My WGU Review: Two Semesters into My WGU Experience

Disclaimer: I earn a reward if you click on my link and sign up with WGU.

I am currently two semesters into my WGU experience. My third semester starts in a few days. I thought I’d take a little time to share what I like about Western Governors University, as well as what I don’t like. If you’re thinking about attending WGU, this post should give you a pretty good idea of whether the school is right for you. So without further adieu, here is my WGU review.

The Enrollment Process

When you ask for more information from WGU, they assign you to an enrollment counselor. This person follows up with you regularly to see how you’re doing and try to get you to complete the steps required to enroll in the university.

I was originally going to major in high school education—science, but I was having trouble with the pre-calculus prerequisite, so after awhile I told my enrollment agent to stop following up with me since I didn’t think I would be attending the school.

A couple of years later, I decided to enroll in the marketing management program. I had to get a new enrollment counselor at that point. The enrollment counselor keeps you on track through the enrollment process, making sure you know what to do next as you request transcripts, apply for financial aid, etc.

Financing Your WGU Education

Speaking of financial aid, it’s worth noting that WGU is very inexpensive. I get a full Pell Grant, and the Pell Grant covers all but about $500 per year. I got a student loan to cover the balance, but after I submitted my new financial aid form, I got an extra scholarship, so I used that to pay off my first year’s student loan. I’ll be getting a new student loan when I start the next semester, but I’m hoping to be able to pay it off whenever I get a little extra money so I can graduate without any student loan debt.

WGU charges per semester, not per credit. So if you complete the minimum 12 credits per semester, it costs the same amount as if you accelerate and complete 20 or 30 credits. The faster you get through your classes, the more money you’ll save.

You do not have to buy textbooks to attend WGU. The texts are all online and are included in the cost of the program. You do have to buy a webcam that meets the school’s requirements. A built-in webcam will not meet the requirements.

The WGU Learning Experience

There are two kinds of classes at WGU: those with tests and those with projects. If you are taking a class that has a test, as soon as you can pass the test you are done with the class. So if you already know the material and you pass the test right away, you essentially test out of the class. For classes with projects, you must satisfactorily complete the project to pass the class. For example, my English Comp 2 class had a project. It was a research paper.

When you start a class that has a test, there is a pre-assessment you can take to see where you are and what you need to work on. I like to take that test first. After you take the test, you can see a report. If you look at the areas you are weakest in, you will find links to the part of the text that covers that material. If you are strong in some areas and weak in others, you might only need to study the material in the areas where you are weak. Or at least pay more attention to those areas as you go through the material.

If you do really well on the pre-assessment and don’t feel like you need to go through the material, you can go straight to the objective assessment. So, in theory at least, it’s possible to get through a class in a single day. The best I have done so far is one class took me a week to get through. The worst was about seven weeks. That was Project Management. I am apparently not meant to be a project manager!

The Learning Materials at WGU

The learning materials for most classes are an online text and a set of pre-recorded video cohorts. For classes with projects, the video co-horts are usually much more useful than the text. For classes with tests, I think it’s important to review both.

There are often live co-hort webinars you can attend as well. I guess this would be great if you have a lot of questions for the instructor, but I prefer watching the pre-recorded cohorts. You can always e-mail your instructor or set up a call if you have questions.

Some of the texts have a read-aloud feature and some don’t. Some of the ones that do are so robotic that I couldn’t stand it and had to read the text anyhow. I very much prefer the ones with good audio.

I had a couple of other issues with the materials. In one class, SEO was defined as a paid service to rank higher in the search engines, which is absolutely wrong. The whole point of SEO is to get your page ranked without paying the search engines.

The other issue I had was that there were a couple of things on the pre-assessment and objective assessment for project management that were absolutely not covered in the text. I went back and looked for them and couldn’t find them. I felt that was unfair, but I still passed the test.

What WGU Lacks

What WGU lacks is engagement, both with instructors and peers. If you want to talk to your instructors, you can make an appointment or attend a live webinar, but there are not regular lectures to attend where you feel like you get to know your instructor.

And if you want to make friends with your peers, you’ll find it difficult. There is very little communication between peers. WGU is best for those who work well on their own. That’s OK for me, but I really had hoped to make a friend or two during the process of earning my degree.

The Mentorship Program at WGU

Every student who attends WGU must have a mentor. The mentors work for the school and check in on you every week or two to make sure you stay on track. I like this because it can provide a little extra motivation for getting things done. If I know my mentor is calling on Thursday to find out how much progress I’ve made, it makes me want to make sure I do what I said I was going to do.

WGU Lets You Learn at Your Own Pace

The best part about WGU is that you can go at your own pace as long as you meet the minimum of 12 credits per semester. I completed 22 credits in my first term and 15 in my second term. At first glance, it looks like I was slacking during the second term, but the truth is that I had a lot more freelance writing work during the second term, so I was working more. I was able to take breaks from my schoolwork in order to get the writing done.

So What Do I Think of WGU?

So what do I think of WGU? My WGU review wouldn’t be complete without my overall impression. Overall, I like the school and I am looking forward to finally earning my bachelor’s degree. I don’t know if Western Governors University is the right school for you, but it’s definitely the right school for me.

Click Here for More Info about Western Governors University

Google Advertising for Small Businesses: Top 14 Tips

Businesses of all sizes advertise on Google, but small businesses have a special challenge that big businesses don’t have: small advertising budgets. Google advertising for small businesses can be very effective when done well, but there is a dark side: Like most forms of advertising, there are no guarantees. If you’re not careful, you could spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a campaign for little or no return. Here are 14 tips to help you get the most out of your Google advertising campaigns.

Tip #1: Set a Budget

One thing that makes Google advertising a good choice for small businesses is the ability to set a daily budget. When determining how much you are willing to spend, keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to run a campaign and not get any sales. When you set up your initial budget, you should set it at a level that you are willing to lose. How much can your business afford to put into an advertising campaign that may or may not pay off?

Let’s say you can afford to lose $10 per day ($300 per month) on advertising that brings in no results. Set your daily Google Ads budget to $10 per day to start, and then evaluate the results. Did you make any sales from your Google advertising? How much are those new customers worth to you? Once you have tested the ads and have a better idea of the results you can expect, you can adjust your daily Google advertising budget to whatever level makes sense to you.

Tip #2: Pick Good Keywords

Don’t bid on every keyword you can think of. You might get more clicks, but chances are, your conversion rates will suffer. You are more likely to get sales if the page you send people to closely matches the phrase they searched for. For example, if you are selling Marvel comic books, don’t bid on “Marvel.” People searching for Marvel are much less likely to be shopping for comic books than those who search specifically for “Marvel comic books.” Specific, multi-word keyword phrases generally perform better than more generic search terms.

Tip #3: Use Negative Keywords

If there are searches you don’t want to show up for that are related to your keywords, add them as negative keywords. This will keep you from spending money on traffic that is very unlikely to convert.

Tip #4: Have a Goal

Take some time to think about what you want users to do after they click on your ads. Do you want them to buy a specific product? Then make sure your ad goes to the correct product page. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Then send them to an opt-in form, preferably one that offers an incentive for signing up. There are many actions a user can take upon reaching your website. You have to put some effect into guiding them to the choice you want them to make.

Tip #5: Optimize Your Landing Pages

Now that you know what you want your visitors to do, you’ll need to optimize the landing page you’re sending them to. You can do this by making changes and testing the results. A/B testing is ideal for this. There are software solutions that can make it easy to do A/B testing on your website. The software will let you know which page performs better. Once you have a winner, use it for the majority of your pageviews, but keep testing changes as well to see if you can do even better.

Tip #6: Limit Your Ads to Google Search

Google Ads can be run on Google search only or you can opt to take advantage of the Google Display Network, which places your ads on various websites and blogs throughout the Internet. In the beginning, at least, small businesses advertising on Google should limit their reach to Google search. The traffic coming from these ads is more targeted and is more likely to convert into sales.

Tip #7: Target Mobile Devices Separately

Google Ads offers the option to target mobile devices with a specific ad. You can put phone numbers in these ads, which makes it easy for the prospect to call you when they see your ad. Since the prospect already has a phone in hand, targeting them with an ad that includes your phone number makes a lot of sense.

Tip #8: Use Remarketing

You know those annoying ads that seem to follow you all over the Internet? Guess what? They work! Once you’ve gotten a prospect to your website, you want to keep your name fresh on their mind. You do this by remarketing. This service targets your ads to people who have already visiting your site and helps build trust in your brand.

Tip #9: Track Everything

The only way you can be sure whether your Google advertising campaign is working is to track the results. You must have tracking set up so that when a lead or sale comes in, you know where it came from. Otherwise, you might think your sales are coming from Google Ads when in reality, they are coming from organic traffic or social media shares.

Tip #10: Use Geotargeting

If your business operates in a specific area, use Google’s geotargeting feature to limit the geographical area where your ads are displayed. This will keep you from wasting your precious advertising budget on far-away users who will never become customers. This is a very powerful feature. You can set it to display ads only to users within 10, 20, or 50 miles of your business, or, if you ship throughout the US, you could set geotargeting to display ads only within the US.

Tip #11: Run Specials During Slow Times

A lot of people don’t know that you can run different ads based on the time or day of the week. If your business is typically slow on Sundays, you could run an ad with a coupon code that only displays on Sundays to try to drum up extra business. You can also choose to run your ads only at certain times of the day, like during business hours.

Tip #12: Don’t Overbid

You don’t have to be the #1 result on every keyword. You should set your bid no higher than what makes sense for your business. For example, if you make an average of $10 per year for each subscriber on your list, how much are you willing to pay for a subscriber? And how many clicks does it take to get someone to sign up on your list? You might not know the answers to these questions at first, but you should make an effort to find out so you don’t pay more for a new customer than you will ever be likely to recoup in sales.

Tip #13: Remove Non-performing Ads

Ads that don’t perform well not only don’t make you any money, they could actually lower the performance of your other ads. This is because they affect the quality score of your Google Ads account. This makes your other ads more expensive. If your ads aren’t working, delete them.

Tip #14: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again

One of the great things about Google advertising for small businesses is that it is easy to test different ads, landing pages, and conditions until you get it right. If your first efforts don’t produce the results you’re looking for, make some changes and try again.

Wealthy Affiliate Program: LAAM Reviews the Wealthy Affiliate Program

If you’ve read any Wealthy Affiliate program reviews, you’ve probably noticed that most of them are posted by affilates. That’s because Wealthy Affiliate has a great affiliate program. I have been a premium member of Wealthy Affiliate for over a year, and I’d like to tell you what I think of it and help you decide if Wealthy Affiliate is for you.

Wealthy Affiliate Is Not for Everyone

Let me start by saying that the Wealthy Affiliate program is not for everyone. Even though I am an affiliate, I don’t want you to join if it’s not for you. Above all else, Wealthy Affiliate is a training program for people who want to make money online using a website. It’s great for anyone who wants to learn about SEO, affiliate marketing, and other forms of online marketing and e-commerce.

But if you’re not interested in making money online, Wealthy Affiliate is probably not for you. They do offer great hosting for WordPress sites, but honestly, you can find reliable hosting elsewhere for less money. I used Namecheap for many years without any problems.

On the other hand, if you DO want to make money with your own website online, the Wealthy Affiliate program has a lot to offer you.

Wealthy Affiliate Training: Boot Camp

One of the best things about the Wealthy Affiliate program is the training. When you’re first getting started, there is a boot camp that walks you through the creation of your first website. If you choose to create a website that promotes Wealthy Affiliate, writing a Wealthy Affiliate review is one of the lessons in the boot camp.

I’m going through the boot camp a second time right now because last time, I chose to focus on a different niche. Unfortunately, I didn’t post regularly on that site and it didn’t do anything. Like any other training program, you can also get as much out of Wealthy Affiliate as you put into it. If you don’t do the work, you won’t see any results.

If you’re committed to doing what it takes, you’ll build an awesome website that has the potential to bring in a significant income. If you’re ready to get started, click here to join Wealthy Affiliate now.

Wealthy Affiliate Training: Videos

Once per week, there is a live video training on Wealthy Affiliate. These programs are recorded, so you can watch them whenever it’s convenient. As a premium member,  you have access to all of the past recordings and can watch as many as you’d like. You can find the videos under the “Live Events” tab on Wealthy Affiliate.

The live training programs cover a variety of topics. Some of the recent recordings include “Typography and Colors,” “Choosing an Awesome Theme,” and “Tracking Progress with Google Analytics.” There is training about how to run a local SEO firm, how to do research, how to advertise on Pinterest, and much more.

If you’re the type of person who learns best by watching videos, you’ll enjoy going through the video archives at Wealthy Affiliate. Click here to sign up and get started learning!

Wealthy Affiliate Web Hosting

As mentioned above, Wealthy Affilate offers reliable web hosting for your WordPress websites. Each Wealthy Affiliate account hosts up to 10 websites. Your Wealthy Affiliate websites must run on WordPress, which is the platform Wealthy Affiliate uses in all of its training. If you are determined to use a different platform for your website, you will not be able to use Wealthy Affiliate’s web hosting service.

I have been using Wealthy Affiliate to host my WordPress sites for over a year and have not had any problems with them. It is a reliable web hosting service, and each site comes with a free security certificate so your websites will all have be secure.

You can also buy your domain names through Wealthy Affiliate if you choose. I personally have been using Name Silo for my domain names for years, so I keep using Name Silo. As long as you type in the correct name servers for Wealthy Affiliate at your domain registrar, you can use any registrar you choose. However, if you want to keep things as simple as possible, you might want to buy your domains through Wealthy Affiliate.

The Wealthy Affiliate Community

Wealthy Affiliate has an active community of thousands of members who are all working toward the same goal: making money online. If you ever have a question, there are hundreds of Wealthy Affiliate members who have already done what you are trying to do and will be happy to help you find the answer to your question. You can also search the archives to see if someone has had a similar question in the past.

No matter what obstacles you run into, someone has probably been there and faced that obstacle before. As a Wealthy Affiliate member, you’ll be able to learn from the experience of thousands of other members who have been there and figured out how to do what you’re trying to do.

Mentorship from Yours Truly

Last but not least, if you join Wealthy Affiliate through my link, I’ll personally answer any questions you have about Wealthy Affiliate and making money online to the best of my ability. You can contact me through the messaging system on Wealthy Affiliate, or better yet, shoot me an e-mail at beth.parker.writes@gmail.com. Make sure to mention that you signed up through my link and I’ll do my best to answer your question.

Still not sure? You can try Wealthy Affiliate for free. No risk. No credit card required.

Click here to join Wealthy Affiliate now!