social at WA
- Making Your Campaigns Social Branding Animals
- Using the Wealthy Affiliate Social Community
- You Cannot be Master of Everything
While it is possible to become successful in affiliate marketing without social media, there is no doubt it can give a real boost to your business, especially at the beginning, provided you use it correctly.
Level 4 is all about social networking. In Lessons 1 (What Does Social Engagement Mean for Your Business?) and 2 (Making Your Website a Place to Engage), you will learn how the various social media networks can help you in different ways, depending upon your marketing plan. The tasks for these lessons include setting up Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ accounts unless you have them already. At the time of writing, Google has indicated they are planning to shut down Google+ so it would be better to leave that one until it is completely clear what is going on there.
Lessons 3-6 look at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ in more detail and how to best use them in your business.
The Wealthy Affiliate membership is itself a large and vibrant social network and Lessons 7 (The Benefit of Being Social at WA) and 9 (Using the Wealthy Affiliate Social Community) describe the benefits of being an active participant in this community.
Being social has many advantages but there is also a downside. It is so easy to get so into the social media side of your business that other, even more important, aspects get neglected or even overlooked completely. Lesson 10 (You Cannot be Master of Everything) discusses the possible pitfalls of social media and suggests ways to avoid them.
Level 5, Achieving Maximum Success Through Content Creation
- 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 Your 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
In Level 5 you get back to the all-important CONTENT and various strategies you can employ to maximize the (financial) return on every post you write.
Your posts will likely never be read by anyone until they have been indexed and ranked, and, in most cases, ranked highly, by Google. Lessons 1 (Content is Your Business) and 3 (Improving Indexing Times and Speeds) explain what you can do in order to achieve this in the shortest possible time.
In view of the great importance of ranking, you will need a means of checking the status of the various posts you have published. The easiest way to do this is through Google Webmaster tools and Lesson 2 (Setting up Google Webmaster Tools) shows you how to set these up and use them.
Your post has been published, indexed and ranked by Google and suddenly you have your first visitor to your website. YAY, success! Now you want to keep them there as long as possible in the hope they will ultimately buy something. If your website is generally pleasing to the eye and easy to use, this will help but, ultimately, it is the content itself (the pages and posts) that will keep people there. Lessons 4 (People Need to Read Your Content) and 6 (Writing Within a Devised Plan Architecture) explain techniques you can utilize to ensure your content is written and presented in a way to achieve the maximum possible reader satisfaction.
Your ultimate goal is for your visitor to purchase one of the products you are promoting and Lesson 7 (Writing Your Content with Conversion Intent) explains how, within your post, you can best turn (convert) a visitor into a buyer.
Every post on your website should have a comments box directly below it and it is very definitely in your best interests to encourage your readers to leave comments and questions there. Google loves to see comments and if you can actually strike up a dialogue with your readers that is even better. Lesson 8 (Injecting Comments With Intent) tells you how to get visitor comments as well as explaining some other benefits that can stem from them.
Bing and Google lag far behind Google but, between them, they still get around 33% of all online search traffic and you definitely don’t want to forget about them. Also, because there is less competition, it is actually much easier to rank with them. Much of what you do to make Google happy, and want to rank you, will also work for Bing and Yahoo but there are a few things you can/need to do. This is covered in Lesson 9 (Bing and Yahoo, They are still 33%).
As you will have gathered, content is a critical component in achieving success as an affiliate marketer but it is not just the quality of the content that is important but also the quantity. In order to be noticed and ranked by the search engines, you will need to be publishing posts on a regular basis and it is therefore important to set yourself some goals in this regard. Lesson 10 (Articulating a Plan for the Months and Years Ahead), the last lesson in the OEC, makes some suggestions in this regard.
Pros and Cons
- Very comprehensive training that covers everything you need to know to get started in affiliate marketing.
- You can sign up for free (no credit card required) and complete the whole of Level 1 to see if the training is right for you.
- No time constraints in completing the training.
- The platform makes it easy to leave the training and then resume, even after an extended time away.
- Unlimited access to the training, you can retake as many times as you wish.
- Great value, even ignoring the added benefits that come with membership of WA.
- Membership can be canceled at any time without financial penalty (monthly only).
- Several training segments in need of updating (in progress).
Final Thoughts on Wealthy Affiliate’s Online Entrepreneur Certification
In my opinion, this is the best affiliate marketing training currently available. If you proceed methodically through the training and complete the assigned tasks, you will be ready to begin a career in affiliate marketing by the end of the course. Furthermore, you will have an SEO ready, fully functioning and hosted website with enough content to be already getting traffic.
My only real complaint is that some training needs updating. The owners have made some major changes to the Wealthy Affiliate platform over the past couple of years and several of the lessons need to be revised to take account of this. The principles espoused in those lessons are still correct but some visuals used to illustrate them show the previous format and can, on occasion, be a little bit confusing. The owners are working on this.
The OEC training is great value in its own right but when you also take account of the other benefits of membership with Wealthy Affiliate, such as free hosting for up to 10 websites, their website builder and site content tool, you really can’t go wrong with this program.
For more information on Wealthy Affiliate see my Wealthy Affiliate Review for Retirees.
Ready to check out the OEC training for free? Sign up for the Online Entrepreneur Certification here.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you have found it helpful and informative. I respond to all comments and questions so if you have any please leave them in the Comments box below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Whatever direction you take I wish you every success.
The greatest years of your life are still ahead!
Online Entrepreneur Certification$49.00 per month $359.00 for 12 months $234.00 for 6 months
- Comprehensive training will get you started in affiliate marketing
- Sign up for free to check it out
- No time limit to complete the training
- Great value
- Membership can be cancelled at any time
- Several training segments in need of updating