Updated March 9, 2019
Are you a beginning or intermediate blogger but can’t seem to grow? Do you watch blogs take off and wonder how? This is an opportunity you might consider. I think it’s right for some, but not all. I hope this post will help you decide if it’s right for you.
I bought version 1.0 in November 2014 and have been following its evolution ever since. I read & watched most of the content in the first three versions (1.0, 2.0 & 3.0) although I did not personally complete all the assignments. This is mainly due to differences in my approach and my already-set business rhythm (more on that later).
I have not gone through all of version 4.0. The module and unit topics in 4.0 are the same as 3.0, but at first glance it looks like a good amount of new information has been added, particularly to the latter units. This has been true with each new version. EBA has changed considerably since version 1.0.
My goal is to provide a realistic picture of what to expect so you can make an informed decision.
As a paying customer, I am an affiliate for this course. That means, if you click through one of my referral links below and purchase EBA, I may receive a commission. Rest assured, this is not an all-glowing review. I bought this course primarily to vet it for my readers and provide my honest take.
What is Elite Blog Academy (EBA)?
Elite Blog Academy is a self-paced training program by blogger and author Ruth Soukup. It outlines a framework for bloggers who want to turn their blog into a sustainable business.
When will EBA open?
Enrollment typically opens once a year in late February or early March, for 5 days only. Get on the waiting list to be notified.
In the meantime, get a “taste” of EBA by downloading some of Ruth's free resources listed near the end of this post (click here to jump down and see them now).
Does EBA work?
Ah, the big question. Yes, it has worked for many.
This video is worth a watch if you want to hear real experiences from EBA students one to five years in.
How much does Elite Blog Academy cost?
There are three tiers ranging from $997 to $2997.
Each tier has a payment plan. If you choose a payment plan, you will have limited access to the course until your final payment is received.
Are there additional costs associated with EBA?
Be prepared for incidental costs. Many paid-for tools and services are suggested throughout EBA. Some of them are integral to the course, like an ESP (Email Service Provider). Others are optional, but are used by Ruth and recommended by her.
Additionally, if you choose the tier with a live event (Platinum), expenses related to that event (flight, hotel, etc.) will be your responsibility.
It's difficult to say what the total financial investment will be (EBA + incidentals), but plan to spend at least a few hundred dollars for incidentals.
How long will it take to recoup the cost?
There are too many factors to say for sure, but I would say at least 9-12 months. A few students may recoup the cost before that, others will take longer, and still others may never recoup the cost.
EBA has the right tools, but making a specific amount of money — or any money — is not guaranteed.
Factors that will likely impact how successful you are, and how quickly, include:
- Prior blogging experience
- Time and attention spent working on the assignments
- Quality of the content you produce
- Willingness to be creative and take risks
In addition, there are variables outside of your control that will likely affect your outcome as well, like:
- Social media algorithms
- Search engine algorithms
- Responses from your readers
What does EBA include?
The course is organized into 4 modules, each with 3 units. There are a total of 36 assignments. Each unit has an email, a video (with transcript), assignments (with downloadable workbook pages) and a Q&A video.
EBA starts with the basics, so if you've been blogging for any length of time, or if you follow what goes on in the blogging world, much of the information will be familiar. The depth and scope of the material are what makes EBA different. That, and following the experience of Ruth who started a blog and subsequently built a seven figure business.
You can get more details and explanation here, but here's an overview of the modules and units:
Module 1: Refine Your Message
- Unit 1: Start With The Fundamentals
- Unit 2: Conquer Your Content
- Unit 3: Presentation is Everything
Module 2: Grow Your Traffic
- Unit 4: Set The Stage For Growth
- Unit 5: Grow Your List
- Unit 6: Rock Your Social Media
Module 3: Monetize Your Platform
- Unit 7: Show Me The Money
- Unit 8: Create Your Products
- Unit 9: Master Sales & Marketing
Module 4: Build Your Business
- Unit 10: Work Smarter, Not Harder
- Unit 11: From Blog To Business
- Unit 12: Lead Your Team
Members also get:
- Access to a private Facebook Group.
- A printable course syllabus.
- 20+ bonus items. There are extra interview-style videos that deep dive into specific topics like Instagram, tripwires, affiliate marketing, podcasting and more. There are also printables and products from EBA graduates and others.
What does EBA not include?
Unit 1 starts with an assessment of your current blog, so the assumption is you've already started. If you haven't, I have a free video tutorial with an in-depth online guide here.
Technical help is not a main focus of EBA either.
Is Elite Blog Academy worth it?
It depends. Let me explain. First, EBA offers 3 main things:
- Information. This includes the how-tos and strategies, written or in video form.
- Intangibles. By “intangibles” I mean things like a community of other like-minded bloggers, accountability and a roadmap.
- (Implied) results. The results are implied because they are not guaranteed of course, but EBA certainly has the tools to help you see results.
So let's take the broad question “Is EBA worth it?” and break it down:
Is EBA's information alone worth it? In my opinion, no. Let's say you asked me, “I'd love to see the information inside EBA, but I don't have much time or interest in the Facebook Group. Amy, would you pay $997 for the info by itself?” I would say no. To be clear, the information is solid, comprehensive and organized, and there is a lot of it, but if your budget is limited, much of it can be found for free or from less expensive sources.
Is EBA's information + intangibles worth it? Possibly. You'll have to decide. The community (Facebook Group) is very valuable, especially for newer bloggers, to share ideas, ask questions, network and find encouragement. The accountability and/or the roadmap might also be worth the price to you. Only you know how you are wired and whether the intangibles are likely to work for you.
Is EBA's information + intangibles + (implied) results worth it? Probably. Imagine I said to you, “Pay $997 today and in 12-18 months you could be making $1000+ a month.” Would you do it? Of course your results may vary, but the tools are there.
What is the EBA success rate?
I love hearing success stories and you'll find many sprinkled throughout the EBA homepage (and even more when you click the “Success Stories” tab at the top of the page).
And definitely watch the round table discussion with Ruth and four EBA students.
EBA has clearly worked for some.
To my knowledge, the overall success rate of EBA students is not published.
I realize on the EBA homepage, you'll find the following under “A Proven Blueprint for Success”:
Over the past five years, with almost 10,000 students in 60 countries worldwide, we’ve refined and perfected the process of creating a successful, profitable and sustainable online business.
But in the video under “But What if You Want Just a Little Bit More?” Ruth says:
Since 2014, we’ve helped nearly 10,000 students in 60 countries worldwide create their own successful, profitable and sustainable online businesses.
My take: I believe the total number of students who have enrolled in EBA is just under 10,000. In other words, I don't think Ruth was trying to indicate in the video that 10,000 EBA students have been successful, or that there's a 100% success rate.
Who is EBA best for?
I think it's best for beginning bloggers who have the time, money, patience and discipline to stick with the course for the long haul. It might also benefit intermediate bloggers who want a roadmap. Advanced bloggers may pick up some new ideas and appreciate seeing another blogger's approach, but by this point, I imagine you know where to find the info you need without having to purchase a comprehensive course.
There is a strong emphasis on working through the course systematically, from the beginning. Jumping from topic to topic is discouraged. So, if you're a “just tell me what to do and I'll do it” type and you're excellent at working the plan and following through, EBA may be a great fit for you!
EBA is best compared to a college course. It has the potential to start you on a path to a new career. However, it will require a significant amount of time (the equivalent of a semester or year-long class), money, and self discipline (many hours of worksheets and follow through assignments).
How much direct access to Ruth will I get?
Ruth holds an hour-long Live Q&A inside the Facebook Group most Fridays. Included in the Platinum tier is a live one-day event.
Keep in mind Ruth runs a company with many employees and projects. Also keep in mind there are currently over 4000 members in the EBA Facebook Group. Ruth pops into the discussion occasionally, but most of the interaction in the Group is between current and past EBA students, as well as members of Ruth's team.
Pros of EBA
Community. EBA’s built-in community (Facebook Group) is very valuable and perhaps its greatest asset. It gives you a chance to ask questions, get ideas, share ideas, ask for advice, get support, provide encouragement and interact with other bloggers who “get” you.
Bonuses. In version 4.0, the bonuses definitely add more value. As I mentioned earlier, they provide in-depth information about specific topics. I imagine the videos about social media (Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) will be of particular interest to students.
Q&A videos. Each unit includes a video of Ruth answering questions from real students. The dialogue is helpful and informative.
Success stories. Ruth is knowledgeable and has clearly experienced a lot of success. I'll point out again, many of her students have experienced success too. In other words, the program can, and has, worked.
Organized information. As is typical with courses like this, much of the material can be found for free online…if you’re willing to hunt. A lot of people don’t have time for that, nor do they know where to start. For new bloggers, or bloggers who are lacking in direction or fundamentals, EBA will definitely give you a jumpstart.
Packaged well. EBA has a clean and simple interface. Getting around is easy and straightforward.
Access to any future versions. You’ll have “lifetime access for the life of the EBA course.” (The latest version is 4.0 released in March 2019. It is not clear whether there will be any versions after the current one.) As I mentioned, historically, new information has been added to each version making the course more and more valuable.
Cons of EBA
Stringent return policy. Don't purchase EBA with the intention of “checking it out” and getting your money back if it's not for you. From the EBA return policy page (emphasis mine):
If you’re expecting Elite Blog Academy, or anything else to magically solve your problems, grow your blog, or make you money the moment you register, please do NOT sign up…
In order to be eligible for a refund for our full course, Elite Blog Academy 4.0, you must submit your completed homework for all 36 assignments by 365 days from your purchase date…
This should include screen shots of your before and after blog design, analytics, and income reports.”
Read the return policy in full by clicking the “Policy” link at the bottom of this page.
Cost. For many, the total cost (course + incidentals) will be prohibitive. If you find yourself in that spot, please know, products like EBA are not a prerequisite to “making it” as a blogger.
Long runway. If you follow all the steps as they are presented and purchase the additional tools suggested, it will be quite a while (9-12+ months is not unusual) before you start to gain traction and make your money back.
Overwhelming for some. I've heard people say they bought EBA but didn’t finish it. They either weren’t expecting the amount of work involved, had a backlog of other courses they were trying to get through or got bogged down somewhere in the process. If you're worried about this, it might be better to find smaller courses on specific topics you need.
Repeat information for some. This is a comprehensive course, beginning with the basics. If you have any background in blogging or online marketing, you will likely be familiar with a good portion of the content.
Time commitment. I don't think this can be overstated. You will not finish this course (properly at least) in a few weeks. It will take months. This is assuming working at least 5-10 hours a week. I've heard students say it has taken 8, 12, 18+ months to complete.
Limited technical help. While there is a lot of practical, hands-on, strategic help, EBA doesn't cover many of the technical aspects of blogging. If you’re hoping for a lot of technical help, this course might not be the place to start.
Outdated content. The blogging and social media landscape changes incredibly fast. What is true today, may not be true next month, or even next week. Anyone who writes about blogging faces this conundrum (myself included). Due to the amount of time it takes a student to work through EBA (9-12+ months in many cases), and because there is no easy way for the EBA team to make real-time updates to the content, you may encounter portions along the way that have become outdated or obsolete.
Consider your style
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to buy a course, consider the product’s features, but look beyond them too. Ask yourself if you share the creator’s style. If your style is similar to theirs, you’re more likely to benefit from their product.
For example, Ruth and I have very different styles.
She's generally all in. Me? I like to keep my options open and pivot quickly.
She likes to say, “Rules are for suckers!” whereas I like to say, “Follow the rules but think outside the box.”
She's comfortable with incurring some debt to get your business off the ground. Building debt free is more my style.
She has referred to herself as a “jump first” type. I prefer to do things thoughtfully out of the gate so I don’t have to go back and pay for, or redo, things later.
She’s building a corporation with a big team, huge numbers and a lot of moving parts. I prefer a lightweight team, big numbers and a streamlined setup.
The point is, we’re two different entrepreneurs entrepreneuring in two different ways. Neither way is right nor wrong. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. What's important is to know what floats your boat.
How to get a taste of EBA and Ruth's style
Ruth has created several resources that will give you a taste of her style. All of them are free in exchange for your email address:
- 7 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight
- The Essential Blog Post Promotion Checklist
- The Secret Blueprint for Blogging Success
- The Blog Structure Blueprint
- 10 Steps to Take When a Post Goes Viral
- 8 Bad Blogging Habits & How to Break Them
- 120 Awesome Blog Post Ideas
- The New Blogger's Guide to Guest Posting
There are countless ways to build a blog into an online business. That’s what I love about it! It means we all have an equal shot. There is no one “right” way.
If the description of EBA (or perhaps the description of Ruth) sounds like your style, read more about Elite Blog Academy here.