Level 4 of the OEC Course Complete and Disappointments

Last Update: March 28, 2019

I Can See the Finish Line!

I completed level four of the Online Entrepreneur Certification course last night! This level took a lot longer to complete than others, because real life intervened.

I am super excited I did continue plugging away at the training and my site, even if it wasn't with as much focus and drive as previous lessons.

What Have I Learned So Far?

I have learned basic SEO and social media engagement, of course. I have also learned that Wealthy Affiliate main training is excellent. I love the concept behind this platform. It's definitely an excellent concept.

I also interviewed a moderately successful independent blogger, not affiliated with Wealthy Affiliate, that has had a blog for around 8 years and averages around 30k visitors a month.

Why have I gone outside of Wealthy Affiliate for this? Because I find I am disappointed in some of the practices people encourage on Wealthy Affiliate. Not Kyle or Carson, they emphasize honesty in their training, which is why I became a premium member.

Disappointments

While Kyle and Carson created an excellent platform for us to help each other, it's amazingly sad how some people abuse it or think it should be used. I find it kind of concerning long time premium members don't understand the difference between the Site Feedback and Site Comments sections. I ask for feedback and get nothing of value. I have better luck with Site Comments because they don't have to expend the effort looking for ways a site can improve. It's the same problem with earning site credits, even the unpaid ones.

I'm disappointed people don't understand the concept of comments left on their site at all. I decided to ask an independent blogger, who makes okay money to supplement her income, but she's in a highly saturated niche, book blogging. So she's fairly successful despite the competition.

I find I'm disappointed because while this site is about online business, people are focusing more on business and money and not helping their audience. Meaning anything goes as long as it generates visitors and commissions. Site Comments and Feedback isn't about genuinely helping your fellow affiliate marketer, it's about getting credits for money and to get your own comments. Your social media for your business is all about generating traffic to your site. Your site is about click conversions and sales instead of engagement, which ultimately leads to return visitors. If people like you, they're going to trust you and keep coming back to your site.

Even people 'helping' other people on the Wealthy Affiliate site seems to be less about helping and more to do with rank. How many times I see someone, or me, ask a question about something and they get wrong answers because they didn't know the answer or bother to double check the information before answering it. People asking a question shouldn't be correcting the answers.

My Interview with a Blogger

So I asked a few questions of the lovely Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup book blog. She's not on Wealthy Affiliate and I definitely want to credit her after she took the time to answer my questions. This blog is one of the few I actually follow because I like the blogger. She's fun to read, on social media and on her blog.

So, to begin with, Anna has been blogging for 8 years. For 7 of those years, she actively promoted and participated in book tours, new releases where she'd read the ARC (Advance Readers Copy) of books soon to be released, paid ads, that kind of thing. Her monthly visitors averaged about 30k. Last year in February she created 24 posts.

The last year, she took a step back from all of that and just blogs about older releases she reads and her foray into what I call Extreme Couponing. She's averaging 10k visitors a month now, makes enough to support her books, and posted 13 times this February.

She explicitly stated she doesn't moderate her comment section, except for the spam ones that her Disqus does itself. As to her reasoning behind this:

"Some comments are just 'oh, love this post' or something similar. A thanks for the post or a quick little note. While they aren't "helpful" exactly I still like these. I like knowing that people are coming by and seeing the posts. If they don't leave a comment...I have no idea anyone's been by (and can't visit back if they're a blogger) or that they found the post helpful. Some people aren't comfortable leaving longer comments and those short ones are where they feel comfortable and that's okay with me. I still reply to those and hope they know I value their time.

Some are in depth and lengthy but positive/constructive. These can be fun to reply to and get a discussion going now and again. I guess these are the only ones the other blogs are keeping?

Some are just flat out negative or combative. I've contemplated removing some of these in the past but usually end up leaving them and giving a reply and proper set down. It doesn't reflect on me but on them in those cases, you know?"

Now I like the blogger. She's a hoot on Facebook and when she really dislikes a book. You can tell she's passionate about what she does. Her book commissions are probably pretty pocket change as she's not getting much per sale, but she loves it. She's earned a loyal following just because of her personality on her blog.

The reason she went back to 'hobby' instead of business is because of the magnitude of drama from authors who just don't get what a prize honest reviews are. It's hard to even get people to understand why giving your friend 5 stars and encouraging others to do so is wrong and not what the review system is for. There's also a reason Amazon removes reviews from an author's Facebook friends.

By the way, she thinks someone rewriting comments is 'crazy.'

People Don't Get It

It seems to be very hard to get people to understand why something is wrong, morally, when they can't see that for themselves. Maybe defensiveness? How do I determine what is wrong in my business? I put myself in my audience's shoes. Would I like it if I became a fan of an author and found out they don't actually write their own books? Nope. Would I like it if my favorite blogger didn't write all her stuff? Not so much. Would I keep coming back to a review site that promotes expensive products by lies? Nope. Do I return to a site that's obviously focusing on money? Again, no.

There's a difference between a niche site and a blog, though not much of one. If a site wasn't 'personal' in nature, with credits to one writer, I think paying for someone to write your content is perfectly okay. If you're blogging, everything is about your personal experiences, hiring someone to write your post isn't so great. It's a fine line I myself may one day navigate.

Wealthy Affiliate's platform is amazing and useful in theory. In practice, people are selfish. They comment on blogs here just so they get it returned, with half effort, but want your full effort.

The Golden Rule

I wish people could remember the golden rule we learned in Kindergarten. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want good comments, GIVE good comments. If you want followers, VALUE your followers. If you want useful answers, GIVE useful answers. If you want respect, GIVE respect. Be courteous, and people will return that favor.

Give your fellow affiliate marketers the respect you want. We're all navigating the same river here. If you want to help, giving correct answers to questions is helpful, don't just guess and send a poor newbie misinformation. If you want credits, cool, but put some thought into HELPING your fellows by providing actual feedback in Site Feedback and actually reading the article in Site Comments.

I don't even care what your comment says, as long as it's genuine. I'm not going to put pressure on you to be poetic and perfect for a silly comment that overall doesn't help that much except to promote engagement. Honestly, you can't think of anything to say in Site Comments, go ahead and comment directly on my blog, 'Good job.'

Content is Key

We should put effort into our own content and stop being salesmen. No one likes salesmen. Be a problem solver. Marketing is good, of course, but you want a site that can survive without constantly pushing your brand like a salesman.

Kyle says content is key. Over and over again. No amount of social media marketing or site comments are going to help you if you don't have good, engaging content. Ads won't help without the content. Your site rank means nothing to your site sales. Social media isn't just about converting traffic and sales, it's about engagement with your audience, getting your brand out there, but that does nothing without content.

How do I find the sites I follow? Search engine! I rarely see a post on Facebook and visit the site. I will visit a site of s blogger who left a comment, but I don't return if I don't find the content any good. All this effort to get visitors is peanuts compared to engaging content. You NEED content. You should be helping other WA members to help and treating people how you want to be treated. Let's help each other between focusing on content and our business. Don't half-ass efforts for minimal incentives. Give people better. Give yourselves better!

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Eliz65 Premium
Well done on your completion of Level 4. Sorry to hear about your 'disappointments'. I have had a mix of comments when I request them and I think some of the issues are that everyone is at a different level of training when they attempt to respond to comment requests.
I do think it is important to try and help those people whose skills may be 'weak' in the area of commenting. I have actually emailed a person and asked for them to resubmit their comment as the comment hadn't made any sense and I wasn't able to tweek it through the edit option.When things like this happen I try to remember we are all learning!
It's those that don't learn from their mistakes that are the real problem.
I haven't actually had to refuse a comment but there is definitely a wide range of quality.
I'm not sure as to how important comments are, all I know is what I have learned from Kyle and Carson's training. I absolutely agree with you that building trust and quality content is very important and key to SEO. Following the training certainly helps us to do that!

Thanks for sharing your post I found it quite insightful. You have a wonderful way with words!
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Selenityjade Premium
Thank you so much for your compliment! :)

I actually haven't had much in the way of frustration with Site Comments as I'm not expecting anything but a comment. As long as it makes sense, isn't spam, and they read the article, I approve it. I don't need to be policing comments. Their value is more that they exist and not how great a writer the commenter is.

Most of my frustrations is with Site Feedback and questions. Lol. I've been given wrong information in a question that I had to correct, multiple times. Never did get my original question answered either. Or in Feedback, I get a generic compliment from someone who probably didn't read it and no actual feedback. I need to know what was good, definitely, but what wasn't as good is important in feedback.

I don't believe it's the levels of training exactly that cause the problem. People place too high of importance on what the comments say, when people might not be great commenters. I definitely agree with the comments just to get cash credits is a pain. But people don't put enough importance on feedback but want credits to ask for comments and just say, excellent site?

I do think the beginning newbies who think this is a way to earn quick money and people who don't care about bringing their best to the table. I'm a babbler and this comes out in comments. Plus I refuse to fake anything. I can still comment to help, but not going to pretend my non-existent daughter loves that toy. But I still write or comment and don't half-ass anything. I approach everything with an effort I can be proud of. I put the respect forward that I want in return. Too many rush and half-ass to get some sort of incentive. Though sometimes people don't understand what is expected too. Definitely could be lacking understanding.

But I think it's more selfishness and laziness. They want comments, so rush around giving as many generic didn't bother to read the article comments as possible in the hopes of getting it returned or use the credits for cash. Whatever. They don't actually care. Same as answers to questions, they get site ranking as if it's important, but not answering helpfully. Or think they are but don't double check when they aren't sure.

It's like some newbies looking for a get rich quick solution who bail after they realize it's work and not the lottery and they are the ones promoting scams and lying about products, just looking to get money, no matter how. It's similar.
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Kyle Premium
An excellent and insightful post, you are definitely a great and engaging communicator. It comes out in your content and this is going to take you a long way within the online business world.

In respect to the SiteFeedback platform, part of the problem is that people are looking for "expert" feedback, when it is more of a focus group style feedback. You want real user feedback, versus someone with a design degree. The reason is that the average user is going to give you a wide range of feedback, based on their experience.

Some may seem like it is irrelevant or nominal, but sometimes these things are the same issues that a much broader audience are experiencing. Something to consider.

In saying this, we have a bunch of improvements coming to this platform, one of them being the "cash credit" style platform so that people have more and more incentive to offer quality and obtain expert status within the platform. It will also attract a higher level quality of comment.

Anyways, great post here and thanks for sharing your experiences thus far. It was very insightful.
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Selenityjade Premium
Aw, thank you! I feel like it's mostly babbling, as I do tend to overexplain everything.:) But your compliment means a lot to me!

Regarding the Site Feedback portion, I didn't mean I expect expert feedback from website pros, and perhaps I should have specified. I meant I always get generic compliments. 'I really like the site, it looks pretty professional,' just nothing really helpful. Maybe a couple people offer a suggestion like including a mailing list (which I do plan on). But mostly, they might have been comments on my site. Which is okay, except I want what they enjoyed AND what they didn't. And a little specific.

When I do comments, I do straight honest opinions on what I enjoyed about the post. Even if I can't add much insight into the topic. This by the way has lead me to being rejected because I don't fake interest in buying or ask questions like I'm buying. Which is okay. I got rejected and told I gave feedback once because I was praising his article voice and depth of research into his subject, which was MMO, and I had no interest in learning more about the particular product he was reviewing as it wasn't a fit for me at this point in my business and he covered it extensively that I figured out it wasn't what I wanted. I simply really enjoyed the way he wrote the article. It was a great read. Still got rejected as feedback. Lol

When I give feedback, which is in no way expert either, I offer compliments on what I liked, and the things I didn't like and why. I don't offer many suggestions on what to add, but I give feedback on the need to spell check or that there were way too many ads or the like. Or the page loaded weird. Something a regular visitor might dislike.

That's what I want from site feedback. Not expert marketing gurus giving me constructive criticism. I just want to know what works for you and what doesn't. Experts won't be buying from my links. Regular Joe or Jane will. :)

Sometimes it just seems like an exercise to earn credits for their own site comments request and no effort.

This is no reflection on Wealthy Affiliate, really. The entire concept is excellent, in theory, if everyone made an effort to be helpful while getting credits. Unfortunately, so many people are mostly selfish in practice or just don't understand what feedback really means. This of course doesn't mean everybody, of course. I also noticed that the long time members that are making it, don't participate in Comments or Feedback, because they are successful and don't need to ask for either one, so never seem to offer either one, too. So mostly you get those people who still need it, mostly newbies. Maybe that's why it's so hard to get a thoughtful comment as so many people quit before leaving newbie stage once they realize it's work, not a get rich quick 'trick'. I don't know exactly.

I don't need compliments only. It's only useful if I know what exactly is it they liked. And what they weren't as happy about.

I definitely don't try to cut down sites in feedback, either, especially if they're beginning. I include the positive stuff first, then start on stuff I didn't like as much. Both are helpful, after all.

I love the system! It's the participants who bring frustration. There are so many excellent helpers here. I just think they're outnumbered.:)
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